Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Aviculture

In spring, Felix's fancy turns to thoughts of aviculture. Last year he successfully raised his first order of chicks, only to see his flock decimated one evening by an unknown predator which killed *all* the girls--Mavis, Sophie, Hurtneck, Pearl, and the rest. That was a hard experience, and he did not replace the hens because he wasn't satisfied with the security of his fencing.

However, my dear neighbor Phyllis made him an offer he couldn't refuse this week. She has so many chickens ranging around her house that they are tearing up her yard and insisting on roosting in the garage. She offered Felix six of them--five laying hens and a gorgeous rooster--as well as the use of the Chicken Mobile Home which fits nicely over my vegetable garden beds, allowing the hens to scratch and fertilize all day long in a chosen area.

They spent their first night last night and all was well (we even got two eggs!) until Felix lifted the lid to offer them some eggshells. That's when Prunella flew out. She spent the day dodging all four children, until at dusk they became determined to capture her. While Daisy and I watched breathless from inside the house, she led them under bushes and through briars, now looking cornered, only to escape at a breakneck run ("I'm so proud of her!" Daisy would shout). Finally she roosted in a cedar tree in the meadow and Giles nabbed her. We all petted her soft Araucana feathers before he stuffed her back in the Home.

We're off to a good start.

6 comments:

Haus Frau said...

Thank you for sharing such a fun story! I can just imagine your little Daisy saying, "I'm so proud of her." What a dear!

Karen said...

How nice to be offered free chickens! I would love to have fresh eggs every day. Hope these do well for you.

Gena said...

You'll have to post some pictures. I, too, would love to have some chickens. I hope they do well.

Anonymous said...

Tell your son that it has been our experience to not only watch out for predators that can come inside or under the fence but from the top of the fence if it isn't covered...hawks! We have seen them actually swoop down trying to pick up a hen. Therefore, we put chicken wire on top of our hen yard. Right now they are able to free range as we haven't witnessed that in a while and I so prefer them to be able to wander around the yard helping with the bug population. I think you will also have better luck by having a rooster. We have an Aracauna rooster now and he is doing his job by watching over the flock.
Barbara in AR

His Girl said...

What an adorable story!

Jodi said...

LOL - That's too funny, Anna; definitely a Kodak moment! Was the feisty hen named Prunella before or after her great escape?

With his interest in aviculture, Felix might enjoy Rick Saenz's blog, Dry Creek Chronicle. He seems awfully well known, so you might already be familiar with him. He used to run the bookstore for RC Sproul, Jr. He and his family moved last summer to begin country, self-sufficient living. Following their learning process has been very informational -- and fun.

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