Chipper Chooks Update

lining up to go inside at sundown during their first week home. Marigold was already inside. She's almost always first.

For over two weeks our three chickens have been home. In that time, they have given us 15 eggs. That’s one egg a day, but yesterday was the first day we received two (a nice surprise!) This is what’s known as a Winter production level… in the Spring they’ll each be laying 5-6 eggs a week. The past two weekends I’ve whipped up some amazing omlettes for the entire family. Daniel and I were amazed both times with the mental clarity we feel after eating them. I don’t know if it’s the vitamin D or what, but it’s one of the best cures for the cloudy day droopies. We seriously feel more mentally and physically energized and healthy after eating them.

It was strange eating our omlettes this morning, and looking out the kitchen window to see that Petunia went inside to lay another egg. It’s a sweet cycle, considering we’re feeling so much affection for the birds, and they’ve really warmed up to us. This past week we got them to come up and eat out of our hands using dry oatmeal (one of their favorites). Whenever I walk outside, they come running toward me with their little, excited squawks. Yesterday, I threw in some leftover Thanksgiving stuffing and they went to town! They’re very happy birds.

I’m still generally getting to know the species- their habits, temperaments and intelligence. Like all birds and wild animals, they are very in tune with the cycles of night and day. At sundown, they line up on the long plank ladder, and very slowly walk inside. Sometimes they stop and sit, seeming to gaze at the sunset while the birds behind them wait patiently to go in. They are an incredibly patient and calm animal… they could teach us humans a thing or two. Once inside, they gather around under a lamp I have hanging inside the house to trick their brains into thinking they’re getting more sunlight (this keeps up egg production during Winter months). I shut the door and hear them squawking to each other for a couple of hours while pecking at the floor for grains. Then I turn the light out, and they automatically jump up to sleep on their roosting poles. Chickens don’t sleep on the floor, they’re more clean and civilized than that :>

One of my favorite times of day are mornings because I get to open their door and greet each one as they file out one by one. Daniel, who was hesitant and a bit nervous about having chickens, has grown to adore them. He has what he calls his own “chicken talk” whenever he interacts with them. They are such fun, extremely low-maintenance animals, and we could all watch them for hours. One of the most funny things is to throw in something like an apple core or uncooked sweet potato, and watch one hen grab it and run. The others run after her, fanatically trying to get a peck at it while it’s still on her beak. She drops it to take a peck, and then another hen grabs it and runs, and the cycle continues… it’s hilarious!

So far, I haven’t had to refill their food dispenser, and only once refilled their water. I’ve removed their coop bedding once, and wheeled it over the compost pile. It’s was pretty effortless, and I’m finding that chicken poo dries out quickly. It turns into what looks more like dried grassy chunks, and it’s odor is minimal. Nothing like cat or dog poo, that’s for sure! I enjoy fluffing up and refreshing the straw in their coop, and it’s something that draws me outside, which gets my brain more natural light this time of year. I have so much affection for these amazing creatures, and cannot wait to order some baby chicks in a month or two.

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