28 September, 2011

Daily Poultry: Zombirella and One

Zombirella I believe I mentioned here as the young pullet who got the back of her head pecked off down to bone. It turns out chickens are startlingly resilient; we moved her into the house, got her antibiotics and kept her safe from flies and infection, and these days you can’t even tell where the pecking happened since the wound closed up and the feathers are growing back in. She’s become a favorite of ours, since spending those weeks in the house she has decided that people are definitely her friends and comes running to be petted whenever we go out to the Big Chicken Pen.

One is, of course, the first chick ever hatched at the Manor. I swear he’s a cockeral, Daniel claims he’s a pullet. I guess we’ll find out who’s right in the coming months as he finishes growing up!

Zombirella and One step around the corner of the chicken house to regard the camera-wielding thumb monkey.  Zombirella is a leggy young bird dressed in multiple shades of brown, with willow-green legs and no comb to speak of.  One is equally leggy but his legs are bright yellow and he has a small, pink, wrinkly comb.  His head is turned in profile, showing off the beginnings of wattles as well as the lovely dark auburn of his head and the sides of his neck, the front of his neck and his breast being black.

One is actually colored just like their daddy Blackbeard. I should probably bet Daniel money that One is a rooster-to-be, because I am that sure of it. One of these days, One is going to go roostertastic — probably about the time we move Mad Mel the Magnificent into a pen with some beardless silkies in case I want showgirl chicks.

16 August, 2011

Busy times all over! Also, wanna help a kitten?

We went up to Ikea to get a new mattress this past Sunday and I made Siddy work. He was freakin brilliant — handled the crowds with aplomb, stayed right next to me, never got too stressed to respond to a click and always took the treats and ate them thoughtfully. He’s really shaping up quite nicely I think.

In chicken world, there has been some excitement. One and Three moved out to a segregated portion of the Big Chicken Pen, but Three at some point got out and lost a sizeable chunk of skin off the back of her head. One consult with the vet and some expensive antibiotics later, she’s living indoors in our largest cat carrier to heal up and doing quite well. Also we have been calling her Zombirella, because the back of her head really did look that bad. Here’s a pic of her good side, you can see she is alert and at that stage of chicken development where they look kind of like raptors rather than chickens.

Zombirella, a rich golden brown pullet, looks out through the bars of the cat carrier in an interested fashion.  You can see the feathers on the far side of her head are rumpled and also there's not as many there as there ought to be.

The large carrier is not an ideal living place for a chicken, so we’re hoping she heals quickly and can get back outside. But she’s still quite small, and the carrier is pretty big, so she has room to stretch and flap and perch and also do some scratching and pecking for her food once she has knocked it out of her dish (chickens are messy eaters).

Both bantam chicks from the last hatch have died — just failure to thrive. I have been reading exhaustively and have some ideas for the next time I set bantam eggs on incubator settings and early-life care, so hopefully we won’t have the same problem again. Although to be fair one of them I was expecting to not make it, since he hatched with the yolk-sac still attached and generally those chicks do not make it past their first weeks of life. The six blue-laced red Wyandottes that hatched have moved on to Christine’s place, leaving little Melchior, the son of Mel and Ayinnanku, to keep company with the Sumatra chicks. He is thriving and happy!

Crispin and Clementine went off to their new homes a little over a week ago now and are doing well. Constantine and Coriander are still here for another week and a half and then they, too, will be off to their new people, and Briar Rose will come in.

And meanwhile, speaking of formerly feral kittens, my friend Kate at Om Shanti Naturals has taken in the first of a litter of kittens that showed up in her back yard. So far she’s only caught the one, but vetting is expensive as we all know! So if you have been looking for some yummy hand-crafted soap, moisturizing oils, bath products, lip balms, or salves, could you putter over to the shop and pick up an item or two? You get a delicious bath product, kitten gets vetted without Kate having to live on ramen and cat hair for a month, and it’s just generally win-win all around. Om Shanti is, after all, the home of the world’s ONLY official Tink-branded and endorsed beauty product, Tink’s Tea Tree Lavender Salve, ideal for treating the minor bumps and scrapes that life deals out. There is even body wash to match although Tink has not tried it yet (she generally does not endorse any product that involves her getting a B. A. T. H. anyway — you know how diva-esque dogs can be).

So anyway, there’s the news round-up and my pitch. Hope you’re all doing well, gentle readers, and I will try to be more regular about my updates!