Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our Backyard Chickens






(The Ameraucanas and Silkies we raised from chicks are so unbelievably sweet. What you don't see in this video is Professor sitting between my feet. Watch the backround to see Starbuck run from a wyandotte.)



And we could never forget our little guy who started it all - the Toph:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Starbuck (ahem, Kara Thrace) and her special destiny

Well, I guess when you name something after a character defined by their "special destiny" then you get what you deserve. A few weeks ago one of our little Silkies, Starbuck, revealed her special destiny - by crowing. Whoops. A rooster? That wasn't part of our plan. She's (ahem, HE'S - that has been a hard transition) been fighting with the new girls so I've decided he has to go. If you're interested in making Starbuck part of your family please leave a comment. Later this weekend I'll post him on Craigslist.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Gold Lace Wyandottes!

This evening I brought home our newest girls! They're Gold Laced Wyandottes. Aren't their feathers beautiful? The edges look painted. In the beginning I planned on naming all the chickens based off nautical themes (so far, pirates and Gilligan's Island) but I'm thinking of making an exception for this breed. Perhaps they'll be named after female painters/artists. "Georgia" O'Keefe, Mary "Cassatt" and "Marina" Abramović (she was performing her famous The Artist is Present when Oliver propsed at MOMA). 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

LOVE: Iris Apfel & Bill Cunningham

This is a little off topic for the blog, but words cannot describe how inspired and motivated I am by Iris Apfel and Bill Cunningham. Their bold, unapologetic, lively approach to incorporating creativity and design into everyday life quickens the beat of my easily excitable heart. My goal is to live to 2075. By the time I turn 80, I hope I am just like them. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chickens love snacktime!



In an effort to keep the chickens cool, during the hottest part of summer, we've started giving them frozen treats. Mostly grape tomatoes, blueberries and grapes. The first day they were interested but not enthusiastic. By day three they're so excited about snacktime that they'll eat right out of your hand. We're thinking about what tricks we might be able to teach them to perform for food.

In the video: Professor, front and center. Then the twinsies, Starbuck and Sparrow (aka Tweedle Dee and Tweddle Dum) run over; they specialize in stealing the snacks and running to a corner with them. Next Blackbeard saunters over but Lovey jumps passed him for the grape. Ginger is standing in the back. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The trouble with bedtime / we lost our first chicken

The photos for this post were taken earlier in the week with the intention of writing about "the trouble with bedtime". And while that is still what I want to cover there has been a sad and unexpected turn of events. Saturday morning, around sunrise, I went to let the chicks out of the coop. One by one everyone filed out except Mary Anne. I climbed up the ladder and opened the door to shoo her out. Instead I found her dead; she was laying in the shavings just below the spot on the roost where I'd placed her the night before. No blood, no bite marks, no obvious cause of death. The only significant thing was her behavior the night before: she'd gone into the coop on her own, alone, and settled into the corner while the rest of her flock did their adorably ridiculous corner crowding in the dirt below. I now realize she probably went off on her own because she wasn't feeling well. 

When I found Mary Anne in the coop the night before I was excited because it is rare that any of the chicks move indoors at night. When I found her there I thought "they're finally getting it!!" The rest of the flock was still piled like puppies in their "yard". 

In an effort to teach them what they need to be doing, every evening at dusk we go into the coop and move them, one by one, from their hot crowded cuddle to their upstairs roost. Once placed on the roost they quickly fall back to sleep and stay in that exact spot until the next morning. We're not sure why they won't move to the roost on their own. The Ameraucana's have no trouble with the ramp between the yard and coop but the Silkies struggle. Starbuck, Sparrow and Blackbeard have to be encouraged up the ramp (and poor dumb Starbuck frequently sticks her head to the side or spreads her wings out just as she should be ducking into the doorway).  Perhaps the problem is they all want to stay together? And the Ameraucanas feel sorry for their chubby friends who aren't so good at climbing the ramp so they all sleep together outside? Doubtful, I know. It is sweet though, the way they wrap their necks around one another and rest their heads on each other's backs. It almost makes me want to leave them in their snuggle. But for safety from predators and (the seemingly far off) winter weather they need to learn to go inside at night. If anyone has a suggestion, I'm all ears. Otherwise, I'll let you know when the girls finally figure it out.



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For our record keeping/bloggy almanac:
Sorry to lose you little Mary Anne. You were spastic but sweet and smart. As a chick you liked to jump. 
Died at 13 weeks. Cause of death unknown, possibly heat stress/stroke or eating a shard of glass. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

EAV and Grant Park Criterion, Summer Shade Fest


This time of year always makes me thankful for Atlanta's fantastic intown neighborhoods. The East Atlanta and Grant Park Criterion were held last weekend. Friends with homes/businesses along the courses hosted leisurely front porch parties with neighbors drifting in and out. Today and tomorrow are the annual Grant Park Summer Shade Fest. In a couple of hours we'll walk to the park with a blanket, cooler and hopes of running into my brother. (If you go to the fest be sure look for his t-shirt booth, Wandering Line.) And of course next weekend, Labor Day weekend, is my favorite Atlanta 3-day weekend. Bring on Dragon*Con and SEC football!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Urban Chickens: the girls are growing up!

Friends and neighbors, I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun and entertainment the chickens continue to bring us. I'd try to regale you with stories of their antics but I'm afraid they're possibly only interesting to me because I love them. Suffice it to say, the chickens' intelligence and unique personalities grow by the day. And those aren't the only things growing - look how big they've gotten! Over the next few days I'd like to photograph each chick beside the milk glass bowl they were posed in as chicks. (So far so good, but definitely not as easy as the first go round.) Anyone out there have any questions about the girls? We're happy to provide answers!