web analytics

Okay, can I count them NOW?

Chickens. I has them.

The one on the left — Lucia — is a purebred Mille Fleur pekin bantam pullet. Miss Mapp, on the right, is a buff pekin. They’re about six weeks old — just old enough to come out from under the heat lamp, which we didn’t feel inclined to buy — and the cutest little mothercluckers you ever saw.

They were living temporarily in a large cardboard box in my little workroom, until I heard a fluh-fluh-fluh-fluh-fluh and turned to see Mapp perched on the edge of the box. She flies real good.

So I got busy and put together the chickenhouse (which was surprisingly good quality for a cheap one), though I’m bringing them in at night for a while. They’re still little and it’s still cold. Also, there’s no bottom to the chicken run yet. Meester Fox would have no trouble digging under it and making off with my cheekens.

In two weeks, they go on grownup chicken feed. After that, we can — maybe — expect to see an egg in September or October.

Stoaty Weasel had a farm. Have a good weekend, everyone. Au reservoir!

Comments


Comment from Spad13
Time: May 21, 2010, 9:35 pm

And on her farm she has some chicks e i e i o.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 21, 2010, 9:53 pm

They have feathers on their feet. That there is some lethal cute.


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 21, 2010, 10:14 pm

Awwwww! But I thought flying had been bred out of chickens? Or is it just wing-clipping that keeps them grounded?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 21, 2010, 10:32 pm

Wing clipping. Makes them fly in circles. They aren’t terrific flyers otherwise, but they can go over fences or get up into trees.

The chicken man told us that they’ll actually get worse at flying as they mature and get heavier.


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 21, 2010, 10:39 pm

Makes sense–I mean, we’ve been breeding them for centuries to be meaty. . .and flesh is heavy.

So, will you clip their wings?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 21, 2010, 10:53 pm

We might let the chicken man do it. He’ll do it for free, but it’s a long drive to get there. We saw him demonstrate for us, so I could take a crack at it myself. They’re too young at the moment.

To be honest, though, we’re kinda not at all sure about letting them free range. People were telling us eye-popping tales of foxen.

The chicken man was having a family reunion with, like, fifty guests…and a fox ran into the middle, stole a chicken and ran off again.

Another woman there buying chickens had just lost three to a fox in broad daylight. Her husband was up the other end of the garden.

Our garden is fenced off pretty well, but…predators am clever.


Comment from Elphaba
Time: May 21, 2010, 11:27 pm

There are so many predators, foxes not withstanding. Hawks, coyotes (in the states), dogs, and humans. I’ve been told that a free range chicken is a dead chicken, and I’m now inclined to agree. We used to let ours run free during the day, but after we lost three of them in two days (we suspect the human predator), I said screw it, and they stay in the coop/run. Some evenings I will still let them out for the last 20-30 minutes of daylight so that they can scratch around and eat some grass, but only when I can supervise. Anyway, Stoaty, welcome to the realm of chicken husbandry! :D


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 21, 2010, 11:31 pm

I’m just waiting for Uncle B to come stomping back into the house, grumbling and snarling about the chicken shit he inadvertantly sat in in the garden…….. ;-)

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80565067/


Comment from Joan of Argghh!
Time: May 22, 2010, 2:07 am

They are adorable!

Have you ever read JohnnyB’s Private Secret Diary and his newbie attempt at chicken er. . . stuff?

Fortunately, you don’t have to learn how to subdue an eager cock.

Can’t wait for more stories!


Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 22, 2010, 3:00 am

E. F. Benson? Who named ‘em, you or Uncle B? The ‘au reservoir’ quip was to die for. I suppose you’re not far from Rye, so they should feel close to home.


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: May 22, 2010, 3:23 am

They ARE lethally cute! So, tell us, Stoaty…will they grow up clucking with little British chicken accents or will they pick up the accent of their Stoat mother? Enquiring minds want to know, because my #2 daughter found out yesterday that she’ll be going to the UK for graduate school come September, and I’m wondering if she’ll come back talkin’ like a bloomin’ limey instead of the well-bred American girl she is now.

I’m gambling on the former, as the latter is a complete lie. :)

Anyway, congrats to the Badger/Weasel household on the new additions. I hope they live long and prosper.


Comment from Deborah
Time: May 22, 2010, 4:01 am

How darling they are. I can’t wait for more Chicken News.


Comment from JuliaM
Time: May 22, 2010, 5:01 am

“To be honest, though, we’re kinda not at all sure about letting them free range. People were telling us eye-popping tales of foxen.

The chicken man was having a family reunion with, like, fifty guests…and a fox ran into the middle, stole a chicken and ran off again.”

Wow, I thought it was just urban foxes that were getting bolder (I caught one looking in the french windows just yesterday; gave me a stare that seemed to say ‘Yes? And you are..?’ before trotting off up the garden. Slowly).

Mind you, at least over here in good ol’ Blighty you don’t have to worry about this.


Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 22, 2010, 6:11 am

Jeez, Julia, urban foxes are astoundingly bold. I was yomping up the Leeds Road out of Bradford one November night when a fox popped out of the shrubbery and stared me down, bold as brass. To be specific, it was here. It slunk off into the bushes and we both thought no more of it, until I read a few months later that a town the size of Reading has something like 14,000 urban foxes. They need to be wiped out with roughly the same compunction and zeal as one would treat a cockroach infestation (seriously: a bad fox problem can make your house uninhabitable.)


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 22, 2010, 11:20 am

The railway clear-cut a small patch of woods in town nearby and residents are complaining that confused foxes are wandering up and down the roads. So, a foxy area gone foxier.

We’re both great Benson fans, David. It’s definitely on the ToDo list this Summer to take the guided walk of Rye, where they point out landmarks from the books and the TV series. The worry is, we’ll run out of characters before we’re done building up a flock. I reckon ‘Diva and Quaint Irene are next.

I’m told my accent is getting increasingly stupid, Nina. It was bad enough struggling with a Tennessee/Rhode Island mix. Adding Sussex to that is just plain sad.

Me, I think it’s less about accent than picking up local words and phrases. But, honestly, you HAVE to do that or no one will know what you’re talking about. It’s not an affectation to say “petrol station” if nobody knows what the Sam Hill a “gas station” is.


Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: May 22, 2010, 11:32 am

…and residents are complaining that confused foxes are wandering up and down the roads.

They’re not confused. They’re scoping out the best places to lie in wait when, for whatever reason, the chickens cross the road…

No, and I can’t believe I said it, either.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 22, 2010, 11:47 am

Many years ago, I used to frequent the Chelsea Physic Garden – which is one of the oldest herb gardens in the country and was founded on the, then, outskirts by the London Apothecaries to provide fresh herbs for their patients in the rapidly expanding city. Nowadays it’s in the very heart of that city, right opposite Battersea Park, in fact.

Every evening, though still in daylight, like an eager young pickpocket off for his night shift, a fox used to emerge from the Park, trot right across Battersea Bridge and hop over the wall into the garden.

Scared of nothing and quite at home in the busiest of cities.

I’m already planning my alibi for when Mapp or Lucia accidentally falls into my sammich. ‘That’ll be the fox, Weasel. Vicious buggers, they are!’


Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: May 22, 2010, 2:16 pm

Just make sure none of the feathers have mayo on them…


Comment from armybrat
Time: May 22, 2010, 3:05 pm

mmmmm……fox fur coat. Me wants.


Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 22, 2010, 5:49 pm

Uncle B, I used to live right round there. Battersea Park was my my morning 10K run. Over the Fulham Road, down to the Embankment, over the Albert Bridge, twice round the park and back home. Damn I was fit back then (I had a 29″ waist and abs you could actually see.) Never saw any foxes (with the exception of Mandy Smith who lived in the same street during her Bill Wyman-boffing days.)


Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: May 22, 2010, 6:16 pm

mmmmm……fox fur coat.

Nononononononono, cherie — the fur of M’sieu Reynard must be made into a chapeau.

It’ll open up endless opportunities for “Wear the fox hat” jokes…


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: May 22, 2010, 7:31 pm

It’s not an affectation to say “petrol station” if nobody knows what the Sam Hill a “gas station” is.

She’s been practicing those little Britishisms, Stoaty, and I figure she’ll be there just long enough to pick them all up and we can harass her about it next year when she comes home.

If she comes home. With the luck I’ve had with my other kids going abroad and finding love, she’ll probably stay there. Hmmmpf.

I live fairly close to a rather long greenway that goes from the American River to quite far inland, and it’s not foxes we have to worry about here, it’s coyotes. I hear them howling in the distance–the rather near distance–all the time. Not sure if they would come into the neighborhoods to grab a chicken from a coop, but cats do disappear–two of mine in the last year. But they do roam, and there are a lot of dangers out there in the big bad world.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 22, 2010, 8:54 pm

Aw, Nina…that’s awful!

Just before I left my job in RI, I was walking out of the building behind a woman wearing the most spectacular fur coat I’ve ever seen. I caught up with her and asked what it was. Coyote!

I thought that was a win-win. Beautiful fur coat, and surely nobody much wants to protect urban coyotes. Even hippies have cats.


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: May 22, 2010, 9:11 pm

The very definition of win-win. :)


Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 22, 2010, 10:34 pm

Those are just stinkin’ cute!! And I love the names! I think I’ve read everything of Benson. I always wanted to be Lucia!

We have a special dog run so they can’t get out into the back yard. We have gators, wild pigs, raccoons, armadillo’s and there is talk of some sort of big cat as well. I’ve seen everything in our yard ‘cept the big cat. And we have a herd of deer that live a block away as well. AND there is a whole zoo only two miles away!!

Would love some chickens, what color eggs do they lay? DD had chickens in pre-school and they laid colored eggs.


Comment from porknbean
Time: May 22, 2010, 11:00 pm

Oh my, what adorable birds. Looked at the link to the buff pekin. LOVE THEIR PANTS!!!

So, um, do you have them as pets?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 22, 2010, 11:03 pm

Arucaunas, AKA Easter Egg Chickens. That’s what our flock was when I was a kid. Most of the ‘arucaunas’ aren’t really that breed, they’re just chickens which lay blue and green eggs.

Gosh, I have no idea what color eggs these girls will lay.

Mrs C, if you’re a Benson fan, you MUST do Rye! Though I couldn’t point out the correct houses (except ‘Mallards’ which is Lamb House). Not until I’ve done the tour myself, that is.

I can identify some of the shots they used in the ’80s TV series. We bought the whole thing on DVD and then took a stroll down Watchbell Street.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 22, 2010, 11:06 pm

We’re hoping for eggs, PnB, but Pekins aren’t great layers. So…yeah, mostly pets. These two are a bit of an experiment, just to see how much of a pain in the ass it is to keep chickens.


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 23, 2010, 12:44 am

I thought that was a win-win. Beautiful fur coat, and surely nobody much wants to protect urban coyotes.

Yes–and because it doesn’t have that elitist cachet, noone is farm-raising them under intolerably ugly conditions. Of course, if the pelts became so popular that they were hunted into near extinction, I’d probably get up in arms, but that does seem unlikely with coyotes. Nice!


Comment from armybrat
Time: May 23, 2010, 1:49 am

wease! I HAVE a coyote fur coat! I used to live in Kansas and we had quite the coyote pack. My brother in law has a fur harvester license and trapped all the coyote pelts used in my coat on my acerage. A beautiful fur…spectacular color, but heavy.


Comment from steve
Time: May 23, 2010, 2:07 am

1 “Weasel in the hen house!” has a particular meaning…and while the pretense of being after only the eggs might be somewhat preferred, when discussing such things in polite society….the fact remains….Weasel in the hen house!….and I see chicken salad sammiches in the Badger House future…

2. To Elphaba: We had a clutch of “free range chickens” in our neighborhood about a year ago…the dimwits had a fairly rough time staying out of the road…..They were, one and all, rendered “skimming chickens”, in fairly short order.


Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 23, 2010, 3:12 am

Skimming chickens, steve? Is that like sailcats?

What’s the biggest thing anyone’s ever seen dead at the side of a road? I straight up, no kidding, saw a horse slap bang in the central reservation of the highway to Santa Ana here in Costa Rica. It was there for three days before anyone got round to moving it. Must’ve been pretty ripe by then.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 23, 2010, 10:47 am

Hm. Biggest dead thing, biggest dead thing. Deer, probably.

Reminds me of the time my brother came back from a camping trip, all excited because he’d seen “the biggest dead thing he’d ever seen before!” That may or may not have been the same camping trip he came back from all excited because he’d “B D’emed in the woods!”

My big brother’s a little…special. I have always braced myself for the day the news reports “a huge cache of women’s panties and left arm bones were discovered in a basement in Tennessee this week…”


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 23, 2010, 10:49 am

We’re not going to win any big dead animal awards in the UK, as you know, DG. Still, we have seen an uncommon number of dead weasels in the road, this year. Badgers, sad to say, are a given, as are foxen.


Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: May 23, 2010, 11:03 am

What’s the biggest thing anyone’s ever seen dead at the side of a road?

A water buffalo.

And it was dead *before* I got there.


Comment from Pablo
Time: May 23, 2010, 1:14 pm

Mmmmm, chikins!


Comment from Oh Hell
Time: May 23, 2010, 4:14 pm

Saw what was left of a deer that had been hit by a semi, not much left but lots of blood, yuck. And someone hit a full grown Angus bull on the highway a few years back. Not good for all parties involved.
You could build a little A-frame chicken coop that can be moved by two people. That way the chicken girls can “free range” and still be protected. Good luck – foxes are bold and smart. We see them right in town begging at the fast food places.


Comment from Allen
Time: May 23, 2010, 7:41 pm

“What’s the biggest thing anyone’s ever seen dead at the side of a road?”

A Ford.

Actually an elk.


Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: May 23, 2010, 10:43 pm

Saw a dead horse in the ditch in our neighborhood once.

Is it true that foxes stink?

Coyotes are a major pest around here (you can’t have pets outside because of them), but we’re not supposed to shoot them. WTF?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 23, 2010, 10:53 pm

Small roadkill, but disturbing. I was walking along a busy road not long ago, and there was a crow limping along in the gutter. Poor thing had obviously been lightly injured. So St Francis of Retard here thought she’d pick him up and take him home.

Spooked him right into the path of a huge truck.

Exploded in a cloud of guts and feathers, right at my eye level. Totally my fault. God, I felt like a shitbag.


Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: May 24, 2010, 12:24 am

Biggest dead thing…. had to be the casket and dead body hanging out of it that were sitting on the center divider of the 405 going south near LAX.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 24, 2010, 12:50 am

Now that, Mrs Compton, surely takes the prize for groo – if not for size!


Comment from Randy Rager
Time: May 24, 2010, 1:20 am

My littlest sister was asked in kindergarten what she was naming the chick she’d been given as part of a class project.

“Fried Chicken!”, she replied, with a big toothy grin.

Yeah, you can take the girl off the farm…


Comment from Allen
Time: May 24, 2010, 1:37 am

Oooo, 4H jokes. A girl had a pig she raised for 4H at the fair.

The pig’s name: Will B. Eaton.


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: May 24, 2010, 5:23 am

Willie B. Lunch?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 24, 2010, 10:34 am

I had a pig to take care of when I were a lass. Name? Wordsworth. He was a boar.

Actually, by the time that sucker was ready to go to market, I was more than happy to drive him onto the truck myself. My cute little piglet morphed into an ugly mean bastard.


Comment from Ric Locke
Time: May 24, 2010, 1:06 pm

Stoaty, this is a principle you might keep in mind.

Baby anything is cute and adorable. Unfortunately, babies grow up.

Regards,
Ric


Comment from JuliaM
Time: May 24, 2010, 3:02 pm

Mrs Peel: “Is it true that foxes stink?”

You can certainly always tell when they’ve visited the garden. They have a pungent musky odour, not unlike burning rubber.


Comment from Elphaba
Time: May 24, 2010, 8:18 pm

The biggest thing I’ve ever seen dead on the side of the road? Just last month, it was a bear. No shit. In the ‘burbs NE of Atlanta.


Comment from nbpundit
Time: May 26, 2010, 2:16 am

Two? Only two? Ours free range, of course they’ve got body guards of which one is a pyranees. We’ve got about 29 hens,
11 run around baby chicks, and 4 roosters.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7-IsWcEhLZc/S_bKaOPAy1I/AAAAAAAAFWs/jDSN5Owykpo/s320/100_3876.JPG

Our buff brahma and her 7 chicks.

That’s not counting the chicks and drake duck babies we’ve got in an outside pen.


Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 26, 2010, 8:16 pm

Nina from GCP:

Not sure if they would come into the neighborhoods to grab a chicken from a coop, but cats do disappear–

According to the DNR here, we don’t have coyotes here, no matter what the heck this raised out west where the buffalo and coyotes roam yokel who knows the difference between a fox and a coyote thinks that was trotting up the middle of the neighborhood lane early one morning and disappearing into a bamboo thicket. (Okay, so I’d never seen one do that before.)

BDT: Roosevelt elk. Not as big as a moose, but close.

S. Weasel:

I felt like a shitbag.

A few weeks back, right after my feline companion of the last 18 years up and died, I found a juvenile field mouse in the house who had trapped himself in a bucket in the closet. Whatever misguided impulse I had caused me to dribble a little water and toss some crumbs in the bucket, which I then laid on its side out on the back porch.

Remembered where the bucket was the next day, and while retrieving it took a quick look about to see if the mouse managed to make it off the apparently empty porch.

Well, he din’t. Turned around to go in the house and damn if I din’t step right on him and squush him to death. Drat.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)


Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.


<< carry me back to ol' virginny