Raising the girls in the middle of a ‘pandemic’ was really everything I had hoped it would be. Weeks of remote work, curfews and quarantines at first we thought the birds would provide eggs in a time there was a limit on how many cartons a family could buy at once.
We thought strategically, it made sense to have something to eat coming from the backyard half the year. Low maintenance, all that stuff.
What they’ve done for us is far greater.
Yes, they produce delicious eggs. Yes, they clean the yard of ticks and bugs. But did you know chickens are insanely smart, and fun to be around? This is our story. Installment #1.
From the beginning, our chickens had names. From the moment I lifted the lid to their mailer I was tied to them as their caregiver, as their protector. I would bring them food and shelter. They trusted me.
Two of the chicks got their names first as I reached for them immediately. One was all white, and her name sang in my head when I saw her fluffy round self separated from the group. All alone in the corner of the mailer box, Helen was ready to be loved. I’ve always loved regal, old school names for pets. I didn’t know I needed a Helen, but I did. 🙂
Bebe was the runt. Shorter than the rest, her round little chicken butt was almost wider than the others. She was a little solid thing. So I named her Breakfast Burrito, or Bebe for short. Quickly, these two became the two that I would always call for first. SO naturally, these two started jumping the brooder, first. Looking for me as I come into the basement to do laundry. Looking for me at the sound of my truck pulling into the driveway.
The first day I knew it was time for them to move out, Helen was sitting next to Chase on a chair in the house and nobody noticed. She had escaped the Brooder and made her home in our basement.
Upon moving to their big girl coop. We quickly learned what works for them inside their coop and run and what does not. This was our first rodeo. No we didn’t read a ton of articles. I consulted with my local Livestock Feed Supply Store Owner and he educated me and showed me what I really ‘needed’ as a new farmer. I appreciated that!
I always tell folks online reviews can be misleading. People leave reviews when they are mad. Talk to your local professionals. They will keep you straight!
They remember, everything:
The girls know the sound of my feet walking down the deck stairs. (Must mean snacks are on the way)
They remember our dogs, and the sounds they make versus other threats or predators. They have learned following a fox attack. They remember if they follow me to a line of rocks by the trees, I will flip them over and underneath are always BIG bugs! They remember where to lay their eggs. They remember apples are juicy and can tell just by the the sound they make when I throw one down on the lawn. It’s fascinating, eye opening and unhinging to be around an animal you have essentially eaten your entire life. Yes, I am going there! (Next time)
Chickens can learn their names: If they are free ranging and I can’t see Helen, I will just yell “Helennnn” out the window and she comes running out of the woods. I tell her good girl to stay close, she clucks a low noise and joins the group again. I always think to myself, she is better than most dogs.. 😉 When I talk to the girls (and our one Rooster, Bam Bam) I refer to them individually by name when each is close, I put my hand on their back and say their name. They acknowledge their names by clucking individually at me, low love noises looking for grub in the lawn.
As we prepare for a cold winter ahead, I keep going back to Brooder days and wishing I could keep them under my watchful eye. I know that’s just the crazy chicken lady talking but, a girl can dream right?
In our next Chicken Tale – I will break down their diet, free ranging routine, and how I feel about eating Chicken. If you want to know something specific about chicken lady life, please drop a comment or question here!