Our Christmas leftovers have caused our chicks to explode in size. They are looking like little chickens now. And I am sure this part is no big surprise to you all…they are still acting crazy.
They started molting, which is not a pretty site. I asked my husband what the deal was with those chicks; maybe they need a chicken doctor because they are looking a little rough. I can always make my husband laugh with my view of things. He just reminds me that all chickens go through molting.
Okay, so they are going through their own awkward adolescent stage now and molting is just their acne. Poor little things, so glad I never set up that mirror. “It’s okay, it’s a stage, you will outgrow it, we all do” the little blond one always tilts her head when I speak to her; I am starting to think she really might understand me.
So here is the crazy part, they still act like we are coming out to kill them every time we open the back door to feed them, running and squawking in every direction, it is kind of funny and sad all at once.
Every week that goes by does seem to get a little better. They aren’t acting as afraid but still a little spooked and their molting is going away. In fact some of them seem to be getting over that part faster then others.
I think my son’s cat Sammy must have said something to them when they were tiny little babies.
Sammy is another one of our rescued cats. He’s a ginger cat and he is ornery and whiny but my son loves him, they have a bond together. I am sure Sammy said something in his own special animal language to freak those chicks out…I could only imagine what it was.
Once we are out that back door bringing food to those chicks they start running around and as far away from us as possible.
But as soon as that food hits the ground they fly, hop, run and can’t wait to jump into the food gobbling it up like they are starving.
If you have read some of my other chicken update posts, you know they aren’t starving. They are always eating…they lie.
Sometimes they don’t even get out of the way when we scrape our left over food onto the ground and they get pretty messy in the process. It is not unusual to see not only mud on their beaks from eating worms in the compost pile but pasta sauce on their feathers and beans on their heads.
One day I told my husband those chickens needed baths. He said you don’t bathe chickens just let them be. “ But they’re dirty, I mean really dirty”, “ how did that one get pasta on its face and wings?” I said while pointing to the little brown chick. He just reminded me to let them be, “ no one gives chickens baths ”.
The little brown chick started tilting her head up at me like she might like to try one of the these things called a bath, probably wondering what a bath taste like “Look, I know chickens get baths, what about at the state fair, all those beautiful blue ribbon chicken winners?”
My husband started doing that head shaking thing of his and said “ These are egg layers not show chickens” I looked down at the little brown chick shrugged my shoulders “ Sorry, guess no bath for you”. The little chick gave me one more head tilt then ran off looking for some more food scraps…maybe they do understand.
The next day when we went out to feed them they were all clean. I still don’t know how that happened; they must be very gently picking food off of each other with their beaks because these chickens looked like they gave themselves baths.
All you chicken experts out there please no judging, don’t laugh at my bird ignorance. This is my daughter’s project, which looks like my husband has kind of taken over. I will leave the bird knowledge up to them; I have other projects to work on.
We are growing barley for them and it is coming in nicely. There is also a little trick to get bugs by laying wood over wet dirt them waiting a few days and turning it over for your chicks to eat all the little bugs under the wood. My husband loves doing chicken research and these are all things he has learned over the net.
Now my husband wants to get meat chickens. Even though we have been married for many years there are still stories from my childhood he doesn’t know about. Like the time I had rabbits. My dad was going to use them for meat like he had when he was a boy. I on the other hand had other ideas for those bunnies. I would go out every day to cuddle with the babies after school, feeding them and sharing carrots with them. Yes, I really mean sharing carrots with them, one bite for you, one bite for me. Kids are walking hot zones.
I tried to convince my meat eating family when I was a little girl that carrots were great, those bunnies know what taste good, and we should all eat carrots with them. But still every night, meat would show up, not those bunnies yet but still meat. I would chew around the meat then when no one was looking spit it out and try to hide it under some other food on my plate…it was not pretty. I think this is where that creative part started in me, my dinner plates started turning into little works of art hiding all those little bits of chewed up meat. And if that didn’t work our pet dogs were always around, they loved me at dinnertime.
Finally my dad accepted that he just did not have the heart butchering those bunnies. He ended up selling them all off one day. In fact, we never ate rabbit stew again. I figured after seeing me sharing carrots with those rabbits and loving them and talking to them, my dad would never look at a rabbit the same way again.
I am such a sucker when it comes to our food when I see it walking around tilting their heads and acting like they really understand. I am not a vegetarian; occasionally I will have a cheeseburger, like once every 2-3 months. Those are not cheeseburgers I have had conversations with though.
When I found out my husband had ordered meat chickens I told him that’s really going to mess up the five laying hens we have, they already act like we are going to eat them. When they see those meat chicks then they will know we eat their kind.
Now when we open that back door they would not only start running around like we were coming to get them, they will probably start sucking in their little chicken bellies hoping we pass them up because they are much smaller than those other chicks.
My husband did bring up a good point, who knows what they are putting in our meat now days, it is better to raise your own, but I still can’t see those chickens everyday knowing they are going to be food.
Half of my family likes meat, so there is that. I do worry about the food on our shelves, but I won’t go into that because this will turn into a crazy long post. We are making some changes and trying to grow some veggies, have fresh eggs and maybe fresh meat.
There are also some flies coming, black solder flies (blacksoldierflyblog.com). My husband waited until after he placed the order to tell me. He is very excited about these flies; apparently they take out other flies and are great for your compost. It all sounds like a horrible science experiment to me.
Bees might be on the way as well. My mother-in-law called my husband the other day saying she had a hive in her back yard and needed someone to get them out. So we might get some honey as well. This isn’t the first time we have had wild bees, their honey is so yummy. We still have some from our last batch.
Looks like those chickens are going to have a lot of company soon. No names yet and they are big enough to name now.
If you are raising meat chickens DO NOT NAME THEM, in fact don’t even give them eye contact, don’t have long one sided conversations with them, don’t think about hiding them in your in-laws empty bedroom (long story about my trip to Italy and my daydreams of rescuing chickens at my husband’s Nonna’s house) just don’t get attached.
Best advice is to eat beans and rice with some fresh salsa. Until next time, our chicken adventures continue.
Whoops almost forgot, the good, bad and ugly:
The good- They are finally getting bigger, they look like little chickens now and they are just about finished with their molting. Some are completely finished. I can’t believe how big they got. I still remember them being so tiny.
The bad- They still act a little scared of us, although everyday they are getting better with that. I am not used to animals running from me. I have always loved them so much and usually got into a lot of trouble as a child because I was always collecting critters. Like the time I let a wild jack rabbit into our home and it made a mess because it was sick (I was 5). Or the sparrow I saved after a really bad Monsoon blew through the city. That little bird got so attached to me that it would fly around and attack anyone that got close to me. My big Swedish uncle had a hard time getting attacked by a tiny little sparrow.
So I hope these chickens start warming up some, at least with me…come on, I won’t eat them.
The ugly- they are dirty little creatures, I still think they could use a nice long bath.
Info. On some of the photos- I’m not a wildlife photographer so there are usually a lot of butt shots when I do run across wildlife. Our chickens are wild to me, running around never keeping still. Those little boogers are hard to photograph. The bunny photo was from an outdoor art festival in Scottsdale Arizona my family and I went to once. That little Arizona cottontail was just as calm as could be eating grass while hundreds of people were out walking by it. The old photo of my little Sparrow named Baby with my Barbie doll was taken with my first camera I got at the age of ten. It was a 110 camera. It was not the camera to use for close ups and I do love my tiny details. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I would get a professional camera and just like that 110 I took that camera everywhere with me. I know I drove my family crazy with all those photographs I took over the years. Baby my sparrow didn’t seem to mind. When she got older after I exercised her wings to show her how to fly I released her. At night sometimes when I went outside and called her name she would fly down and come inside to her little cage, which I always kept open for her. I never locked her in a cage. Birds need to be free. I always let her decide whether she wanted back inside to snuggle with me.