Monday, June 30, 2014

Cry Me A River

 Well, nothing like talking to a real life friend to totally mash any delusions that your blog is enjoyable and entertaining for folks!  I'm just joking around really.  Sorta.  I talked to the infamous BFA today and he informed me that every time he had read my postings lately he went away with the desire to go stick his head in the oven.  I take it he felt my posts were kinda "downers".  Haha!   Well, it hasn't been my intention, to be posting depressing stuff, but I may have inadvertently gone that way a few times. make up for this gross transgression...I give you.....
Fuzzy, baby chicken butts!!!
They make all things right again and spread the warm fuzzies like nobody's bidness!!  Sorta like when George, the largest of the babies, gets on my shoulders and craps down my back.  I even have a feel-good, warm fuzzies story to go along with them.

The baby you see pictured here is Tilly, the youngest and smallest of the four new bitties we got a couple weeks ago.  They all seemed quite healthy and active when we got them but I noticed a few days after they had been here that Tilly just didn't seem to be as active.  She stood in the corner a lot and always wanted in my lap when I would go visit them, where she would quickly fall asleep.  A heavy rain shower came through one afternoon and it turned unusually chilly afterwards, so I went out to check on the babies where I found Tilly huddled in the corner once again, shivering a little.  Now, for some reason she is kinda bald on her lower back, and baby chickens need a lot of warmth, so I scooped her up and brought her into the house.  I had also noticed that her crop never seemed to be anywhere near full and she didn't seem to like the chick starter meal we had gotten them.

 I pulled out a box and made Tilly a quick bed within it on an old heating pad.  A soft, stuffed dog took the place of Mama Hen and it wasn't long before Tilly was nice and warm and sound asleep.  I had gotten her to eat several raspberries beforehand but I knew it wasn't going to be enough to last.
The next morning we took her out with the others but she just didn't seem to be eating like they were.  I experimented a little and found that, alone with me in the yard, she would forage and gobble up stuff as well as any other chick though.  Now, Tilly must be about half the age of the other chicks she came with because they were SO much bigger than her.  They never attacked her or anything but if you have ever had chickens you know that they get very excited around food and Tilly was just getting knocked around every which way when she found a bug or whatever and was usually coming up empty handed, so to speak.  The lack of getting much down her gullet was making her weak and further unable to fend against the bigger chicks.

So, Jack and I devised a plan.  We would take Tilly into the garden with us while we were working, so she could forage all she wanted to with no competition.  She loved it.  Finally, she could have all she wanted to eat without having to fight those others.  And, since she is so small, she is absolutely no harm to the garden.  We started letting one other chick (Pumpkin) go with her, so that she would have some company, and it's so much space they would not be competing.  Either Jack or I am always with her too, because the garden is not covered and a hawk could, theoretically, swoop down and just haul her off.  It worked really well and soon Tilly was stuffed full of bugs and other goodies and even eating her chick starter meal again.  She regained her strength and now even takes bugs away from some of the others!  She's small but she's fast. 

After she regained enough strength and was running all over Pumpkin, we started bringing all four of the chicks into the garden with us while we're working.  It works really well actually.  They are small enough now that they don't damage any plants or the fruits.  Well, they will snatch a strawberry or blueberry if they can reach it but I will afford them a nutritious snack like that.  The strawberries are about gone anyway.  They run through the beans and tomatoes and squash like nobody's business, eating bugs and such and never hurt the plants or disturb things.  George, the biggest, does scratch a little but even he doesn't mess much up. 

Little Tilly's legs are so tiny that, even though she goes through the motions of scratching, she's not really moving anything.  I'll even sometimes move the mulch for her so she can look for bugs or worms and then move it back after she has scoured the area.
She loves the garden so much now that she runs like crazy to the gate anytime she sees us come around.  Unfortunately, we can't stay out there all day with her but she, and the others, do get a few hours a day and they have their regular outdoor run the rest of the time.  With this procedure Tilly has caught up enough that I don't really worry about her anymore.  Her crop is always about to pop at the end of every day now, so she's getting her fill! 

They were also very quick to learn that wherever we are digging there is liable to be worms and bugs to be found and you can see here how much they were "helping" Jack weed this area.  You can also see that huge overgrowth of weeds and grass that I let get out of hand.  But, valiant Jack soldiered on until he dug all that crap out.  He then put down black silt fence to kill any roots.  A little later I'll finish the brick entryway and side beds that go in this area.  If nothing else, Tilly gave us the motivation to work in the garden weeding for longer than we probably would have otherwise, just to give her plenty of time to eat.  It paid off for all of us.


ErinFromIowa said...

Yay Tilly! You go girl. I loved the Tilly story and I am looking forward to updates on how she is doing. You and Jack have so much fun with your critters and the gardens. As my daughters and their friends say... I'm so jelly! Lol

Pablo said...

I always like a chicken story with a happy ending.

texasann said...

Love to hear of your critter friends and, like Erin, I know y'all have a mutual admiration family. Each helping the other - isn't that a family? And don't worry about the downers, most of us are just happy to hear from you!
Look forward to your blog....

myamuhnative said...

Tell the BFA that real life has ups and downs. I don't read your posts as downers at all, just an honest look at a real life.

I would love to have chickens to eat our yard bugs especially if they would eat the darn stink bugs that plague my vegetables!

Island Rider said...

Loved the chicken story, but tell the BFA that if we only wrote about the good stuff, there wouldn't be many bloggers. Life comes in cycles and you've had a rough go lately, but I am glad you are still writing.

Kenneth Price said...

Charming story! Hope to hear more of Tilly and her friends. Thanks for making me smile!

JO said...

Love this post Kick Butt Tilly!
And I don't think the posts have been so bad that anyone would want to stick their head in the oven lol I think BFA was just having fun. I hope so anyway

edifice rex said...

Hey Erin! Yeah, we do have a lot of fun around here. It's hard work sometimes but enjoyable with critters like Tilly.

Hey Pablo! So do I. :)

Hey Ann! thanks! Yep, we are a "mixed" family for sure! lol!

Hey Mya! Well, he was just giving me a hard time for fun! lol! Unfortunately, I don't think even chickens will eat stink bugs!

Hey IR! thanks! yeah, everything does go in cycles. I think things are picking up for me, hopefully!

Hey Ken! You're welcome! I'm sure I'll have many more Tilly stories!

Hey Jo! Yes, he was just having fun. We love to aggravate each other.

Rita said...

I like to read about your life pro and con. My life was picking up then water started backing up in the basement of my 50 year old house. Could not use water until fixed. Not so good. It is a week later and many $ later I now have water. I can use water everywhere in the house. Nothing like a good warm shower to make a person feel better. Times are looking up again.

Fairhope Supply Co. said...

I never thought I would think a little chicken was cute, but Tilly is one cute little chick!

edifice rex said...

Hey Rita! Crap! Water problems are the worst!! I know how that is. Really glad you got it fixed though.

Hey Fairhope! She is! and I've got some more very cute photos of her I'll put up soon.