Friday, April 29, 2011

It's time to get up on the grooming table

Who, me?

Can't hear you.

Still can't hear you.

Surely you jest.

So, pick me up; I'm only 55 lbs of spaghetti.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The completely makeshift, almost operational chicken barrier

 Although we're having the coldest April on record, it was time to put the chicks outside during the day. To introduce new chickens into an existing flock, you let the two groups live for a while where they can see each other but not interact. Since I have only one chicken run, I made a barrier across one end and put the food and water dishes inside an old bird cage so that Bazooka and Maewest could feel more secure. (The pink thing is a food dish left in to give the chicks something to look at.)
They liked their new feeding station in the corner, protected by a tarp. In the evening, I brought them back to their box, now in the garage.

The older hens kept to their side for several days.

Until one day--
-- they couldn't resist finding out what was on the other side. They all hopped over to the little chicks' side and then, in the way of chickens, couldn't figure out how to get back to where they'd started. I had to take down part of the barrier and now they all play chicken, with the big ones chasing the little ones out because the little ones' food must be tastier--though it's the same stuff-- and then the little ones rushing back in when the big ones exit.

I hope they get used to each other soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What chickens say

What? What?

That's what.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Miro considers offering cooking tips

There must be lots of ways to spiff up those vegetables.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Outdoor decor

While walking the dogs between rain drops this morning, I passed a nearby corner house with two or three dozen plastic Easter eggs strewn around the base of a large tree in the center of the front yard. You'll have to imagine the bright jelly bean colors--pink, blue, yellow--against the dark green lawn below the evergreen branches because I don't carry the camera on walks and somehow it didn't seem right to photograph someone else's house for my blog. It was a cheerful sight on a gray morning.

Then I saw the additional decoration. Around the perimeter of the yard, nestling in the grass, were at least six large doggie poop piles left by the household's Laborador.

Several questions arise. Were the poops left there to prevent people from walking in and stealing the eggs? Was the dog just clever for confining her poops to the perimeter?  Or maybe the people were not so clever for not cleaning up?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Miró’s home decorating tips

Always put your favorite toy where the human is about to step.

Look pathetic when it's empty and joyful when it's full of food.

Create attractive fringes and de-stuff those "indestructible" toys.

Some thoughtful arranging will make an eviscerated toy resemble roadkill but with no blood to mar the carpet (blood on the carpet gets you yelled at).

When it's time to freshen up the decor, rip off those old bed covers to induce the human to make new ones.
These are just a few, simple ways to keep your home looking dog-friendly for Naughty Terrier Day

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Small space chicken football

I've always called it chicken football when one chicken finds an especially delicious morsel and takes off running, blocking the other chickens with her body, switching back and forth as the others try to snatch the food away. She can't stop and eat it until she finds a safe corner. The official, scientific term for this activity is "worm running."

Continuing with the indoor entertainment theme because it's miserably wet and cold outside, I offered the chicks meal worms today. Some people think snakes are gross? Take a look at meal worms. They have segments and bunches of wriggly legs and are just plain yuck, much worse than garden worms. To chickens they are filet mignon, carrot cake, potato chips--name your sinfully delicious fave and you'll get the idea.

Please take a moment to appreciate my heroism when I tell you I offered those horrid things in my bare hand.

Only people who are dotty about chickens make wild claims about their intelligence.  Chickens operate on hard-wired instinct and they are as smart as they need to be in order to learn to live a chicken's life. Some, I'm afraid, are slow. Like a normal chicken, Bazooka pecked at that object in my hand and ran with it while Maewest took a while to figure out (1) there was a food object (2) Bazooka got it and (3) she should try to get it. The next time I offered a meal worm to Maewest, Bazooka ran over and gobbled it while Mae was still considering what to do. After Bazooka ate three, she slowed down a little and Maewest got her treat.
So here's chicken football in the guest bathroom.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happy as a pig in---

With days of nonstop rain, the little dittlers seemed bored. Some mental and physical enrichment was in order.
 Birds can't go outdoors? Bring the outdoors to them.

You may know that puppies, children and other critters go through a critical period when they're highly receptive to certain kinds of learning. For instance, puppies who aren't socialized to other animals and situations never truly make up for the lack of early experience. So why not chickens? With Maewest and Bazooka showing signs of being ready for adventure--hopping onto my hands instead of running away shrieking--I figured it's the critical time for developing their teeny, tiny minds. Every youngster likes a pile of dirt!