Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bess enjoying a dustbath in the afternoon. They look quite silly, flopping around in the dirt, but they seem to like it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

This is not a chicken.

This is Jackson Coltrane Stewart, my nephew, and the photographer is his grandfather, Vic Stewart, and the camera is the one and only Leica M3. Yeah, baby.

Le mew, le pant, le puff.

Three, count 'em, three skunks saw fit to amble out from under our deck this morning and across to the neighbor's yard for a leisurely brunch of cat food. Skunks are known chicken predators and the whole thing is making me very anxious, in spite of our stringent security measures. We'll be boarding up the holes in the deck ASAP. Maybe they'll move on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Loretta continues to enjoy his new hobby, birdwatching.

Abigail's growing fast.

Pretty Dolley.

Eleanor didn't want to sit still, so this is the best we could do.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blame It On the Disco Ball.

So the deal with Chicken Cocktail Hour is that I have quite deliberately tried to encourage the girls to jump up in our laps when we're out supervising their free range time. I bribe them with treats and Dolley and Bess jump right up, and Abigail and Eleanor at least come nearby. The idea is that I want the birds to be comfortable being handled, and besides, it's fun.

Inevitably, however, we end up bringing out drinks, hors d'ourves, etc. for ourselves, and of course the birds are interested in that, too. Normally I consider it to be totally awful parenting to allow your pet to get anywhere near the dinner table, but in my defense, the whole thing did start with a desire to have them around, and the fact that we bring food outside is our own fault. So we give them a little crust of bread and usually they're satisfied and they wander off.

Tonight we had a rather elaborate spread on our newly-installed Chicken Cocktail Table (see photo) that included pizza, salad, cheese, crackers, and, of course, martinis. The girls made attempts at some of those items, which we were able to deflect, but at one point Bess jumped up and dipped her beak right into Scott's martini.

Oh my god, you have never seen anything quite so funny. What a surprised little bird she was! How I wish I had had my camera. Perhaps some artist out there will do an artist's rendering of the event for me; I'd be happy to post it.

Bess shook her little head vigorously and drops of Beefeater went flying from her beak. I don't think I've ever heard Scott laugh so hard. We told her: No more liquor until you've laid your first egg. You're still a kid.

If any of you parents out there have wondered whether we would give your children alcohol when they come to spend their summer vacations with us, well, I guess you have your answer.

Bottoms up!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

These Are Not Our Chickens.

These are the chickens of a friend of ours who lives down the street. We're trading chicken-sitting duties. Here's a Buff Orpington who's gone broody, which means that she wants to sit on everyone's eggs in hopes that one of them will hatch.

Anybody know what breed these are?

The coop.

Egg rolling.

Don't know what breed this is. And what's with the bare crop? (That's where they store their food before they start digesting it.)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Eleanor's growing up fast. She's our biggest chicken. She and Abigail are 15 weeks old. (The other two are a week younger.) In another couple of weeks, we'll start putting out oyster shell calcium, which they are supposed to eat as they need it in order to help get them ready to lay eggs with nice strong shells (of all the things chickens don't know, this appears to be one of the things they just know how to do)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The chickens love Champagne.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Disco Chicks

Friend, does your chicken coop have a disco ball? If not, why not?