My chicken friends

After seeing a way-cool documentary on turkeys over Thanksgiving, I was inspired to do a little bird photo shoot of my own. So I used my afternoon off to hang with the chippies and snap a few pics of the ladies kicking up bugs in the backyard leaves. Obviously domestic hens in an an East Austin backyard is not quite as majestic as wild turkeys in the Florida wilderness, and I don’t have quite the same clout and photography abilities as the masterminds at PBS, but I still had a good afternoon hanging with the chicks.

blondie

chickenfood

chickensinleaves

chickenfun


Ain’t nobody here but us chickens (and a creeper with a camera)

The chippies aren’t really chippies anymore. They are more like chicken teens….chikeens, if you will. No eggs or anything yet, but they are getting pretty close to rivaling Frannie Sue in size. They’re big enough now that we’ve taken out the barrier that separated the chippies’ side of the coop from Frannie Sue’s side, so now they can all live in chicken harmony. They also get to roam the yard for bugs and steal lettuce from the garden every afternoon. Yep, it’s a pretty good life for the chickens these days.

Chickens are sometimes cute, but sometimes they look like raptors on the prowl.


Taste =Tested

Question: Can the average Joe (or Bro) REALLY tell the difference between a fresh egg and an egg from the fridge?

As keepers of chickens, we get that question semi frequently. We always answered with a resounding “YES” because, well, we want to feel justified in our chicken raising. But can we really tell or is it just wishful thinking? Who better to test this theory than the one and only Bro? A manboy who exists solely on a diet of sloppy joes and ravioli and has practically no picky eating habits to speak of whatsoever is the perfect subject on which to test this theory.

Hypotheses: I predict, that even with the palate of a common man, fair Bro will be able to distinguish the fresh egg from the friged one.

The experiment: First things first…gather materials. One fresh egg and one from the fridge.

Both yolks side-by-side. Guesses as to which is which?

To test accurately and fairly, it had to be a truly blind taste test with both eggs prepared under identical conditions. Both eggs would be cooked over easy, on the same type of pan, cooked over the same heat for the same length of time. They would even be served on the same plate. No differentiation whatsoever.

And we couldn’t add any fixin’s like salsa or salt and pepper. Only egg in its purest form would do. 

Bro prepares.

Bro chooses his favorite.

Bro chose the fresh egg! We are vindicated!

The Result: In the end, Bro finished both eggs but said there was a clear difference, and the fresher egg was “more robust.” He said there was more flavor, thought it wasn’t over powering…just preferable.

So there you have it. Fresh eggs are finer. Another hypothesis tested and proven.

Special thanks to Frannie Sue, the Scientific Method and Bro for contributing to this post.


Out of the closet

Well, the chicks, or chippies as I have been calling them (think cheep + chickies), are officially out of the laundry room and enjoying life outside with Frannie Sue in the coop! It’s an exciting time to be a chick.

The chippies seem to enjoy their new abode and it has been super fun watching them explore the new digs. Their personalities are starting to shine a little more and we’re thrilled to just watch and get to know them.

We’ve not named them yet, as I have been satisfied just referring to them as “chippies” or “the black one” and “blondie” but I wouldn’t say it’s an indicator of indifference on our part.  Do allow me to share with you some of the fun facts about our new(ish) little friends.

-Pecking order is a real thing. We got lucky when we introduced Frannie Sue and Marion to one other, as Francis was small and spunky and Marion was just happy to have a companion, but that was pretty much a fluke according to tales we’ve heard. Sometimes when you introduce new fowl to one another, things can get ugly with the more established chicks attacking the newcomers, often pecking them to death. Not exactly a “welcome to the neighborhood” situation. I’ve read tips by many chicken farmers that say you can prevent this by placing the new hens into the coop at night while the rest of the brood sleeps. The idea is the chickens will wake up and have a “the gang’s all here” mentality without really counting heads (chickens are cute but not the brightest). But with Frannie Sue being the only lady of the house, we knew this tactic wouldn’t work. Fortunately Handyman Heath rigged up a chicken coop floor plan that allows the birds to see one another and interact without having to actually share sleeping space. The idea is that overtime Frannie Sue will take it easy on the whole territorial thing and embrace the company of the chippies overtime. So far, so good.
-You can train a chick to not be “chicken.” What I mean is, if you make the chicks feel safe, they will take on loving, social personalities. If you threaten their lives and set them up for scary situations, they’re apt to be a bit more timid. We were bad about this with Frannie Sue. We might have prematurely let her out into the real world, which resulted in some dangerous situations when she was younger (Stella got a little too “friendly” a time or two) and she did witness the brutal murder of her bff, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in nature or humanity. But the little chicks have had it pretty good thus far. We made a point to talk to them every day while they lived in the laundry room, and we made sure to handle them semi-regularly so they could get accustomed to people. Now, whenever they see us approaching the coop, they run to the gate and “cheep cheep” at us. It’s ridiculously cute.
-Different chicks, different style.  As I mentioned earlier, chickens have their own personalities, as well as looks. The barred rock hen is definitely the dominate one of the chick family, while blondie is by far the most curious. She’s always the first to greet us at the gate or pop her head out of the chicken house. The Ameraucana is timid and needs a little courting to come around. But frisky or fragile, they’re all a lot of fun.


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