Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Full Day.... Don't Know If I Can Stand the Strain

Full disclosure: I have NEVER lived with chickens and don't know much about them. Oh, let's be completely honest; I don't know anything about them! Not a darn thing. So everything that happened today was a novelty.

It began with us walking out and peeking thru the door to see them staring back at us with beady eyes. SO CUTE! but we were not going to let them out til some friends arrived for Sunday Brunch. Like debutantes "coming out".

photo by Charles Leche

So two guests arrived and as we waited for the last, we wandered out to the Back Two and opened the door. And out they popped! Their first day in their new home!!!!

And they were naturally skittish of us and the surroundings and huddled over in a corner. Two corners, because the little ones never ventured far from the safety of the coop and hay.

We had fun taking photos and here is a professional photographer, Charles Leche, taking serious shots of the Ladies!

I will ask permission to reveal his name and perhaps a couple of portraits he took. I have seen them and they are amazing Chicken Photography. You'll want some for your kitchen, they are so good.

Before the guests had arrived, John marched back into the house with an egg in his closed hand and exclaimed, "We may have a problem!!"
""How many fake eggs did you put in the nestboxes?"
"Two. Why?"
"What color were they?"
"One white, one brown. WHY?"
"Did you put them in the same box?"
"NO! Why?"
And he produced this brown egg and tells me he thinks it was in with the white one and then picked up the other brown one and got them juggled and now can't tell the difference!
Well, I may not know much about chickens but I'm pretty sound when it comes to EGGS and I took it from him, looked at it and proclaimed it to be the real McCoy.
"How can you be so sure!?"
Because it was slightly irregular, and the fake ones are perfect! "Now, you should go and mark the two fake ones immediately."
His turn to start asking my question....."Why?"
"Because we'll be right back here with the same dilemma in a few hours when another hen lays, right?"
Sure enough. Now, one of these.... no, wait, TWO of these things are not like the other two......

You can tell which are which, right?

So as the day continued, we would go outside, sprinkle scratch around our feet to encourage them to come nearer and they did. The little ones are hilarious and nervous. Peck, Bolt. Peck, bolt. And if the big ones caught on to their pile of scratch, they'd RUN over and give them a knock on the head and send them dashing for the coop.
One time we went out, there all the chickens were, under the huge tree out back. Outside of their run and had to be rounded up and yeehawed back. John and Tim boarded up the exits and we thought, good enough! Silly chickens.
John drove Tim to the airport and I stayed behind to keep an eye on the wanderers. I took the camera and witnessed the meeting of Q and the Chickens.

She didn't know what to make of this. If you look thru the fence, you'll see her watching the chickens and they were all bold and walking toward her, craning their necks and looking more like roosters than hens. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

The little ones stayed closed to the coop and I could see Q watching them, too. Interestingly, I never saw Polo all day. Other neighborhood cats were on the fringe of the property but I don't know if they ever came that far back to the runs. We may have problems with cats.

We came out again and found the white one had jumped into the second run and her friends were clucking with mild panic through the fence at her so we herded her back to them. She went right back over! So we shushed her in the coop and she settled down on the nest. ANOTHER egg.
Tally for Day One: 3 brown eggs. I really thought hers would be white.

So we went back to watch the Saints go 12 - 0 and thought now we ought to go coop them all up. As we approached the run, we could see no chickens and thought, Great! they roosted themselves!!! Hurray!!
John looked in, it was dark in the gloaming, and said, "They're gone."
"WHAT!? All of them?"
"NO, the little ones are on the top rung."
We headed out to the big tree with John explaining that they've gone to roost, probably up in that tree and we'll never get them down now that the light is down. But we couldn't find them anywhere and I was was trying to muster the courage to tell our benefactors how awfully we messed up..... as we walked back. I popped my head head in and you could BARELY make out the two little ones, still huddled together. I peered into the nestboxes and only saw the two fake eggs. Bummer.
Then, I looked up above the cabinet and there in the darkness I could make out what I imagined were shapes. "John! Look up there!"
His eyes are much better than mine and he started laughing.... and my heart stopped racing as it had been.
"Are they all there?"
"Yes. They're all up there. I should've known!"

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