State of the Coop Address

by Stefani on 14-April-2008

I just wish like all get out that I could invite you all over to the backyard.

I’m telling you, no matter what the day brings, no matter how close the tax deadline looms, even though the sink is backing up and the price of gasoline is going to be more than the cost of a gallon of milk soon, despite the utter lack of confidence I have in any and all of the politicians vying for my vote, I’m telling you there is nothing like a boy and his chickens to set the world right!

Our girls are getting SO BIG!

Here’s our benchmark shot of little Pearl, taken on the day we brought her home:

Pearl In Papa's Hands

And here she is now:

Pearl Interrupted

Can you stand it?

I will tell you that I’m growing happier by the day that I’m not a mother hen. As fast as little boys grow, chicks grow even faster!

Everyday, about dusk, our girls get to squawking to be tucked in for the night. They are ready to settle down, and want us to put them in their little box and lock them up tight and cozy for the night.

So, I thought maybe, what with the instincts clearly kicking in, it was time to put some poles in their cage, for roosting.

Well they acted like I had just introduced a crocodile into the flock. They ran around hollaring and flapping their disapproval, until my oldest little Daddy climbed in there and put one of them on the pole, so as to demonstrate the purpose of this new oddity.

Hazel Learning To Roost

(and yes, that is wee little Hazel ! Only her head is blue now.)

It was the funniest thing I think I have ever seen.

All the chickens stretched their necks up, big and tall, cocked them to one side, and stared in wonder. Here was Hazel, on the mysterious pole. Holy heavens!

It took not four seconds for the rest of them to flutter up there, cackling delight over their new heights.

All but poor Rosemary.

Try as she might, she cannot make it up there. She runs around pecking all her sister’s toes and peeping herself silly over it.

Her patient Daddy coos and lifts her up there.

Patient Papa

She’s always pleased as punch to be up, but invariably, she hops off after a bug or something, and can’t get up again. Sometimes, she even tries to get a running start, but alas, the girl is just not very athletic. And, considering the fair amount of stares and squawks from the other girls, I’m pretty certain that they are making fun of her, in their own chicken way.

So Luke, good daddy that he is, goes out and puts her up there several times a day. He thinks that the more she’s up there, the harder she’ll try to make it up, of her own accord.

Rosemary Roosts

He even holds tasty greenery over her head and makes her hop for it. He says he’s helping to build up her leg muscles, so that she can gather the strength to roost on her own.

Jump Fat Girl!

He talks sweetly to her, encourages her, tells her “don’t give up girl, I know you can do it!”

I will tell you that I near about cried when I heard him say of the chickens already on the roost, who were looking pitifully on as Rosemary tried and failed, “Don’t pay any attention to them, girl. You just keep at it. You’ll get it!”

I just wonder if this chicken has any idea just how lucky she is to have such a magnificent papa.

Sarah Jackson April 14, 2008 at 9:14 pm

What a sweet boy he is! And I can totally feel for Rosemary. I would have had trouble with that bar too. She’ll get there! The other girls can be so mean sometimes.

We’re having the same growth spurt with the puppy. I swear, I could just sit here and watch him grow.

Anne April 14, 2008 at 9:28 pm

I love his encouraging words. I can’t believe how big they have grown.

Lisa Pijuan-Nomura April 14, 2008 at 9:52 pm

Now, I must be honest, chickens have never really made me feel all warm and mushy inside. BUT this post and the photos of your son, just really made me see how lovely and vulnerable and human that little chicken was.

And here i am, late at night having a little bit of a teary moment about how animals and humans interact and how important animals are in our lives.

Thanks for sharing. Love your blog!

Berlinswhimsy April 14, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Oh, this is so much fun to read! Our chicks are spending their second night with us and we even noticed a bit of growth in only one day (the kids are measuring them, too)! So the books say we could have an egg at the end of July but I look at those poor tiny fuzzy peeping chicks and ask, ‘that soon!?!’

Steph April 14, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Oh my goodness, Luke is just too cute! I wish I could hear him giving her all that motivation!

Allison Fouse April 14, 2008 at 11:26 pm

Words cannot begin to express how adorable and heart warming this is. Your son is so sweet to those chickens. *sigh

Jade April 14, 2008 at 11:37 pm

Ummm honey… you have chickens in your back yard!!! That’s why I love you! 🙂

Ellie April 15, 2008 at 3:06 am

Lucky little Rosemary, having such a sweet Papa caring for her.
My sister spent hours in the chook pen, as a child, talking and just being with the chooks.
A few ideas about the rung (roost) for them. Maybe you could put a lower one in. Eventually Rosemary will be able to get to the big one, but you could put like a step-up in the meantime. And (if I remember correctly), chooks actually need to have a ‘pecking order’ for their sleeping rungs. We used to have a top and bottom perch, and they would fight it out each night, to see who got on the top perch.
Also, if your boys find a nice piece of gnarly wood to use, instead of a straight peice of dowel (broom handle?), it’s much better for the hens feet to have the bark and natural shape of a twig to sleep on.

This is making me want to get chickens for my kids. Thanks for the great photos, and imagery of those stretched out necks – in all their colour!

Eren April 15, 2008 at 3:18 am

Oh Luke, I just want to nibble on your ears for being so sweet.

Looks like Ellie might have some good advice for you there. Love this post friend! As always.

erin April 15, 2008 at 4:31 am

Luke, you are so smart. Keep telling your chicken not to listen to those other girls. She’s going to do great with you showing her the way!

Lynn April 15, 2008 at 5:06 am

Have they tried the trick of holding the chick in their hand on its back? Hold it and then gently rub the chicks chest with a finger. The chick will quickly fall into a trance like sleep. It will just lay there on its back with its head hanging over the side of the hand. My great grandmother used to do that to her grown hens. Let’s just say that was the first step of chicken dinner. We just try it on the little ones. 😉

Julie @ Letter9 April 15, 2008 at 5:27 am

I cannot tell you just how much I look forward to the chicken updates. I love hearing about how your boys are with the chickens. I have to say, though, that I was like, “Huh? Poles?” and was picturing them running vertically like stripper poles instead of the other way. Oops. : )

Sarah April 15, 2008 at 5:38 am

What a perfect story to start my morning! It sounds like, with Luke’s help, Rosemary will be able to master the pole in no time.

Mandy April 15, 2008 at 5:51 am

What a perfectly sweet little boy. I am ashamed to say it as a girl that grew up on a working farm, but I never realized that chickens grow that fast! Love the updates!

Elissa April 15, 2008 at 6:02 am

I’d be willing to bet that those beautiful words of encouragement are mimicking your own. What a lovely testament to your love and influence on your boys. I’d say “keep it up,” but I am sure you will. I WILL say keep up the pictures, as I love the eye that you have for your world. You are making me miss the chickens I grew up with…I used to carry them around like cats!

Sarah April 15, 2008 at 6:56 am

What a sweet story.

(Jack is sitting here insisting that the chicks are for him! him! him! and making these peep, peep noises. LOL)

Lisa Clarke April 15, 2008 at 7:18 am

I have never had the urge to have a flock of chickens. Until now!

Mariss April 15, 2008 at 7:56 am

I so look forward to the updates on the little papas and their girls. What an utterly heart-warming post!

Although, I had to laugh at the comment above. I also immediately thought of a stripper pole, and was completely confused until I read further.

Amy April 15, 2008 at 8:17 am

“Don’t pay any attention to them, girl. You just keep at it. You’ll get it!”

If my daughter encourages someone in this fashion, ever, I will feel like a success as a parent.

Sweet, wonderful story.

Crystal April 15, 2008 at 8:35 am

I don’t think I have ever gotten teary eyed over chickens before today. My eyes are wet and my heart heavy for poor Rosemary. Thank Goodness she has a sweet Papa to lift her up with his words and with his arms. You have an awfuly sweet kiddo there. 🙂

The chicks are in such an awkward stage right now. The picture of Pearl just about did me in. Hard to belive they are the same fluff balls they once were.

Jess April 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

I can’t believe the chicks have gotten so big! Your son is so good to sit there and be patient and help out, I thought that was the sweetest story.

Bluebirdbaby April 15, 2008 at 9:58 am

Aw, that is the sweetest thing ever!! We are getting our chicks and ducklings in the first bit of May. We’re still dealing with chilly days and nights here. After reading about your chick adventure, I can wait for our own to begin!! (Does it seem like chicks are all over blogland lately? Who knew?!)

Adrienne April 15, 2008 at 10:57 am

It just goes to show that your little fella is passing on what he has heard from his mother hen. Aren’t you glad they listen to something we say 😉 Truely enjoyed this post – cluck!

Maureen April 15, 2008 at 11:25 am

It warms my heart to see your son so caring of animals… lucky chicks! What a great story, photos and message. I wish every youngster had the opportunity to learn respect and responsibility like your son. Tell him I’m very impressed and proud.

Megan April 15, 2008 at 11:46 am

Love it love it love it. I always love chicken talk. And you’ve got some good looking pullets there.

Kristy April 15, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Okay. This just proves YOU ROCK!

Normally a post about chickens would not have me riveted to the screen.

But you, my friend, have a gift. The way you say things and your photos (good golly, your photos!!) are just amazing. Love it!

Keri April 15, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Awwww……that’s so sweet!

melissa s. April 15, 2008 at 7:08 pm

What a great guy you’re raising there! Sweet little peeps, too!

Meg April 15, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Seriously, that’s the best thing that I have heard or read all week! Just love his sweet little nature!

happymamaof3 April 16, 2008 at 7:55 am

what a wonderful story!!!! i loved it !! i so wish livestock were permitted in the city!

Em April 16, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Awww….. I’m just teary eyed thinking of your little papa’s taking care of their chicks! I can’t wait to get some!!!! It turns out I have to ask all of my neighbors within 500 feet for permission before the town will give me the permit! That’s about 20 houses! UGH!

Brynn April 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm

This sealed the deal. My 4 y.o cares for our five mature hens with so much love. We are getting chicks. It is so good to see kids get to nurture other beings. It carries over so well to the earth and wilderness and other humans. This post is irresistibly sweet! Thanks for sharing.

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