Recently in Chickens Category

Name That Chicken

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Four eggs in a row

From left to right: Cher, Dolly, Liza, and Carole. Not pictured: Janis. You can see it's still a little muddy in the chicken yard, and somebody tracked dirt on the eggs while laying or rearranging the eggs afterward.


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Janis and Noel

When the sun gets low in the sky, a chicken's instinct says it's time to get somewhere up high.

Big Girls

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Last night, the girls went up and roosted all by themselves, for the first time. Until then, they'd been sleeping in a big chicken pile under the heat lamp.

Chickens roosting

They're almost all grown now! We just have to wait for them to stop peeping like babies, and they can be mixed into the main flock.

Chicken Day Out

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I took the chicks out today and let them play in the lawn and go up to the chicken yard. Liza was so interested in coming out (I thought because of the chicks but really because she wanted to come out and eat bugs), so I let her out, too (Carole was in the nest box pouting and not laying an egg).

Some pictures:

Janis in the grass. She seemed to want to be separate from the others more than I would have expected.


Liza getting agitated at the chicks (actually, just Liza getting agitated about wanting to come out)

Liza and chicks

Dolly (left) and Elvira (right) with Cornpuff and Spot in the background. Yes, I believe the name for the chick with the widow's peak will be Elvira. My grandmother Elvira has been gone for long enough now that I don't have to feel guilty.

Dolly and Elvira

Dot dashing:

Dot dashing

Liza has a close encounter with a chick (that's Spot) and is mostly just confused about what it might be:

Liza meets Spot

Goldie was mostly just lying in the sun ignoring the chicks. Dolly felt that was reason to go check out what she was.

Goldie, Dolly, and Cornpuff

Elvira pokes her head into a picture of Cornpuff at the last second:

Cornpuff with Elvira peeking in

"WTF is that?"
"I don't know but its breath smells terrible."

Dolly and Spot check out Rosie

Everybody was very interested in the chicken yard:

Elvira and Spot look into the chicken yard

But mostly they were all interested in scratching and pecking at the ground for stuff to eat.

Scratching and pecking

I get the feeling Elvira is going to be quite the photo-chick. She seemed to stop and stare at the camera as soon as I took it out.


Week and a Half

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A few days ago we did progress photos of the chicks. This is five of the six (somehow, Janis managed to escape being posed) at about a week and a half old:

This is Dot (who I am informed will be called Pepper):


(Aren't those tailfeathers adorable?)

And Spot (the future Salt):


Little Dolly growing tailfeathers:


And a somewhat blurry Cornball (who may become Cinnamon? They're still not sure):


(Yes, she did poop on the photo studio set just as I snapped the photo.)

And finally the chick who is ours but as yet unnamed. Anybody know any female singers who have a prominent widow's peak?


I've been really down since realizing on Monday that the kitty was in a downward spiral and we needed to make that vet appointment. So instead of being all sad and weepy here, here are some pictures of the chicks enjoying a little outside time and stuff.

Here we have them in the first few days, playing with a piece of the shipping crate they came in. I used it to test whether they were ready to have wood chips down as bedding (which you have to be careful about, since they might eat them to the point of illness).

Chicks playing with packing material

Then we went outside.

I think we will be keeping this chick, and I am provisionally calling her Dolly (for Dolly Parton).

Dolly in the plants

We tried some experiments with the dog and chicks (apparently it's very hard to focus a camera with one hand while trying to make sure the chick doesn't fall off the dog's head). This chick is the Silver-Laced Wyandotte, and we will be calling her Janis (for Janis Joplin, because she spent her first few days stumbling around the habitat and falling over her feet).

Rosie with Janis on her head

I've given pet names to the two Barred Rocks who will go to the neighbors. They are Spot and Dot. This is Spot, who has a big white spot on her head.

Spot on my leg

Here's Rosie admiring the little chicky butts.

Rosie and chicks

This is one of the easter-eggers, which the neighbor's kid calls Stripes. I think this will also be our chick, and I'm not sure what her name will be.

Chick butt

The little outdoor excursions are to give them something to think about that is new and interesting. They had a pretty good time easting weed seeds.

Exploring the weeds and stuff

I'm pretty sure that this chick will be going to the neighbors. The neighbor-kid calls her Cornpuff and seems to love her best. She really liked sheltering under Rosie; I think the chicks have decided the dogs are their mommies.

Cornpuff on Rosie's paw

We tried out putting Dolly on Rosie's back to see how she would do:

Dolly on Rosie

Given that the chicks hardly ever sit still even without being on fur, she did a decent job of holding still, and Rosie did even better.

Dolly on Rosie

This is how I took the chicks out for their first exercise hour: a big canning pot. Lots of jokes about chickens in the stewpot.

Chicks in the canning pot

Here they are in their habitat with fancy wood chip bedding and their feeder and waterer up on bricks for their convenience.

In the habitat

Another exercise hour, Dot poking around in the dirt:

Dot pecking

And Dolly growing out some butt feathers:

Dolly growing butt feathers

You can really see Dot's smaller head dot (smaller than Spot's, of course) here:

Dot pecking

I thought the canning pot might be uncomfortable, so we tried out the shipping box they came in for the next visit outside:

Clockwise from top left: Janis (Silver-Laced Wyandotte), unnamed easter-egger, Dot (Barred Rock), Dolly (easter-egger), Spot (Barred Rock), Cornpuff (easter-egger).

Chicks in the box

So there's really only one name we need to come up with, and in part that has to wait until we're sure which easter-egger is going to the neighbors.

Even More Animals

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Today we got a magical package in the mail.

Magical package

You can watch my unboxing video:

And perhaps a tour of the contents? Some for us, some for the neighbors, but we will raise them together until they are old enough to live outside. Do they have names yet? No, they do not. We'll be casting around for female singer names for a bit, I think.

Here's a Barred Rock (neighbors):

Barred Rock

Another Barred Rock (also neighbors):

Barred Rock #2

Silver-Laced Wyandotte (us):

Silver-Laced Wyandotte

And 3 Easter-Eggers (us or them, undecided):

Easter Egger #1

Easter Egger #2

Easter Egger #3

They enjoyed exploring their aquarium habitat

Chicks in their habitat

And now some movies, because they're so cute at this age that movies are best:

Rainy Days

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"So," a friend of mine asked, "what do the chickens do when it rains like this?"

Just about everybody has asked, so finally I will post a picture with proof:

Wet chickens

They just stand out in the rain. Sometimes they look indignant that somebody is sprinkling water on them, but mostly they do their normal stuff, or as normal as it can be. Only during the worst downpours have I ever seen them take refuge in their room, although it is open and available to them all day.

When the sun comes out, they fluff up and dry out. If it doesn't come out, they seem to just stay out in the rain all day until sunset, when they get up on their perch and preen in the nice dry chicken room.

And Then There Were Two

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Sick Joan

I had to euthanize Joan today. She'd been unwell since mid-January, and last week took a steep turn for the worse, hiding behind the compost bins and not wanting to come out of the nest box. I thought she was broody, but she was sick. This photo shows how yellow her comb and wattles had become, and she was having trouble walking and had lost her appetite. Note the bowl of tuna in front of her, uneaten.

I took her to the Very Expensive Avian Vet on Friday and spent scads of money on her, and found out she was worse than we thought. Her blood iron was lower than the vet had ever seen in a living bird.

We did subcutaneous fluids, a crop injection of hydrating fluids, injected antibiotics. We kept her in a brooder inside, with a heat lamp, all weekend. We shot food and water down her throat. Saturday she seemed to perk up and we were hopeful, but Sunday night she began to worsen and yesterday she did not want to move any more. So today I went to the hardware store and bought an axe.

It's not easy to kill an animal you have raised from a baby and treated as a pet. But by raising an animal in captivity you take on certain responsibilities. I could have spent more money and had the vet inject her, but unlike a dog or cat, there is a humane way to kill a chicken in your own yard.

She's buried under the sour cherry tree, because last summer she was the one who discovered that she could jump up and eat the cherries off the branches.

And here's how I remember her:

Joan about to peck

Chickens in the Garden

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We had a really nice day today, so I let the chickens come out to play (as I often do on a weekend day).

Carole made a beeline for the pile of loose sand by the pond and took a long and relaxing dust bath.

One dirty chicken

Watch her bathing (in which Rosie gets bored partway through and goes to see what the other chickens are up to):

Joan was intrigued by the idea of the pond, but not enough to do more than peck a little at the curly rush.

Joan and the pond

But mostly they followed me around cooing and chuckling as I weeded, cleared leaves from beds, and so on.

And when I'd had enough of them underfoot, I gave them a handful of scratch to enjoy in their chicken gym:

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