turdacres


the curious way we think of animals

Today Pittsburgh is honoring a lost comrade..in a big way. Rocco the police dog was stabbed in the line of duty and ultimately passed away. He’s getting a big deal funeral, and police from all over the state are attending. People are alternately confused about the expense and trouble, or moved to tears about the story.

I guess I fall into both camps. Definitely moved to tears by the story, but also a bit confused about the big deal from a culture that doesn’t do much normally to honor animals. There was another sad animal story this past week, which was quite horrific. A large “egg farm” caught on fire. No the eggs don’t just produce themselves–there were around 300,000 hens in the barn at the time. Can you imagine? Horrific in death and in life. Apparently this farm keeps 2 MILLION hens. Sheesh. All those little lives. That brings many tears to my eyes.

Especially as I tend to my two spoiled egg laying (sometimes) charges. Knuckles and Bubbles have the cabin fever. They’ve been so cold this winter.

Yo, how's about you turn the heat up?

Yo, how’s about you turn the heat up?

Here they sat one morning last week, up on the roost right under the heat lamps. They were actually shivering! Poor chums. But at 20 degrees they’re ready to party. I head out to the run and they’re at the door waiting to break loose.

It’s very icy on top of the snow, and I can’t actually open the back door of the barn (which I usually leave open so the chickens could return home if they wanted). SO….yes I give them a free ride to the barn (their little chicken heads bobbing, sometimes telling me a tale).

One at a time, I carry them across the frozen yard to the barn, where they can spend the afternoon scratching around in straw and enjoying themselves. Yes I’m that person, some kind of crazy chicken lady. Not sure how it happened, but at 4 pm, you can find me, carrying a chicken back to the coop, hoping that she enjoyed her day out on the town.

I’m happy that a police dog is getting a big fancy funeral. I see lots of changes out there in how we treat our animals. Sure there are many many contradictions in how we do it, but as long as we are generally moving towards a greater appreciation of life, it’s good, right?

 

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how do you know when to turn on the heat lamp?
February 9, 2012, 8:08 pm
Filed under: chickens, goats, knuckles, liz

Them chickens is cold tonight! Look at them all in a pile. Actually they like to start out this way every night. It’s a big showdown to see who gets the best spot on the roof over their nest box. Silly chickens. I thought it was pretty funny how they were arranged tonight–head to toe!

pile of chickens

"that's right, i'm on top of the pile tonight," knuckles

I always look in on them when I go out to close their pop door. Sometimes I give them a pet. Knuckles, normally so friendly and sweet, likes to give me a peck or two–telling me hey lady don’t make me lose my spot here! That’s what she was saying in picture #2 I think.

The girls had a brief outing before dark today. There was a bit of snow on the ground, so they did the expedition walk–following one another in a line. So cute!

making the trek to the barn

liz stayed home as she doesn't like to get her feet wet!

While the chickens were enjoying a barn patrol, the goaties and the doode and me took a walk.

check out the dongo's beard!!!



chickens nearly three years old!

Some stuff fell in behind a drawer in the kitchen today so i couldn’t shut the drawer. Lo and behold lookee what I found under there!!

5 chickens from ohio

Hard to believe you could put a price on our little flock, but there it is. Five little bundles of joy, all for 2.53 a piece! (2.70 for the mean but beautiful Bubbles!).

Let’s take a look back at the little cherubs as they near their 3rd birthday!! Can you believe it?

There's Bubbles on the left upper corner second from the top.

here's another shot of bubbles with liz and a barred rock butt

liz telling bubbles to sample life outside the box. notice edwina looking for something. she hasn't had her first worm yet!

What a great adventure it’s been. It’s good to remind us of the old days, as we’re contemplating another run west to get another mini-flock this spring! Are you planning on getting some chickens this year?? I’d love to hear about it!



cocks comb

Sometimes you have a day of strangeness at the acres.

Yesterday was that day. Spent the morning with the plumber. He’s a nice guy, and he loves chickens. He has 25 of his own. Correction: He started with 25. Now he has 10. On a one acre lot. He talked about losing them in traffic, losing them to hawks, losing 5 to the 2 jack russell terriers next door, losing them to rooster attacks. Ugh not pretty. Then he was talking about how he wound up with 5 roosters. Warning–if a lady at a farm show is selling straight run and you want pullets–do not buy!! Especially when she says, hey i’m really good at sexing chicks. She used a a key and a thread, he said. I’m thinking huh? about all the ways you might use those things to sex a chick, and then he says, yeah the males will run over to the shiny object. OMG!! Yep he bought it, and wound up with 5 roosters, who later terrorized his kids, jumped on the back of his neighbor, attacked each other, ugh, terrible.

So he has to kill them. No one wants them. He tries. But no one wants them. They’re 2 year old roosters. And they’re mean. So he dispatches them with a hatchet, and then has his wife cook them up. He said it was so traumatic (and this from a guy who gets most of his protein from deer that he bow hunts and dresses himself??!) that he will never forget it.

Ugh. That’s for real man.

So…on to dinner. Or, the unreal! We have a work dinner with an out of town guest and we go to a fancy new place called Salt. Except that it’s NA/CL, you know. And that really sets us up. This is one of these places with lots of the latest ingredients and techniques going on. Foams, home preserved weird things, no substitutions on the menu. No tea on the menu, because they can’t get local tea, no decaf coffee on the “coffee programme” but the coffee (tasmanian peaberry in a french press) is locally roasted so that’s ok. Anyhow, lots of stories about lots of ingredients. Peach shrub? Apparently a shrub is not a bush but an old method of preserving fruit and vinegar to make into a soda syrup (this one was unripe georgia peaches). On and on it goes. These waiters earn their keep for sure. And then the mains menu features cockscomb. Guy next to me says, what’s cockscomb? I say well you know there’s a flower called cockscomb, but that’s not what they’re serving. It’s you know, the floppy thing on a chicken’s head!!! Ohhhhh. The waitress informs us, yes that’s what it is, we cook it for three days!! Oh, you’d have to, says me. Sheesh. I think someone ordered it. It came on a rectangular plate as a row of jewel like pink slabs. I believe all the offending pointy bits had been cut off.

Sniff sniff, all those cute little points that help you identify who’s who. To tell the difference between spanky and knuckles our two barred rocks. Sniff sniff. At least five little chicken heads served to one guest at an overwrought pretentious restaurant in the burgh. Sigh.

We’re so precious, I know. And living in a precious time. Here’s a funny video that captures some of this. It’s pretty funny!! And yes we actually have TWO of those shopping bags featured at the end. Picked up during our visit to San Fran in the spring! No prius here, but we have that weekly parking lot experience for sure!! (Also the 80.00 for six items thing too. sheesh)

Finally of course this whole evening reminded me terribly of Portlandia. What a great show. I just heard that they’re being picked up for another season. Last night’s dinner indicates that there is still a lot of crazy material from our precious yuppy world.



Birds have feelings..
May 5, 2011, 9:01 am
Filed under: bubbles, chickens, edwina, knuckles, liz | Tags: , , , ,

Thanks, some dude at Bristol, for doing a study about chicken’s feelings. Anyone who owns chickens can attest to the fact that not only do they feel empathy, but they feel annoyance, anticipation, etc etc.

Yesterday, for instance, I heard annoyance–poor knuckles got kicked out the nest box so that bubbles (the not so empathetic chicken) could have a go. Poor knuckles stood at the coop door broadcasting her displeasure to all in the turdacres domain. I’ve heard Liz make these distinctive (and screamingly loud) repetitive bu-gahs, and lately have seen a pushed out Edwina do them, and now Knuckles. Is it, oh my god hurry up! i need the nest box!! hurry up! There is definitely a chicken language. I wonder who’s studying that?



arctic explorers–chickens take a walk
February 18, 2011, 5:08 pm
Filed under: bubbles, chickens, edwina, knuckles, liz, spanky | Tags: ,

an icy road but adventure calls

4 set out, liz stays behind

they must stay on the path!

Will they make it? Will they find their goal? What is their goal, anyway?

they find nirvana!

Ah yes, a chance to scratch in the feed room. And,

and a sunny spot for a snooze!

Meanwhile, Liz stayed behind. She doesn’t like cold feet! Here’s what she had to say about it:

Silly chicken. She didn’t like being left alone, but there was no way she was going to freeze her huge toes. So, I ended up carrying her over to enjoy the sun for a few minutes. Spoiled chickens!



spring is coming- chickens on the lay
February 3, 2011, 12:26 pm
Filed under: bubbles, chickens, knuckles, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

After months of few eggs and molty looking chickens, imagine my surprise when i opened the coop door and saw this:

three in a box

The girls have been much happier too. Here’s knuckles being a clownpants:

hey shorty whatcha doin down there


yeah you. i see you!

She’s so cute that knuckles.

And then there’s Bubbles. She’s been very skittish this molty season. Now she’s back to her friendly inquisitive self.

pretty bubbles