the directionally challenged chicken

It seems that I have a directionally challenged chicken. I discovered this just recently when I moved the chicken coop to another location in the yard. ‘Turn me around and I’m lost’ – a common saying among people-folk can be transferred to the chicken-folk it turns out.

There are pros and cons to the movable coop. Turning the grass to mud in more than one location is a benefit for sure. Just don’t move it too far at one time. It so happens that 4 metres was too far.

Korma isn’t the smartest chook around, but I began to really wonder at her abilities when we recently moved the coop. She was completely lost. The other two chicken-folk had long since found their way home, had something to eat and gone to bed. But not Korma.

I was going to have to catch her. We were a mirror of the other, both with arms and wings flailing, running a zigzag path, jumping, skidding, grappling and squawking … maybe I would be better off if she was true to her name, hot and spiced in the casserole dish.

After some time, she tried to roost in the low branches of a tree, close to where the coop used to be, and so I grabbed her. Able to return her to the coop, my directionally handicap chicken lives to see another day. But let that be a lesson to you, the further you move the coop, the more exercise you and your chicken will get.

Korma the lost chicken

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the bad egg

I had just made a lovely boiled egg breakfast, sat down and BAM! There is was, a bad egg, right there in my eggcup. I’ve never actually experienced a rotten egg before, and I use the term ‘experienced’ intentionally as the sight and smell of a bad egg are an experience. A stomach turning experience. But it made me wonder, what made this egg go bad and why don’t we find bad eggs in the supermarket carton?

An internet journey of discovery began.

So I typed “what makes an egg rotten” into my local search engine and got some stink-bomb recipes. So I typed, “how an egg becomes rotten”, and in one of the many forums I was offered there was a seemingly intelligent response about it having something to do with the white and the yolk mixing, someone else had replied with “gr8”. I stopped reading.

What I did find out is that it was possibly just a slightly more porous shell that allowed impurities to enter, some bacteria might have grown, I think the stink only stinks when mixed with air, and maybe, if your eggs are too warm for extended periods of time, it could contribute to and potentially result in a rotten egg, perhaps.

So, I’m none the wiser, but at least I know how to spell ‘great’.

a bad egg

bathing a chicken

Step one: Don the rubber gloves, elbow length if you can get them.
Step two: Enlist a ‘chicken holder’.
Step three: Get all your things together; a big bucket, lice wash, warm water and a dousing cup.
Step four: Show no fear. You don’t want to prance about like a sissy – not in front of your chicken and definitely not in front of the ‘chicken holder’.

You’re a poultry keeper – now act like it!

With my toes curled up inside my gumboots, I gave those lice a bath they will never forget. More accurately, one that they will never remember as most of them died. I used a natural enviro-friendly product called NeemPet Wash. It seems to be friendly with everything but lice.

who rules this roost?

Chicken Tikka the eccentric chookGinny quickly became the lady of the residence. Turns out she’s one strong willed chook. For a while I was scared to confront her on issues, like, whether or not she needed more sunflower seeds in her bowl, or whether or not today was going to be a free-range day. Is it possible for the the chicken to be higher in the pecking order than me?!

Tikka and Korma were settling in well. I learned that I couldn’t expect eggs until their crests grew big and red. But, at the same rate that Korma’s feathers grew long and shiny, Tikka’s were growing at random directions. She looked like a stumpy little ragamuffin. I wasn’t sure what was going on, so I just explained it as eccentric. And what made it worse is that she would slump down to the ground, seemingly incapable of doing chicken things.

We though she might have a mental disability. “We’re going to have to put her down”, I bemoaned.

Tikka and Korma had come from a produce supplier and hadn’t been handled as chicks so catching them was … impossible. And I mean impossible. On the occasion that they escaped the yard it took 4 people most of an hour to corral them back through the gate.

Getting hold of Tikka was one thing. Realising that she had a severe lice infestation was quite another. The stomach turning parasites had made cities under her wings and bed down clusters of eggs so big that her feathers had fused all around her tail.

Shock and horror!! The poor thing had come to me filled with fowl freeloaders and they were controlling her.

The solution was clear, these chickens were going to have a bath.

And I was going to rule this roost.

coming home

Keeping chickens fits with my love of self sufficiency, quality food, enriching life experiences and keeping pets.

Little did I know, coming home with a chicken in a box was to be the beginning of many fowl experiences. And I have to admit I wasn’t overly keen on birds at the time. Not that I ran shrieking, but their beady little eyes are unnerving and those feet, creepy, scaled, clawed.

At the local chook supplier, we had become blinded by the thrill of hobby-farmdom and purchased the only chicken for sale. A young and healthy looking ISA brown – who had gone off the lay.

She scratched about in the cardboard box in the boot of our hatchback. I grinned.

“Well, she’s either going to be called Ginny Weasley – a good girl who lays eggs. Or she’ll be Virginia Woolf – and will always be an independent woman”, Damian decided as we sat watching her explore the coop.

Two days later we had two Australorps, Tikka and Korma.

Purchasing chickens that come into ‘point of lay’ at the beginning of winter means, theoretically, that the chicken will continue to lay throughout the winter. Seemed plausible. So we had three chickens and no eggs.

For about a month, on daily inspections the coop was void of eggs, until one day we discovered that our good little ISA was called Ginny after all.

Ginny