Wednesday, August 10, 2011

life on the suburban homestead

We have 22 chickens.  They have a very nice, roomy chicken coop (which is actually big enough to be a child's playhouse) and a very large, fenced in chicken yard.  They have sun and shade and water in the yard .. and for a chicken, it probably pretty pleasant.  If chickens ever thought anything like that.

Some of them have figured out that they can fly and perch on top of the gate to their yard .. and thence to freedom in our one acre property.  Some of them haven't figured out the flying bit yet and so remain "ladies in bondage".  :-)

About 2 hours or so before sunset, I take pity on the ones still inside the yard and let them all out to free-range.  Sometime during this ritual, it became standard procedure for me to bring "treats" to our ladies.  Most of the time, the "treats" are pieces of bread, cut up into small chunks.  The minute .. and I mean the absolute MINUTE .. they hear/see me emerge from the house onto the deck, the ones that are out on the lawn make a beeline for me.  They do this highly amusing torpedo run and slight flapping of their wings to hurry them along.  They surround me and wait for their treats; some of them have taken to jumping up to get it from my fingers.

One of my neighbors adores the chickens.  She lives in a condo with just a pocket front and back yard.  She loves to bring her kitchen produce scraps over for the ladies to eat.  The latest offering was a head of leafy lettuce.  I cross-cut the head of lettuce up so it would be in long strips. 

It was interesting that if I offered the lettuce to the ladies, as I do the treats, they would have *nothing* of them.  BUT .. if I scattered the lettuce on the ground ... all of a sudden, the lettuce became choice morsels!

Then there's our two white crested, black Polish hens.  I think between the two of them, they almost have a brain.  Although they do have real, formal names, currently we are calling them Nutsy and Doofus.  :-)

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