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?



super chicken no more
February 28, 2012, 10:59 am
Filed under: chickens, edwina | Tags: , , , , , ,

Very sad news on the farm today. Edwina, super chicken, is no more.

Edwina, March 9, 2009-February 28, 2012

She’d been losing weight for a while and was unable to keep her food down. She’d have good days and not so good ones. At last I brought her inside for some TLC. She spent her last day in the box in the house snoozing and being hand fed. The other chickens are mean to a lowly bird–and I couldn’t stand seeing her being attacked and pushed around. She was so weak she couldn’t jump out of the run, and spent her last night in the coop sleeping in the nest box. Poor thing.
We took her to the vet this morning. The vet surmised that she had some kind of a tumor, or bound egg perhaps, that led to her crop infection and poor health. We opted out of having X-rays and more bloodwork done as it was more stress for the bird. We had her put to sleep and buried her in the yard. Rest in peace little buddy.

She was my special bird. My garden buddy. So keen for worms she’d get on top of the shovel. She was independent and always off in search of good eats. She was a lean machine, not a lap chicken, but friendly nevertheless. She was somewhere in the middle of the flock. Her voice was unique–like a trumpet! Edwina you will be missed!

baby edwina second from the right.

Edwina at 3 months

hot edwina, august 2009

Edwina checking the treat bowl

edwina getting her clean on

edwina many happy afternoons foraging

edwina in the coop

edwina super chicken

edwina in the hospice box

how not to name your chicken
September 2, 2010, 8:28 pm
Filed under: chickens, liz | Tags: , , ,

Think carefully, because I think we’re finding that the chickens kind of match their names. So think twice before you name your chicken Queen Elizabeth the Third. Naturally she is a beautiful thing. But she is also a bit snooty. She doesn’t deign to lay eggs–that’s below her class. Instead she wanders around, kind of clueless as to what the other chickens are up to. She does her own thing on her own schedule.

Where’s Liz? is our common question. All of the other chickens have returned, but she is off in la la land checking out her domain, or preening her yellow feathers. She is our lap chicken. She will peck at your legs until you pick her up and then she will hunker down and have a nice comfy nap on your lap.

And today when all of the other chickens zip over to get a hand out of grain, what does our Liz do? Well it’s nap time. The bright sunshine requires a nice stretch out and snooze. I don’t hear anyone calling, do you? I do wish they would shut up and they are interrupting my pleasant dreams. Are you getting a theme here? Our nap chicken.

And so, rather than clumsily trundle through the grass, why should she get her nice huge white feet dirty, after all, instead she waits for her first class ride. She’ll take a ride any day. And she’s the only chicken who you can transport with one hand under her body, her legs hanging down casually, her wings kind of outstretched. She is so relaxed because this is her birthright. No one would ever drop the Queen!!

are you sure I belong in here with these chumps?

naturally the all chicken band was called liz and the turdettes

i may be the lowest chicken in the pecking order but i rule those goats!

i do NOT like the cold, get me a heat lamp please!

up where I belong