This has been on my heart for a long time. I have dragged my feet about putting this into words. This week has been a very eye-opening experience and the Lord gave me the platform to discuss a very important topic in a very unorthodox way. You can even call it a backyard parable of sorts.
First, the background. Five years ago, I built a chicken coop out of pallets. Madam A pulled the nails from the old pallets to create the materials that I needed. My kiddos were still in public school at the time, so while they were gone, me and my trusted and faithful sidekick, Winston my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, would head out to the garage and being working. I had no plans on paper. Just an idea and a need to stay busy. Just after my Husband’s First Heaven-vesary, the coop was completed. Now, I just needed chickens.
I didn’t nor do I ever plan to have chicks. I went straight for pullets. In chicken language that means 22 weeks or older and ready to begin laying eggs. Through some friends, I was able to find a guy that had Easter Eggers. They lay pink, olive green, and true blue eggs. We had four ladies to provide fresh eggs and new entertainment for us.
I will skip the next 4 years of ups and downs of details. Maybe for another day. The cliff note version: We adopted two hunting dog puppies, I had to put down my beloved Winston (I still cry), the girls began to free range our acre and half yard from morning to sundown, and one of the original 4 girls died.
Cupcake was the mom of the group. She proudly announced to all who could hear her that one of the girls had laid an egg and all was well in the coop. She got sick and died before I could get a handle on the situation. We still miss her.
My girls are true free spirits. The ultimate free birds (pun intended). The coop has a drawbridge ladder/door that I operate from a pulley system that the kids and I created so we can easily open the door from the bathroom window. They literally surf the door down and hop and run across the yard to their favorite watering hole and the day long search for their food begins. They have very animated personalities as well.
There is ” Princess Fluff” and she is sassy. Very. Sassy. She always has something to complain about and she must get the last word. At the time I was taking her picture, she was back-talking me about how this wasn’t a good feather day for her and this was as close as I was going to get today. Told you she was sassy. Pure teenage girl!
Then there is “Miss T” and she is the lady of the group. My fluffiest, soft spoken, gentle beauty. When introducing people that have never handled a chicken, she is the one that will squat down and allow Madam A to scoop her up and be handled. From full grown adults to 4 and 5 year olds can hold her and have fallen in love with this gentle beauty. She, at one point, had a pink pet stroller that Madam A will scoop her up and zip her in then play in the yard like she was some kind of baby. T never complained. I think she is probably relieved that the stroller has now been claimed by Mister Milkman, the coolest cat ever. EVER. He is okay with his manliness to be paraded around in his pink ride and T is okay with him having it. I will have a picture of her tomorrow. She was in the nesting box. This is my favorite picture of her anyway.
And then there is the legend. The coolest of the coolest chickens you will ever read about. It is my pleasure to introduce to the world Ms. Crock-a-dooey, or in short “Dooey”. She thinks she is a dog. Not lying. She has been known to charge the fence when the dogs charge and a few times, she has lead the charge. She has no respect for personal space so if one of the other girls is in the nesting box she will, with no hesitation, plop her skinny fluffy bottom right on top of them and wiggle herself into a warm spot. She eats nonstop, mostly because of her cross bill which I will not snip or mess with it. It is part of who she is. She steals food from the dogs who, by the way, are full grown beagle blue tick mix monsters of dogs and even naps with them. She has no fear even when a chicken hawk has their evil eyes on her and have been ran off by me. She simply clucks to her own drum and dances to it too. If she was a person she would be the poster child for the new generation free spirited hippie girl.
Now, to the beginning of the story.
Monday, this week, we were gifted with 3 pullets from a friend who needed to thin his flock out. We gladly accepted them and the challenges we would face. Here is where the Lord opened the backyard platform.
When introducing chickens to new members of the flock, there are total different methods. Some gentle and kind and some…. well, kinda raw.
Day one: new girls had a wing clipped and sprinkled with Diatomaceous Earth for general health for the legs and feathers.
Side note: clipping their wings means one wing has their flight wings clipped down so they don’t fly away. They naturally can fly about 5 to 8 feet in the air for a short burst which makes them able to clear a fence. Their physical bodies are never harmed. Just in case you didn’t know that.
The collision of two different worlds, two different lifestyles, two different breeds of birds becoming a family has been a patient and interesting world. A world that is not restricted to just chickens, mostly to us humans.
Chickens form cliques too.
I will continue this story tomorrow. By now, I am sure you know where this will be going. But for this moment: welcome to My Side of Sanity and my little backyard farm.
It is about to get real.