Friday, January 31, 2014

Snow and more snow

The weather continues to be wicked cold however with the coming snow at least those negative numbers are now closer to zero.
When one lives close to the land, one also becomes intimately familiar with the ebb and flow of life.  Eggs appear like little thank you gifts each morning.  Babies are born, cared for, and grow up, then have babies of their own.  All too soon the little fuzzballs are big girls, laying eggs, and going about their chicky business.
Most people know chicken as a source of eggs or as found in convenient packages at the local meat market or preprocessed into nuggets.  How did they live?  Did they have other chicky friends? I'm not a vegatarian but I do believe that animals should be treated as humanely as possible.  That also means that they should be able to go outside and feel the grass under their feet.  They should feel safe and cared for.  If injured or sick, they should receive care.
How can you get attached to a chicken?   Like children of our own, each pullet has her own personality
They appear to form attachments, friendships with their other chicky mates.  They groom each other.  They take turns in the dustbath.  When you come in to do your chores, the girls gather round, pecking the snow from your boots or grooming the folds in your coat and jeans.
There's always one or two who are more bold.  They knock the lid off the feedbucket.  They insist on sitting on the fresh bale of hay you're struggling to get into the chickenhouse.  the tug at the twine hanging out of your pocket.  They gently pull at your hair as you sit and rest for a moment (briefly forgetting how close the bench is to that favorite nestbox).  They vie and scramble to be first, whether it's first to the bowl of scratch or first on the lap when I pause and sit down.
I don't know why Amy started laying double yolked eggs.  Anyone who has handled these will attest that they are easily twice the size of a normal sized egg.  I can only imagine how much it hurts such a little chicken to lay such a big egg.  Like giving birth to an excessively large baby every day, the double yolker leaves the little hen feeling exhausted.  If she is unable to have the time to completely recover, the subsequent eggs can cause trouble.
And so it was with Amy.  I did what I could but it was too much for her.  Her chicky friends, Smokey and Jet, are looking for her but also seem to know.  It's sad to lose such a sweet girl.  she'll be in my thoughts in the days to come.

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