Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fowl Weather*

Dire predictions for weather here these last few days have uniformly failed to materialize. That's unusual for March, storms of which routinely produce whatever snow piles are forecast. We woke today to a proper pea soup of fog, as yesterday, but only a skim of white crystals has reached the ground. For the life of me, I can't find the camera, but it looks a lot like this out there, minus the heavy snow.

(Ah, ha! You have only to retrace your steps, and remember that you were trying to snap the lovely crystals on the gate, without success, then came in by the fire, and voila! Here's this morning's actual view.)

It's produced a nice feathered frosting of white on everything, one of the occasional attractions winter provides. Even the chain link gate to the chicken yard looks like a piece of delicate lace...

And the trees! Yesterday I attended a 1 p.m. meeting atop Lookout Mtn, which was in dense fog. The storm, scheduled to move in at 2 p.m., made us hurry through the meeting, but we left in dense fog and clear roads, allowing a view of white-laced trees. Much like this view from February 25th, only a mountain away, but with the ground whitened as well.

Anyway, the point of all this was to talk about chickens. My friend at the Hoosier Horse Farm took a whim in the chicken direction recently, and has been entertaining me with questions and, now that she has her chicks, reactions.

First, a debate on "what kind"... answered in favor of Barred Plymouth Rocks and Ameraucanas (aka "Easter Eggers"). Then the excitement of fluffy little bits of incipient chickenhood at home—"You didn't tell me they'd be so much fun to watch!"

(They aren't nearly so pink, but it is hard to get good photos in indoor light. The 'Canas are the ones that look like chipmunks... very cute!)

The first night she made coffee and stayed up to watch them. First they run around pecking, then they drop, wherever they find themselves, down for a nap, then up and down... Chicken TV. (Networks take notice.) It's especially entertaining to watch them drink.

Last night an update arrived: "They double in size every 12 hours! They are bored... they can fly." (She also mentioned poopy and smelly.) Uh, oh... now she'll be in a race to get them outdoor housing. All too soon, they'll look a little like this photo of our 2008 batch, miniature adults.

Months later, eggs will start arriving. A regular reader wants to know what green eggs look like: here's the answer. (See, we do requests, eventually, here at Foothills Fancies.) It's a good thing she only got 7 chicks—she might be able to keep up!

I have nine (9) dozen eggs in the fridge as I write this, and have just eaten two (one brown, one green) for breakfast. (Not two dozen.) I gave some to Cat Woman (giving them to everyone these days...); she's the only one I know who has been able to distinguish the green eggs from brown; she says they give her indigestion!

I'm finding eggs all over in the coop; last night I even stepped on one, much to the appreciation of the three hens that hurried over to clean it up. This rate, with Easter still six weeks away, is a little alarming. But it won't last...

* Forgive me that one...

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