Chickens

The Traveling ‘Peep’ Show

Their little legs and wings blur in a flurry of activity as they greet me in the mornings.

“Peep peep peep! Cluck cluck! Squak!”

Every day, the chickens, ducks and turkeys follow me, begging for food and attention. They love to be petted and adored. They see a mealworm (treat) bag and gallop toward me.

But–

But there are feathers everywhere. Chicken ‘leavings.’ Ducks in the arena, chickens in the hay. Eggs that I find months later, many moons longer than I’m comfortable eating them.

So I finally invested in their future.

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The lovely, retro/vintage monstrosity here will now be referred to as “Firefly Farm’s Traveling ‘Peep’ Show.” It’s a gloriously perfect gutted camper which isn’t usable for humans any longer. It’ll be just what Doc Brown (as in, Back to the Future) ordered.

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This is the beginning of the end for my little feathered friends’ “nighttime excursions” to the pond or the hay pile. The welcoming committee will be penned up soon with this trailer as their new home at night, but they’ll be allowed out during the day. I know it seems harsh, but my ‘peeps’ will be happier in the long run. This trailer will allow them to lay eggs in peace and sometimes hatch babies in a quiet environment. This will be a huge boon for poor Gloria, who is currently laying on a nest in the worst possible area for any duck to hatch babies.

12743984_932535840176210_8735108353766968307_n.jpgI can’t wait for Firefly Farm’s Traveling ‘Peep’ Show to be on display. I’m already cleaning out the inside to prepare it for nesting boxes.

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Baby Boy and Mumma #2; Chicks; My Morning

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Photos of Firefly Life

The tiny feather-fluffs hop and chirp and cheep. These ping-pong balls of energy peck and poke and scratch.

They’re so much fun. I’m in love.

I bought 3 types of female chickens (pullets) this year. The breeds are 5 Aurucanas, like Nugget; 4 ISA Browns, and 4 Black Laced Wyandotte.

Erika, Sherin and I visited the Farm store, and there they were. Cute and cuddly and I couldn’t wait to own some. The ladies helped me pick out babies. We brought them back home, but then I panicked when our old chicken container wouldn’t come loose from the ice and snow.

Oops.

So we ended up pilfering the water trough from Suzi Q.’s pasture. Now that she’s in with the ponies, there’s no reason to keep it running. We hosed it off, scrubbed it out, and brought it into my living room.

(I didn’t warn the husband ahead of time. It’s just better for him not to know until the deed is done.)

We started with 13 chickens. The little ladies all made it through the first few nights, and I’m hoping they all survive.

So far, our chicks are named Rusty, GlenCoco, Lea, and Noname.

I bought a new saddle for Twist, and it fits Honey, too. Within this gallery, there are photos of Twist wearing this new saddle.

But mostly, the photos below are of our fluff-balls.

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“Did You Know You Already Have One of These?”

Sniff, snort, prance, pull, flip out.

I endured this dance five times yesterday morning. Five Times.┬áI understand I’m crazy, but the things that scare ponies are eyeroll worthy.

I knew the husband’s generosity at allowing Lucy the Chicken to live indoors in our bathtub would wear off. So what if she had 3 broken bones and the Vet said she had a slim-to-none chance of making it? That was, like, months ago. Ancient History. These are the times that try men’s souls–or rather, now is the time that men tire of a chicken-poo scented bathroom.

Therefore, I considered my options.

DSCF3330Could I push Lucy out in the world cold-chicken? Naw.┬áInstead, I dragged my friend Sherin to the local Family Farm and Home, enticing her with visions of flannel-lined jeans. Together we scoured the aisles for something–anything–that I could use for Lucy.

“Do you have a chicken house suitable for a little lame bantam?” I asked my friend Nellie. “Maybe a house and chicken yard attached?”

“Sure, got one right here.” Quick as a monkey, she scurried up the crossbeams and onto the tippy top of the chicken aisle. As I mentally quaked for her safety, she yelled for another associate to help her yank the monstrosity off the highest shelf. Not only did they have to dissassemble it, they still couldn’t fit most of it into my car.

“Get more horsepower,” my friend Art grunted.

“Talk to my husband,” I said. “I’ve been trying for years. At least I got a horse farm.”

“Ok, well, I’ll deliver it to you myself. I’ll be drivin’ a red truck. Don’t shoot me when I come over.”

I promised him I wouldn’t, and he graciously offered to bring it himself.

Once Art arrived, he unloaded the Chicken McMansion.

DSCF3333“Did you know you already have one of these?” He asked, pointing to Lucy’s prior dwelling.

I nodded. He shook his head, commencing construction.

Quick as a duck landing on a pond, Art put the Chicken Mc Mansion on the market for a new owner. Once I explained that Lucy currently lived in the bathtub up at my house, the poor man raised his eyebrows, shook his head yet again, and left.

(I think he wanted to run from the crazy animal lady before the insanity rubbed off.)

Lucy instantly took to her new digs, laying an egg within an hour of entering her new home. She’s completely at ease in the Chicken McMansion and attached yard.

If only the horses could relax in the same way. Every time they walk past, it’s “new.” Sniff, snort, prance, pull, flip out. It never gets old. They have to pass the McMansion to go into the RAMM Fence pasture, and every time it’s an adventure.

However, if the horses relaxed the same way Lucy did, I’d make millions. Who wouldn’t love to know a horse who lays eggs?

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Killer Instincts

Churned earth mingled with scattered feathers. The cage moved as futile fingers clawed at the trap door.

I caught a killer.

I rejoiced–and mourned.

This thing, this animal, this fluff-ball, killed three babies. Three tiny chickens. He killed them and ate them.

Trudie and I gathered the remaining supplies for the horse show, and we left.

Our horses performed well for their experience levels. Sidney needed to be led during his classes for safety reasons. He’s never been to a “real” horse show before, so he had no idea how to act or feel.

Honey’s shown once before. Last time she won two seventh places. This time she won a third (out of three horses–but she listened well!) and two fifth-place ribbons. They’re hanging in the tack room, along with Trudie’s ribbon from a previous horse show.

Suzi Q’s owner and Sidney’s owner came to visit, and both were exceedingly helpful. They held horses and came back to Firefly Farm when we realized we’d left behind Sidney’s bridle (oh-so-important!) and then needed a different saddle. They also took photos.

Once everyone loaded back up and we traveled back to the barn, I remembered.

The caged killer.

He curled up harmlessly at one end of the wire jail and peered at me with soft black eyes. His ringed tail wrapped around a chubby body, his masked face innocent.

Sometime soon, I’ll drive the killer to meet an ugly kitty.

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Wistful Thinking

The winds of change sweep through the farm.

Chickens have disappeared. Swiftie and Buster are MIA. As of this morning, so is Lucy.

Luckily, Gladiator, the rooster; our two guineas, and Nugget, the Americana, are alive and well.

We own six new(ish) chicks; three Barred Rocks and three Australorps.

If Melody hadn’t miscarried, last year, we’d have 11 horses at Firefly Farm.

Sage left a while ago. Her owner found a wonderful home with young children to ride the lovely Standardbred mare and give her all the attention she deserves.

Lexi is now at Silver Fox Stable, owned by a Vet, Dr. Esterline’s, wife. I hear wonderful things about their facility and wish them all the best.

Lexi left on Sunday.

We’re down to 10 horses.

We’d have 11 if Melody hadn’t miscarried last year.

Yet..

This morning I recieved a phone call from my friend Sandy. She’s looking to have me train her horse, Cappy.

We’re down to 10 horses.

I wish, oh, how I wish Melody’s foal were here. I’d be training her or him and working her or him every spare moment.

I can handle training a new horse. It’s what I wish I were doing at this very moment.

Training–oh, training!

I love to train. I love the young ‘uns. I adore teaching them how to behave, how to respect others, and how to be a proper citizen.

I love the way they’re defiant at first, and then calm, then ask “What would you like, Ma’am?”

Then, when I tell them what to do, they give me a great, big, “Yes, Ma’am!”

Spring sweeps over our farm.

Cappy’s adventure begins sometime next week.

I hope Lucy comes home.

I can’t wait until Honey is bred.

Last year’s worries tumble and flow away with the wind. The future is bright.

But oh, how I miss the foal that should have been mine this spring.

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April Fools

Lucy’s coppery feathers caressed the egg. She settled herself further, spreading her wings and wiggling her rump.

Confused, I examined her from each angle.

The creamy egg, nestled safely under her tummy, seemed to have green spots. Green. Spots! I lifted Lucy from her nest and realized someone truly played a joke on me. The egg, a plastic run-of-the-mill Easter Egg, contained a seam all the way around the edge.

I laughed until my sides hurt.

The joke didn’t end there, however.

Lucy, the proud momma, stopped laying eggs. She insisted that this egg would hatch, and that she needed no other until her precious baby appeared.

Lucy hasn’t laid an egg since.

April Fools, Lucy.

Afternote: Lucy started re-laying eggs today–April 7th. The joke was played by Zeus’ owner’s husband. I think it’s hilarious–not only did he play a joke on me, he played a joke on my chicken, too!DSCF3330

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