Frozen chicken

Papa Crab is out there trying to prevent our chickens from freezing. So far so good.

Growing lights for starting seeds work just as well at preventing chickens from icing up!
Growing lights for starting seeds work just as well at preventing chickens from icing up!

Now we are 3

I had a bad feeling this morning.  It is HOT here and my chickens aren’t enjoying it.  At dinner time I looked over at the coop and saw a chicken just sitting there.  “Odd,” I thought.  After dinner I looked again and the chicken was in the same position.  “Well, that must be a dead chicken,” I thought again.  Indeed, I was right.  I’m not sure if it was Houdini or Sarge, but she was as dead as dead could be. HP came over and helped me to give her a proper burial.

I thought I would post a little story I wrote for another friend’s blog last January as a tribute to my poor heat-stroked chicken:

My chickens, the loveable bird-brains. 
We live in the city and we always have things happening in our neighborhood.  Some good.  Some bad.  We thought we would spice our lives up a little by getting 4 Buff Orpington chickens and building an A-frame coop.  Our backyard is literally the size of a postage stamp so we thought, “Well, the chickens need more room.  Let’s give them this whole corner.” Spoiled rotten, they are.  
But, they gave us 4 eggs a day.  And we would eat all sorts of delectible things.  They were the best pets because they literally gave us gifts every day.  Have you ever panned for gold in Colorado?  I have and got nothing.  But here I would reach into the nesting box and would discover one, two, three, four eggs!  My little golden nuggets.
Bertha is the head chicken.  She is m-e-a-n to the others and I don’t like her.  However, she’s the boss. When she doesn’t lay the others don’t lay.
Then there is Houdini.  She is so named because she is the one who always escapes over the fence.
The end of the pecking order is Rose.  She is a pretty golden brown and is so very dumb, but sweet.
Then, there is the hen who has earned her keep.  That would be Sarge.  
My husband and I went out for dinner to a fancy restaurant this past October to celebrate our anniversary.  We got home around 11:00 and could hear the chickens squawking up a storm!  They normally go to bed when the sun goes down so we knew something was amiss!  Sarge was sounding an alert!  My husband was in his suit and ran to the back corner (which took .0 seconds because our backyard is so small it’s our frontyard) to find a possum leave the coop and climb up on the chicken fence!  Well, my husband did what every suited man would do and round-house kicked that possum!  The nasty animal fell to the ground and, I kid you not, my husband said, “I think he’s dead.” “He’s not dead!” I exclaimed, “he’s playing possum!!”  I was right.  I will now spare you the gory details which involve sticks and shovels but that possum ended up in the alley and disappeared overnight.  He had not hurt the chickens but had gotten into and cracked their eggs.  No more leaving the coop door open past sleepy time!  Sarge had saved the day!  I almost hugged her, but I was in heels.
Well, those spoiled chickens (ingrates I tell you!) started molting in late October and decided not to lay any longer.  When a chicken molts it looks like there has been a pillow fight in the yard and the pillow lost.  We have now been without farm fresh eggs for over 2 months.  I told the girls they would be made into stew.  Nothing.  I placed an order for 4 new chicks.  Not a thing.
Yesterday, we discovered this in the nesting area: 
Oh, alright.  I’ll let them stay a little bit longer.

9 degrees of separation

It is 9 degrees here and my Buff Orpington chickens are huddled in their coop. They are fortunate that they were born with their own down comforter otherwise I’m not so sure I wouldn’t be eating chicken for dinner tomorrow.
Chickens? Yes, it’s a representation of my foray into the world of living outside my comfort zone. Plus, it makes my life more interesting. They have actually proven to be excellent pets. I give them water, food, grit, straw, and an awesome coop and I get eggs in return. It isn’t exactly a zero sum solution – I’m in the red and they are definitely in the black (although today they might be in the blue with chattering beaks). But the eggs are delicious and it has been rewarding taking care of FOUR chickens. I just hope they survive this cold!