web analytics

What is going through his tiny pea brain?

Sam, my #2 cockerel. I’ve told the story before. He used to be my #1 cockerel. One day, my #2 cockerel had enough of Sam and beat the snot out of him, henceforth #1. I didn’t realize it until chicken bedtime and I had to coax a muddy, bloody Sam out of the hedge.

When I get home from work and let the pekins out, Mo swaggers up to the girls and Sam runs round the back of the house as fast as his feathery feet will take him. There, he perches on the back of a chair and stares at me.

He’s looking right over my left shoulder as I sit in my comfy chair and shitpost on my laptop. He’s there for hours.

I would love to think he’s having weird, small, chickeny thoughts about the room, but it’s probably more about the oats we throw out the back door from time to time. Roosters are all about freedom, food and sex (in season). Not so much interspecies curiosity.

Good weekend, all!

January 27, 2023 — 7:05 pm
Comments: 6

It’s a chickenspiracy!

Okay, here’s one of the stranger conspiracy theories on offer. The woman in the video at the beginning of this thread says she’s been keeping chickens for thirty years and her chickens have never completely stopped laying in Winter. But this year, she didn’t get a single egg after October.

Until she switched from commercial chicken food to a mixture of corn, sunflower seeds and commercial goat food. Now they’re laying again.

But that’s backed up by tweet after tweet down-thread and some reposted Facebook threads saying the same thing. Lots of backyard chicken keepers say their hens stopped laying in September/October this year while eating commercial layers pellets. Not enough protein, some speculate.

A few years ago, one of our neighbors gave up keeping a few pigs for market. The government had mandated that commercial pigs be raised on commercial pig food. No more kitchen scraps. That was a red flag for me at the time, because it meant the government effectively controlled the price of pork.

It didn’t occur to me it also gave them an avenue to put something in the feed and hence the food supply. You know, tell the manufacturers that thus an such a chemical was a required de-wormer. Like something to make pork taste less awesome, or statins or a vaccine or an anti-fertility drug.

Okay, okay…I’m getting carried away. But who puts anything past the bastards now?

My chickens? My fancy little hens never lay from October to March, though they did stop earlier then usual this year. I’d be surprised if the conspiracy hopped the pond and contaminated a good old British brand like Marriages.

January 23, 2023 — 8:14 pm
Comments: 9

Monsters among us

Somebody left these two adorable porkballs tied to a lamp post on a rural road last week. It’s been damned cold here and they’re just little’uns. Rescuers think they’re micropigs.

The weird thing about that is, micropigs can go for a fair bit of money – depending on how micro they are. These guys look highly adoptable. People are strange.

Did I ever tell you about my pig? It was my job to take care of him. I think I was about 15. He was adorable when he was little, but but he grew up into a serious asshole. He was always getting loose and running away. I had to chase him down, and when I caught him he usually bit me.

Pigs have a nasty bite on ’em.

I think the experience was supposed to teach me a hard lesson about keeping livestock, but when the time came for his last ride, I couldn’t wait to shove his chompy ass up in that truck. Bye, bacon!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

January 20, 2023 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 6

Pope Kitteh

I did not realize until Sissy Willis linked to this old post on her blog that the pope emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI, was a famous lover of cats. And it was mutual.

“Every time he met a cat, he would talk to it, sometimes for a long time. The cat would follow him. Once about 10 cats followed him into the Vatican, and one of the Swiss Guards intervened, saying ‘Look, your eminence, the cats are invading the Holy See.'”

Huh. An image search of “Ratzinger cat” turns up lots of images, bless ‘im. Anyway, looks like poor old Ratz isn’t well.

Perhaps Lady Bast will have him.

December 28, 2022 — 6:43 pm
Comments: 4

That was boring. Here’s a picture of a stoat

I thought I’d stumbled over an interesting story today, but I traced it to the end and it was kind of boring. I’m going to tell it to you anyway.

We’ve been desperate for stuff to watch on TV over the holidays. The BBC has been dire. I haven’t watched any of the popular Netflix serieses (we have – ahem – access). I thought I’d check the reviews on Stranger Things (unrelated: have you watched it? Is it good? No spoilers, pls).

In the Wikipedia article, there was this curious statement: “Netflix did not initially reveal subscriber viewership numbers for their original series, and Symphony Technology Group compiled data for the season based on people using software on their phones that measures television viewing by detecting a program’s sound.”

Wait, what? Phones listening in on what people are watching? Symphony Technology Group is just an investment firm, why wouldn’t they name the actual app, unless it was some other sort of app that covertly snooped on people? Something interesting afoot!

Nope, not very. It was a real app with the sole purpose of tracking your TV habits and people signed up for it on purpose. In 2015, Symphony Advanced Media built an app called VideoPulse. They paid people $5 to $11 a month to let this thing listen in all the time (but not conversations, pinkie-swear).

I guess Nielsen doesn’t track streaming services effectively, and certainly not YouTube. It was a big gap in the data for people who rely on viewership figures. They got at least 15,000 to sign up.

VideoPulse learned some interesting stuff – like millenials aren’t really watching less TV as everyone thought, they’re just watching more YouTubes. Nobody was sure how good their numbers were, though, and they didn’t make money on it, so they dissolved in 2017.

On the other hand, if you follow @STOATBOT on Twitter, you get an adorable stoat in your feed every three hours.

December 27, 2022 — 7:38 pm
Comments: 10

Adventures in Ebay

Always on the lookout for a nice statue of Bast, I was trawling Ebay and…yikes! What is this? Here it is in full color.

Is that supposed to be a dead cat? It’s not. It’s, like, squirrel colored. And it looks like its front legs are missing. And the tips of its ears. Is it a taxidermy? Is it supposed to be a mummy? Did he wrestle this desert squirrel for the little Bast statue?

Here’s a video where he seems to be pretending to find it in the sand next to the unfortunate beast. He’s wearing dish gloves.

Here’s the description:

You Are Bidding on Rare Antique Ancient Egyptian Statue God Cat Bastet since God Bastet Was Strongest God for protection for person also protection for his familey , home land since they worshipped God Cat to protect them while down you can see Goddess Isis Standing as women while goddess Isis was goddess of Good Health cure medicine while over her their is Winged Scarab which was Symbol of Good Luck Happy Life Wealth since these is very Rare Statue For God Cat ( Goddess Bastet) shown as cat which was made for king to worship her since they Have mAde Such Statue for God Cat to protect king also to protect his familey , castle also land of egypt since they saw cat was always protecting homes from mice Rats snakes scropions so they too her as goddess of Protection while you can find down goddess Isis shown as women as they put her to bring for king hood health cure medecine while up their is scarab which was used to bring good luck happy life wealth such statue was made during king life he wirshipped it also was taken to Grave After Death.

I think we’ll take our chances with scropions.

December 15, 2022 — 7:53 pm
Comments: 5

Transchickenism

I got an email from a friend tonight. She’s got four new hens, all laying nicely – but one of them is now transitioning into a cockerel. It’s the latest thing.

You’ve probably heard of this phenomenon before and almost as surely heard it poopooed as an old wives tale. I got curious one day and chased it down and it’s (kind of) real.

Right. In hens, only the ovary on the left is normally functional. The one on the right is a sort of generic gonad that typically doesn’t develop. Nature is weird. If something happens to that left ovary – let’s say a cyst – the one on the right might wake up.

And it wakes up mad. It becomes a frankengonad – or, to use the real word, an ovotestis. As you deduce from the name, it’s a maybe ovary, maybe testicle. It doesn’t know. It doesn’t matter. It secretes all kinds of puzzling hormones and that’s that.

So the hen may develop male characteristics – big comb and wattles. Saddle feathers. A cock-a-doodle-doo – but not an actual cock. The changes are all purely cosmetic and my friend has almost certainly lost this hen as a layer.

Links for the curious here and here.

The picture, however, is my proper fine boy Mo. He’s got allllll the secondary sexual characteristics and the ladies love him.

December 8, 2022 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 6

Say, what’s your battleship doing in my back yard?

Okay, it’s anchored off Hampshire, the county next door, but it’s near enough. People are gathering on shore to gawp at it. The USS Gerald R. Ford. Wikipedia says it’s the largest warship ever built in terms of displacement, which I guess means there might be a different shaped boat that comes close.

It’s too big to anchor in Portsmouth, so it’s just hanging out there looking…big for a couple of days.

Ooo…Gerald Ford was a hottie back in the day. Who would’ve guessed?

Unrelated: today I learned bears don’t have collarbones and can squeeze themselves through tiny opening. Okay, not entirely true – they have free-floating collarbones, but they can sure squeeze themselves through tiny openings like big rats.

Here is a 500 pound bear squeezing hisself through a 14″ by 14″ crawlspace window.

November 15, 2022 — 7:00 pm
Comments: 10

New fren

This girl was waiting for me at work today. Never seen her before. She was skinny, but I think she’s old. She seemed intrigued by her surroundings, so I have a suspicion she’s someone’s inside cat that managed to get loose. I kept checking for her through the day, but she didn’t come back.

I hope she’s safe and warm someplace – the weather is wild again today.

You, though – you need to get out and VOTE! VOTE LIKE THE WIND!

I understand machinery is on the blink in key cities and the news media has been calling it “totally normal” for the vote count to take days. How ever will we ever clean up the hot spots?

November 8, 2022 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 13

My poultry empire groweth

I fully intended to downsize my flock, but the boys have all hung on tenaciously and there’s one poor rooster whose housing is simply unacceptable. It was okay in Summer when he could swan around a sunny garden all day, but completely inadequate for the long dark nights and biblical levels of rain we’re having.

This is the cheap little house I bought and it’s just right for one adult bantam. It’s due here tomorrow. I suppose I can always use it as a hospital pen or a way of introducing baby chicks to the flock.

No more roosters, ever again. Sadly. I’ve enjoyed my boys, but they are a helluva lot of extra effort.

I reckon this will just fit between my first house and my second, making a sort of chickenhouse city skyline. Though I’m mighty tempted to put wheels on one end and roll it around the garden. (Some of the really expensive ones do that).


Oh! I forgot Jerry Lee Lewis died last week and I promised you a Dead Pool this week. Okay, okay…queueing one up now…DEAD POOL TODAY.

November 3, 2022 — 7:04 pm
Comments: 9