Wednesday, July 6, 2011

TUF Chicks and Other TUF Stuff

we've been experiencing some Totally Urban Farm growth and expansion lately.  sometimes growth and change can be a bit harrowing, and it can make you feel less cute and fluffy and more awkward and scruffy lookin'.  (twitter demostrates this rather well at left there.)  but it's all worth it, because you learn new stuff and get more experience, and continue on the path to mature chickendom. or urban farmerdom.  or whatever path you find yourself on. and though there will always be periods of growth and learning, the awkward doesn't last forever.  we promise, twitter.

the chicks have been growing so fast, and at 4 weeks old seemed ready to meet the big girls and start living in the coop.  we set up a piece of pegboard as a temporary partition, so that the silkie ladies could meet their new coop-mates via sight and smell for awhile before having actual physical contact.  also, the young 'us have to stay on their chick food for another few weeks or so before graduating to big chicken layer food, so we're keeping it all separate for now.  we set them up in the coop on july 3rd with no obvious complaints from the big girls.

twitter and tumblr immediately started running around, checking out their new digs...though not dissimilar from their cardboard box environment, this definitely was bigger and smelled way more interesting!

existentialist twitter eyed the surroundings critically, ensuring she was aware of the food and water situation before beginning to cautiously beak around.  tumblr, par contrast, began to flutter-run and peep recklessly, getting the lay of the land on wild exploratory missions.  all observed behaviors were within normal limits, and we left them to start their chicken maturity lessons, checking up on them over the course of the day.

however, the next morning (independence day, and ninja's birthday!) we discovered a near-disaster...tumblr had taken some kind of tumble, and was flopping around pitifully as though she couldn't walk!  twitter was fine, but clearly concerned about the plight of her sister. i collected the compromised chick and whisked her into the house for some time in the improvised hospital box (actually a sierra nevada 12pk, perfect size!).

that first day, she really had me worried.  i know nothing about chicken medicine, but it really seemed like the little darling was in pain.  she wanted to eat and drink, which was a good sign, but otherwise seemed droopy and sad. she couldn't stand up, and just generally looked pathetic.  i let her rest and occasionally tried to help her stand up, and frantically asked for advice on the (extremely friendly and wonderful!) Back Yard Chicken Forum.   i watched and waited.  my poor little wounded revolutionary!

the next day (yesterday) she had noticeably improved.  she was distributing weight more evenly on either leg, and she looked like she felt a lot better.  she also figured out that she was all by herself in a beer box, and that the huge face/hand (so revolting and terrifying before) was now the only option for company and comfort.  having ascertained these two facts, she began to request that the huge face/hand be present at all times except for brief napping periods, and that the huge face/hand immediately report to its station after the napping for company/comfort/eating moral support/treat distribution/finger snuggling/cheek scratching etc.  her method of requesting the presence of the huge face/hand:


(i think there is an easter-related brightly colored marshmallow candy reference that goes here, but it escapes me at the moment)

at any rate, i felt terrible that i had missed Ninja the black silkie's july 4th birthday due to the wounded revolutionary, so since tumblr was feeling better, i had to make it up to ninja.  and we had a cantaloupe/yogurt themed birthday party in the run!

ninja celebrated her 1 year old birthday...our friend michelle (whose chicken momma i am, or maybe she is mine?) watched her hatch one year ago this past monday.  and now she's a beautiful silkie with a stellar egg-laying career.  good on ya, Ninja, and here's to many more!  thanks for all the eggs!

even twitter got to get in on the action, even though she's not old enough to party in the run yet...she got to try some yogurt for the first time.  it seems totally bizarre to me that chickens would go nutzo for yogurt, but they do. go fig. 
poor twitter has found herself within limited sight and unlimited smell of the other two chickens, but she is, in essence, alone.  and chicks HATE to be alone.  i think this has given her a chance to do some soul searching around her existentialist philosophy, and has decided that the huge face/hand is worth caring provides treats and comfort, and so why shouldn't it be worshiped? (nietzsche would be proud!) she now approaches the coop window every time we come out, excited to see and interact with the huge hand/face.  her expression of existential adulation:

i think pearl and ninja are like, GEEZ, it's just the giant, borrrrrring.  they cluck at her youthful zeal.

anyway, things have been going good here at the TUF.  today tumblr continues to improve and demand attention, i am confident that in a few days she'll be lit-rall-y back on her feet again.  other news, in brief:

--we need another grocery store adventure soon

--i made freakishly good carrot cupcakes from a magazine that turned out to be exactly my recipe for zucchini muffins, in which i replaced the zucchini with finely shredded carrots (about 6) and iced 'em with supersimple cream cheese frosting (half of this recipe.) this exercise also reminded me that, though the word 'muffin' somehow sounds healthier than 'cupcake,' really same diff. (sorry.)

thank you for reading, Gentle Readers!  more soon.....stay tuned!

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