Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dirt bathing

No webcam available chickeh-stalkers, but will pictures do? I have pictures aplenty.
Chickehs in the dirt
Now you can see why I thought Sparkles was in trouble in the dirt - she and Ivy look DEAD
You can see poor Sparkles' plucked/pecked neck in this shot and Ivy's beautiful multicoloured plumage on the back of her head.
Chickehs on the run.
I has chickeh love.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Art imitates Life

Or is it Life imitates Art??

Either way I have Chickens imitating IF.

4 chickens, 13 days, 8 eggs.

If we gave my chickens AMH tests they'd fail as badly as I did.

Why oh why did I get chickens who are peri-menopausal? I have traded desperately wishing for eggs from me for desperately wishing for eggs from chickens.

Do you think if I gave them wheatgrass shots or Royal Jelly then they'd do better? What about CoQ10 or yoga?

Maybe they just need to relax.  Maybe I do.

Getting-the-Chickehs ...
I saw a animals alert thing on Faceblerk that led me to a page when some ladies were organising a chicken rescue from a big battery farm.  When battery chickens reach 78 weeks old (past peak lay) the farmers kill them. This particular farmer was killing 52,000 hens and offered the chicken-rescue ladies as many chooks as they could find homes for.  They thought they'd rehome a couple of hundred but they ended up with orders from fellow chicken-lover-animal-rescue-types for over 16,000 chickens. They whole rescue went belly-up after the battery farmer was reported to the DPI (Department of Primary Industries).  The DPI wanted to investigate the rescue, which meant they needed to shut down the battery and the farmer did not want to shut down (loss of livelihood) so he withdrew his offer.

The whole thing fell apart the day we were supposed to go collect our chickens. Lots of people were very disappointed. Lots of people had built coops and gotten organised to house poor old sad badly-treated battery chooks ... us included. But what I learnt was that most battery farms sell their old chickens - they put them on the sale shelf at a crazy-low price and give them a chance to live. So we went to Wagner's Poultry in Coldstream and bought ourselves some old $3 chickehs.  Past peak lay but still laying ... apparently.

So there's one question answered - fellow chook lovers, you too can rescue old chickehs.

Maddy, the chickens will not have chicks because we can't have a rooster.  We live in the city and though the council is hen-friendly, they've banned roosters due to the evil-early-morning-noise they make.  So no bebe-chickehs for us. Even though I would love a little Peeper following me around.

Andie, Maddy and Jenn - the gumboots are from Bunnings.  Imagine that - hardware wonderland sells rockin' gumboots. Not online though. I does love me a trip to Bunnings.

The chickens are definitely great entertainment. I pop my boots on morning and night to go tend to my ladies and sometimes just to watch them at their chicken-business.  They have distinct personalities and I am doing my best to train them to come when they are called and to be hand-happy.
  • Henrietta is the tamest - I call "Henny-Henny-Henny" and she'll come and peck at whatever tidbit I have in my hand, though sometimes she does like to try to eat my fingertips instead of the treats. 
  • Sparkles is pecked on by the others, she's the scrappiest of the four, but also seems to be the cleverest.  She discovered dust-baths on day 5 much to my horror. I went down to visit them and found her lying on her side in the dirt, ruffling up her feathers and totally covered in dirt.  The other chickens were standing around sort of watching her.  I though she was having a fit or something and went to pick her up whereupon she growled at me (yes, growled!!! it was very LOL-worthy) and pecked my hand. Anyway I quickly ran inside and Dr-Googled "chicken rolling in dirt" and found that dirt is how chickens clean themselves! They get completely covered in it and shake shake shake and get clean. Somehow.
  • Ivy is a scaredy-cat, she gets very flustered when I come near her and freaks out completely if she's in the coop and I stick my arm in to top up the feed or something.  She just can't cope with humanity.
  • Kakashi is funny, she clucks around following Henrietta and basically copycats everything Henny does.  She is interested in me, but tends to keep a safe distance. She does come running if there's scratch grain in the offing though.

I am an animal rescuer from way back.  When I was 13 I (with the help of a friend) liberated the mice in our science experiment when we found out they were going to be gassed the following day.  We had mice as a Mendelian inheritance experiment, breeding them to see what coloured furs we would get and I loved my mice. So I was horrified to discover that death was their reward. K and I snuck into the science teacher's office and stole the lab key late one afternoon and liberated our mice. We weren't terribly organised about it so she ended up with 3 or 4 and I took 2.   We got in so much trouble at school. There were meetings with parents and demands for mice returns but although K caved and gave her mice back I refused and kept them.  They lived for 18 months in a cage in my bedroom and my step-father named them Dim and Sim. Which was really a terrible set of names. Mum and my SF stood behind me and backed up my right to save the mice which was totally cool of them. I got a series of afternoons detentions and a series of Saturday detentions as a punishment and it was worth it 'cause my mice were awesome and fun and worth saving.  All life is worth saving.


Sunday, September 5, 2010


We can has chickens. Rescue chickens too! I've always wanted chooks and when I heard you could buy ex-battery chickens and save them from slaughter I decided to bite the bullet and chicken us up. In 24 hrs we've already gathered 3 eggs. Hooray for rescuing poor battery chickens and hooray for having enough room in our yard for a coop and hooray for our landlord saying we could do it and hooray for our girls.

Henrietta - she's boss chickeh

Ivy - ?
Kakashi - apparently she's a manga-chickeh

Sparkles - she laid an egg in the car on the way home!

Smudge is very interested in the chicken coop

Happy chickehs

A girl has to have red gumboots to tend to her chickehs