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About chickens who float on balloons, others who are pets

 
 
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 10:12 pm
I don't have a link to the following story. It was just on the local news. Somebody tied a chicken to some helium balloons and set it loose. The chicken drifted along on them until it became entangled in some power lines. Some people tried shooting the balloons, but that didn't get it down. The fire department then sent out a truck. They cut off power to 2,000 homes to get that chicken down. And on the same newscast, a person caused a fatal accident on the freeway and drove away without stopping to see how the victems were doing. Irony.
Now, I am not complaining because they went to such lengths to save the chicken. In fact, certain chickens have been among my best - and most trusting - friends. I think in particular of Henrietta and Lulu. Once, about twelve years ago, I took in some baby chicks because there was no one else to take them. I put them in a small cage in the back yard. They thrived in there and I spent a good deal of time with them, beyond mere feeding and making sure they were all right. I scoured the ground for crickets almost daily, which the chicks received with great gusto. In time, they outgrew the cage. One morning I released them into the yard. Shocked to be uncaged, they stood around for a time. Gradually they began to scratch in the dirt and leaves for insects and the like. By the end of the day, they were ready to roost. I only discovered then how helpless they were - and how they trusted in me. They came to me and stood there until I picked them up and put them back in the cage. Over the following week, they gradually decided to roost in a low tree. The tall one I figured to be a rooster. It had an extremely tall comb and a big waddle. The other fit your ordinary description of a small brown hen. In time, I began discovering double eggs in the yard, one brown, one white. Deducing that they both were after all hens, I undertook naming them. The short dumpy one was Henrietta, the tall gangly one was Lulu. They soon became the aristocracy of the grounds. If a cat showed its face they both attacked and ran it off. They answered only to me. If I came outside and said, "Come on, chickens," here they came running. They'd look for ways to get on my shoulders. These two chickens trusted me so much that all I had to do was say, "Come on, chickens," and guide them to my pick up truck, opening the door and gesturing and they would climb inside. I lost them when I had to move away. The were left temporarily with a relative, whose dog ate them. I have a photo somewhere.. Oh, well.
Anyway, next time you have chicken for dinner, just remember - You could be eating relatives of my friends, Henrietta and Lulu.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 8,705 • Replies: 63
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nextone
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 10:30 pm
Enjoyed reading about Henrietta and Lulu. A friend who taught third grade was given an Easter chick by one of her students. Now my friend lived in an apartment in the Bronx, so her chick got Hartz Mountain bird seed and lots people food treats. The chick was quite a responsive pet. When my friend tapped her fingernails on the floor, the chick would come running from wherever it was. It turned out to be a rooster, and when it began crowing each morning , my friend brought it to the Bronx Zoo. She thought it would live in The Children's Zoo, but on subsequent visits she never saw it.
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 10:41 pm
I used to live near the Marina del Rey, California wildlife sanctuary, and people were constantly putting easter chicks and other critters usually from pet stores in there and they would weed them out, however they did it, especially all the donated bunnies. So the zoo may have felt similarly.

I think it is nice to have some chickens around myself, although I haven't personally had that experience. Liked the tale of Henrietta and Lulu, except for the ending, ay.

I'd much rather see many folks with a few chickens on their plot than these indescribably horrific poultry purveyors, not to turn the thread into a rant.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 10:43 pm
Nextone
When I lived in Brooklyn a lady friend inherited a colored chick on Easter. She ended up having to keep it. It's name was Mr. Little. But, when it began laying eggs it became Mrs Little. She had that chicken in her Brooklyn apartment for years. I wonder how many times these two stories have been repeated across the land? Must be fairly common, wouldn't you think?
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ossobuco
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 10:48 pm
I'll back off on saying I didn't mean to turn the topic to a rant...a rant on chicken raising could well be appropriate, from what I have read. In my case, a rant on the big poultry raisers would be preaching to the converted.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 10:55 pm
I'm aware of how chickens are handled by the big companies like Tyson and Perdue and I strongly object. Likewise cows and other misused animals. They are ruining the most basic sources of the food chain. Not to even mention genetically altered veggies.
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Montana
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 11:08 pm
Great story Edgar, but now I'm gonna feel guilty every time I eat chicken, which we are having tomorrow. <sigh>
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 11:18 pm
Yeah - I eat chicken soup on a regular basis.
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Montana
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 11:55 pm
Since we have a lot of land and in in the country, I've thought about getting some chicken friends of my own.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2003 11:58 pm
Cats they can intimidate. Dogs ain't afeared o' them.
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Montana
 
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Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 12:03 am
Lots of stray cats around here. They love to tease the neighbors dogs that are tied up.
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gustavratzenhofer
 
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Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 06:57 am
I have chickens. As a matter of fact, as I look out my window right now I can see thirty or so of them. Perhaps I'll eat one this morning -- all this chicken talk has stirred my appetite. (don't tell Dlowan. she hates it when I eat my pets.)
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 07:22 am
Do you have dogs too?
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Tartarin
 
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Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 08:10 am
I live in a rural county which, somehow, has kept to its prosperous ranching and farming roots to the extent that you don't see much evidence of povery or down-at-the-heel places. Except one. At the turn-off from the state highway that takes you to the road that takes you to the road that takes you to my where I live is one of the few examples of "trailer trash." Two dead cars out front. Chickens, cats, and dogs all right next to the busy highway -- ouch!.

The woman who lives there is a crabby person who puts personal handwritten signs on the telephone poll at the corner of the turn-off -- signs written in handwriting so small that you have to stop the car to read them and then she glares at you! They usually say things like "Will the lady who drives the white Explorer please stop glaring at me when she goes by?" (She probably gets glared at a lot by those who have jazzy ranches nearby and for whom she's a blot on the landscape...)

Well, this woman has a lot of chickens and other animals. They don't seem to go onto the highway but they do congregate on the turn-off road and, miraculously, I've never seen a squish. The dogs are chained. But the yellow kitten gives me a heart attack each time I drive by -- it sometimes plays in the gravel right on the shoulder of the state highway. The other day it was playing with some hens. They were obviously friends. The kitten -- now an adolescent -- would affectionately against a hen, kitten's tail rigid and quivering with pleasure, and the hen would topple slightly from the weight but stood its ground, kept on pecking at the gravel. I have cats, dogs, and in the past have had chickens, but I've never seen a hen/cat love affair.

Did not stop for long. You do NOT want to be caught LOOKING at that woman's stuff for long or the next day there'll be a sign describing you and asking you to quit!
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 09:09 am
That woman seriously needs fences and cages. I hate it when dogs are chained up.
Chickens and cats - I've never seen any get along like that. But, I once knew a dog and cat that played together when they were young; later, the dog took to chasing the cat.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 09:52 am
we have a few polish chickens (they have a mop of feathers on top like Jerry Lee Lewis) and we have araucanas(they lay pastel pink, blue and lilac eggs0 My wife went on a MAAHTHA binge and bought em, for eggs
they live in the pasture and paddock areas and cant run around the people areas cuz I hate chicken poops. Show me someone whos raising free range chickens and Ill show you someone with poops on his shoes.
Im cookin scrapple right now and then ill fry up some of our eggs for breakfast. Scrapple and eggs, mmmmm-mmmmmmmmmmmmm.Good eatin
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 10:14 am
I'm with you on that Edgar. She does indeed get a lot of glares from people and obviously knows what it's all about. But she's a determined drop-out, resentful type. I once bought some peaches from her peach stand, got bitten by one of the dogs, asked to see the rabies tag, was told to go to hell. ("Whatsa matta, you scared of a little dog?") ALMOST got in touch with the sheriff (there's a serious rabies problem here) but tracked down her vet instead who assured me that there had been a vaccination about three years before -- just enough to make it okay.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 10:17 am
PS Edgar: I once had a big old shaggy Old English Sheepdog. I have a photo of a litter of kittens sleeping on top of the sleeping dog's tummy, a dog who was friend to everyone and everything...
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 10:17 am
Most people will never get the chance to have chickens in their yards so they'll miss out on just how interesting they can be.

When I moved to OK 10 or so years ago I had a big back yard, almost 3 full acres, that was fully enclosed by chain-link fencing.

In the far back corner there was a smallish (50'x50') pen that I think was used for a prior owner's dog. Anyway, I was at the local feed store one spring picking up lawn fertilizer and grass seed and they had chicks there for sale. On a whim I purchased 6. I brought them home and kept them in a large cattle watering tub in the garage where they were protected from the elements. They were amazing little creatures and more than friendly enough.

After a few months they were obviously to large to keep in the tub so I bought a 10'x10" tool shed from a neighbor down the street and put it inside the pen in the back yard and built roosts for them, nesting boxes, feed stations, etc.. and set them loose inside the pen.

Every day I'd get up in the morning nad go out there to feed them and they'd all come running from their little coop to see me (they wanted the food of course but..). I'd go back out in the afternoon and they'd all congregate at my feet and I'd throw bugs (crickets and grasshoppers mostly) out there for them to chase after. As the sun would set they'd all head for the coop and climb up onto their roosts.

As they got older they started flying up to the top of the fence and finding their way out into the rest of the back yard where they'd spend the day catching bugs. For some reason they weren't smart enough to fly back into the pen and use the nesting boxes in the coop when they started laying eggs so I just started leaving the gate open when I fed them in the morning. I'd close it again at night when they were on their roosts just to keep any animals that might come into the yard from getting at them.

But, I ended up with 2 huge Barred Plymouth Rock Roosters and 4 hens - 2 barred Plymouth Rocks and 2 Aracunas. The Aracunas were interesting because they laid green eggs but the Plymouth Rocks had all the personality in the world. They'd all be waiting at the back door when they heard me come home from work in the evenings and when I stepped into the back yard they'd all come running over. Smile

Come the following spring one of the hens decided she wanted to brood and I thought the idea of a fresh batchh of chicks would be fun so I collected a few days worth of eggs and but them in one of the nesting boxes. Sure enough, the broody hen climbed up there and proceeded to sit for the next month. I'd bring water and food up to her nesting box so she didn't dehydrate or starve since she wouldn't leave the nest. After a few weeks 10 of the eggs hatched and the new brood started climbing around in the coop. The little chicks were to small to manage for themselvs so I buildt a smaller enclosure fo them and mom to live in until they got big enough to take care of themselves.

In the end I had about 20 chickens running around the back yard for several years. I had one neighbor that didn't like the roosters crowing at sunrise but the rest of the neighbors thought it was great. The bug population in the neighborhood plummeted and they'd bring their kids over to play with the chickens all the time. The coop became a bit of a sight-seeing tour for the neighborhood.

I've had cats, dogs, and now fish as pets but the chickens were really great. Given the chance I'd get a few again and begin all over. I don't think people that haven't had them around can appreciate just how friendly they can be.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2003 12:22 pm
Great account, Fishin'!! You were their mom, no question about it. Hope you've seen the sentimental but wonderful film, Fly Away Home...

When I lived in Spain on a hillside farm, my neighbors had chickens, of course. Tia Ana, the old great-aunt, an ancient, blind spinster, sat in the sun of the cortijo every day with a pet hen in her lap, stroking it, both apparently very happy. Occasionally the hen would flop down, poop and eat, and then return to "safety." I don't know as an egg was ever laid in Tia Ana's lap, but I wouldn't be surprised.

BTW, once you've had your own chickens and your own utterly fresh, free-range eggs, the supermarket cartons are to be avoided. A really fresh egg is one of the best things in the world and I still hum that idiot jingle, "Ah luv aigs, from mah haid down to mah laigs..."!
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