March 14, 2013

Birds of Paradise {sort of}

SAM_3465We decided that it's time to get some new baby chicks.  We had 12 for years, but a fox left us with just one, and this week we've realized that "Survivor" is gone too.  This time around we wanted to get some Easter Eggers.  I called around to see who had some and there just 2 left in town!  It was a chick emergency!  Her exact words were, "If someone isn't buying them as we speak on the phone, we have 2 left."  We tried to get Easter Eggers last time around, but settled for the breeds that were left the day after Easter.  But this time we were determined.  So I called Joe and suggested we go get them on his lunch break instead of meeting after work.  He must have really wanted them too, because he hug up and went straight to Cal Ranch.  By the time we arrived, he was in the check out line with the 2 Aracaunas (the much coveted Easter Eggers), 2 Sliver Laces, and 2 Rhode Island Reds.  We were bummed to miss out on picking them out, but it had to be done to snag the 2 we wanted.

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On the drive home, I warned that if we were loud in the van, it would stress out the little chicks.  Hannah Jane said, "Okay guys!  Let's play a game.  Whoever is the most quiet on the drive home gets first choice of what chick will sit in their lap while we watch Cirque du Soleil!  Okay?"  And then there was silence.  Limitless silence with just the occasional twitter of 6 chicks in a chick box.  I always say that I can't stand the noise in our house, that my soul simply longs for quiet.  But suddenly it was really silent.  I periodically glanced back at the kids and their eyes were smiling, lips pursed tightly together.  I always thought Paradise would be a silent car ride, and these birds brought silence right to my very own van.  But it wasn't what I thought it would be.  It was unsettling, actually.  Three vibrant, loud kids sitting perfectly silent with smiles on their faces.  It was creepy.  And I couldn't turn on music because I had just lectured on how loud sounds would stress the bird.  But surely the creepy silence would stress them as much as noise.

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I was relieved to get home and hear voices again.  What a shock that little revelation was- that I prefer my noisy kids to their silent doppelgangers.  We set about getting a little house ready for the chicks in the kitchen.  I know.  Of all the rooms to keep 6 chickens.  But it's really the only place that they will get attention and that their constant twitters won't keep us all up all night.  In a few weeks they'll feather out and we'll move them outside with a heat lamp.  In the meantime, we'll build a special coupe for them that Mr. Fox won't get into.  I'm excited to have a building project to work on with the kiddos!

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Day 2 of Haven's ridiculous outfit.  LOL!

Right after the fox got all of our chickens, we mindlessly rented the Fantastic Mr. Fox.  Oops!  Who knew it was going to be all about a fox plotting to eat more chickens?  Yeah...slight oversight on our parts there.  But the kids politely pretended not to be too traumatized.  Anyway, we're going to make these little girls a cozy, hopefully movable, chicken castle that no fox can invade.  I love that we never have to feed our chickens in the summer because they have 2 acres of bugs to eat, and the only way we can continue on that super natural path AND have a fox proof coop is to make a little chicken tractor that we can move every day to a new, buggier patch of grass.  So I'm browsing plans right now to see what kind of marvelous hen abode we can create.  And rather than just throw something together (which is what we usually do), I want to find some actual plans that the kids can be involved in following so we can use our math skills and direction following skills, and really make something that the whole family has a hand in.  That's my dream, anyway.  It may happen that budget dictates something thrown together from whatever scraps are in the loft of the barn.  But a momma can dream!

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