Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meet the kids.

Here they are, the stars of the chicken yard!

April 23, 2011, the day they were born.  Goldie was hatched on a heating pad a few days later.  Left to right: Pretty, Lucy and Tiny.

Goldie Hawn, or Goldie for short

Lucille Ball, or Lucy for short

Pretty.  I think it's a rooster, so Pretty Boy, maybe?

Tiny - this one is pure Campine.
Goldie and Pretty on my lap at bedtime.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chicken rituals

It takes me at least a half hour to put the chickens to bed for the night now.  It's those four little chicks.  They are so adorable!  All are still doing well, and now they have names - the reddest of the four is Lucille Ball.  A beautiful cross between a Buff Orpington and a Campine is called Pretty.  The most beautiful of all is another Buff / Campine cross, and I have named her Goldie Hawn.  Then there is Tiny.  I think this one is full blooded Campine.  She is quite ugly - her neck feathers still have not come in, nor have her tail feathers.  I don't know if there is some genetic mix-up going on, or if she is just staying in her gangly teens a little longer than the others.  She is far smaller, but that is to be expected if she is truly a Campine.  Her neck also seems very long - and being nearly devoid of feathers, it is not a pretty sight.  I thought of calling her Giraffe, but she deserves better than that, so she is just Tiny.

I always put the food troughs into the Moop at night - no sense in attracting any wild critters to the chicken run.  Then I add a little feed, and the big chickens make a run for their bedtime snack.  But the little ones stay out a bit, finding some bits of stray feed on the ground that they don't have to fight for, since the older birds are all in the Moop by then.

I sit on the back step and wait on the little ones to finish their snacks.  Then one by one, they fly onto my lap, even Tiny.  And if you have followed my blog, then you know that is very unusual, as Campines are very friendly - but at a distance!  None of that touchy-feely stuff for them!!  Tiny was the last one to start sitting on my lap, but now she is usually the first one to alight.  From my lap, it is a short flight to my shoulder, and then to my head.  Soon all four of them are on my various body parts, talking to me, chirping directly into my ear, telling me stories that I can't understand. 

All of a sudden, I realize that I have just spent a half hour or more on a job that should have taken five minutes at most.  But it isn't a job.  It is such a lovely way to end the day, and I look forward to it as much as Tiny, Goldie, Lucy and Pretty do.

I have said it once and I will say it again - everyone needs a few chickens.  It is the first step to world peace.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Sam has completed all of his treatments.  In case you didn't read my earlier post, he was starving to death, and the vet couldn't figure out why.  He had prepared me for Sam's passing, and it was really ripping me up.  I am very fond of Sam, truly a gentle giant.  When Dr. Rock was here about ten days ago, he suddenly said, "I want to check his tongue."  It seems that Sam got a rare disease called Wooden Tongue, which is just what it sounds like.  His tongue was so hard that he could no longer graze, and finally even getting his oats down was almost impossible.  The good news is that it is very treatable.  He immediately put Sam on penicillin and some vitamins while he waited for the anti-fungal medicine to come in.  It would have to be given intravenously.

He got his i.v. a few days later.  It was administered into his jugular vein, and it was a four person operation.  Ren, who was there for her first day of helping in garden, got pulled into the barn because we needed a fourth set of hands.  I stood by Sam's hip to keep him from moving, Kayla held the rope to the halter, which was pulled through a heavy post, to keep his head and neck steady, and Dr. Rock put the needle into the jugular.  Ren held the bottle up high so that gravity would do its work, and a few minutes later, Sam was free to leave.

He is eating and eating and eating!  He is not one bit interested in those oats, which was about the only food he was able to take when he was at his sickest.  He is loving that grass!  Bovines are ruminants, and they are really not made to eat oats.

Dr. Rock checked Sam over and said the misplaced stomach had already righted itself, even before the i.v.  So the penicillin and the vitamins must have done their job while we were waiting for the anti-fungal medicine to arrive.

I am so very relieved!  Here is one of my favorite pictures of Sam, wooing Rosie last summer.  He always courts his girls, no "wham bam thank you ma'am" when Sam is on duty!  I'm also including two pictures of Sam, one about six weeks ago, and another from last summer, before all of this started.  I can hardly wait for him to look like "last summer Sam" again!!!

Rosie and Sam on a date!

Sam six weeks ago, very sick.

Sam last summer, very healthy