Wednesday, March 26, 2014

hen and rooster

Yes, the rooster does crow. Not in the morning (so far as I can tell), but at midday. With closed windows, you can barely hear it, but he does like to vocalize for a few minutes at a time. Ed reaches into the fridge and takes a carton of eggs out to gift to our one and only one (thank goodness) neighbor. By way of introducing him to our new hobby. As if he needs an introduction! Yes, Oreo does occasionally like to sing.

But it's not Oreo who wakes us in the morning. It's Isis. Farm animals! You'd think they'd learn to sleep in.

After an early breakfast, a sunny, lovely breakfast of freshly baked granola...


... we go outside to check on "our" birds.

It's still cool now (after a low of 12F overnight) and so we really do not want to linger outdoors, but we get drawn in by their antics. Ed picks up Oreo so that I can inspect the rooster's bent-out-of-shape foot. And this prompts Ed to remark -- Hey, I've never held a chicken before. It is a singular moment.

After yesterday's excessive worry over every chick movement, today is more relaxing. For the most part, the whole project turns out to be not hard at all (once you are certain you have created a space for them that cannot be torn apart by predators -- which is a bigger headache than you might think).

Our two (so far) chickens are curious about their surroundings.


Very quickly they learn that there is a farmhouse and that I can let myself into it and leave them stranded. They want to understand how I do it.


May they never find out.

Though still a bit skittish, they are, over all friendly. When a friend stops by and stretches out in the sunshine, Lexie is right there to check him out.


Still, there are the question marks. A big one for me -- what will Isis say? He ignores them when they're in the coop, but he stares with his intense gaze when Ed parades him on his shoulder to the sheep shed. I want to tell Isis that "coexist" is a nice word to incorporate into a feline vocabulary, but I know that he has his own way of viewing the world. We'll see if they will, in fact, become part of the background for him, no more threatening than the robins that are pecking away at the dirt all around us. Let's hope.

As for eggs -- well, Lexie finally gave us one and it was a wee egg. Like a test: do you love me only for the size of my eggs? We did eat it within 24 hours, because they say a fresh egg is like heaven on earth. I proclaim it to be fine indeed. Ed says it tastes like... an egg.


Toward evening, Whitney and Butter arrive and all hell breaks loose.

With three hens in the coop, Oreo turns feisty with his beak (so many women! get me out of here!). The two new girls, heretofore friendly and coddled, felt forsaken. Thrown down a dungeon. Lexie, adored girlfriend of gentle Oreo, feels betrayed.

We open the coop doors to let the whole lot of them out so they'd regain their composure.

(the two new girls)

This is when Isis decides to come out for a stroll.

You could see it in his eyes -- the "what the hell is going on here?" look. Then the circling, trying to decide: should I pounce? Am I outnumbered?

I steer him away, into the farmhouse. Ed works on getting the chickens back in the coop. A diplomatic solution to a tricky realignment of powers.


Chicken Girl and her mom help us rearrange the coop. Oreo downstairs, hens up above. (Everyone is happy that Oreo cannot navigate the ramp.) We throw in grain, feed, pebbles, mealy worms -- you name it, they got it. Ed wraps the sides of the coop in sleeping bags to keep Oreo warm. Lexie refuses to leave his side. The new girls are enjoying the upstairs sleeping quarters while the two miserable oldtimers are huddled downstairs, on the rough floor.

What will tomorrow bring?

For supper, we have eggs.