Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Midtown Chicks

We apologize for the long overdue post. Saffron, Mei and Blackberry have been busy laying eggs, scratching, pecking and snuggling to keep warm. We collect three eggs a day which has come in handy for all of our holiday baking.

With temperatures starting to dip, we prepped the coop for the long winter nights. The coop and yard are covered with a nice earth-toned tarp. This will help cut out the wind and keep the girls mostly dry in the freezing rain.  Using the lamp from their brooder, we will keep the coop warm and water from freezing.

The giant egg mystery has been solved. Blackberry lays our giant brown eggs which is ironic because she is half the size of the other girls. What can you say? She is an overachiever!

Mei has settled down a bit. She will actually let us pick her up and she runs to greet us in the yard with the other birds. With feathers of gold and Martha Stewart green eggs, she is our little diva.

Saffron is our sweetest bird. Since the stuck egg fiasco, we have quite the bond. A statuesque beauty, she is my muse.

Keeping the birds happy is very simple: fresh water every 2 days, keep the feeder full & clean out the coop/replace the straw every 2 days. They need lots of exercise, so anytime we are home they are out in yard.

As we wind up 2010, we are thankful for our chicks and the joy they bring us each and everyday. May Santa be kind to you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Green Egg and Ham

Mei finally laid an egg! We have had the girls since March and both Saffron and Blackberry have been laying since August. We were beginning to think that Mei wasn't going to produce. But as I have mentioned before, she is one strange bird. Pretty, but strange.

Grayson called me on Wednesday, all excited about finding a green egg. We have had a few false alarms, but he assured me that is was very green.

Yep, its green alright! It might as well have been gold. We knew she would lay Martha Stewart-y colored eggs so we have been waiting with baited breath.

So what do you do with a green egg? You make green egg and ham, of course! Shawn whipped up a fantastic quiche with some crisped prosciutto. It was yummy.

We thanked Mei with a tomato.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Profile of a Chicken

Name: Saffron

Age: 7 months 

Sex: Female

Description: Stunning redhead, tallest in the coop, impressive comb and waddle, pretty yellow legs, big feet

Namesake: Our Mrs. Reynolds aka Joannie aka Christina Hendricks

Hobbies: Laying eggs, staring at dogs, chasing bugs, scratching and pecking

Favorite Food: Watermelon

Accomplishments: Survived the farm supply store and won a battle with a stuck egg and lived to tell the tale (ouch)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Long overdue, like Mei's eggs

Long time, no blog. We have been on the run for weeks. Here are the highlights.

Saffron made an emergency trip to the vet. She was egg bound. This all happened a few hours before we left town, so she ended up spending the weekend at the Collierville Animal Clinic. They were fantastic and will be my go to chicken docs from now on. However, should this happen again I think we will be better prepared to handle it ourselves.

The girls did not welcome Saffron home with open wings as I had hoped. Instead they chased her around, bloodied her comb and bullied her until she ran to me for help. After a few days of slowly reintroducing her to the flock, they are one small, happy family again.

After all of the stress, Saffron didn't lay for a few weeks. However, she and Blackberry are back on schedule. We collect 2 eggs a day, on average.

Mei still hasn't started laying. She is still our little nervous Nettie, running to and fro, always in a big hurry. I hope she'll settle down and start laying soon.

They all have a new favorite hobby.

Watching Madison through the window. They all sit, for long periods of time, just watching each other. Please excuse the dirty window. Shawn hopes to introduce Maddie soon, on a leash. I'll be the one holding my breath and taking pictures.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

RIP Satsuki

On Saturday, Grayson and I ran into Van Cheeseman at the Trolley Stop Market and inquired about Satsuki. We were sad to learn that he died recently from heat exhaustion and possibly crop binding. We are mourning the loss of Satsuki and want to share this photo montage in his memory. RIP Satsuki.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Overachiever Lays GIANT Egg

Breaking News! Saffron is now contributing to the weekly egg quota. We came home to find this BIG egg last week. We now collect an average of 2 eggs per day.
Poor thing, her first egg and it probably took hours to lay it. I think Blackberry was a little jealous.
Saffron's egg clearly overshadows the others.
It's a head above the rest.
I mean its REALLY big.
And to top it off, a double-yolker! Well played Saffron, well played.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blackberry's Feast!

Our girls, well, Blackberry really, decided to start laying eggs. Once she started, those puppies were popping out once each 25 hours. Her sleep cycle delayed the 3rd egg, but man, it's amazing how you can calculate when she'll lay. It's really an amazing thing. Our pets, our girls, are providing food, good quality protein, for us.

As the primary cook (and primary egg lover) in the hizzy, I was so pleased that I was able to cook Sunday brunch a la Blackberry. Gray had his buddy Alex B. spend the night so, when we found the fourth egg on Sunday, all was right with the world.

I really wanted each of us to have an egg cooked to order and so we did.

Mel had I had our respective eggs scrambled, Gray wanted an omelet and Alejando B. wanted his over-medium. So with great relish, I heated up the pan and went to work.

First up was Gray's omelet. A pat of butter, a little cheese, a little Morning Star sausage and some patience made for a tasty omelet, IMHO. It's taken years to perfect, but patience is the real key to a great omelet.

After flipping out a quality one-egg omelet, Alex's over-easy was next. More butter and a gentle hand turned out the second tasty brunch entree.

Finally, some simple scrambled eggs for Mel and I. More butter, some sea salt, a bit of fresh cracked black pepper and "ba-dow!"brunch for four, all coutesey of daddy's lil' chicken, Blackberry. Isn't she talented?
Ahhh, fresh eggs!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Biding our time

Since the departure of Satsuki, the girls have been quite content and laid back. Still no eggs. As we bide our time (and open the egg door daily), I will share with you a series of haiku poems by my dear husband and his friend John. They exchange haiku on a regular basis. Chickens make for an excellent source of creative material :) Here is a snapshot of their recent exchange. Enjoy.

Backyard (old) McDonald by Shawn
Well, we’re farmers now,
Of the sort that raise chickens.
We have three, for eggs.

Urban Wildlife by John
Whoa! Raising chickens?!
I did NOT see that coming!
No neighbor complaints?
The DLC (daddy’s lil chickens) by Shawn
Raised from week-old chicks,
Blackberry, Mei, and Saffron
Make us smile and laugh.

Carbon Chicken Footprint by John
Now that’s going green!
Lots of guys talk the talk, but,
you...well, raise chickens!

How do chickens run? by Shawn
Like women with hiked
Petticoats ruffled and high
Always cackling.

Far Less Surprising by John
We got a new dog.
Adopted on my birthday,
We named him...Haiku :o)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hot Chicks

The heat has been brutal lately. The chicks have found little relief in the shade. We have made sure that they have plenty of water and even put ice cubes in their dish from time to time. 

What does a hot chick look like?

They literally pant. Poor girls.

So to beat the heat, we chilled a watermelon in the fridge, gutted it and gave the girls the leftovers. Blackberry wasn't sure what to think.

Saffron however caught on right away. She loves watermelon, especially the juice.
Slowly, Mei and Blackberry caught on. Soon the girls were frantically running from one piece to another. It was a watermelon frenzy!
Once they caught on to the yummy watermelon goodness, we tried a little tomato. Blackberry was skeptical.
By the next afternoon, the watermelon rinds were picked clean and there were no signs of tomato bits.

So now, the question that everyone wants to know the answer to- have they started laying eggs yet?
Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Boy Named (Sat)Su(ki)

For weeks we were suspicious. Satsuki is just a little bit larger than the other girls and her face and comb had been red for weeks. Last week Grayson and his friend Alex figured it out.

That's right, Satsuki is a rooster.

We brought home 4 chicks in March for fresh eggs and to experience chicken tending. Little did we know, we also brought home a rooster. My friend Melissa also recently discovered that her little Petunia is a rooster. We have formed a support group.

Thanks to the power of Facebook and a few helpful friends, we had a new home identified in just a few days. Because we live in the city and our house is very close to our neighbor's, we are not able to keep a rooster. Not to mention, I don't know what we would do with lots of baby chicks.

On Wednesday, Satsuki went to live with Van Cheeseman at Flora at Bluebird Farms!

He left us in the same blue box that he grew up in and it was a bittersweet moment. But our friends Melissa Bridgman and Keith and Jill Forrester think very highly of Van and know that he will be the perfect rooster daddy. He was excited to get an aracauna so it worked out perfectly.

My Granny says that whistling girls and crowing hens always come to some bad end. But not so for ole Satsuk. He is livin it up in Mississippi.

Live long and prosper Satsuki.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where are they now?

Satsuki then

and now
Satsuki is slightly larger than the other girls and has been showing off her red comb for weeks now. She reminds me of a sassy old lady, always bossing around the other girls. She walks with her wings just slightly splayed. Shawn thinks she looks like a southern belle curtsying. She is very noisy and is the hardest to catch. We love on her anyway.
Blackberry then

and now

Blackberry is like a little puppy dog. She is the first the greet us and will even come when called, sort of. She'll hop right up on your lap. She likes to see what's going on and doesn't want to miss out on anything. She always tries to eat my clothes.

Mei then
and now

Mei was our little dumplin. Now she is a hawk-like lady with puffy cheeks. She loves to run around the yard and I mean run. She runs here and there and everywhere. She is never quiet sure what she is looking for but its very important.

Saffron then

and now

Saffron started out as our little ring leader and is now the quiet one. She wants to be close to us, but isn't as outgoing as Blackberry. Saffron makes a little noise when picked up but is soothed with an ear rub. Yes, chickens have ears. See the the little fuzzy flaps behind her eyes? Ears. She doesn't like escargot, but loves a good cold cucumber.