animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / life on thomas run

on raising chickens and embarrassing your children

DSC_0061

At ten this morning, I found myself hiking up the road–in my pajama pants and boots, carrying a big stick. I was walking behind the neighbor's teenaged bull, (who was once again in our yard), coaxing him back up the road and into the neighbor's pasture where he belonged. Mind you if this was the real deal, grown-up bull, I would NOT be doing this job. But this guy was young enough to not put up much of a fight besides a little head tossing and chomping of grass growing longer around the telephone poles.

Thankfully, my children are not at that age yet where the sight of their mother walking up the road, in her pajamas and boots doesn't completely mortify them. I know that day will come. I remember the days of mortification over the outfits my mother would wear to drive us to school. Even worse? When she'd have to drive us in the cattle truck–with its random outbreaks of a vibrating steering wheel you could hardly control and muffler that could be heard from two miles out. For now, I like to pretend that my children think my bravery and toughness is kinda cool, and they don't notice what I'm wearing. Please, just let me think that. Don't burst my bubble, yet. I have years of that ahead of me, I'm sure.

But this post is a chicken update! Enough with the bull…

Just days after I wrote about the joys of chickens in your bathroom I apparently reached my limit. I crossed my fingers and prayed that the temperatures were warm enough and the chickens feathered enough, and we moved the little girls out to a pen that sits at the back of our coop. If you ever find yourself building a coop, this pen is a great thing to have. It provides the perfect way to introduce new birds to your flock and allows them to get acquainted with their new digs before you let them go free range.

And did you know that the best time to introduce new chickens to your flock is after dark? Just slip them into the coop and when the next morning dawns, the original hens are less likely to make a big fuss over the newcomers. Apparently, chickens have some serious short-term memory issues.

The chicks did fine in the coop. We bedded them down with extra straw on a few nights when we worried about overnight temps, and tacked old yard furniture cushions over the window.

Not attractive, but effective.

Last week, we decided to give them complete freedom. We opened their door and let them see the true light of day.

Each day they get a little braver and now two or three of them are starting to venture outside of the coop, but still not very far. They still scurry back to their pen if I startle them. But curiousity always gets the best of them and they come out to see what goodies I might be offering.

It also turns out, just like last time, we're not looking at the addition of six new HENS to our flock. Turns out there's at least one rooster, maybe two.

Here we go again.

DSC_0061

At ten this morning, I found myself hiking up the road–in my pajama pants and boots, carrying a big stick. I was walking behind the neighbor's teenaged bull, (who was once again in our yard), coaxing him back up the road and into the neighbor's pasture where he belonged. Mind you if this was the real deal, grown-up bull, I would NOT be doing this job. But this guy was young enough to not put up much of a fight besides a little head tossing and chomping of grass growing longer around the telephone poles.

Thankfully, my children are not at that age yet where the sight of their mother walking up the road, in her pajamas and boots doesn't completely mortify them. I know that day will come. I remember the days of mortification over the outfits my mother would wear to drive us to school. Even worse? When she'd have to drive us in the cattle truck–with its random outbreaks of a vibrating steering wheel you could hardly control and muffler that could be heard from two miles out. For now, I like to pretend that my children think my bravery and toughness is kinda cool, and they don't notice what I'm wearing. Please, just let me think that. Don't burst my bubble, yet. I have years of that ahead of me, I'm sure.

But this post is a chicken update! Enough with the bull…

Just days after I wrote about the joys of chickens in your bathroom I apparently reached my limit. I crossed my fingers and prayed that the temperatures were warm enough and the chickens feathered enough, and we moved the little girls out to a pen that sits at the back of our coop. If you ever find yourself building a coop, this pen is a great thing to have. It provides the perfect way to introduce new birds to your flock and allows them to get acquainted with their new digs before you let them go free range.

And did you know that the best time to introduce new chickens to your flock is after dark? Just slip them into the coop and when the next morning dawns, the original hens are less likely to make a big fuss over the newcomers. Apparently, chickens have some serious short-term memory issues.

The chicks did fine in the coop. We bedded them down with extra straw on a few nights when we worried about overnight temps, and tacked old yard furniture cushions over the window.

Not attractive, but effective.

Last week, we decided to give them complete freedom. We opened their door and let them see the true light of day.

Each day they get a little braver and now two or three of them are starting to venture outside of the coop, but still not very far. They still scurry back to their pen if I startle them. But curiousity always gets the best of them and they come out to see what goodies I might be offering.

It also turns out, just like last time, we're not looking at the addition of six new HENS to our flock. Turns out there's at least one rooster, maybe two.

Here we go again.

8 comments on “on raising chickens and embarrassing your children”

  1. I rocked the pajamas and mud boots this morning. I didn’t have to deal with a bull though, just had to wrangle my three youngest so we could walk to the bus stop.

    Sometimes I’d rather deal with a bull.

    We just moved our chickens outside after I got fed up with the mess downstairs. These are our first chickens ever so I was nervous that they would… explode or something silly, but I was quite done with them *inside*. It’s fine when they fit in your hand but once they are bigger than my shoes, they need to go outside. That’s my new house rule. I just made that up.

    Anyway, they seem to like it. They took to wandering right away but we have too many predators to let them free range (and one of them is my Great Pyrenees who caught and killed one of our chickens their first full day out. She was the very last of our animals I’d expect to do that, but what are you going to do?). So it’s the tractor for them in the daytime.

    That was a very long-winded first comment.

  2. We definitely ended up with a couple roosters in our batch of 15. It never fails.

    Thank you for the visual of the pjs and boots. I wear that ensemble OFTEN. Perhaps next time you’ll try my stunning-ness from last night (when I remembered at 11pm that I’d forgotten to close the hatch on the coop): chacos, arglye socks, capri sweats and husbands barn coat.

    We are beautiful.

  3. i am in that bubble with you right now. and i rather like hearing how cool i am throughout the day. but it is starting – the other day they asked me to leave the room so they could watch fraggle rock. as if my presence would ruin it for them, boo. so i acted disappointed, and then found a quiet corner and a book. win + win. xoxo

  4. I was not expecting that stage where children are embarassed by their mom because my mother was a very elegant person and dresser – far more than I was at any stage. What surprised me even more than that stage however was the stage where they decided that they could fix what was wrong with me. “You should…dress, act, do your hair, be… like this.” Silly me, I took it seriously for a while and finally, it occurred to me that I was letting them be the way they wanted and that they owed me the same courtesy. So, I said, “You have to let me be me.” It was that simple. They understood and for the most part stopped trying to recreate me.

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