Friday, September 25, 2009

The girls are all grown

I was awakened this morning at 5 a.m. by some serious chicken squawking. So I grabbed my flashlight and focused it through the bedroom window and on the chicken pen. The girls were all worked up about something, but I didn’t see anything bothering them. Then I put on my flip-flops and went outside to be sure. They were still unhappy but I didn’t find anything and went back to bed, not to sleep, but I went back to bed.

The girls likely did see something, probably a raccoon or one of the foxes. Since I’ve had them I’ve discovered that chickens are a lot smarter than I expected. I’ve also learned to interpret the many noises they make. The noise they made this morning was the "big, bad something is after us" noise.

They also have a call for the old, stray cat that sometimes wanders through. That’s the "I see you and I don’t like you, but I can take you" call.

When I get home in the evenings, I usually let the chickens out of their pen. They scratch their way around the cabin and up the driveway. Sometimes they come when I call them back if I have food in my hand. Sometimes I have to pick them up. A couple are starting to think scratching in the woods is more fun than scratching in the driveway, and I have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t wander too far or out of sight.

The chickens are also better flyers than I expected. That’s one of the things they love to do when I let them out. They fly up the driveway or onto a low branch. Then they sit there looking all proud of themselves.

Right now I'm getting a lot of eggs from the girls. That will slow down or even stop for a while during the winter. And their evening woodland forays will end before long, as it will be dark when I get home. I haven't told them about that yet.

19 comments:

Squirrel said...

Chickens!...nice. One of my neighbors has chickens and a couple of goats. Is it true that chickens eat ticks?

Carolyn H said...

Squirrel,

I have no idea if chickens eat ticks, but those girls fight over any bug I've seen that's stupid enough to enter their pen. So it wouldn't surprise me if they did.

Carolyn H.

Squirrel said...

Hummm, maybe after a hike in the woods one could lay down and let them walk all over and pick off the ticks. LOL.

Woodswalker said...

What pretty hens! And I bet their eggs taste great. Thanks for all your great photos of the advent of fall around your cabin. So many pretty things -- flowers, fruits, berries, birds.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I've heard that Guinnea hens eat ticks so I'll bet yours do too. I'd love to try having a few when we get to live up north (some day...)
They're really a pretty rusty color.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

I'd have chickens here if I thought I could get away with it. Don't know how well they'd manage with the ducks and geese from the river who occasionally wander around. Not to mention raccoons, foxes, coyotes and stray dogs.

A chicken keeper does have to make those occasional post-midnight security checks, plus learn their language and keep a watchful eye and ear out for trouble.

Nothing beats a fresh free-range egg, though.

Small Pines said...

Wow - Our chickens really do look very similar! I'm still (after only two days) getting used to the sounds they make. So far, I have learned their "bwak bwak" leave-me-alone sound and their "coo coo" happy chickens sound. So much fun! You have gorgeous birds!

Cicero Sings said...

I like chickens. My friend had layers for years and we would sit and watch them cluck around with their little satisfied sounds. Sometimes I'd like 3 or 4 girls myself but we must needs zip to the coast a little too often.

LauraHinNJ said...

My brother says the same about being able to recognize what his chickens are telling him.

;-)

Cathy said...

Questions any those,s girls going land up in the soup pot? I couldn't kill one unless I had to.

Pablo said...

Will any of those chickens wind up in the stew pot?

I don't know if chickens eat ticks (I would be they do), but I've heard that guinea hens will eat every tick in the county if they have the chance.

Carolyn H said...

Woodwalker: The eggs do taste great--far better than store-bought. The shells are a bit tougher, too, so another plus is that the eggs don't crack or break as easily.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: the girls are all Golden Comets and are supposed to be pretty hardy. I hope so.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: My girls are mostly penned in a chain link fence area, with a tarp over top. I let them out, but they aren't out without supervision. A neighbor down the mountain lets his out all the time, and the local Red-tailed Hawks have been tough on them.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Small Pines: Chickens are fun. I wasn't expecting that either. I hope yours settle in soon. THey probably will. Chickens tend to be pretty easy.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Cicero, Maybe if you had an automatic feeder and waterer???

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Pablo and Cathy: No, I'm not expecting any of these will end up in a stew pot. If I was planning to do that, I'd have gotten broilers instead of layers. My girls will have an easy life, I expect.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Laura: I've been surprised at how many sounds the chickens can make. They have quite a vocabulary.

Carolyn H.

letspaintnature said...

I love your chickens :)
Their cry reminds me of my own children crying, you always know when it's serious or not by the tone of the cry...I know exactly what you mean.