Our backyard chicken flock has dwindled from five to two. My mom recently told me that one of her chicken raising books suggests buying twice as many chickens as you actually want or need because usually only half will make it to adulthood (now we know for next year!). What we have ended up with here are two of the bravest chickens in the universe. Don’t let their adorable chickie names fool you. “Mickey” is a bad-ass Rhode Island Red who can catch and eat a cricket faster than you can blink an eye and “Daffodil” the yellow one (I can’t remember her breed because it’s probably something boring) could smother small animals with her giant (chicken girth at least she will be able to once she reaches her full size). These two characters are sure to make some big news in the chicken world, someday, if they live long into adulthood. I hope they do because I am tired of crying over dead chicken bodies. We love each one for their special talents and when they turn up dead we have to deal with more heartbreak and sadness. Not to mention the loss of the future egg omelets we’ve been dreaming of.
These chickens are brave because they tolerate the hugging, squishing, chasing, and toddler mothering provided by Tiny-Small. She has taught them how to avoid every predator known to chicken and to man simply by screaming, running, imitation country line dancing, stomping, and the occasional watch out for things that might trip and fall on you maneuver. These chickens will never, ever have a tree fall on them, or a bird of prey scoop them up because they are well versed in the ominous tones of the shadow. They can dodge obstacles, navigate uneven terrain and even fly to safety. In short, they are being well trained to survive in the harsh desert-like conditions of New Mexico where food is often scarce and fox and coyotes are sneaky chicken bandits.
Tiny-Small adores her chicken flock. She pets them, feeds them, waters them and occasionally tries to bathe them with the garden hose. We put a stop to that last one though because we found out chickens prefer to bathe in the sand and the dirt. Once a day we take the chickens out of the coop and let them roam around in the garden for an hour or so while we supervise their exploration. They eat bugs right off my plants and so far we haven’t had one single horn worm this year so I think they must be doing a good job. They haven’t started eating the plants yet which is a relief, but we’ll see what happens. Anyway, as far as the bug eating goes, those chickens are worth their weight in gold. Tiny-Small thinks so too. She loves them like a mother hen would, or at least as much as a cross-species adoptive mother of two chickies ever could.
|Tiny-Small is more of a chicken than actual chickens|
Tiny-Small named Mickey after our cat, Mickey, which I thought was a nice way to acknowledge her love for the cat, except the cat is still alive and well. I’m not sure how appropriate it is to name a chicken after a cat, but some things just cannot be explained to a two year old. Mickey is a killer cat that has me on her hit list. So, maybe Tiny-Small thought naming the chicken after such a tough cat would give the chicken a leg up in a world based on survival of the fittest. I’m routing for that chicken to make it and not just because I am looking forward to eating eggs with my bacon, but because that chicken is actually pretty adorable and fun to watch and so is Tiny-Small.
*Always, always, always hose your kids down with soap and water after they have been petting chickens. We don’t want to spread around any chicken-type diseases and also because chickens poop on EVERYTHING.