"You know what you did, Lisa!"
"Lisa, you were a very bad girl!"
"Don't you try anything funny like that again..."
"Is it really you?"
"I'm not too sure it's her..."
"I'm just so confused...why did you leave us?"
"We thought you weren't coming back."
"Ladies, I don't think we can trust this one anymore, let's give her the evil eye."
As you may have guessed, I took a little trip down to California for my family’s annual Easter celebration over this past weekend. Brian stayed here to watch the farm, so to speak, and after 5 days absent, I have returned. It is amazing how much can change in five days… and for all my readers out there, it’s been even longer as I have not posted in eight days. Let me catch you up…
The big chicken news since you last heard from me is that JB has officially started to crow! He was just over 8 weeks old when I heard him for the first time. I was closing them in for the night and all of a sudden – “RRRRRTT! RRRWWWwwww…” It was REALLY loud and scared the poop out of all the other birds – they all scattered to the corners of the coop and then froze in terror. Then he did it again – “RRRRRRRRTT!! RRRRRRWWWW.” Again, a collective startle, and jump closer together and then everyone was frozen in a clump. JB looked a bit confused and startled himself. He looked around at everyone, cocked his head, then ruffled his feathers, stretched out his neck and let ‘er rip again. The third one was just as scary as the first, and JB startled himseld and ran to join everyone else in the clump of scared chickens. No one has ever said chickens are brilliant.
Of course, after this, I ran inside to tell Brian about the great milestone and that he should come out to hear JB crow. This is when good ol’ Murphy’s Law kicked in again. Over the next three days, JB never crowed once when Brian was around. I swear to you that Brian could walk away for one minute and I’d get four or five loud crows but as soon as B returned, it was back to nothing but peeping (yes, he still peeps when he’s not crowing, strangely enough). It was not until I left for California that Brian finally heard him crow, but at least he’s heard it now and he knows I’m not crazy.
Also worth mentioning is that the chickens remained scared of the crowing until after I left as well. In fact, the first morning after it started, it was quite amusing to watch them try to come out of the coop and into the run. I opened the doors and a couple pooped right out as usual but an instant later, JB crowed from inside the coop. This was so terrifying that the chickens that had run out immediately ran back inside to hide from the scary sound. After few seconds, some brave souls would venture forth again and within a short time, a loud crow sent them, scurrying, back into the coop. I watched this for a bit and realized that they weren’t coming out any time soon so I left them there to work it out on their own. It wasn’t until late afternoon that day that they all managed to relax and come outside like normal… and I honestly think it was because JB stopped crowing for a while, and not because they were no longer scared of it. Until I left, his crow generally made everyone freeze and sent a couple running for the cover of the coop. Brian said that while I was gone, the crowing seemed to still make them temporarily freeze and look around, but it was brief and no one ran to hide.
Today, upon my return, it was freezing cold, windy, and raining and I headed out to the coop assuming that I would visit with them inside. However, when they heard my voice as I approached, they all ran out and excitedly waited at the run door to be let out into the yard to see me. As they were waiting for me to open the door, JB crowed four or five times and it didn’t seem to faze any of them. I personally like to think he was greeting me because he was happy to see me. After the initial greeting, I didn’t hear him crow again all day…. so it was definitely for me :)
Big Boy JB
In five days’ time, they have really grown a ton. Most noticeable is the comb- and wattle-growth on the boys, especially JB, and the beard-growth on the Ameraucanas. To me, the Orpingtons are the most unchanged since I left.
JB is still our biggest boy, and definitely has the biggest comb and wattles and is definitely in charge. However, the pain-in-my-rear-end male that I am starting to want to name “Chicken Soup” is also getting quite big. He is not nearly as pretty as JB, though, and is thoroughly unlikable. He is kinda lanky and awkward and today he came over to me, looked me right in the eye and bit me on the finger – hard. I was not amused. If he keeps it up I may seriously consider eating him rather than rehoming him. I mean, look – if he doesn’t turn out to be beautiful, dominant, protective, or even nice, what use is he in a breeding program anyway? And Marans are supposed to be excellent for eating…
Chicken Soup - head shot.
I am trying to keep in mind that I wasn’t crazy about JB either for a short time but he got through that phase quickly. We’ll give this guy a little more time but for now he is blacklisted.
Scruff continues to be cute and wholly likable. He still has no tail of note and is not as tall or long as the two bigger boys, but it is getting quite thick in the body – probably from eating all those worms! He also has the second-most comb/wattle-growth behind JB. Unless something changes, he is a definite keeper.
Sorry for the bad angle – it was hailing when I went out for pictures and so our session was indoors and I couldn’t get the best angles or lighting.
And last but not least is our chicken-of-unclear-gender-that’s-probably-a-boy-but-I’m holding out-hope-that-it’s-actually-a-girl. He (she?) is always shy, keeps his distance from me, and is generally facing the other way. I don’t know if these are desirable traits for a breeding rooster, but he hasn’t made me want to eat him, so at this point I would say this boy is destined for a life as a breeder with the man from Craigslist.
Moving on to the Ameraucanas…
As you can see in some of the pictures at the beginning of this post, suddenly the Ameraucanas have their beards in full effect. They were starting to look a bit fuzzy under there but while I was gone, they went from baby beards to full-on adult ones!
Lady B shows us her beard
Daisy Mae and her beard
Pippin Chick with what I think is the beginning of a beard
Lovely gray beard on the red Ameraucana
OK, here’s the deal. I made the mistake of telling Brian that he could name one of the chickens. He has decided he wants to name this one (the red Ameraucana), “Pol Pot.” Yes, as in the leader of the Khmer Rouge. Apparently this is clever because rouge=red. Brian also thinks this particular chicken “acts like it’s crazy” so it’s only natural to name it after a crazy communist dictator. Leave it to Brian to make me regret my nice offer. But, a promise is a promise. I guess that’s the name now. :::sigh:::
a lovely side view of another beard
As I already mentioned, it hailed several times today – earlier this morning before I flew back, and then this afternoon after my return. It was pretty crazy, actually – it would blow crazy-hard wind and pouring rain, then the sun would come out in full-force and make giant rainbows then it would hail like crazy and then it would suddenly stop again – that’s how it was all day today, changing every few minutes.
During the hail, I took an opportunity to snap a couple of shots of my new plantings that I did after the last post but before my trip to CA.
Nancy Evans Rhododendron planted in front of the front porch - it will have yellow blooms
check out the size of the hail stones with my Mara Des Bois strawberry plants
Easter Egg II rainbow radish seedlings
Heirloom Cutting Mix lettuce seedlings
Also, my chard and spinch have sprouted. Also before I left, I planted:
- Red Cabeza Cabbage
- Michihili Cabbage
- Offenham Cabbage
- Yellow Onions
- Progress #9 Shelling Peas
- Sugar Snap Peas
The garlic and shallots are strting to sprout as well.
OK, TTFN! Time for Medium :)