Friday, November 2, 2012

Orleanna :-(

I found Orleanna dead in the run on Wednesday of this week. It's so unsettling when it happens. Her eyes were closed and it seems age or illness got her, peacefully. She was one of our first chicks and part of my batch I named with Southern Belle names. Hers was the first name to come to me, based on Orleanna Price from The Poisonwood Bible. The only one left now is Blanche. She was my daughter's favorite for her calm energy and beauty.

RIP Orleanna.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Use your imagination on this one

Two men working on electrical. One daughter only somewhat engaged. Three dogs. One dentist and vet appointment. And a Chicken Coop Tour going on. That's why I have no photos to post! We had probably over 100 people stop by yesterday - a steady stream of people, from apartment dwellers with plans for the future to fellow coop owners. Questions about insulation. Questions about roosters. Funny stories about roosters. Questions about noise. Smell. Breed-specific questions. Information on hand-mixed feed. All kinds of questions and all kinds of information. Even invitations to parties!

It was a gorgeous, 70-something day and lots of fun. At one point, every person in the yard was wearing a coop tour T-shirt. That's the picture I wish I had taken - so pretend that's what you're seeing here. Good times!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Marcy did the art work

It's true. We geek out all over the Twin Cities with the Chicken Coop Tour. What the heck. It's all for fun.

Here is the artwork my daughter created for the T-shirts. (Yes, we even print up T-shirts!)

Marcy drew the art for our T-shirts.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fall 2012 Twin Cities Chicken Coop Tour this Saturday!

We're finally going to be be on the tour, not just going to visit other coops.

This is how our Facebook page turned out. I made Smirnoff the star of the show.

Blanche continues as usual

Hanging out just outside the run and sleeping in her loft, Blanche continues her lifelong mean streak, unfazed by the crows and unaffected by West Nile.

Observation: the meanest birds live the longest.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Now the hawks Blanche the crows

Three juvenile hawks and the gang of crows were going at it this morning. The crows, as usual, were doing their heckling thing. And the hawks were going all Blanche on them. (See Blanche attack post.) The hawks wanted to get some baby squirrels but the crows wouldn't let them. In any event, there was a lot of cawing and chasing, including talons out front, this morning. I don't know what these crows are up to but I can't blame Blanche for opening up a can of you-know-what of them.
Two of the three in the Hawks vs Crows show down this morning.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blanche goes postal

Now that I look back on it, it seems inevitable. But the day before yesterday, my daughter came home to find Blanche straddling an injured crow, pecking its bleeding head. My nephew and Marcy brought the crow to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. It turns out the injured crow had West Nile Virus and crows are carriers of it. It ended up dying, poor thing. While the rehab center didn't draw blood to test for it, the crow exhibited all the symptoms of West Nile, so they dubbed it "a candidate." Given that its election cycle, I felt compelled to ask what that meant.

A small gang of crows has been coming by twice a day for months now. They would heckle the flock - cawing at them, tipping over water dishes and eating food outside the run.

Blanche, since she's allowed to free range, has been giving the gang what for. But I never thought she'd just go ballistic on them.

I worried that the virus would transfer to Blanche and then to the flock. But so far, so good. According to Wayne at the U of MN extension service, chickens don't really get West Nile.

So, chickens 1, crows 0.

And Blanche continues her mean streak.

The gang of crows discuss the Blanche attack.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pysanky, part two: New market for eggs

Every art teacher hopes that what they teach will catch fire with a kid's creativity. That's what happened when Peg taught Marcy to do Ukrainian eggs. The girl can't stop! She loves doing intricate designs. And we certainly have plenty of eggs for her to use.

We are lucky to live within biking distance of the Ukrainian Gift Shop, on Fairview. Marcy has been biking over our eggs and trading for dye and tips. The women there have been wonderful, and each time she stops in, they teach her something new. Plus, they love the eggs. They told us store-bought eggs are washed with a chemical that doesn't work as well with their dyes. Ours are straight from the chicken and are green, peach, small, large and give them lots of variety.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Which chicken are you?

Stevie Nicks: Beautiful. And LOUD.

Which chicken are you?

It's been a very busy week for Nina Totenberg, what with the Supreme Court upholding Health Care Reform. Lots to report, lots to check in on, lots of investigation.

Nina Totenberg turns out to be aptly named. She is always the first to peek around the corner at me when I check for eggs. When I open the door, she's the first to hop in from the run to see what's up. She's always checking up on her fellow hens. Busy, busy, busy. Hard to get a photo of her that's not blurry.

This blog post brought to you in Smell-O-Vision

What's that? You don't smell anything, you say? That's right, because we cleaned the entire run today. I believe it's called mucking. In any event, we dug down deep, threw it over the fence, put down diatomaceous earth and fresh wood shavings. The hens are happy and are taking dirt baths like crazy. We needed to do this for a while now. The earth in the run had become compacted and was not smelling very good on rainy days.

I had been thinking, that once my daughter goes to college, I'd like to get some land somewhere, and some alpacas. The amount of work yesterday's cleaning took, however, changed my mind. It felt good to do it and get it done, but we are sore today.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Py- what? Well, that's what you call Ukrainian egg decorating and our friend Peg, who is also our best egg customer, taught us how to do it today. Betty White layed a triple yolker so I used that one first.

South Africa

This being a blog about animals, I thought I should mention another reason for my absence. On October 30, for 10 days, we went to South Africa. What an AMAZING place. Animals all over. Here are some:

Previously, I have posted pictures taken with the Hipstamatic app. Now, there is Snapseed. You can grunge or drama or vintage your pictures after you've taken them. Way cool.

It's been a while since I've posted but that is just because I started working again, not that anything happened to the chickens. In fact, one day, I found 17 eggs in the nesting boxes. Since we have 17 chickens, I am going to give each one of them credit.