Thursday, August 31, 2023

It's Not What You Think...

The trailer for this business sits alongside one of our local thrift stores, it always gives me a giggle when I see it.

What do YOU think it says?

Nope, it isn't 'Glitter', sorry. Not a mobile hunky stripper service.

Despite the beefcake artwork and sparkly letter style.

It's actually says 'Gutter'. But I call them 'The Glitter Guys' anyway, it's just more fun. I like to think the person who convinced them to go with this on their trailer sits home at nights, cackling like a mad thing.

At the thrift store I picked up a few old towels for the chickens--whenever one of our flock gets a bath or is in with an illness/injury, old towels come in very handy. And...well, this one didn't just call out to me, it practically screamed.

Weirdo thrift store finds, for the win!

Thursday, August 10, 2023

New From Our Resident Artist!

 The kid now has a Redbubble shop!

Please take a moment to have a look. They draw fun stuff, some of it featuring our chickens--Bear demanding a cheezborger is perfect.


The 'Highly Specific Chicken Insult' is dead-on. More art will be added and they produce it!

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Chickam Batch 2 Chicks, Two Months Old!

 A little late due to our monstrous 107 degree weather for the last two weeks straight...but here are the Batch 2 chicks at two months old!

First is Cao Cao, who's forming up into a very pretty rooboy. If he looks a bit mussed, it's because he would NOT cooperate during picture time and had to be repeatedly grabbed.


The 'extra-stretchy' look.


Next is Deliciousaurus, a hen. She and Spam still look VERY similar, despite having different moms.

Lastly is Spam, another hen. None of the chicks behaved during picture time--I have loads of 'half a chicken' pics or pics with the kid's hand propping them up--but Spam wins the 'Distracted By EVERYTHING' prize.

Spam is the most non-chicken chicken in the flock right now. She wants to play with your clothing, peck at your shoelaces, jump on your head, etc. Anything but act like a proper chicken. What Spam really wanted to do during picture time was play with the drawstrings on the kid's pants.


Monday, July 17, 2023

Time To Play, 'What Survived Winter?'

 With our landscaping, that is.

After all the snow we got that hung around WAY too long, I was sure some of our plants wouldn't make it.

And yeah, sure enough, the little chocolate mint plant by the back yard hose bib failed to come up this year, and the big Curly Willow tree in the chicken yard is a goner. The mint I planted when we moved in 10+ years ago, and the Curly Willow from starts brought from the old house. Two rose bushes out front also succumbed to winter.

But all in all, I'm pleased that everything else is alive and kicking, even if some got damaged.

The broom plant in the front yard had a giant snow wad burying it for months, and even though I can see dead parts that need trimming out, the tough little bugger made it.

Broom smells like candy and I love it, as do the bees.

Got some on my desk even now!

Alongside the broom plant, mixed in with other volunteers are some volunteer raspberrys, I feel bad because I always forget they are there.

But yesterday we got a tiny harvest!

Next to the raspberries, the hops I planted for fun are doing their annual climb up the support for the power pole.

And the apple tree out front (leaning a bit because it takes the brunt of our Nevada windstorms) also has a respectable apple crop coming in.

I think they are Macintosh. It's produced apples before, but never to the point of us being able to harvest them.

Another volunteer that made it through winter...

Sadly, I've seen none of my pretty blanket flowers that reseed themselves every year, nor any hollyhocks or gladiolas. No tulips or muscari, but a couple of daffodils popped up in spring.

Out back, my serviceberry plant has a surprise bumper crop! I plan on making jam or jelly with them if I have enough.

In the chicken yard, my Satsuma plum tree is producing fruit for the first time since it was planted in 2015. I was worrying about it, even though they promised it was a self-pollinating variety. But darned if it isn't going nuts with fruit! Today I thinned some of them out, the chickens waiting below were VERY disappointed in the hard little green things I dropped.

Also fruiting out back is the Bartlett pear, so far doing better than it has before...

Speaking of fruit, our henfruit crop continues, even if some of the hens cheat a bit a gift us with tiny eggs...

These tiny eggs are fully formed, just extra-small. As they began arriving after Swiffer went out to join the flock, we're pretty sure they're from her!

Monday, July 3, 2023


 Welp...I have some sad news. Something happened back in April that we hadn't said anything about until now, because we didn't want to drag everybody down, and there was nothing anyone could have done to help, anyway.

WingDing died this morning.
Back on April 10th we innoculated the chicks for Marek's Disease. The vaccine must be given a few days after hatch, and is delivered using a tuberculin syringe (tiny, very short needle) via a sub-q injection at the back of the neck. The kid and I have been doing them for years, so we know how to do it and are experienced--what happened was a pure freak accident.

WingDing was a Silikie, and humans developing crested breeds like Silkies for bigger and better crests have caused a naturally-occurring hole in the top of a Silkie's skull to become much larger. Their brains protrude through this hole, leaving them VERY susceptible to brain injury from what would otherwise be a minor injury from a bump or peck to the head. I call this kind of injury Head Boink, and it's generally quite treatable. Head Boink can also be cause by Botulism (or anything that causes brain swelling), the symptoms are a loss of balance and/or what is called Twirling/Stargazing. It can be fatal because the bird cannot eat or drink for itself.

When WingDing was getting her vaccination, she suddenly freaked out and flailed, and rammed the needle into her neck vertebrae. She immediately went limp and I thought she'd killed herself.
She was alive, but in shock and paralyzed. I immediately began treating her with a Selenium/Vitamin E mixture which I've used before for cases of Head Boink, it's got a very good track record for curing it--but it takes time--usually around 10- 20 days.

WingDing's injury was profound, she couldn't even hold her head up and just laid in one spot. We put her in her own cage, and I've been handfeeding her every 2 hours since April 10th and giving her the Head Boink treatment. Over the last three months she'd gained weight, grown and improved to the point where for the last 3 weeks, she could hold herself upright, was eating and drinking on her own, etc. She still couldn't walk around normally and I couldn't trust the adult chickens or big chicks around her, so she'd been living in her own space in the brooder box. The last 14 days or so the three baby chicks were hopping in with her and they were all getting along great. WingDing had gotten much stronger and was still making progress but it was slow, we'd hoped eventually she'd be able to walk around without staggering and could join the flock in another few weeks. But she was alert, healthy and carrying on just like the other chicks.

Today she went out into the small run with the three young chicks from batch 2--seperated from the big chickens, of course--so they could all spend a couple of hours outside and start getting used to the outdoors while we cleaned the brooder box.

An hour later, the kid found WingDing dead. No injuries or damage, she just...died. I don't know if her Head Boink contributed to her death or not, but I suspect that she couldn't overcome it and it just finally got her.

Hope everyone understands why why didn't mention this before...I really was hoping we'd get her back to a point where she could join the flock or just be a house chicken. Sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but it was just a stupid damned accident and we did our best for her. 


Monday, June 19, 2023

Chickam Chicks At Two Months Old, Give Or Take...

Since this is our 15th year of doing Chickam, we did two hatches this year! The first group hatched in April on Easter weekend and are now 9 weeks old. We had a thunderstorms delaying me getting decent pictures, so now, in order of hatch, here they are.

No vulture hocks (elongated, stiffened outer thigh feathers) so far, so I doubt the either of our Belgian d'Uccle mix roos are daddys this year. Time will tell if Bobbie, our buff Brahma roo got in here at all. Most of this year's chicks appear to have Mjolnir, our Buff Orpington roo for a daddy--he's been a busy guy! Any roos we hatch will have to be rehomed since we already have too many roos as it is. We also may end up rehoming a few of the girls...all that will be decided later.

Imminent Disaster, hatched from a medium-sized, olive green egg (#11). Mom is one of our Americaunas/Americaunas mix girls, likely either Peanut or Cheese.

Dubious Intentions, hatched from a small/medium light pink/brown egg (#24). Mom might be Kentucky, Kana or Bonesaw. A wee bit of Americaunas in there, showing in her modest face fluffies. Despite making me think at first she was a roo, she's turned out to be a hen! Dubi is pathologically friendly and curious, whenever we go out into the yard she is instantly underfoot pecking at your shoes, pant legs, whatever, and demands to be picked up.

Great pic except for the wonky foot pose.


In fact, Dubi is a total dork who specializes in the fine art of 'Derp' for chickens.

Foot inspection...

RAN to check out the camera...

And had to be propped up somewhat.

Scraunch, hatched from a small/medium light tan egg (#23). Scraunch really IS this cute in real life, too. Scraunch also has some Americaunas in there somewhere, as you can see from the face fluffies.


Bort Grungus, hatched from a medium-sized light blue egg (#14). When she was little, Bort looked so much like Scraunch that she had to wear a green food color spot.

Garibaldi, hatched from a small tan egg (#4) laid by Brick, a bantam Cochin/Belgian d'Uccle mix hen. Can't see them well here, but Garabaldi has some lovely gray tail feathers coming in.

Lastly is Brian/Mooncake, hatched from a large, long, pointed olive green egg (#9). Mooncake is a big, reddish rooster.


And...because it's US, we had to add in a couple of chicks from a local poultry swap.

First is Triffid, a now 3 month old Brabanter (I think) mix roo. While he's fun and pretty, we already have too many roos and he'll have to be rehomed.

He kept trying to jump on my head during picture time, the kid had to restrain him.

Wingding, Silkie hen, approximately 2 months old. When we first got her I really thought she was a frizzle, but now doesn't look like one...time till tell!

Pardon her 'I've rolled in corn' look--she'd rolled in corn. Despite how it looks in the pictures, she really does have a face.


Lastly is Eggroll, a two month old Splash Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.


As she gets older, I swear she's looking more and more like a Cornish, especially her head. Also, she has the size and shape of a shotput, typical of a Cornish...and has been concentrating heavily on growing chicken meat--also typical of a Cornish. Eggroll is stubbornly resisting growing a tail and back/chest feathers, because...well, she's concentrating on growing chicken meat. She's been very quiet...Cornish I've had in the past had gravely voices, a high sign of the breed. If she'd talk, I'd know what she was!

Again, time will tell what the heck she'll turn out to be. But her colors are gorgeous!

Eggroll has a bit of a wonky head. As a Scratch and Dent bin chicken, she fits right in here.

And yes, you're being judged by a chicken. She's not angry, just disappointed in you. Level up, for cry-yi!

Technically not a chick but an adult frizzle bantam Cochin hen, we got Swiffer at the same time at the poultry swap. Swiffer had a really tough start at first but is doing fantastic--she's broody right now and a holy terror for the rest of the flock!

 The Chickam Hatch #2 chicks are 1 month old now. Cao Cao just started crowing today. Spam *might* also be a roo, but Deliciousaurus is a hen. There ARE vulture hocks showing in that batch, so somebody other than Mjolnir got in there for daddy!