rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Hens”

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

The “Rancherette” took her Fuzzy Chicken Band, “On the Road Again,” this past weekend. We usually begin road trips listening to the “The Fuzzy Chicken Band with lead singers, Cowboy, the Cochin, and Zorba, Not the Greek, rehearsing for the “big show”, and this trip was no different as they practiced by warbling out “On the Road Again”. Cowboy crows the lead and Zorba, Not the Greek, harmonizes, (Cowboy pictures himself as Willie Nelson) and of course, he makes a few changes to the lyrics.

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is seein’ chicken friends again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may not want see again,
But I can’t wait to get on the road again.

I apologize, Mr. Nelson; I am only the bus driver, not the manager. I know you were making music with your friends and you had absolutely nothing to do with chicken bands. But you do not have to listen to these squawking birds for another four hour trip, I do. They have the most up-to-date and comfortable seats in the bus and they still complain. (Only a personal opinion, after all, this Fuzzy Chicken Band has won numerous awards from their performances and they pay a decent salary).

This particular road trip sent us to the West Texas Fair and Rodeo, in Abilene, Texas, for another live chicken show performance. After consulting with the Fuzzy Chicken Band, their agent (and manager), the “Rancherette”, booked this performance. The Fuzzy Chicken Band only plays at marquee performance halls and the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene was certainly one of those.

Regardless, every musical group has a bus driver, so I went along to provide the chauffeuring for the trip. I am also in charge of providing accommodations and cuisine for the “Rancherette” and the band’s bus driver. I’m always looking for restaurant signs along the way that say “bus drivers eat free.” That appeals to me, for financial reasons of course. Typically the “Rancherette” prefers a different epicurean adventure.

Now the Fuzzy Chicken Band can eat anywhere and anything, however, they have their own special cuisine, concocted by their handler. The “Rancherette” is in charge of that department. Yet, when it comes to eating, no one can match up with “Cowboy, the Cochin,” who happens to be the lead singer; not even the Little Cochin Sisters, who have their own reputation to maintain.After, or should I say, during, the rehearsing by Cowboy, the Cochin and Zorba, Not the Greek, the Little Cochin  Sisters were warming their vocal cords with this little ditty:
“Abilene, Abilene”
Prettiest town I ever seen.
Hope the judges don’t treat me mean
In Abilene, my Abilene.”

I apologize to Mr. George Hamilton IV. He sang it much better, but, as I told Mr. Nelson, I am only the bus driver, not the Fuzzy Chicken Band’s manager.

Eventually, we arrived at the Taylor County Expo Center, where the Fuzzy Chicken Band would be performing, along with other chicken bands in a contest to determine which band or performer is better. However, the band was a little disappointed in their dressing rooms. But being the troupers they are, they would manage. Cowboy did occupy a prominent location and was happy about that; however, Zorba was relegated to a lesser spot. The Cochin Sisters are happy as long as they have sufficient food and water. When they do not, they get happy feet. Their stage is not large enough for performing the Chicken Dance, yet they still do their little happy dance.

Cowgirl joins The Cochin Sisters in the Cochin Trio performing their own work “Pecking and Scratching” and the Little Motown Clucking Silkies, with Cowgirl in the lead, presented one of their oldie favorites, “R E S P E C T”, (again with apologies, this time to Aretha Franklin.)

They still get requests for other clucking songs and also autographs. They are happy to oblige. But Cowboy stole the show. He received numerous standing ovations for his performance and a very élite accolade. He was the only one to receive this award from all the fuzzy chicken bands performing there. Other members of the band did well, with a few 1st place awards.

This was only a one nite stand, and they, meaning the band, were exhausted from their performance, thus the drive home was one of mostly silence. I, being the bus driver, was happy about that. I couldn’t wait until I got back home and put the bus in the garage. And speaking of the bus, Cowboy, being the star, wants a new ride. He chose this one.

rooster-car-copy

Hope you have a very happy day.

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The County Fair, Part II

County fairs are so much fun, with all the vendors selling everything imaginable. The sideshows, the rides, (which I do not attempt) and , of course, the food, which I clearly DO attempt. There were concerts each night with several name stars performing. We were only there for Friday night, and the concert featured The Triumphs, a band from Rosenberg, Texas. They were an outstanding band and starred B.J. Thomas, with special guest, Roy Head. Roy is old school, very popular in the 60’s and 70’s. We were pleased to visit with him at the hotel where we both were staying, even meeting his wife. They also enjoyed holding one of the “Rancherette’s” little Silkie chickens. Later, we attended the show. Since we are of that generation, it was very entertaining for us. The “Rancherette” was fortunate to get a “selfie” with him.  It has been difficult to live with her ever since.

jennie-and-roy-head

While the entire fair is exciting, I think the main focus is on the kids, the youth who participate and show their animals. These young people work very hard to care for these animals and reap the rewards for such endeavors. If you have never been to a county fair, you can only imagine how many sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, ducks, geese and chickens these kids have entered in competition for various awards, scholarships and sportsmanship trophies. They receive  medals, belt buckles, plaques and other prizes. They experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, yet they hold their heads high and show good sportsmanship to each other. Time and again I watched these youngsters compete with their animals. The judges for these premier competitions are extremely helpful to the young people. They explain different aspects of their particular animals and always in a helpful manner with words of encouragement for each one. I am in awe of the maturity of these youngsters. I think the country is in good hands when these young people reach adulthood. I also want to commend all the adult volunteers who help make this a great time for these kids. And hats off to the Fayette County Fair officials, great job.

The segment that inspired me the most and gave me particular pleasure occurred when a very young girl entered the show ring leading her heifer as her grandfather walked beside her. It was a very moving picture. I spoke to her grandfather after they finished and he told me that “they like to start them young”. A lack of wisdom on my part, I did not get their names.
grandaughter-and-grandfather-2

For me, however, this was the sparking event of the fair. That is, except for the awards the “Rancherette” received for her birds. She did well, but then she was not up against the youth either.

Our part of the show ended and you know what that meant, a four hour drive back home in North Texas with harassing among chickens. It has to stop. If I could have just send these birds home via FEDEX or UPS, then I would have had a quiet ride home.Should have stopped at Walmart and bought a pair of ear plugs. because you know the birds in the back discussed all the way home, cackling, squawking, and crowing about how some birds won a ribbon and some did not.

Just take a look at the gloating after we arrived back home. This may be the Silkie that Roy Head was holding at the hotel. Regardless, she definitely has a big head, flippant little chicken!

just-a-strutin-2

Check out the county fair where you live, you will certainly enjoy it.                                               Have a great day.

The Character of Nature

As I write this article, I do not make light of the circumstances of anguish and grieving. Certain parts of the country have received much more than their share of rain. I empathize in their despair for I too have experienced the misfortune and anxiety that comes with the disaster of flooding.  My heart goes out to those who are suffering a loss, especially a loss of life. My prayers are with you. Do not lose hope. 

Nature’s Character

Lately, we have experienced drought conditions and extreme heat. Plant life is being raddled to their limits. Green shrubs are turning brown; their leaves curling under and giving up the ghost. The once vibrant green grass no longer rises above the plain. It too, is having a brownout. The peaches not ready for picking have all shriveled and shrunken. The pond is drying up. The heat is taking its toll. To keep all this watered is not only time consuming but it puts a strain on the pocketbook.  Our water bill is approaching astronomical heights.

The “Rancherwriterpoet” and the “Rancherette” have the utmost respect for nature; however, as humans, we do take the necessary precautions for keeping cool, that being under the influence of the air conditioner most of the day. Of course, the electric bill is in the stratosphere alongside the water bill. When we do venture outside, we do not tarry long. I’m pretty sure the neighbors would object were we to wear less clothing.

The kennel dogs do not really care for the misting system installed on their partially shaded pens. There is only a soft hot breeze blowing across their outdoor pens, but with the misting system, it does cool the concrete pads and the air. All the standard poodles have a summer cut yet some prefer staying inside their buildings and under the fans, as if they are fused to the floor (they do not like to get their feet wet). Others will lie comfortably just out of reach of the mist but close enough to feel the coolness as it comes across their body. Occasionally they stand up, shake off vigorously, turn round and round several times and lie back down.  It’s what dogs do. When they lope out of their pens for their afternoon constitutional, they immediately tend to business and return to their pens. The afternoon sun is very warm and they prefer their shaded home sweet home.

Conversely, the Silkie chickens do not seem to mind the heat as much as us humans or dogs. They are wont to hunt and scratch and peck and chest bump and do the chicken dance around their coop. They run in little circles chasing anything that moves. They are always snooping around for food no matter that they feeder is full.  They engage in wide ranging conversations. Clucking and cackling, crowing and chirping, they express themselves quite effectively. Why, even the “Rancherette” understands chicken speak. This is how she knows to serve up frozen treats every afternoon; grapes, pineapple, and strawberries being among their favorites. They stand at the coop door and chatter vociferously, impatiently waiting for the “Rancherette” to calm their ruffled feathers. We obviously keep plenty of fresh water for them to drink. There are fans in their roosting coops for an air flow through their buildings. And did I mention the show birds domicile? These are the cream of the crop, uh, flock. They attend the chicken shows and bring home the bacon, uh, ribbons. They have they own individual pens, in an air conditioned building, never touching the ground or feeling the hot breeze outdoors.  They have it made in the shade, so to speak.

So, finally, the skies have opened up and delivered the much needed moisture. For three days, we have seen almost three inches of slowly absorbing rain, the kind necessary to break a drought. But, the kennel dogs do not like the rain any better than the misting system. The show birds do not even know it’s raining. It’s business as usual for them. The outdoor Silkie chickens do not care one way or another. All pens have some shade covering; but does not prevent the rain, so, instead of dust baths they now take mud baths. Good for the skin, I’m told, but their crested heads are having a bad hair day. In this case, they are wetter than an old mad hen.

The good news? Plants and grass are smiling. The water meter is smiling. The electric meter is smiling and the air conditioner gets a break. I’m smiling. Nature is smiling.

 

 

 

 

Not Our First Rodeo

So, the big day came and went. To which big day am I referring? Why, the South Texas Classic Poultry Show in La Grange, Texas. I thought all folks knew about that event. Well, chicken folks in the state of Texas for sure. We were looking forward for several weeks to the trip and finally the day came. It was about a four and half hour journey in the truck with eight birds in the rear seat all properly resting in their properly vented traveling lounges properly fitted out with feed and water. Why do we call chicken feed, “feed” and dog food, “food”?  Or, cattle feed, “feed” and cat food, “food”.  Just wondering.

There were two roosters and six hens, separated much as if one would separate two or more siblings who insist on asking the proverbial question, are we there yet? If one can understand chicken talk, then those are exactly the phrases coming from the mouths of these birds. The only good thing (If you can call it good) is they did not mention having to go to the bathroom every ten miles. Well, maybe they did and I just ignored them. I recall that with my children back in the day.

The two roosters, named Zorba, the Silkie and Cowboy, the Cochin, were dueling tenors. The hens were the backup singers for those two. They covered all the chicken hits in alphabetically order, beginning with, “Ain’t Nobody Here but us Chickens”. A couple of times I had to quiet them down, once when they began doing the “Chicken Dance”. It was way too crowded for that. Try getting that earworm out of your head. Long before we arrived in La Grange, I just about had it with chicken songs. I decided to mention a phrase I have used before. “CHICKEN NUGGETS”, I yelled. They thought it best to refrain from any more musical interludes and remained silent the rest of the trip. I did hear a bit of mumbling back there, but I was calm.

Upon arriving, we ventured to the Fayette County fairgrounds to “coop in” as they say. You place each bird in a separate cage with your identifying number on a card, furnish them with gourmet feed (or is it food) and small containers of water. They are now bedded down for the night. And, luckily, we adults did likewise, at a local hotel, (I won’t use their name, however the chickens had it better).

At precisely Nine A.M., the next morning, the judges begin their job of inspecting each bird in the building. That was an exhausting all day affair. However, it did have its rewards.

If you recall from a recent post, A Day at the Spa, the “Rancherette” invited her fine little Silkies and Cochins to a day at the spa. That was a significant ceremony for it worked wonders on these fluffy birds. The “Rancherette” outdid herself, three 1st place awards and a Best of Variety prize.  One had a comb tht leaned a bit to the right. I wonder if we should have combed her wattle or wattled her comb. Needless to say the”Rancherette”was happy, I was happy. Having spent a couple of days at the Fort Worth Show, (with awards) the “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet” were old hands at this. One could say this was not our first rodeo.

After a brief tour of the La Grange area, a visit to Walmart, (That should be on everyone’s traveling list) a meal at a local BBQ stable, tailgating in the parking lot with the birds, resting a bit and afterwards heading home. The birds gloated all the way home. I was calm, I just let them have their say; after all, they were winners. All in all, it was a great trip. Who can argue with that?

A Day at the Spa

Around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch, things have been hectic, hence the silence from this writer about such. The first of the year we ventured to the Fort Worth Live Stock Show.(THIS THING IS LEGENDARY)

In addition to all the sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and swine, the poultry show also displays several different breeds of poultry and waterfowl.  I might add this includes Silkie chickens of which the “Rancherette” proudly raises. She wanted to “show” some of her Silkie birds. This was her first show and it gave her the incentive she needed to explore the world of “showmanship”. It was a successful endeavor. With first place ribbons in hand the task turned to preparations for the next “Big Shew”. The pressure is on.

Now the “Rancherette” has been very busy lately, what with the chickens molting and such. It seems one cannot deal precisely with a molting chicken when the goal is to get them ready for the “Big Shew”. If feathers are falling out, (a natural process) then there is not much you can do as far as grooming a chicken for the “Big Shew”. For those of you who may not have knowledge of such a venture, it involves quite a bit of effort on the part of the “Rancherette”.

Such efforts should be rewarded with a day at the spa. You know, the place where one can be pampered, massaged, a new hairdo, nail polish, skin rejuvenation, and whatever else one can get added to the procedure. Well, that is exactly what the “Rancherette” desires. Sooooo,

Each prize winning little Silkie will have their personal day at the spa. Around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch, pampering is quite normal for these birds, especially, since they have won ribbons. The first thing they are pleased to enjoy is a bath. Giving a chicken a bath is not quite like washing a dog, but somewhat better than washing a cat. It is more like washing a dust mop. In fact, we have a Silkie rooster named Dust Mop. However, he is not intent on having a spa day. He has other interests on his mind. Especially, after the little hen comes home from a day at the spa. Granted, cats and dogs do not have the same physical features of Silkies, beyond that, however, there isn’t much difference in the procedure. Feathers or fur, it is pretty much the same.

Apparently, since chickens are notorious for taking dust baths, being submerged in water is no big deal. They enjoy, so I have been told, having their little feathers stroked with all sorts of bath washes. The smellery the better (I know, it is not a word).

The “Rancherette” works her skills around and underneath the feathers to ensure each part of the feathery physique is manipulated. (This is the skin rejuvenation) The wattle must be combed or is it wattling the comb? Whatever, the color must be enhanced. Having enjoyed this, the chicken begins to cackle her appreciation. Soon thereafter, the little fluffy fowl will be wrapped in a luscious bath towel. Then, the Master Blaster is utilized. This is a device especially designed to remove water by the application of warm air to the body. Some folks call it a hair dryer. This particular one is a smaller version than that used for the dogs.

After the water is removed, the little hen looks lovingly at the masseuse as she begins to work her magic. She stretches the little wings here and there, above and under, around and over and then repeats the process, Who doesn’t like a massage every now and then? I am not sure when the nail polishing takes place; however, talcum powder is generously applied for a brightening effect. It has a smellery aroma as well. This addresses the “hairdo”.  Pampering, that’s what I call it.

At this point, I am not sure who receives the most pleasure from this experience, the little Silkie or the “Rancherette”. I do notice that the other feathery creatures are standing in line, cackling, “I’m next”, envious of the first one. I also see where the dogs in the kennel were creating a ruckus, howling and agitated. I think they want their turn in the spa as well. That is, except for the Airedale. Thankfully, we have no cats around the Fuzzy Chicken Ranch.

The “Rancherwriterpoet” might as well stand in line, too. He could use a little spa treatment, perhaps after the “Big Shew.”

That’s How My Day Went

Various situations have occurred the past two months, preventing any posts to my blog. I will not elaborate on those circumstances. I am just picking up the past two weeks, starting with how my day went.

Day One.

So the “Rancherette” and I are sitting around discussing what new projects we can accomplish around the old homestead. Having constructed the last of three chicken coops, our attention turned to some, much needed, repairs to our little farmhouse.

“It needs new paint”, I said. (The “Rancherette” moonlights as a painter.)

“It needs a complete makeover”, she said. We should hire someone to put new siding on the house, she said. “You can supervise”, she said.

So, the plan began to take shape. Except, I said, “I can do it, myself” (not the staining part). Famous last words”!  she said.

I immediately sprang into action. Got out my measuring tape, my quarter-inch scale pad, a sharp pencil, and engaged my brain. Must have a materials list, you know. I walked around the house, measuring and visualizing the steps that will be required, writing down the information as I went. That was how the Sunday afternoon went.

Day Two.  

Pardon me if I go off subject for a moment.

Around our little Silkie chicken ranch, we have several roosters. They all have names, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Dust Mop, Bloopety Blue, Goldfinger, and Tallyho. Goldfinger was once Goldilocks and Tallyho was once Tallulah, until we heard them crow. And speaking of crowing, they will crow on command, Seriously! Except for Mick and Rod, who refuse to crow at all.

So after my morning session with the “boys”, I turned my attention to the “running” of the dogs. Their daily constitutional is of utmost importance. It requires less attention to the sanitation of the kennels if they are allowed some freedom each morning.

While I am closely monitoring the canines, the “Rancherette” is tending to the “girls”, the female gender of chickens, who also have names. Just to name a few,  Sassy, Beauty, Baby Splash, Frosty and Rag Mop, who coos when the “Rancherette” sings R-A-G-G… M-O-P-P…, RAGMOP.

The “Rancherette” visits with each little hen every morning andthen  turns her interest to the two groups of baby chicks. They are kept in separate pens, the “Pre-K” chicks that are about two weeks older and the “Toddler” chicks, kept in their toddler pen. They do not have names as yet.

So, Monday morning, after the chores of tending to the chickens and running the dogs, I suggested we make a lumber run to the big “Blue” box lumberyard. I grabbed my list and off we went to the big “Blue” box lumberyard. Did I mention I also needed a new air compressor? 

After spending a couple of hours (and X-amount of $$$), we returned home, feeling exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. That was how Monday went.

Day Three.

Bright and early Tuesday morning and very excited to get started, I rushed through my chores with the animals and turned to the process of transforming the exterior of our home. I began by unloading some of the lumber and arranging the siding for the “Rancherette” (AKA, painter-deluxe) to start the process of staining prior to installation. She was spending her “girl-time” with the very friendly little Silkie hens and waiting on me. Sorry to say, I had to interrupt her session, as you will see next.

At this point, I will not go into describing each and every step, however, the first step of demo involved removal of some rotted wood. This being accomplished, I set up the table saw to rip a board into what is called a “water table trim”. This item can be purchased, however, it is quite expensive. Thus, I decided to manufacture this trim myself. About 10:30 A.M., The world changed dramatically. Without noting the graphic details, I was ripping the “water table trim”, and my little pinkie and ring fingers on my right hand, made contact with the table saw. Fifty plus years I have been around power tools, never having an accident of this nature. I must tell you, no matter how experienced you may think you are, it definitely is not enough if you do not remember to be SAFE!

Thanks to the “Rancherette” for her driving skills to the emergency room, the doctor thinks I will not lose my fingers, or perhaps only the tip of my pinkie. I will know for sure next week. It would appear that I am lucky  to keep the digits on my right hand. It has been quite a Summer to remember, what with new skin (Skin Cancer removal),  new eyes (cataract surgery) and now in the Fall a couple of finger repairs, I feel sort of like the “Bionic Man”. Rebuilt and even better than new.

And that was how Tuesday went. I can’t wait until Day Four. It will be here before I know it. In the short-term, I think I will go spend some time with the roosters. They may give me something to “crow about”.

Be safe out there.

A Chicken Wrangler’s Poem

 

I got an invitation to write this cowboy rhyme,
‘bout the Chicken Wranglers who ride from time to time.
So I sat down in my cowboy corner and in my cowboy chair
I searched my cowboy brain and wrote this cowboy prayer.

“Lord, bless the Chicken Wranglers, the ones who ride the range
And keep them little chickens safe, away from critters strange.”

I wrote this with my trusty cowboy pen.

A Chicken Wrangler’s Poem

The old chicken wrangler moseyed out her back door
She had chickens to tend to and that’s always a chore,
They scratch and peck and preen and dig holes in the dirt
As the cantankerous old “Roo” just sidesteps while he flirts.

The old chicken wrangler or sometimes, “Rancherette”
Comes to see this “Roo” as something of a threat,
So, she speaks very softly, but she carries a big stick
‘cause this ornery old rooster is often just too quick.

He’s just about one of the best of the breed
Worth every nickel she’d spent on his seed.
He has all the makings of championship stock
Old Cap’n Kanga “Roo” reigns over his flock.

But a wrangler can’t have just one stud in his herd
And this chicken wrangler? She needs a brand new bird.
So from her Silkie flock way up on the hill
Comes a nice Blue cockerel that gives her quite a thrill.

This brand new Silkie rooster comes with Silkie chicks
Bringing with his hatch a brand new bag of tricks.
While pullets scratch and peck and preen and dig ‘round in the dirt
“Big Blue” is just a crowing, still learning how to flirt.

So a Chicken Wrangler’s work is almost never done
and cleaning all that poop ain’t never been much fun
But wrangle on they will ‘cause it’s built inside their genes
and just like kids, they love ‘em, even when they’re teens.

                                                                                 Pete Robertson                                                                                                               March 2015

A “Brutal” Winter, Round 2

In my previous post, A “Brutal” Winter, it seems I was a bit premature with my assessment of “Brutal”. Being a dutiful Texan, I am always subservient to the whims of tall tales. Not that there was any exaggeration with that post, however, as I said, “That was then, this is now.”

Accordingly, I am providing an update.

The winds blew, the temperature was dropping, all the way down to 33 degrees and the snow began to fall. This happened after I rose from bed this morning.

My first thought, after listening to the list of school and government closings and the urging of officials to stay home, was to call the television station and ask them to add http://www.fuzzychickens.com

Fuzzy Chickens dot com 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

and JPR Kennels to their lists of closures.JPR Kennels

For my part I was paying attention to the stay-at-home stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Should I call, I would respectfully ask that all Silkie chickens and Standard Poodles at these locations to stay inside today. I am cancelling all their activities and rescheduling their feedings until tomorrow. The hens do not have to lay eggs today. Besides, this is the first time any of our chickens have ever seen the delicate white stuff. They would be quite hesitant to venture out into this stuff, anyway. The hens could lay their eggs in the snow and I would be unable to find them. They have a tendency to drop their eggs wherever they happen to be at that particular time. Silkies are funny that way.

Now the dogs, on the other hand, consider this white stuff to be old hat. But for the caretaker, not so much. So they can just postpone their sniffing wherewithal until tomorrow. Everyone may as well reschedule their morning events. They can all just have the day off. I am not offended that they think otherwise.

After my suggestion about calling the TV station, the “rancherette” decided, for whatever unnerving reason, to build a “snow chicken” in the backyard. The local television station is always asking for viewers to send in their pictures. She said this would be a great picture for TV and she could put her website in the snow as well. What a great marketing tool, she said. And it would be fun, she said. I can put it on Facebook, she said. And it is very cold, I said.

They say that when one reaches a certain age, one has a tendency to revert back to their childhood. I can attest to that.

Being the artist, she is, and with her blank “canvas” before her, like a “phoenix” rising from the snow, a creature comes forth with a funny little beak, a fluffy head and a cedar bough for a tail. It looks just like a chicken. A Silkie chicken! Fuzzy 7

 

 

 

 

 

What with the temperature hovering near freezing, my solution would have been to just set one of the chickens out in the snow and wait a few minutes. Voila, instant “Snow Chicken”.  That did not go over very well.

nice chicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That was this morning, now it is afternoon. The sun is beginning to come out, the temperature is rising and the snow is melting. The ‘snow chicken” is shrinking. The day is just about gone. The dogs and chickens did not pay any attention to the cancellations anyway. I should have known better. It is too late to call the station back and remove my closures from their lists. And I was pretty sure we were in for a blizzard. Just shows you how much I know about Texas weather.

With the temperature the way it is, I have a hankering for a bowl of chicken and dumplings or chicken noodle soup. That would really hit the spot. Chicken sounds good about now.

Stay Warm!

Rated PG13

The “rancherette” and her chick “delivery room” just completed an incubation period for chicks. It appears this particular hatch was not very successful. There were not as many hatched as we had hoped. This is a sad state of affairs. The “rancherette” so wanted the little chick babies, however it was just not to be.

I got to thinking, (A highly unreliable and dangerous process,) perhaps there was an underlying problem. Could it have been the incubator? There is some scientific evidence that incubators do not always do their job, or, is it possible that the rooster did not do his part? This is a dilemma.

I began to wonder about the egg fertilizing process. Just how difficult is it for a rooster to fertilize eggs? Then, does the rooster fertilize each individual egg, thus repeating the cycle every day, or is there enough fertilizer from one episode for, say, a dozen eggs?

From what little I know about the mating of chickens, (I guess this is where they do the Chicken Dance, do-de-do-do-do-do, do-de-do-do-do-do), it is an ongoing process for the rooster. I am pretty sure from the rooster’s point of view, he would prefer to fertilize each individual egg; do the Chicken Dance, fertilize an egg, do the Chicken Dance…

This gets me back to my original thought. Did the rooster not do his part?  Judging from the facade of the hens, they are all having a “bad hair” day. Their little topknots are wrangled and somewhat spiked. Perhaps, the rooster can account for their hairstyle, or maybe they used a “gel”.  However, it is evident they need to see their local feather duster to streamline their appearance.

From their outward appearance, the rooster was involved in some sort of ill-conceived (pun intended) venture. Yet, it may not have been as enterprising as hoped. Perhaps, he may need to see a specialist. Who knows what is lurking in his DNA?

It is definitely not his presentation. He has the “side-stepping” and the “wing-flapping” down to a science. (See “do-de-do-do-do”, above). However, I don’t believe the rooster is really concerned about any offspring anyway.

I think I really need to study this more. I might just enroll in Chicken Psychology 101 and take the rooster with me. He might appreciate a few pointers. Or, I could just set up a camera and video the egg fertilization process. Naah, I might be arrested.

The rooster did not agree to an interview, thus, these opinions are mine and mine alone.

Have a great day.

It’s Time

Well, it is about time. The incubator has been running full cycle for 21 days. And it finally happened. We have been waiting for three weeks for our firstborn. Firstborn Silkie chick, that is! It made its presence known early this morning. We do not know its gender. Thus, we call it an it. And unlike human babies, we won’t know the gender for several months. The “Rancherette” AKA, mother hen, did one of those chicken ultrasounds on the eggs, but it did not disclose its gender. I looked very closely and could not see anything dangling.  But, then, I can’t see anything in human ultrasounds either.

There are “old wives tales” that suggest how to tell the gender but most are only meant to predict a boy or girl after the chick is hatched. I read on http://www.backyardchickens.com of a method that says, “If you pick a chick up with two fingers by the neck, the pullets will draw their legs up to their body and the cockerels legs will dangle.”  I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to hold up anything by its neck or anything else that dangles before my eyes.

As I write this, it is nestling among the eggs that have not yet seen fit to join the birthing club. The newest chick in our flock is starting to exhibit its authority by cheeping loudly, rolling the eggs around, and in general, explaining the process to those still enclosed in their shell. This is how the pecking order begins.

When the one with the strongest pecker makes its debut, it begins to order all the other chicks around. This will continue throughout life. Authority goes to their head. I suppose in this hatch of eleven, if they all hatch, another authority figure will stand up and demand homage from the passive underlings be they cockerel or hen. Then the battles will begin. Of course, some old biddy hen may revolt and argue the circumstances.

Anyway, I hear it cheeping and am trying to translate. It is very difficult, however I think it is trying to say:

       Come out of there, I am hungry and the mother hen (that  would be the “Rancherette”) will not take me out to feed me  until I have companySo get out of there.   Use your little pecker. It will break the shell.”

So we are waiting and pacing, pacing and waiting. The incubator is in a spare bedroom for now, That makes it convenient to do that. The “rancherette” goes back and forth from room to room; she cannot stay away from the incubator, sort of like watching a pot of water waiting to boil. She sits and watches, just waiting for another mouth to feed. It’s not as if we have so few mouths to feed if you count our ten canines. Sitting and watching, that’s the “rancherette”.

The “rancherette” may be the mother hen of sorts, but it isn’t like a mother-to-be, it is more like a grandmother-to-be. You have all the thrill of delivery and none of the pain. It is all pleasure.

Around the world, there are people waiting to hear about the newest additions to our flock. We appreciate your enthusiasm and best wishes. I am sorry we did not have any baby showers; however, we are registered at Neiman Marcus if you are interested. Not to worry, though, we will let you know ASAP. In the meantime, here is the first baby picture.

Our first born november 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know, it looks dead, but it isn’t, it is our firstborn.

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