Not my picture. I stole it from this thread at backyardchickens.com. I don’t have a picture of one of my chooks doing this, but it’s a classic example of a hen’s Hey Sailor! position — the crouch or squat.
Squat down, stick your elbows out and wait for a big surprise. They present like this to the rooster, but they will happily present like this to people, too. Mapp is the most enthusiastic squatter in my flock, though she always has a look on her face like, “well, go on — let’s get this over with!”
It’s the best when someone says, “aw, that’s so cute — your chicken came right up to me and wanted petting!” And I’m, like, “nnnnno that’s not what she wanted.” It’s at that exact moment they remember when they stroked the bird, she flipped her tail to one side, almost like she was moving it out of the way or something.
This week in my Chickenology course — chicken sex! Or, if you prefer, “Reproduction, courtship, mating and nesting.” But, you know, chicken sex.
Today I learned that the alpha hen mates less often than her subordinates. That’s because the crouch is a submissive posture, and alpha don’t bow to no chicken.
Anyway, not really going anywhere with this, I just thought it was interesting. I also note my lowest hen in the pecking order never crouches. That would make sense, from an evolutionary standpoint. You wouldn’t want chicks from the pariah hen (yes, that there’s the actual chicken science lingo for bottom girl. Poor Vita). But you would think evolution would especially favor having more chicks from the alpha lady.
p.s. Oh, did you see this? 87-year-old double bassist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra collapses and dies in the middle of There’s No Business Like Show Business. Ba-dum-tssss.
May 17, 2016 — 8:39 pm
Lookee what Uncle B found! These little swanlets are surely brand new, all snoozing at once after struggling up the bank. I believe I count ten (nine little fuzzy heads, but over the furthest left I think that’s a little fuzzy body with his head tucked in). Not sure if that’s mama or daddy swan, but they were both there.
A big relief; we didn’t see the swan family last year and feared the worst. This year, our neighbors have been aggressive about fox control, so I have high hopes.
This was taken RIGHT in our back garden, but safe from Jack on the other side of the drainage ditch (man-made stream really; it looks nicer than it sounds). Uncle B’s picture — I haven’t seen them yet.
And with that, I’m on to Week Three of my Chickenology course.
May 16, 2016 — 8:09 pm
Welp, I ate the last of my birthday cake tonight. Yes, those are the cake toppers. I know they’re supposedly edible, but they’re just too darned un-food-like to pass my lips. Real food is not halftoned.
The cake is, of course, an oblique reference to the Spiderman Incident. Honestly, pay to have your picture taken with a Romanian acrobat dressed as Spiderman one time, and you’ll never hear the end of it.
Have a good weekend, everyone!
May 13, 2016 — 8:45 pm
Tonight we went to a talk on crop circles. I wasn’t all that hot to go — not really my thing — but we promised friends.
Hoo boy, was it interesting. I wasn’t convinced by any particular theory (he wasn’t pushing any particular theory). He showed us dozens of photographs (out of, apparently, ten thousand known circles) and several things are factually indisputable:
■ There are still hundreds of them appearing every year, mostly across Europe.
■ The most complex ones are made stunningly fast, sometimes right by a busy road, without anyone being spotted nearby.
■ And holy shit have they gotten elaborate! Seriously, look at this Google Image search.
Some are definitely man-made, but the ones that people have taken credit for making are, in a word, pretty lame. They take a long time to make, are pretty simple and look kind of wonky. None of the perfect circles and long, straight lines.
Nobody has stepped forward to claim any of the really amazing ones, and nobody who makes them can figure out how the amazing ones were done. They are HUGE and complex and precise and amazing. The one in the picture at the top has a sort of wheaten basket weave, for example.
Now, when you get to the one that show a giant dot-matrix portrait of a typical X-Files gray holding a disk with legible digital message in ASCII English, you feel sure somebody’s pulling your leg. But that’s just it — how the fuck are they doing it?
May 12, 2016 — 10:09 pm
Subhead: tiny fluffy chicken judges you.
Not bad for a square cut from the center of a frame of wide angle video. All the blurring is P’shop — things like grass, straw and wire mesh really eat up the file size of jpgs, so I blur it out. To be honest, I’ve grown fond of the weird tilt-shift effect.
My Chickenology course is going well. I’ve just aced the Week 2 exam. I won’t say it’s heavy, but it’s not lol chikkens R cute, either. They go into the wavelengths of light chickens can see (they can see UV!) and the frequencies they can hear. The number of chicken taste buds (not very many) and the percentage of time they spend foraging, grooming and socializing.
I’ve learned new smartass terms like contrafreeloading, altricial, precocial and lol chikkens R cute.
Heavy rain tonight. I like to imagine the new girls snuggled up tight in their cozy new chicken house. Telling each other ghost stories.
May 11, 2016 — 9:46 pm
Lookit this thing! It’ll take video at 1920×1080 by 30 frames a second — broadcast quality, bitchez! — and it’ll do it for 70 minutes on one battery charge. It’s got a 170° wide angle FOV. It’ll record timelapse. It’ll run off USB (dash cam, anyone?). It can be set to motion-activate.
It’s got wifi, so you can drive it with your phone and it’ll send live video back in real-time. The, ummm…invasion of privacy possibilities are staggering.
This one is basically a clone of the GoPro Hero 4 (some speculate it might even be made in the same factory), but you pay about four times more for the GoPro name. Yeah, that’s the one everyone is attaching to drones. The BBC is lousy with drone footage these days.
But enough of the aerial footage porn. You know what I’m thinking — CHIKKEN CAM!
May 10, 2016 — 8:20 pm
I’m back! I had a lovely week off. I had intended to stay indoors and play computer, but we had a surprise ‘heat wave’ (in quotes because, England) for the WHOLE of my b’day week, and I ended up spending most of it sitting in the garden. Shut the browser tabs for FaceBook, all the news and weaselblog and played mad chicken lady. I recommend it (now more than ever).
But first I had to assemble the chicken house, since the little girls had thoroughly outgrown their cardboard box sleeping quarters in the house. And I did, and I put them in it, and they were TERRIFIED. Of the henhouse. I’m not sure why. They huddled in a corner of the run farthest from the house and refused to go near it. I put them in, they launched themselves out like little ballistic missiles, if ballistic missiles peeped and shed feathers.
I guess that black opening seemed like The Cave That Eats Baby Chickens.
Still, I figured when night fell, their instincts would kick in and they’d go inside to sleep, but no. HELL no. When night fell, they wailed and cried until I went out and let them waddle happily into the pet carrier for a ride back indoors.
On the third night, I closed the pop-hole and shut them inside and…they’ve been happy in it ever since. In fact, I’m terribly impressed with what a grownup little flock they are, all by themselves. As predicted, Vita has been rotten to them. As predicted, Jack the cat has chased them around. But they calm down right away and go back to chickening (though they were mighty puzzled when the Chinook helicopter went over low and slow).
More on birthday later, but right now I have to start the second module of my Chickenology course: Behaviour Patterns of Chickens.
May 9, 2016 — 6:35 pm
Yeah, swords and weasels. Not a good idea. That whole “short front legs” thing again.
And with that, we come to the end of Weasel’s Birthday Week. Oh, I shall celebrate my birthday for the entire month of May, but I’m back to work on Monday and back to my regularly scheduled routine. Hopefully with some nice loot and stories to tell.
I dunno. I’m writing this on April 29.
May 6, 2016 — 5:00 pm
Oh, shoot. I seem to remember there was a back story with this one. Like, there used to be a Thursday weasel and for some reason I replaced it with this graphic at some point.
Gosh, it was a long time ago. I’ve been doing this nine years now. Ten, if you count my original WordPress blog.
May 5, 2016 — 5:00 pm
Hump day! Get busy!
I really had to take some artistic license with this one (and it shows). Weasels have long, long necks and little teeny legs. Especially front legs.
No weasel could ever possibly do what this weasel is doing.
May 4, 2016 — 5:00 pm