Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Eviction Notice

Last weekend I finally evicted the Girls from our den. It's really hard to say who was more delighted: they or us. Needless to say, they were happy to get out of the now-cramped dog kennel and into a bit more space and fresh air. And we were delighted to have our den back.

Before I could move them out completely though, I had to do just a bit more reinforcing of the coops, so I bought some hardware cloth and placed it underneath the coop, then secured it to the frame of the coop with chicken wire (how appropriate.) Then I spread a layer of bark chips all over it, and set up their food and water vessels. I also bought and attached a latch for the egg-door, to prevent curious raccoons or rats (or dog noses) from getting in.

Finally, with Matt's help, I built a little ramp for them out of some old plywood we had lying around. Giving them a ramp rather than just lowering the face of the henhouse gives them some extra room, which they will soon need because they are growing like weeds! I think it came out pretty well:

So by Saturday night, the Girls were moved into their new home and made very comfortable. Kylie was pretty perplexed by the move though..she had only just got done telling us for weeks that THERE ARE CHICKENS IN THE DEN!

Now, everything had been turned topsy-turvy! Suddenly, she had to warn us urgently that THERE ARE CHICKENS IN THE YARD! No matter how many times we assured her that we did know that there were chickens in the yard..that we had, in fact, placed them there ourselves, she still was concerned that we might not be aware that THERE ARE CHICKENS IN THE YARD!!.

Still, I wasn't too concerned about it. I felt pretty good about it actually..after all they were nice and secure.

Until Monday, when Matt yahooed me from home.

"Um, honey? I think we need to shore up the coop a bit more."

"Why," I asked.

"Oh..just because." he replied. Then he sent me this:


I've been letting the Girls out for a few minutes in the morning while I make coffee and shower, and then again in the evening so the can stretch their legs and snatch up some tasty cobwebs. On Tuesday morning I learned that, while they are always eager to come out in the morning, getting the to go back in when I want them to is a bit more challenging. I tried using the Scary Blue Broom, but that only caused me to commit a Laurel & Hardy routine. I even let Kylie out to see if she chased them, would they just all flock immediately into the safety of their coop? Nope. What happened is that the Girls just ran right past the open door and started going in circles around the coop and henhouse, with Kylie right behind them. Soon I joined in, and before you know it, all we needed to complete the scene was Benny Hill in a wig and someone playing Yackety Sax in the background. Especially when, the moment I got them almost lined up..the sprinkler went off.

Note to self: Do not wear white dress pants outside to chase chickens on sprinkler day.

Finally, here's a couple of shots of the girls enjoying some corn, generously donated by my friend Windy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pooped Out.

At almost 5-weeks old, we are all ready for the girls to move outside to their "big girl" coop.

And by "we", I mean all of us: the chickens, the dog, my husband and definitely myself. The girls are ready to be free of the confinement of the dog kennel and we humans are ready to be free of the poop. I honestly can say that I had NO IDEA how much chickens poop. They poop every few MINUTES...and if you are lucky its the normal relatively dry poop. I do not want to go into descriptive verse here on the texture and smell of some of the less than optimal poops.

Last night the husband and I were in the den with them, watching them clamber around the top of the kennel, where we had let them out for a bit. The girls were flapping around, and of course, pooping.

After one particularly wet sound, I hear my husband groan.

"Man. I really didn't need to see that," he said suddenly.

"What?" I said.

"Chicken Butt."

I absolutely can't believe I actually fell for that.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fruits of My Labor

Ah..the sweet rewards at last. Without a doubt nothing tastes as wonderful as a meal made with ingredients picked moments earlier from your own garden.

The other night I made a simple salad with roasted corn (ok, I didn't grow that myself, but next year for sure), heirloom tomatoes, basil, and a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. It was the taste of summer in a bowl.

On another note, the girls are getting B-I-G! They are 2.5 weeks old..only 2 more weeks until they can go outside to their big girl coop. The process of down turning into feather is one of nature's more extraordinary sights. I think it also must be somewhat itchy, as they constantly groom themselves now. Ginger in particular has feathers that are quite beautiful.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Freedom Peeps

The girls are only about 2 weeks old, but they are already getting a bit tired of their kennel brooder. Since it was a nice warm day, I decided to take them out and let them run around their newly built chicken run for a bit.

Getting them from the kennel, which is parked in the living room, out back to the run was a bit of a challenge. I initially tried to stuff them all into the box they had been mailed in, but that turned into a comical episode of Whack-a-Mole. I'd cram one little peep in there, turn around to grab another peep, only to have the first one immediately pop out. So I ended up stuffing them into Lucy the cat's carrier, which I then opened up inside the run.

They were hesitant at first, but once they got in there they had a blast. There was so much to peck at and play with! The hard part was getting them out. They didn't want to leave and protested mightily when I crawled in there to get them out. Here they are 'sploring.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Man I miss bananas. Pineapple too.

Since I've decided to try to stick to the "Eat Local Challenge," I've had to give up some of my favorite fruits..they just aren't grown in California. I guess I should be grateful that California DOES grow just about everything else, including (as I've recently learned!) some of the world's best mangoes. But still....

I miss bananas.

As for Pineapple..does Mexico count as "local" to Los Angeles?