Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicken Day...Hooray!

This weekend we had a bit of drama in the chicken coop. We've had a broody hen sitting on eggs for the last two and a half weeks, and we were ready for the chicks to hatch this coming Wednesday. Well, on Sunday the broody hen, Helena, flew the coop so to speak and there in the nest lay twenty uncovered eggs.

Typically a hen hatches eight or so chicks, but Helena choose the most popular laying box, the Penthouse, and the other hens were not giving her maternal priority. They kept squeezing in there to lay eggs and Helena kept on accommodating these eggs as if they were her own. After coming up with an incubation plan for the sleuth of orphaned eggs (and having a chuckle thinking of creative warm places to stash the eggs) we waited to see if Helena would return to her roost. Within an hour she was back in action. It seems she needed to stretch her legs and grab a bite to eat. Fair enough.

I went to check on her early this morning and out from under each wing poked a little chick. We checked on them throughout the day and have so far counted five cheep-cheeping chicks. We even brought Helena some of our homemade Mother's Day pastries. It seemed fitting.

This evening we picked up the Penthouse and moved it to a mini coop. It's important to do this in the evening after everyone is bedded down and too sleepy to make a fuss over the commotion. In this isolated coop the chicks will grow for two weeks; the stabbing beaks of the pecking order is too harsh a reality for these fluffy chirpers. I'm curious to see how much longer Helena will continue to sit on all those other eggs.

But wait, there was even more chicken excitement today! A few weeks ago I brought my students up to Emily's to learn how to butcher chickens. While I struggle with the killing side of things I am endlessly fascinated with the anatomy part, which thoroughly disgusted my students. At the end of class I enthusiastically wrapped several chicken feet, wing tips, and a chicken head in newspaper to bring home for future art projects. I realize this is not necessarily a normal thing.

My car has smelled like there's something dead and rotting in it for a few weeks now and today I solved the mystery. I was cleaning out the car and pulled out....my chicken treasures from the driver's side door. Out with the old (carcasses) and in with the new (spring chicks). A good day indeed.

Helena looking huge.
Mama hen.
The chicks are araucana mutts.

An equally interested Ru. She was glued to the chicks.

I realize Ruda is on point and may be tapping in to her hunting instincts, but she is a doll with the chickens.
The culprit of my car stank.
Lynn's amazing popping corn ready for season two of Downton Abbey.
Dumpster diving with Maya. More project wood!
My mom's birthday today! Sometimes I wish I didn't live so far away from my family.


  1. Awww! If I'm ever living in a more permanent situation I want to keep chickens. You'll have to give the city girl some pointers. :)

    1. I love knowing about your blog and am really enjoying these few I've read! Had to laugh that you and Basil have moms with the same birth days! Congrats on a truly broody hen! That's pretty cool. Love the chicken parts stinkin up your car story! I can't wait to actually, really, meet you some day!