Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

The Chicken Chronicles – An Update

on June 12, 2012

Since I finished the Chicken Chronicles series this spring, we’ve had some more stories and adventures with our chickens…

Where’s Pepper?

You may recall from an earlier post that our silkie chickens were given to us by our neighbors.  Salt and Pepper had grown and started laying last fall.  Salt, the white silkie, endured molting in the spring, and she rarely joined the others in the yard, seeming to prefer her small cubby inside the chicken house.  I would not have been surprised if we went in one day to find her lifeless.  But, she has recovered and is back to normal, enjoying yard time with the others.

In her absence, Pepper had come to be more independent, and I enjoyed watching her in the yard as the only chicken alone.  She seemed confident, and she was developing a personality that I really liked.  With her feathered legs and fuzzy top not, she may have been becoming my favorite.

Pepper – I’ll miss her.

As Mother’s Day approached, our neighbor’s son came to visit his mom, and they asked to see the chickens.  He hadn’t seen them since the year before when they were just chicks.  They went out back and found Pepper (a.k.a. Kevin/Kevina) dead in the chicken run.  She had been fine the day before, and there was no sign of what may have caused her death.

Now we had nine chickens.

Saying Goodbye to Wilhelmina

Not long after that, my husband and other neighbor thought that Wilhelmina might be suffering from being egg bound.  Since it had been several weeks (maybe months – I’ve had other things on my mind this spring.) since she had laid an egg, and she did seem uncomfortable, they decided to put her down.  I feel her loss even more than Pepper’s.  I think it may be because she was the first chicken we really named.  She was the first one to show me that chickens had fun personalities.

Wilhelmina left a legacy.

She helped me become excited about having chickens – beyond those few weeks with the cute, fuzzy chicks and beside the benefits of having fresh eggs.  Now with only eight chickens remaining, and Wilhelmina and Pepper not among them, the yard seems quite empty.

New Daredevils

This spring, we got five new chicks.  They have grown to be nearly full-sized birds now.  But, this is the next generation.  They don’t know the stories of Thelma and Louise, and as adolescents, they must be looking for ways to rebel.  The black chicken decided to jump over into the neighbor’s yard one day, but chose a day when the big dogs were not outside.  (I was somewhat excited about this because this behavior could at least give us some ideas for names, and the chicken was safe, so there was no harm.)

I thought Black Bandit might be our only dare-devil chicken, but later, the newest white chicken jumped into our other neighbors’ yard.  Their two Chihuahuas seemed unalarmed and harmless, though she did panic when my husband worked to corral her and return her to our yard.  I think she’ll always have trust issues now.

A few days ago, we closed the door to the chicken house for the night, thinking everyone was in.  My husband and I were enjoying the summer evening with our daughters outside.  Suddenly, we heard a combination of chicken squawking, dogs running, and our neighbor screaming, “Drop it!  Drop it!”  Chad ran to try to help, and the buff-colored chicken was returned to the yard with many fewer feathers and a slight limp but otherwise apparently fine.

Ironically, the only two chickens from this year’s addition that haven’t attempted an escape have been the Rhode Island Reds.  Perhaps Thelma and Louise did somehow leave a warning, at least to their own breed.

The chickens are on lock-down, confined to their luxury chicken house, until further notice.

One response to “The Chicken Chronicles – An Update

  1. […] seems to be the busy time for changes in the hen house, and this year is no different.  Since Pepper and Wilhelmina died, we’ve just been enjoying our eight hens and the eggs they’ve produced throughout […]

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