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Have you ever heard a chicken sigh?

Oof. Sorry. Got all jammed up today. So please enjoy this snapshot of my chickens.

It’s been raining for weeks here. Raining and windy. We’ve had floods and villages cut off and everything.

Rain means chickens don’t come out. “Mad as a wet hen” is a real thing. I tiptoe out in my silly rain hat, open the chicken house…and there they are, glowering back like the Four Chickens of the Apocalypse.

But today, it was sunny! And, oh – the time they had. They went places they aren’t supposed to go and ate things they aren’t supposed to eat (styrofoam, poisonous rhubarb leaves and bits of coal, mostly). It was chicken heaven.

It’s back to chicken apocalypse tomorrow.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 2, 2013, 12:35 am

It was I who threw open the cage door this New Year’s Day and unleashed the vultures.

I swear, in the warm sunlight (Badger’s first daffodils just opening beneath the bathroom window) I heard Julie Andrews start up with “the hills are alive….’

Don’t ever let anyone tell you a chicken can’t smile.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: January 2, 2013, 12:55 am

Oh, and what beautiful fluffy beasties they are! Happy New Years Badgerses and chickens!

Comment from Redd
Time: January 2, 2013, 1:00 am

Do they usually stay close to each other when they are out strutting their stuff?

Comment from beasn
Time: January 2, 2013, 1:05 am

^^ I’m anomynous ^^

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 1:24 am

It’s fascinating to watch, Redd. Yes, they all poddle around together, usually. And then they break into groups of two: the two old girls, the two new girls. And sometimes, Lucia and Violet will peck around together. And sometimes, you’ll get a loner chicken — almost always Mapp or Vita.

Vita, the beautiful, picked-upon chicken, sometimes slips off by herself. You’ll come around the corner and find her all alone in a dirt wallow, blissed out in the sunshine.

Comment from PatAZ
Time: January 2, 2013, 2:04 am

They are looking quite lovely in the sunshine.

Comment from Joan of Argghh!
Time: January 2, 2013, 2:24 am

Please oh please do an illustration of the four chickens of the Apocalypse!!

Comment from Oceania
Time: January 2, 2013, 2:57 am

Pu is being condensed from the Corium at Fukushima. There is a chance of a Pu condensed criticality which could result in a significant release of energy.
Enough fast fissioning of U238 would produce a multi-megatonne yield.

Comment from Oceania
Time: January 2, 2013, 2:58 am


Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 2, 2013, 5:04 am

“and there they are, glowering back like the Four Chickens of the Apocalypse.”

[struck dumb, eyes wide open]

Comment from Oceania
Time: January 2, 2013, 6:14 am

Plutonium Chickens …. brought up on the fresh air of Windscale …

Comment from Davem123
Time: January 2, 2013, 6:20 am

They do look happy. I’ll second the request for an illustration of the “Four Chickens of the Apocalypse.” Fryers of the Fall? Layers of the Last Days? Pullets of the End Times? Help me out here.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: January 2, 2013, 6:23 am

You’ve probably covered this a million times, but…what breeds are they?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 9:16 am

They’re all Pekin Bantams of one kind or another, Paula. I think there’s a nomenclature difference between the UK and the US on that. They might be called Cochins in the US. Anyway, about half size, with completely feathered feet. Supposedly all descended from birds given to Queen Victoria by the emperor of China.

Specifically, in order of appearance above, they are lavender, partridge, buff and mille fleur.

Comment from Oceania
Time: January 2, 2013, 9:17 am

Has Sweasel seen this?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 9:18 am

Chickens of the apocalypse, hm? And what scourges would those four peckerheads represent?

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: January 2, 2013, 10:44 am

You sent me to the dictionary for “mille fleur,” but that’s just fancy talk for “speckled.” I could only see the leg feathers on the buff girl, so I thought that their different colors meant they were different breeds. However, mypetchicken.com (really) says no: cochins come in all kinds of colors and are said to be peaceful, friendly, easy to handle, and Asian. Also they have “fantastic mothering qualities” and are “known the world over for being big, friendly balls of fluff and feathers.” Do you find those descriptions accurate in the case of your flock? I don’t recall you ever describing them as good moms or friendly balls of any sort. But then, I haven’t been checking in here for very long.

Comment from Oceania
Time: January 2, 2013, 10:47 am

Hmmm Brown Shaver Chicks anyone?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 12:57 pm

You’ll be relieved to know that Brown Shaver Chicks are, in fact, poultry.

Googling, so you don’t have to.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 1:05 pm

Yep, that’s my girls, Paula.

The “fantastic mothering qualities” are actually a problem. It means they go broody at the drop of a hat. Bantams are famous for it. Every dang Summer, the buff one stops laying and sits on the nest like a big, fat idiot waiting to hatch sawdust. I bet that chicken hasn’t laid two dozen eggs in her lifetime. In a realistic chicken-keeping establishment, she’d be for the pot. In truth, she’s kind of my favorite.

They have enormous personalities and totally out-sized senses of self. When either of us goes into the garden, they come running up, breathlessly excited. Like puppies. Huge ego boost, that.

Two of them just spotted me looking out the window (checking on them) and came zooming over to say hello.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 1:16 pm

Here they are in glorious color. This is what happens when I leave the back door open.

Comment from RimrockR
Time: January 2, 2013, 1:41 pm

Ms. Weasel – I am a chicken lady too, so here is my take on the four chickens of the aplx. Their names be: Moulty, Peckish, the Anti-Landscaper(destroyer of shrubbery) and the pale chicken(with red eyes) Squawky.

BTW I just inherited a couple Cochin chickens from a neighbor who was divesting themselves- they are super cool. We call them Sumo 1 and Sumo 2. They tower over our existing girls. The most gentle amazons they are.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 1:59 pm

Ha! All four of those things best describe Violet (the off-white one. Technically a lavender, but c’mon — does that look lavender to you?).

Chicken politics is fascinating to watch. Lucia pecks Mapp, Mapp pecks Violet, everyone pecks Vita and Vita chases sparrows.

And cats. The cats are terrified of Vita. She can puff herself up to turkey size in her threat posture.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: January 2, 2013, 2:47 pm

Now I want some. (They’ll go really well with the Siamese and Orientals, no doubt.) Love the color photo: it’s too cool that they crowd into the house and come running over hang with you like that. Never in a million years would I have guessed that chickens–hell, birds of any kind, short of parrots–could be so personable and attached. If we ever get the country place built, cochins will definitely be part of the establishment.

Comment from Nina
Time: January 2, 2013, 3:08 pm

It’s been sunny and warmish (around zero C) here the last few days here too, but I don’t care because I got my white Christmas and that’s all I care about, really.

I head for home tomorrow, with a lovely overnight 14 layover in Newark. If there is something more enjoyable than spending a night in a New Jersey airport, I don’t know what it is.

Cute chickens, Stoaty! Please post 14 hours worth of cute chicken photos to keep me company tomorrow night in Newark.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 4:01 pm

Well, if you do, Paula, watch the cats when the chooks are little. They look tasty and irresistible as chicks. When they’re all grown up, cats discover that chickens have something hard and pointy on their faces.

I don’t have the bandwidth for Chicken Cam, Nina, but here’s thirty seconds of baby Mapp and Lucia and Mapp and Lucia wandering around pecking stuff for a minute and a half and another minute and a half of the whole flock invading my kitchen. You could just loop it for 14 hours.

Comment from Redd
Time: January 2, 2013, 4:03 pm

I’m proposing a CHICKEN CHALLENGE!!1!!!1!!
Medium of your choice: smelly oils or beautiful watercolor or cowardly pencil/ink — No CGI.
Heads or full portraits.
Amateurs vs. professionals (meaning you had a post grade school art class).

Comment from Redd
Time: January 2, 2013, 4:06 pm

I thought they looked pretty big until your finger came in view. lol

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 4:12 pm

Ew. About that last clip – I did ultimately take care of that nasty bolus of chicken shit Lucia’s carrying around by waiting for her to fall asleep and snipping the feathers away.

I wouldn’t dare do it in daylight. She’s head chicken. She scares everybody.

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: January 2, 2013, 4:21 pm

I love the chicken talk, pictures, anything. I stalk chicken pages on Facebook. I want one so bad!!! More chicken, all the time!!!

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: January 2, 2013, 5:20 pm

Starting today, I need a liscense to do the job I’ve been doing for the past thirty years.

Creeping tyranny.

Your chickens alway cheer me up.

Comment from mojo
Time: January 2, 2013, 5:25 pm

Chickens: a good contender for stupidest animal on the planet. The winner, of course, is the domestic Turkey, which has been known to drown whilst staring up at a rain storm.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 7:38 pm

Mojo, my chickens would totally kick your ass for that. Anyway, all the sheep farmers I know nominate sheep for that honor. One tells me he’s sure his sheep wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night dreaming of new ways to die.

Comment from Redd
Time: January 2, 2013, 8:20 pm

Kick? Come on…their legs are too little. Maybe, peck his ass?

Prepare for the ass pecking of your life, Mojo!

Comment from mojo
Time: January 2, 2013, 9:23 pm

Gonna need a taller chicken…

Comment from mojo
Time: January 2, 2013, 9:28 pm

I would just point out, for the Gallus Gallus fans in the house, that the WILD Turkey is a pretty cagey beast. So, what conclusion can we draw?

Nobody likes smart food.

Comment from Kat
Time: January 2, 2013, 9:45 pm

Hagh, your chicks and mine need to have a talk. My just go out in the rain anyway, and wander around looking wet and pathetic. 😛

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 2, 2013, 10:14 pm

I think it’s the feathery feet, Kat. They’re miserable and dejected when their little feathery feet get wet.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: January 2, 2013, 10:22 pm


Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: January 2, 2013, 10:49 pm

Agree with Mrs. Compton: chicken posts good. How would you render that little noise they make, anyway? “Erp”? “Ert”? My cats each have different words, but I can spell those: oot, woot, out, ow, erf…

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: January 2, 2013, 11:53 pm

Well, it looks like we are on Dick Watch… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255939/Hugo-Chavez-kept-alive-life-support-cancer-surgery.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: January 3, 2013, 10:36 pm

Dick watch? Err, that conjurs up some peculiar pictures in my mind…..I think they should stay there, too.

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