In honor of the chickens' first day out in the snow, a little slideshow...
The very 1st coop was a nugget box!
You know those games on Facebook? The addicting ones. The ones that seem like innocent fun until you realize you spent an entire Saturday afternoon harvesting (read: clicking on) imaginary blueberries? Getting crowded in the Little Coop.
Maybe it was pineapples for you. Or candy. Or mob hits. Or Words with Friends. Don’t pretend you know not of what I speak!
I thought I escaped my farming addiction. After all, it’s been at least 2 years since that fateful Saturday afternoon when I deleted the whole game in disgust at my time consuming imaginary farming empire. Turns out, I’ve only graduated to real farming. Okay, maybe not REAL farming, but the keeping of 14 chickens in a farm like environment. Now... I am addicted to poultry and coops.
I started out with 7 little chickens & a wee little coop. Before I knew it, my 7 chickens grew up, and they needed a bigger coop. Scoobies touring the Big Coop!
So, I got them a bigger coop. It was shiny and red. My chickens were happy. I called them my Scoobies.
But then, I was left with an empty little coop! What a waste! And in all seriousness, I had a bad hen:rooster ratio. 2 Roosters + 5 Hens = not enough feathers on the hens. So I got 3 more hens. But it turns out the 3 hens were actually 1 hen and 2 roosters, so I actually doubled my little rooster problem. Details. Sigh.
Lo and behold, the new 3 got along well in their little coop, and my 7 Scoobies were perfectly content ignoring them. They all free ranged in their separate tribes, and there was peace over the land.
Happy Trio in the Little Coop.
Then my 2 "big coop roosters" had a falling out. Turns out Dru does not like to share. Miraculously, I was able to add Angel to the "little coop roosters," and they did alright together, despite being 3 roosters in a little coop. Dru the Roo liked the change, and reigned over the big coop like a Ninja
.To recap, 6 chickens in big coop, 4 chickens in little coop.
Happy free ranging by all, sometimes even integrated tribes.
Then came November, and the cold. My "little coop roosters" were clearly eyeing the bigger (& warmer) coop. This might have been Angel's attempt at revenge. Following zero consultation with me, the little coop birds staged a very well executed coop d'état
(sic), which is a sudden deposition of a ruling rooster by a small group of the existing farm establishment to depose the extant government and replace it with another body, civil or military. A coop d'état is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance in the new coop. Unfortunately, for Dru the Roo, the November push was a success.
To recap, 9 chickens in big coop, 1 chicken in little coop. Happy free ranging by 9, death to Dru should he try to leave his little coop. Success! Integrated flocking!
Some might have suggested it was time for some chicken and dumplings, but Dru the Roo was particularly fluffy, so I provided him some extra chicken scratch and a few conjugal visits with his favorite hen and hoped things would calm down later.
The peace did not return to the land...
2 Big Coops! The addiction spreads to barn shaped buildings!
So, I went back to Westphalia Trading Co., which is having a Christmas sale, and picked up a second big shiny red coop.
I also located 4 new banty hens for my fluffy rooster, which ... Sigh... brought with them disease and plague to the land. Ok, they were sneezing. Thankfully, this was cured with 14-days of Duramycin-10.
After cure and quarantine, I dubbed the old big coop “Barn O’ Bantys” and placed the 4 new hens and the formerly lonely Dru the Roo there for safe keeping. They are quite happy now, and accept visitation from Cordie the Silkie banty hen whenever she pleases. Angel the Roo, who is also a banty, is not allowed in the “Barn O’ Bantys” on penalty of death.
I dubbed the new coop... nothing yet. Open for suggestions! I placed all the full-size birds in this coop (2 roosters and 5 hens).
Again, without the benefit of my consultation, these chickens proclaimed that Angel the Roo is also not allowed in the new coop, on penalty of death. Sigh. They have since agreed to amend their Constitution. They allow Angel in the coop after dark, if he stays on the high roost that they cannot reach.
OMG chickens - can you not work with me here!? Coops do NOT grow on trees!
To recap - 7 chickens in a big coop, 6 chickens in a big coop, 1 chicken that is excommunicated except at night, as long as he stays on his roost, but nonetheless will not deign to enter the lonely little coop.
Ex-communicated Angel, boycotting the Little Coop.
Do you know what this means??? I do. Based on Chicken Lawyer Math, The Chicken Lawyer needs more chickens!!
I "wrote" a song for my new chickens & Dru the Roo, now also known as Mal, Captain Tight Pants.
It combines my love of three randomly awesome things:
(2) Cake, and
I am quite possibly the only person on the planet that can appreciate this little ditty. I am quite possibly the only one that reads The Chicken Lawyer blog, so I am ok with that...
"Short Spurs / Brown Jacket"
The Ballad of Mal the Roo & His New Hens
(Kaylee, Zoe, River, and Jayne)
By: The Chicken Lawyer
& (via copyright infringement and reckless disregard for her heroes)
Cake & Joss Whedon
I want a man with a mind like a captain
I want a man who knows what's best
I want a man with coops (that’s plural)
And eyes that spot all the insects
I want a man with the right allocations
Who's fast and thorough
And shiny as a tack
He is ruling the farmyard
He's putting up a nest
He's touring the backyard
And picking up scratch
I want a man with short spurs and a Browwwwwn jacket
I want a man who gets up early!
I want a man who stays up late!
I want a man with uninterrupted Serenity
Who escapes the old Farmer Whedon’s machete
With access to treats like molasses
And a crow that is loud like alarm sirens
He is fast and thorough
And shiny as a tack
He's touring the backyard
And picking up scratch
I want a man with short spurs and a browwwwwwn brown jacket
I want a man with a smooth disposition
I want a man who always defends
At the cedars we will meet accidentally
We'll start to chat when he saves me watermelon
He wants a coop with The Chicken Fountain(TM)
He wants a tractor that will get him there
He's changing his name from Dru to Mal
He's trading his Scoobies for four new hens a layin
Mal’s their man with short spurs and a Browwwwwwwn jacket
Happy Thanksgiving from The Chicken Lawyer & Her Chickens!
Are you READY chicken people? Do you think you can handle Dru the Roo's Oscar worthy performance of a candy corn?? Dr. Spike and Monster Cordie? Angel, The Ladies Man??
As promised, The Chicken Lawyer has gone the distance for your Halloween enjoyment. With the help of the Chicken Lawyer's Mom and awesome Aunt Beckie, and despite the lack luster enthusiasm of my chickens, I present to you, my supportive and wacky followers, CHICKENS IN COSTUMES! Enjoy the slide show!
This was definitely a learning experience. The chickens are organizing, and I suspect have already contacted the Actor's Guild. Nonetheless, I am already eagerly awaiting next year. You should know that I went to the local Linn craft fair on Sunday, and I purchased for only $10, a Goose and 12 Goose Outfits including a Santa, a strawberry, and a Harry Potter like scarf! For sure, the fates have blessed and embraced CHICKENS IN COSTUMES!
The End! Happy Halloween from me & the chickens!
It started off as a normal day inspecting the road....
I had a chicken scare today - something attacked the chickens while I was in the house working. The chickens must have run and scattered in various hiding spots, and I gather they were too petrified to move. I apparently worked through the whole thing - Bad Chicken Lawyer!
When I came out of the house for a chicken break, I was surprised to see no chickens. Not one.
Generally, they all come running, because they know The Chicken Lawyer's breaks always include chicken treats!
It was a pretty nice day, so I immediately started looking for my birds...
I walked over to the side of the house with the big coop, and yay! there were 3 chickens. But wait a minute, 3 chickens - where are the rest of the chickens?? (They RELIGIOUSLY travel together - See above proper pack formation.)
These were just 3 ROOS hiding under shutters leaning against the side of the big coop. 3 ROOS do not hang out together without a hen or two, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dru the Roo leave his ladies...certainly not to spend guy time with Angel and Xander, his arch enemies. And the Roos made it clear they were perfectly content staying UNDER the shutters. My stomach churned.
I headed over to the next side of the house, where I found one on my redheads cowering behind the little coop. Again, not usual chicken behavior. I went to inspect closer, and found poor Cordie hunkered down in the spearmint patch, pretending she wasn’t there. My redhead decided to join her, and they were in definite shock as they just hunkered down more when I went to pick them up. Thinking they might be injured, I left them be for a bit, and continued my search.
Cordie at the spearmint patch on a less eventful day...
It's Spike! Brrrp. Brrrp.
On the next side of the house, I found Faith and my other roo digging to China under a bush. As I tried to convince them to come out with treats, I spied my other redhead flying across the yard from who knows where to join the digging crew. My blood, which pretty much ran cold the second I spotted Cordie, started to pump again, as it seemed my chickens were all turning up, odd as they may be.
The cedars are a common hiding spot, so I headed over there to look for Buffy & Spike, my last 2 birds. The digging crew joined me in my hunt at the cedars, but no more chickens were found.
I circled the house again and walked the whole farm looking for Buffy & Spike. I was close to giving up, and called my mom, cuz that’s what Chicken Lawyers do when they are sad. Don’t judge me. Half way through the call, I thought I spied Buffy coming in from the field past the cedars and the old cattle guard, so I ran that way, and yes, it was Buffy!
I was super happy and relieved for five seconds, and then sad hit me like a sack of bricks when I saw my favorite polka dotted chicken, Spike, was not with her.
I gave Mom the news and shook my phone at the eagles circling, and figured poor sweet googly eyed Spike must have been a meal to them, or some other critter. Mom said her condolences, and I went to take care of my 2 chickens cowering in the spearmint. I figured I should gather them up in case something came back for minty flavored seconds.
Cordie and Willow were still trembling, so I picked up Cordie without any fuss (which never happens) and walked her to the big coop. Willow said, “I ain’t staying here by myself” and quickly followed suit, making a bee line for the Roos that were still behind shutters.
While I was trying to figure out if Cordie was hurt or just shocked, a chicken started making all manner of ruckus over by my lilac bush. I put Cordie down and headed that way expecting the worst, when I thought to myself, I know that ruckus. IT’S SPIKE!!! And that sound is Spike’s “Buffy did not share the watermelon - it’s not fair!” sound. I’ve never been so happy to see that bird! Spike just looked at me sheepishly and said: Brrrp Brrrp.
Spike’s ruckus apparently called all the other chickens from the cedars, and I smiled to see all of them bolting over to the big coop. The roosters finally came out to greet their ladies, and we had a nice family reunion. Chicken scratch was gleefully served by The Chicken Lawyer. The chickens settled into their usual tribes, just a little more alert than usual. No lasting injuries spotted.
I called mom again, so she would not be worried about Spike, and then I continued walking around the house in circles trying to figure out what the heck happened long after the birds forgot what happened.
I guess that is life with free range birds. I know if they could vote, they would vote to take the risk. We made it from March til October without a big scare, so they are pretty darn lucky birds. I’m very glad they all made it today, and I really love my chickens!
Off to free range another day!
As you may have noticed, The Chicken Lawyer does not dabble in a hobby. It’s really not in her blood. If you knew The Chicken Lawyer’s dad, you would understand.
The Chicken Lawyer embraces a new hobby with much love and affection, adds two parts enthusiasm minus one part common sense, and feeds the hobby its Wheaties for good measure.
The Chicken Lawyer read all the chicken books, interviewed all the chicken people, Pinterested the entirety of the chicken universe, and bought all the chickeny things – all before she owned one chicken!
Now that The Chicken Lawyer owns 7+3 chickens, you generally cannot sustain a conversation with her for more than 3 minutes without chickens becoming an integral part of the conversation. And, yes, The Chicken Lawyer has been known to stay home on a Friday night because SOMEONE has to lock up the chickens! And make them Halloween costumes…. (Stay Tuned!)
Needless to say, The Chicken Lawyer delights in being a crazy chicken farmer. She doesn’t think it is crazy at all. In fact, The Chicken Lawyer is perplexed why YOU don’t have any chickens! They practically give them away, y’know.
What? This is CrAzY??
For the record, The Chicken Lawyer thinks football fans are way more crazy than chicken people. Have you seen yourself watch a Bears game? How much was the ticket to the play-offs? You play Madden video games and have a Fantasy Football League, too? Those uniforms look a lot like costumes to me... You have your own channels on cable and your own page in any newspaper. And, how long have you been wearing those lucky socks??? Maybe YOU are the crazy one!
Awww shucks. Let’s be crazy together!
Credit for this amazing pic goes to noremaCStudios.com! Check out the site, facebook page, and find cool chicken stuff for sale!
And, finally, The Chicken Lawyer motions the court to admit this little video as Exhibit B - final proof that we do "crazy" quite well together! May it please the court. And for all my friends in Chicago - Go Bears!
Every morning Dru the Roo greets me as I open up the Big Coop. All his ladies are in the back by the water cooler, and Dru stands at the entrance with conviction, waiting for me to make my move.
My moves are varied. Sometimes I’m reaching for an early egg. Most of the time, I come bearing the pooper scooper. Eventually, I must change the water and open the door to the run.
Dru considers ALL of my moves an invasion of the sanctity of his home. You see, each night, Dru forgets who pays for his coop and food, and that I, am in fact, the Head Roo.
So, each morning, Dru declares his “dominance” with ninja moves as I reach into the coop. He knows better to get too carried away, but he does hop around like a like Cobra Kai, trying to sweep my leg. He drops his wing and hops around some more, feigning beak attacks on the pooper scooper. He makes a right mess with the shavings. He gives me the stink eye.
The Stink Eye.
Unfortunately for my ferocious rooster, Dru is a Bantam Cochin, so he is so stinking cute and fluffy, his ninja moves are mostly comical. Ferocious, but comical.
This morning, fueled by my “Jet Fuel” coffee, I decided to pay the proper respects to my Ninja Chicken.
As I approached the coop, I did my best impression of a Kung Fu movie, making all the best Kung Fu sounds. This put Dru on high alert and he crowed at me from inside the closed coop.
I stood at the opposite end of the coop I usually open first, as I figured that was the Ninja thing to do. I was armed with my new aluminum scoop from Tractor Supply. It’s just lovely - a nice heft to it. I struck my best Chuck Norris pose and flung open the door and faced down Dru the Roo. I announced myself properly: I’m Walker. Walker, Texas Ranger. Then I made more Kung Fu sounds and brandished my scoop like a samurai sword.
Do you know what my chicken did? I couldn’t believe it. He flew out of that coop right at my face, and I swear he was doing a roundhouse kick with his feathered feet.
Little bugger. I guess I asked for it. I’m pretty sure it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s either that or that scene in Bubba Ho Tep when “Elvis” attacks the scarab beetle with a bed pan.
For those of you worried about how this Chicken Lawyer adventure ended, fear not. I dropped my new scoop, grabbed Dru mid-air, and used my most fearsome Kung Fu move on him. I gave him a hug. He hates hugs!
And that, my friends, is how to out Ninja a Ninja Chicken...
Of course Bob Dole likes chickens. Who doesn't love this face?
The Chicken Lawyer is confused. The Chicken Lawyer does not have the answers. The Chicken Lawyer ponders, but does not know.... Why does The Chicken Lawyer feel the NEED to speak of The Chicken Lawyer in the third person?
Does The Chicken Lawyer have a deep down personal affinity for Bob Dole? Or does The Chicken Lawyer just like to say “The Chicken Lawyer”??
The Chicken Lawyer STILL does not know. It just is. The Chicken Lawyers hopes you don’t mind.
The Chicken Lawyer encounters befuddlement quite regularly. Muddling through life’s perplexities is one of The Chicken Lawyers hobbies, right up there with kayaking and collecting cool rocks. Currently, The Chicken Lawyer marvels at her new found love of her latest hobby, Hen Keeping. Of course it was supposed to be Hen Keeping, but due to technical difficulties (a/k/a Roosters!), it is better stated as Raising Chickens.
Why does The Chicken Lawyer love chickens so much? The Chicken Lawyer has her suspicions, but does not know. Since The Chicken Lawyer thinks her postulations on chickens might be slightly more interesting than a dissertation on Bob Dole, here we go!
1) It might be the eggs. It just might. All things said, this may be the tippper. I mean after all, with most pets, there is an unspoken vow with your pooch or feline or gold fish: You feed me, and in turn, I will give you love and possibly do a trick. Or in case of the feline, You feed me, and I will shred your toilet paper, throw up hair balls, and leave half eaten lizards in your kitchen, but I promise to look cute while doing so! But with chickens! With chickens, the unspoken vow is more: You feed me, and in turn, I will give you love, and I will take some time out of my busy day to bear down in a nesting box and produce you an egg! After all, it’s more than I would do in turn.
2) It might be the numbers. It’s a fine line with cats you know. Should I choose to get more than 2 cats, I may be a cRAzy CaT lAdY, and be single forever. That is only slightly appealing to me. But with Chickens! With chickens, you are supposed to have a LOT of chickens. That is how they stay warm in winter. That is how you get a dozen eggs. That is how you go on living when a hawk snatches one of your chickens away. All of my life I have wanted lots of animals, and now I’ve found the animal that is Fluffy, and supports my need for many. Sorry fish, you just weren’t doing it for me.
3) It might be the sounds. Oh, it could be. Chickens speak in emotions. They have so many wonderful sounds they liberally share. Angel mutters. I know his frustrations this way. He really feels he gets no respect from the other roosters. Cordie, my silkie queen, says: Pew Pew. Pew Pew. And I know she is taking us all out with her imaginary laser machine gun. Systematically. They coo, they crow, they grumble, they gossip. My big fat rooster guffaws. I know he does. Call me a crazy chicken lady, but I really do enjoy conversing with the chickens.
4) It MIGHT be the fluffy butts. It’s undeniable. They are fluffy. I have a visceral love for all fluffy things. If I go to Target, and there is a fluffy blanket in the aisle... I will pet it. I can’t help myself. In that movie, Despicable Me, when the little girl says of the stuffed animal, “It’s so fluffy, I will die!” Yeah, that was me. I regularly gather up a chicken and say, “It’s so fluffy, I will die!”
Well, The Chicken Lawyer still does not know for sure what’s with all The Chicken Love, but it just is. The Chicken Lawyer hopes you enjoy it.
PS - The Chicken Lawyer wonders....does The Bob Dole like chickens? Hmmmm.....
PPS - Ten Points for you if you just searched Google for Bob Dole and chickens.
Blogging was just not enough! This chickeny cuteness must be shared! The Chicken Lawyer now has its own page on Facebook.
I'm positive this opens up all sorts of social media/blogging synergy, and I can't wait! Although I have no idea yet why there are BUTTONS on my page, or how to work 1/2 the features on this weebly editor!
You just wait til I teach the chickens how to type!
See ya'll on FaceBook! https://www.facebook.com/TheChickenLawyer
Buffy, surrounded by her Scoobies.
Buffy laid an egg! Buffy laid an egg! Buffy laid an egg! I've worried and worried about my chickens laying their first eggs, but Buffy just "gone and done it" like a Pro. Go Buffy.
It's a wee little egg. Light brown. Clean. And I can't believe it came out of my chicken! I put it in the fridge, so it doesn't hatch, but I don't know if I can eat it. I have a strange emotional attachment to this egg.
After all, this one egg has been in the works since January, when I decided to move to Missouri, and become The Chicken Lawyer. In this one egg is hours upon hours of chicken research, coop building, coop buying when the coop building did not work out, one exciting trip in March for Orschlens Chick Days!, many subsequent trips to Orschlens and MFA for feed, waterers, feeders, grit, oyster shell, pine shavings, one super well-stocked chicken medical emergency kit, chicken scratch, meal worms, DE, and ... ending with my most recent purchase, a hanging basket of marigolds, because what chicken does NOT deserve a hanging basket of marigolds, especially when they were 75% off!
And all the bonding! Raising chickens goes well with being a hermit, because I have spent A LOT of time at home hanging out with my Scoobies. Those little poop machines spent 8 weeks in my garage, except when their cuteness inspired Friday night photo sessions in my living room! Will they live? Will they be roosters? Will they have splayed legs? Will they love me? OMG -what is pasty butt? Have you seen a chicken learn to run on a concrete floor? No? My friend, you have not lived.
Then there was the sleepless week when I moved them to their coop and began to worry about predators. EVERYTHING wants to eat my chickens! There might be a MINK in the area, so I HAVE to cover every square uncovered inch with hardware cloth, and I HAVE to do it in the middle of the night! And the thunderstorms. Yes, I MUST go out in the thunderstorm and see how the babies are doing!
By June, I accepted the risk of predation, and let the birds have fee range of the yard during the day, because they love it. Short life of freedom or long life in a coop? Let them out, they will eat all the Bugs and be happy, and if they get eaten, I will probably only cry for 3 weeks.
I really cannot describe the joys of chicken raising enough. It truly is a one day at a time adventure. Mixing the Scoobies with my 3 barred rocks that I HAD to have because I LOVE BARRED ROCK, chicken tribes, scarecrows, hide n seek in the cedars, breaking up rooster fights, crowing contests, coop cleaning, chicken treat inventions, and over 1,000 chicken pictures on my iphoto. If you look in my freezer, you will see ice water bottles to keep the chicken water cool and frozen pears, grapes, and watermelon, because my chickens are spoiled. There is no room for ice cream anymore. Clearly I need a second freezer.
And, I have collected egg cartons from friends. I have a long line of eager customers. I have read the pros and cons of washing eggs and learned how to treat an egg bound hen. I will do this. But, how can I possibly eat this egg? This egg is a miracle!
The Chicken Lawyer reckons this egg cost $2000!