Friday, December 14, 2012

Pets and Animals

We have a pet chicken, her name is Lucy. I've wanted to own chickens for a long time, and about a year ago we took the plunge. She was just a teeny reddish brown chick at first, such a precious little bit of fluff. She also peeped a lot. Here's a photo of Lucy when we first got her, eating out of her food dish.

Here's a link to a video of what reds look like as chicks, so you can see the cuteness and hear the peeps for yourself.
She's got a nice coop and a place to run around in our backyard, here's a picture of her with our other chicken, Kooky.

What I love about having chickens is watching them around the yard. I look out the window and I can see them in their coop or, on some nice days, scratching around the house. They like to scratch and peck at the ground, flap their wings (they can fly short distances, if they need to) and walk. When the leaves are on the ground they push them aside with their beaks and claws to get to the bugs underneath. Watching them do this is funny, you see FLOOF FLOOF the leaves getting tossed in the air and know they are doing their work. Did you know, they eat fly eggs and ticks? When they peck at the ground, their tails move as a balance to the rest of their bodies, which gives their bodies kind of an up-down-up kind of motion.

I love just owning chickens, taking care of them, listening to them coo and cluck, and seeing how happy they are when I give them a treat. It's such a nice, calming, happy feeling.

They are a beautiful breed; we have Rhode Island Reds, which means they have brown feathers with red highlights and white pins. Here's a breed photo so you can see what I mean.

Sad story; a few weeks ago we lost our bigger chicken, Kooky, to a neighborhood dog. The dog was just being a dog, and we don't know which neighbor the dog belongs to. She died pretty quickly but it was still a horrible thing to watch and so sad. I wish I could have stopped the dog, but I know this kind of thing is inevitable. She had a good, happy chicken life, with a nice warm house and plenty of food and drink, and that's comforting.

We've got room in the coop, so we're likely going to get a few more chickens come the springtime. Chickens are social animals, and we know that Lucy is pretty lonely now by herself. Hopefully she makes it through the winter all-right, and then she'll have some more company.

Please tell me about animals that you've connected with.


Elizabeth Patterson said...

I have a cat named Bubala, or Bubby for short. Rachel named her after Grandma. Bubby is the most beautiful cat in the world, as evidenced by a perfect heart-shaped spot on her side. Bubby loves music and meditation. She judges all of my voice students and nuzzles them if she approves of their singing. When I put on meditation recordings, she jumps on the bed, lays on my chest, purrs, and falls asleep. She is a picky eater, so I don't have to worry too much about her getting into things. She loves to sit in cardboard boxes. Bubby is afraid of a lot of cat toys, so it's best to just get her a box for free.

Heather said...

Sorry to hear about Kooky.

The first animals I bonded with were other people's pets: my grandparents' next door neighbors had a kid a year older than me and he had a dog called Lucky, who we would play with sometimes; one of my mom's friends had the sweetest golden retriever called Seamus and another had a very smart grey standard poodle named Lady Jane. In 6th grade I loved the class guinea pigs, Knibbles and Bits, and talked my mom into letting me take them home for the weekend at least once. I also loved various horses at summer camp and elsewhere: my favorite was my 'regular' horse at the place I took riding lessons, Harvey, a sweet and stubborn Appaloosa. When I was in high school my stepdad got me and my mom a Bichon Frise who I named Ariel: when I left for college she stayed with my mom and stepdad and seeing her at Christmas was always a highlight of my trip, though sadly she died last year earlier in December, before Christmastime - she was almost thirteen, though, and had a good life. I used to love it when I'd be lying on the couch with a book and she'd jump up and curl up under my bent knees - so sweet. I also had a pet rabbit as an adult, and fostered a handful of other rabbits too.

Uncle Aaron said...

My neighbor has a chocolate lab that spent all his time alone in their backyard. With two little kids and both parents working, there was little time for the dog; most of the time he just sat on their porch looking at nothing in particular. For some reason (they don't share their thoughts with me) a couple of years ago they built a fancy chicken coop and got 5 laying hens. We first noticed it because we could see chicken feet moving at the bottom of the fence as they did what chickens do. Anyway, we soon noticed that the dog was hanging out with the chickens. Every evening we saw the chickens climb the backyard steps up to their porch, and keeping step in the middle of them was the dog. And we realized the dog wasn't lonely anymore. Six months ago these neighbors came by and offered us a dozen eggs; they were going around the neighborhood giving away cartons of the stuff. A couple of months later the chickens were gone. Another neighbor down the street now has a chicken coop and and 5 laying hens. My neighbor's dog is back by himself. He still looks out from their porch. They still have the chicken coop; maybe he looks at that.