Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Miss Kitty Joins the Family!

Miss Kitty officially joined the Beverly flock during the May 1 Chicken Open House. She came from Sharon's Gleaning Farm, a 4 week old Black Silkie, small and nameless, with black feathers on her feet. We had a contest to name her, Kitty won, and 'Miss' in front of it seemed just right.
She's the first chick to win Naomi's heart and it didn't take much. As always, chicks start out living in our kitchen in the recycling bin under the heat lamp. After all the 'loaner' chicks went back after the Open House Miss Kitty was quite lonely. She did not like the bin and the chicken wire top was not much of a deterrent. On one of the first evenings she spent much of her time trying to escape and Naomi kept finding her walking around the kitchen after sneaking out of a loose corner of the wire. Naomi would put her back, Miss Kitty would jump out and so it went on. Finally Naomi gave up and went to sit on the couch.
A short while later she thought one of the cats was trying to jump up on the couch and Naomi didn't pay much attention to the scratching. But when she looked down she found it was a tiny Miss Kitty who was trying to jump. She'd followed her into the living room and was looking for a little company. Naomi finally gave in and wrapped Miss Kitty in a towel and held her until she settled. That's where I found them an hour later, one reading a book and the other cooing quietly. I had to take a picture or no one would have believed it! That became a nightly ritual, Miss Kitty in her towel getting some bonding time.
Miss Kitty has graduated to the cage in the basement where she sleeps but she's out during the day in her cage or if I'm out she can roam with the big girls. They've mostly ignored her but I know that if I put Miss Kitty in the run it will be a different matter. The goal is to start with sleepovers in the coop this weekend. I'll have to go back to closing the inside coop door so that the girls can't get up in the morning on their own where they might cause mischief with Miss Kitty. I don't mind getting up at 5 since it's light anyway and I do love to putter outside at that time of the morning. I'm hoping this integration goes better than it did with Hazel! I'll have more on this next week.

Monday, May 3, 2010

2nd Annual Chicken Open House a Great Success!

We had a great turnout on a beautiful day this past Saturday for the 2nd Annual Chicken Open House. For 4 hours we talked chickens, watched kids cozy up to 3 day old chicks, gave coop tours, and answered questions. We handed out chicken cookies and lemonade, sold raffle tickets for fresh eggs and let the girls sell themselves on the joys of raising chickens.

It was wonderful to meet so many folks - from families to empty nesters, those in apartments to bigger spreads, chicken owner wannabes and those just curious. We heard tales of chickens falling off a truck and being scooped up by running housewives during World War II and childhood memories of the family flock. Everyone had a story to share and it was great.

We raised about $70 in the egg raffle for Beverly Bootstraps and 6 lucky folks will soon get the pleasure of eating 'real' eggs. Many thanks to daughter Sharon and son-in-law Eric for their donation of eggs, reference books, our new black silky (now named Miss Kitty), and lots of chicken knowledge. And thanks to partner Naomi who started with "You're going to do another chicken open house?? You did one last year!" and ended up "What a great idea and what a great day!"

Also thanks to Danvers Agway for their lovely chicks that I really wanted to keep and being so gracious in taking them back to be placed in loving homes. It wouldn't be a chicken open house without baby chicks!

The movement for 'a chicken in every backyard' continues and all of you are part of it! Thanks again for a great event!