Monday, October 20, 2008

Guess What? Chicken Butt!

I don't know why that is the title that kept coming to me as I prepared to introduce the newest members of the minifarm, but I couldn't shake it so lucky you!

We have many animal friends here. I've introduced you to Screamer already and of course we still have Sadie our cat. We also discovered a lizard in the basement and he has now become a pet. His name is "Liz-eerd". Since there are bountiful flies that find their way into the house I'm proud to say that my kids can now successfully catch a fly, remove one wing, and feed our dear Liz-eerd a live meal. He's also enjoyed a mini slug and several types of beetles. Andrew even tried to feed it a bee. I'm not sure what came of that. I was wholly against it, of course, it seemed like a lose/lose situation.

We also have four deer that graze nightly in our pasture. The apples are all gone now, those little pigs! I was sure that would give us at least a week or two of entertainment. Oh well. Two nights ago I did get some pictures of them finishing off the last few apples, unfortunately the kids were all in bed and the pictures are too dark to make out.

As of yesterday, we are home to 8 bantam chickens. Hence the title.I guess bantam just means small but you'd have to ask Andrew, he's the resident chicken expert. They are the cutest little mini chickens and roosters. The kids are pleased as punch to take care of them. They were all up bright and early, dressed and ready to check on our feathered friends. Sadly, I left them alone for too long as I made breakfast and prepared their school work for the day. I realized something was up when I heard the screen door bang, a quick run to the bathroom, and some comment about "the chickens are freezing!" Sierra and I followed the commotion out to the barn and found my good bath towel stuffed into one of the roosts and a little beak poking out the top. All I could think was that this was not good on so many levels. First of all, my good towel! Do we not have enough crappy, ratty, stained, ripped up rags to choose from? Second, why does the chicken need a towel? And third, can the chicken even breathe? I took care of the breathing issue by pulling out the towel and it was then that I discovered why the chicken even needed it and why the kids were saying that the poor bird was freezing.
I guess they had decided that all the chickens were a little dirty and of course when you're dirty you need a bath. Why that thought process doesn't naturally correlate to their own bodies I'm not sure. But at any rate, they doused them all with water and the little yellow one (the one I love) was actually given several baths. He's been called out as Mia's chicken and when she does a job she really does it well. Poor thing. He was soaked straight through his feathers. Still, he wasn't getting my good towel. I fluffed up the hay in his coop a bit and set him back down. The only other thing I could think to do to help him was to leave the light on out there as it might give some extra warmth to the place. Hey, desperate times require desperate measures.
Of course I gave the kids a very stern speech and described how chicken's feathers work with water and how they aren't meant for a soaking, especially in October. I really laid it on heavy when I told them that this chicken might actually die. Their eyes were as big as saucers and their faces all full of fear. I know it was a little harsh but I also know that the hardest part of adding animals to our lives isn't the animals but actually training the kids how to behave and take care of the animals properly.

After lunch I let them go back for a few minutes and check on them. They were so relieved that everyone was still alive and they were thrilled to find that their feathers had dried and fluffed back up.

"That was a close one," I said in a very serious voice.

No comments:

Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff