The other night, picabo posted a classic chicken story and got me to thinking about my past experiences with chickens. You may have read it already but I began to wonder if anyone else had tales to share.
Many years ago DH and I moved with our children to the little farm where I live today. I was a city girl from Nashville and he was a country boy from NC. He taught me the ways of the country and I taught him the ways of the city. I have had a lot of wonderful experiences in the 40 years that I have lived here.
One of my favorites started with a trip to the feed store. They were selling baby chicks. I had never seen baby chicks except for the pink, blue and green ones that you could buy at Easter at every store that you went into. These little chicks were black. So I brought home a box full.
At the time I raised and showed little Shih Tzu dogs. When the chicks grew up they roosted in a tree that had limbs that hung over the kennel where the little dogs went out to exercise. Now you have to picture the little dogs. They were not much bigger than the chickens. Some with the long coat of a show dog. When the chickens would fly out of the tree in the morning once in a while one would miss the fence and land in the kennel. Much barking and squawking would go on before the chicken would hop out of the fence and be on its way.
Well one morning I heard the barking, and I heard the squawking but it didn't quit. I ran out to see what was going on. The dogs had caught this little chicken and plucked it almost clean. No serious damage except for a cut all the way through the skin around the neck from ear to ear, about 6" long. Yes, Chickens do have ears. I picked up the little naked chicken and ran to the house to call DH. The chicken seemed fine, no major damage anyway. DH was out of the office so I sat there trying to decide what a city girl should do.
1. Kill the chicken and have it for dinner, after all it was already plucked. Not an option for me, I had never killed anything.
2. Take the chicken to the Vet and have it stitched up... Not really an option, we had stitches on the horse the week before and it was over $100.00.
3. I am a quilter, Do it myself. That worked for me. LOL
I got out my sewing kit, sat on the back porch and held the chicken between my legs, I leaned its little head over onto my leg and began to sew the head back on the chicken. Well, this was my first patient, I did take little stitches like a good quilter, the only thing I didn't think about was when I turned its head to lay it on my leg I got everything sorta out of alignment. When I set the little chicken on the ground she went walking off, but her head was facing up. I had sewn her back together crooked. LOL
OK back to decision time.
1. Kill the chicken and have it for dinner. Still not an option. But looking better. After all I really couldn't kill her now, She just let me sew her head back on, just crooked.
2. Take her to the Vet and admit what I had done. Not an option, I would never be allowed back. LOL
3. Leave it like it was and hope that she could straighten it out it time. Not an option even though it was not really facing straight up, but it was at such an angle that she would be unable to feed herself or drink water.
4. I am a quilter I have taken out stitches, Fix it.
Well I did, I took out all of the stitches. I stretched her neck as high and as straight as I could and carefully sewed her head back on again. She lived to see another day and a long life on the farm. It took her a while to grow back the feathers thus the name air conditioner. True Story. Who would make that one up? LOL
Growing up on a farm, we raised produce and meat. Mom had laying hens which provided cash for the staples when eggs were sold. Spent many hours picking, washing and packing eggs. The older gals were relegated to the pressure cooker when no longer laying. This made some of the best chicken soup with homemade noodles! To this day, I can chicken and love it. When I was in kindergarden, we had a rooster who was taller than me. I would get home from school and go out with a snack only to have him rip it from my hand. Hated him till he went in the soup pot. From a young age, I learned to scald and pluck feathers, singe pinfeathers and gut/cut chickens. Not a favorite job but it meant many dinners ahead.
After marriage and a move back to the country and I couldn't wait to get chickens. There the lessons began.
Trim only one wing (not both) They can still fly when wings are trimmed equally. Duh!
Pullets sold at a produce stand will eat you out of house and home and are most likely ALL roosters. They came out of a growing house and eat day and night. When they get too large they are all but inedible unless pressure cooked.
Good laying hens are magnets for snakes, skunks, possums, raccoons, dogs.
If someone says they will butcher them for you (while I was working two jobs) don't believe them. You will be up half the night finishing the job.
Lessons learned. I leave the chickens to the neighbors and enjoy their yard eggs now. Maybe someday, I will get some more "ladies" and hope that I can learn more lessons from others rather than the hard way... Any chicken stories to share?
Hi Pod.. Course I have another "Chicken story" LOL Told you there were lots of stories.
Many years ago I bought some little Polish chickens. I ordered them by mail and they arrived mad. They grew into a cute little family all except for one. "Spike" We was a wild little man and set up an instant dislike for anything that looked human. He claimed the barnyard and protected it with great zeal. To the point that the children were afraid to go to the barn to ride their ponies.
"Spike" would hide in the barnyard when he saw us coming then he would run out from his spot and spur us in the backside. I could almost always catch him and would stick him in the water trough until he cried uncle. The second that I turned him loose he would attack again. He was one of the few things that never like life on our farm. He was one of the cleanest chickens we ever had though. LOL He didn't end up in a pot, but did go to another home with the man that owned the feed store.
I couldn't pass this up. I have a good friend with a chicken story. She's not a DGer, so I'll tell it. You have to understand, she has the softest heart of anyone I've known. All the strays in town seem to end up on her doorstep and for good reason. She has rescued, re-homed, and hunted down lost owners. She doesn't discriminate- cats, birds, dogs, even spiders. She once called me crying because the kids' pet frog was on his last legs:-) Don't worry, she called everyone under the sun to find out what could be done. He pulled through. So, about the chicken-
One day my friend was on her way to the local Walmart and sees this chicken running around the parking lot doing its best to get run over by an SUV. Overcome with concern, she parks the car and begins chasing the chicken. She desperately tries to catch it or shoo it out of danger. That is amusing enough to imagine. What was funny, was her fellow Walmart shoppers. "Is that your chicken?" "There goes your chicken" and "Did you lose your chicken?" The chicken ran into the wooded area behind the store. Been spotted a few times since hanging out back there. We spent a good week coming up with one liners. 'Here's your sign' style. One I can remember, "No, he's an escapee from KFC across the street."
Of course it reminds me of something that happened to me a few weeks ago.
My mother lives in a little retirement community. They have a large lake which is usually full of ducks and wild geese.
On this particular day we had a heavy rain leaving major puddles in the middle of all the roads. As we were coming home driving on the 4 lane highway near Mothers home I watched as the car in front of me ran through a puddle in the middle of the right lane of the highway. It was filled with baby ducks taking their first swim. The car ran over three of the babies and Mother duck was frantic trying to get the dead ones to move, while the other 6 or so babies were busy swimming.
Of course I stopped my car dead in the middle of the highway blocking traffic, much to the anger of the drivers in the cars behind me. I jumped out and chased the ducks out of the puddle in the road , got them on to the grass and started back towards the lake. I moved the car out of the road and parked it where I could herd the little family back to the safety of the real lake. I never saw the babies again but hope that they had a good life after that day. I got a lot of Not-so-Friendly "Waves" when I did move my car. I really don't think that the other drivers saw the baby ducks.
Wasn't Spike a handsome devil! Appropriate name too... People are generally good hearted but Betty you have me beat! Spike would have been hard NOT to hold under water, like for a day or two... : ). Nice to know people care, even about ducks but who doesn't love babies!
My grandparents raised chickens but we children were never allowed in the chicken yard, so I really didn't know that much about them...My first personal experience with a chicken was when some "friend" rescued a white rooster from the road where it had fallen off of a chicken truck. The friend "still don't know who it was) decided that I lived in the perfect location to take care of this critter and dropped it off in my fenced back yard. Honestly, when I came home, I wasn't too surprised. We were often being left animals to rescue. The chicken was still young and its sex was undetermined in the beginning. I already had a cat and a dog or two and the chicken just made itself at home. It would roost on the fence and eat with the dog and cat. As it got older and larger, they all developed a game of "tag" around the perimeter of the fence. The dog and cat would chase the chicken - grab a feather and then the chicken would turn and chase them! It was hilarious to watch and nothing was ever really harmed (the chicken almost never had tail feathers). One morning I awoke to a loud crowing! Yep, the chicken was a rooster but truly believed he was a dog! There was a "path" around the fence that had been worn down by their daily chase. The games of tag continued until one day my precious dauchsund, Oscar, got a little rough with Mr Rooster and the rooster spurred him (tore his left ear to pieces - he still has the scar!) and proceeded to fly up to the fence and crow with pride! Needless to say the games stopped after that. The rooster realized he was a chicken and Oscar obviously vowed vengence after that. There was no more eating out of the same bowl or sleeping together. I built a pen and acquired some hens to keep Mr. Rooster happy and occupied but sure did miss the frolic of the identity-challenged crew!
When he was in high school, he worked on his Aunt & Uncle's farm one summer and was of the chores was feeding the chickens. He spent the summer training the roosters to eat out of his hand and jump on his shoulder (unbeknownst to my great Aunt).
At the end of the summer he went back home to go to school and Aunt Pat had to start feeding the chickens. When she went into the chicken yard, the roosters tried to jump up on her arms & shoulders and she thought they were attacking like Orsens Wells' the birds. She went running out of the chicken house screaming -- and boy did my dad get an earful!
Cool birds Jozeeben. They look like they just washed their feathers and can't do a thing with them! I was only used to the plain label generic chickens. These guys and Spike are too neat looking. What kind are these.
And... I have no doubt your Dad hadn't planned the attack of the chickens but he probably still grins at the thought.
Msfarmergirl, Not bad enough to have friends like that! You were compassionate enough to entertain Mr Rooster with his own 'ladies'. I like it!
msfarmergirl, do you still have Oscar? I have a dachshund now named PeeWee. He is the love of my life. He expends so much energy protecting me from all kinds of peril... like the kids riding their bikes down the street, the dog in the next door yard, etc. :0
Flwrlady, yes we do have Oscar and he is VERY protective of me. He now has a little girl friend named Sissy. Oscar has been my baby for so long that I don't know what I'd do without him. He really should be kept inside but he's like his "momma" in that he gets depressed if we don't let him stay out during the summer. He loves chasing rabbits and squirrels and the cat (she loves it too and gives as good as she gets). He has his own chair whenever he comes in. Its funny when folks come to the house - they are hesitant about our big "yard dog", Lucky who wouldn't hurt a fly and ignore Oscar...big mistake. He always greats everyone with a wagging tail and an beg for a pet, but they better not get too close to me until I let him know they are ok. If the DH is agreeable, we may let him ride with us to the RU. He loves to go on trips and begs to ride the motorcycle. During colder weather, I put him inside my mc jacket, zip it up and he sticks his little head out and looks around (drives DH crazy when he reaches up and licks him on the ear when we are going down the road - too funny)
I can tell by looking that Oscar is much larger than PeeWee, although they are both black!
Earlier this week it rained a lot, and the power went off. Peewee can't stand to get his feet wet... but I went out on the front porch to just watch it rain... Peewee was NOT happy in my arms, because the rain kept blowing on him. So I put him inside my teeshirt and let his head stick out the neck (with mine LOL), sat down and cuddled him. He was totally content, THAT way!! He's a piece of work, that PeeWee!!
I found one of those in my yard digging up my ginger and lillies again today. He's been visiting every day and apparently staying the night in my backyard. Took him back to the owner, and she hadn't noticed that he was gone for 2 days, and she didn't care. This has been a very consistant pattern for about a month. Next time he comes over (I give it til noon tomorrow) I'm going to start looking for a new home for him. Any takers?
Poor baby, why do some people have pets. Last year, Oscar went "hunting" and was gone longer than ususal and I went nuts looking for him. By the time I got back home, he was lying on the front porch looking all innocent. If he was gone for two days, I'd bring out the community for an all-out search!
Flwrlady, Oscar is a registered "minature" and Sissy is not registered (a gift from a friend) but her parents are minature and she is much smaller so I'm not sure about the purity of Oscar's genes but we love him anyway!
Oops, this thread is supposed to be about chickens...did I do it again?
Another old pic. The goat is Bubba (we had to sell him last year) and the rooster is VW (I can't spell the German word for volkswagon but that WAS his name) He was a German Hamburg. Beautiful rooster but he was run off by another rooster. They DO that you know.
Just make sure you can keep them in the chicken house. I've decided I can either have chickens or flowers but not both. I love the eggs (they are WONDERFUL in cakes and such) but while I was gone to my daughter's wedding, they scratched up my heucheras and astilbes! Can't decide if its the goose or the dogs that are breaking off my hydrangea leaves???
They are amusing and I'm quite attached to a few of them...but there are days...
Oooooh, my. Don't let my DH see Regis! He has always wanted a peacock! I'd like to have one too -if we had a fence.
They are beautiful. How did you ever get use to his call? or is that just the peahens that make that "woman-screaming" noise?
It's just the males that scream. After raising three children I say "What scream??" LOL The neighbors may think something else, but I have lived here longer than any of the other neighbors and I had peacocks before any of the neighbors moved in. Most neighbors say that they enjoy hearing him but some of their guest are surprised when they hear the screams.
The screaming only goes on during the breeding season which starts about the first of March and ends when the male looses his tail feathers usually the end of July. The new tail grows out during the winter and then come the first of March the screaming starts again. They make fun pets and don't need to be fenced in. They are great bug hunters, "Regis" loves Japanese beetles and he will jump in the air to catch them.
"Regis" is getting quite old and DH says "No More Peacocks". I just laugh when he says that. The Peacocks were here before him too. LOL
The fertilizer can be a problem. Regis has slept on the same limb, in the same tree, facing the same direction for most of his life. His tree just happens to be over the spot where guest park. I always direct overnight guest on how to park to avoid decorations on their car the next morning LOL
Ahhhh, peacocks. One of my earliest memory is staying the night with my grandma and listening to the screams from a nearby peacock farm. Wow. That was before my grandfather died, and I couldn't have been but 5. They are so pretty, but man they made so much noise!!!
I forgot to say Regis sleeps in a tree just outside our bedroom window. His screaming has never bothered us. I did get up at 3:00 AM one night DH held the flashlight while I shot a crowing rooster out of a tree with a BB gun. Now THAT WAS LOUD. LOL