Overheard in the market one day:
“Gram, don’t we know her?!”
“Shh! Don’t point! And yes, that’s the Chicken Lady!“
I could be called worse things. Some women, they have a thing about shoes. For me…
Over the weekend, I outfitted dear friends with some new hens after something, probably a fox, made off with four of theirs. We had a lovely Easter Eve stroll through our poultry, shopping for “colors” to go with the 3 they already have.
I sent them home with an Araucana, 2 “Wing and a Prayer Mix”, and a Columbian Wyandotte.
I popped by yesterday to drop off some Hot Cross Buns and check on everyone.
“How are the girls?” I asked.
“Oh, they’re great – loved the Easter Egg hunt, wired from jellybeans, came home and had great naps” replied my friend, referring to her adorable toddlers.
“Right! Of course! Yes! That’s super!” I refrained from further querying, “But, how are the GIRLS?” (You know, the feathered ones.)
Yesterday I’d also received a series of passionate emails from friend J that has only recently become a chicken farmer. She bid on 4 hens & a little coop at a fundraiser last fall and won, much to her husband’s chagrin. She came by our farm and selected her 4 girls in late October and I stopped by a few times to see how things were going. Oh gosh, my hens had stepped into chicken-heaven. The digs are posh. J does EVERYTHING right, attending to their smallest needs. A chicken-mama couldn’t be happier.
But two days ago, she & her family had returned from a sunny vacation to find Winnie, an Araucana she’d gotten from me, was probably suffering from a vent prolapse. J sent me emails and texts with photos and I coached her through some home remedies. I was going to take her to nurse for them last evening if things weren’t going well. Sadly, she emailed that after they’d bathed and soaked her and were about to treat her with some Preparation H (to attempt to shrink the swelling tissue), dear Winnie departed on them.
I mourn with them. She & her husband are beating themselves up for missing an earlier detection, but I tried to reassure her that these things happen to all of us. I know how sad it is to lose a hen, a beloved pet. I offered a new hen in her place, but they declined, saying they’d like to have some time to grieve. I understand.
The incubator has 4 days to go before 42 eggs reveal new loves. I’ve been candling and monitoring humidity and temperature for 17 days. I’ve got Faverolles, White Crested Black Polish and Wing and a Prayer Mix chicks on the way. Most are pre-sold, but not all.
There’s always room for more chickens.