This is my blog about the day to day lives of my little flock of pet chickens. They're a happy little flock, although they're totally crackers! If you want a laugh, they'll gladly give you one.


For the ebook version, just click the link on the right.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Eyes down looking

You might think that having a big bouffant feather arrangement on your head, an arrangement which curves round and covers your eyes so that you can only see downwards, might put you at a huge disadvantage on so many levels.   You might think that.   I might think that.   But Pom-Pom, who sports just such a feather arrangement, doesn't.

Admittedly, she has a tendency to walk into things, but she just ignores the inconvenience.  Her headgear prevents even the slightest injury, so she bounces off what she's walked into and continues on her way.

Now you would have thought, wouldn't you, that having such a sight impediment would put you at an enormous disadvantage.   Not in Pom-Pom's case though.   She frequently leads the dash out of the run and into the garden.   She has an uncanny sixth sense when it comes to knowing where snacks are to be located - often millimetres in front of another chicken's beak.   And heaven help that chicken if she tries to retrieve her stolen property!   There's nothing wrong with Pom-Pom's sense of direction when it comes to giving someone a good peck.

She proved her worth (to herself at least) when she, of all chickens, chased an intruder out of the garden.  True, it was only a robin and true, she probably only saw his feet.  However, she wasn't having him lurking around the place stealing the birdseed that had dropped onto the ground from the feeders.   Those were her special treats.

Mission accomplished, she turned round and walked straight into the watering can.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Hurricane Irene

Just a quick note to say that I really, really hope my blog readers in America, their families, chickens and other livestock stay safe when the hurricane hits.   Let's hope is not as bad as predicted.

Step by step

In my last post I mentioned how awkward Rebecca could be.


Well today she went rushing up the very shallow steps in the hen run ..... and tripped over!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hole in one

Rebecca can be really awkward sometimes ..... and occasionally that gets her into trouble.

We had a clematis to plant, so my son was digging a hole for it just in front of the chicken run fence.  The chickens were in the garden at the time, so it was no surprise when Irene wandered over to see what he was doing.   Where there's Irene, Rebecca will never be far behind.   The trouble was, Rebecca wanted a better look, so she squeezed past Irene to get closer to the action.

She took a quick look, but decided the view would be better from the other side.   She stepped across, but realised too late that the hole was just a bit wider than she'd bargained for.   As a result, she found herself straddled across it!   Her left foot was on one side of the hole, her little right leg was stretched as far as it could stretch, so that her right foot was on the other side, and her body was dangling in between!   And she found she could go neither forward nor back!

I don't think it helped matters that my son and I were having a good laugh at her expense.   She gave us a look that clearly said, "Don't just laugh, DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!"   So I lifted her to safety and my son got on with planting the clematis.

Monday, 22 August 2011

A cranky day in the hen run

I'm becoming more and more convinced that Maggie has positioned herself at the top of the pecking order. Another fight broke out between Rebecca and Punk.   Maggie marched over to them and quelled the fracas with nothing more than a very stern look.

Then Tu-Tu strolled by, so Maggie pecked her for no good reason.   Later Fizz ambled past, so she chased him round the run.   Fizz had a look of total confusion on his face, as he hadn't thought about sex for ..... well, seconds .... and certainly not with Maggie.   So he had no idea what he'd done to upset her.

To be fair, Maggie is in the middle of a heavy moult, so is probably feeling tetchy anyway.   The Araucanas are also moulting (but still laying eggs!), so they're also feeling tetchy .   Fizz is moulting all over the place too, but has no idea what "tetchy" means, so he isn't.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Creatures of habit

Tu-Tu prefers eating from the rectangular food dish, rather than the round one.

Maggie is much happier having a drink from the blue bowl, and will only drink from the green one if absolutely necessary.

Irene would rather drink puddle water than dip her beak in the nice fresh stuff!

Titian absolutely must come and talk to me before going to eat her breakfast.

Pom-Pom insists on sleeping next to the wall, even though she's invariably squashed up against it by Irene, to the extent that her little shoulders are hunched up.

The only place that Rebecca will consider laying an egg is in the corner just outside the lefthand nest box.

Punk can only get to sleep if her head is surrounded by someone else's feathers.

And we all know how Fizz needs to start his day (if you're new to the blog - he must have sex!).

Sorry, can't write any more, I always have a cup of tea at this time of day.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Before and after

It's amazing the difference a few months can make to a chicken's appearance.   For instance, here's Fizz at 10 weeks old ....


..... and here is is all grown up

 Pom-Pom hasn't changed that much.   Here she is at 10 weeks old looking slightly unkempt

These days she's smooth and sleek

This is what the Araucanas looked like at one week old ....

Araucanas with foster-mother Tu-Tu

.... and here's Rebecca and Punk now (the third chick was Rocky, a cockerel who went to new owners).



I'll post pictures of the rest of the girls when I get them downloaded.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Temper tantrums

When it’s time to lock up at night, we always open the side door of the chicken coop and check to make sure everyone is safely inside it.

Last night my son reached in to stroke Punk and she pecked him hard.   Not once, but twice.  She deliberately targeted the tender skin on the back of his hand.   She didn’t peck in the true sense of the word; what she did was to grab the skin and shake it vigorously.   Maybe she was tired and ratty and resented the disturbance.

But it seems my son had a friend in the coop.   Pom-Pom retaliated on his behalf and bit Punk in the head!

So everyone learned a lesson last night.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The great escape

Before we let the hens out into the garden, we always make a temporary fence from chicken wire.  This means that they have a nice play area beyond their run, but keeps other parts of the garden safe from their attentions.

They have access to a nice area of lawn, where they can sunbathe, search for tasty insects or just generally create havoc.  There's a dwarf cherry tree and they have spent some very happy times trying to dig it up.  There are flowers for them to eat and a few vegetable plants still left for them to decimate.   There's even a little corner which contains dirt/twigs/leaves etc, which have been swept in there awaiting removal to the compost bin.   They think we've put it there for their amusement and gaily rummage around in it, looking for anything edible that might be hiding there.

Yesterday Irene decided that life wasn't worth living unless she could scatter the bark round the dwarf fruit trees onto the pebbled path.   First she squeezed under a bit of the fence that didn't quite touch the ground.   She was quickly followed by her little helper Rebecca.   The pair took off and scratted like mad under the Bramley apple.   My son took off, grabbed them and returned them to the fold.

Irene was not best pleased.   She marched up and down the fence, looking for another escape route.   When she couldn't find a place to squeeze under, she decided to go over the top.  But did she fly?  Oh no, not Irene.   She walked at the fence, pushed and pushed until it bent far enough down for her, and of course Rebecca, to walk across and back to the Bramley apple.   I'd briefly gone into the run to check for eggs.  So I missed this ingenious bit of escapology, but could see the route they'd taken.

So I returned the pair to the lawn and fixed the fence so there would be no repeat performance.   I sat down on the garden bench just in time to see Irene make her final bid for the Freedom Of The Rest Of The Garden.   This time she squeezed through the miniscule gap between the end of the temporary fence and the run's wooden fence.   Then she ran amok in my wildflower bed!   So many insects, so little time.

When I let them all out today, I think I might attach a ball and chain to Irene's left leg!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

From bad to worse

Why the Araucanas have chosen to adopt Mad Irene as a role model and mother substitute is quite beyond me.   But judging from the scene in the coop at bedtime last night, that's what seems to have happened.

Back in June (26 June - Double-Decker Rebecca) this picture appeared, showing Rebecca snuggled up under Irene.

Last night Rebecca had snuggled so far under Irene, she was able to tuck her head into Irene's chest feathers.   As if that wasn't enough, Punk decided that what was good enough for her sister, was good enough for her.

There was no more room beneath Irene, so Punk made herself comfy in front of the perch, then tucked her head under Irene's wing!

I wonder if our poor Light Sussex got any sleep at all last night?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Pitter patter raindrops

It's pouring with rain in my bit of North Yorkshire.   But I have been doing my duty, periodically slithering and sliding down to the chicken run to check that all is well.

This time Rebecca and Irene were convinced I'd come to let them play out on the lawn, despite the deluge!  They were slightly mollified by the fact that I had brought a little corn with me.   The others were all being sensible and had gathered under the cover of the caged area.    Fizz, however, had gone upstairs to bed.

They all looked so bored, that I scattered the corn on the cage floor instead of just leaving the dish for them.   Looking for it would at least give them something to do.

As I left, I did a spectacular mud slide just outside the cage, barely managing to stay upright.   Titian watched this with interest, before turning to rummage for her share of corn.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Down and out

Fizz was so excited when the coop was opened up this morning.   He went charging around the run, but just couldn’t catch Rebecca.   Then he spotted Punk in the cage area and raced in to grab her before she could escape.   Unfortunately, he didn’t see Pom-Pom coming out and ran into her, flattening the pair of them!  

 Pom-Pom, as usual, didn’t notice and continued on to get her breakfast.  

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Onwards and upwards

I’m just about convinced that Maggie has quietly moved to the top of the pecking order.   She’s standing much taller than she used to for one thing.   She also seems to spend a good deal of time in what I can only describe as “watchful mode”.    She’s chased trespassing birds out of the garden and successfully fought off a double-pronged attack by the Araucanas.  And there’s an aura about her that was never apparent before.

The clincher came this morning when everyone was let out.   Fizz, as usual, was looking for someone to love and he picked on Punk.   She’s normally very compliant – just lets him get on, do his thing and then off she goes;  she’s such a laid-back little bird I’m surprised she’s not horizontal.

Today was different.   Today she was having none of it!   She fluffed her neck feathers out, then chested him.  She jumped really high and chested him again. This behaviour is totally out of character for the little Araucana.  

Maggie looked as if she was about to join in, but decided against it when Punk turned and hid her head in Maggie’s abundant chest feathers.   At bedtime Punk has always had the habit of tucking her head into the chest feathers of whichever chicken is next to her.  But it’s the first time it’s happened in broad daylight.   

It seemed that Maggie’s chest provided Punk with a safe haven.   Is this a sign that it’s not only me who thinks Maggie has promoted herself to leader, but the perhaps the flock does too?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Waltzing round the garden

It was a perfect summer afternoon.   A light breeze wafted the smell of newmown hay across the fields and into my garden.   The sun was still nice and warm, but not too fierce.  

Some of the flock were wandering round the garden or eating the lettuce I'd put out for them.   Titian and Maggie had settled down for a nice afternoon snooze.

And then that lovely peace was shattered!   Fizz decided to take advantage of Maggie's torpor and give her a quick bonk before she could stop him.   He leapt on her back, she shrieked, he fell off.

She leapt up, still groggy from sleep, and faced her assailant - who was a bit surprised at his situation himself.   She gathered herself together and took a step towards him.   He took one step back.   Again she moved one step forward and he took another step back.   When they performed the same sequence a third time, I was listening out for the strains of a Strauss waltz to come drifting across the garden.

But Fizz must have seen something in Maggie's eyes that told him this was no dancing matter.   So he tootled off to see what Pom-Pom was doing.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The tail end

It's finally happened, Fizz has lost his very last tail feather!   Just to remind you what he used to look like, in all his former glory

Fizz in his Sunday best outfit

And this is what he looks like now

To make matters worse, he's acting even dafter than usual!   When he got up this morning he chased Rebecca round the run as usual, then she scooted between the cage and the fence to try to get away.   He thought he'd "head her off at the pass" and took a short cut by running into the cage.   The pair of them were running up and down on either side of the cage wire, with Fizz trying hard to work out why he couldn't get to his girl!

I like my mornings to start off quietly and gently, not with tears running down my cheeks from laughing so much!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Jumping Jiminy!!!

Mad Irene gave us a fright yesterday evening by jumping onto the barbecue!   Luckily she landed on the rim of the bowl ..............

Our barbecue

........ which only gets slightly warm, and didn’t try to join the lamb steaks which were cooking nicely in the middle. 
She’d seen me bring a dish of lovely, home-grown new potatoes down to the garden and had already done a spectacular bounce to try to get at them.   When I sat down, she jumped on my lap to see if I’d got them up my T-shirt.   When that failed, she thought she’d look on the barbecue to see if I’d hidden them there.

It’s no wonder I’m going grey!