Monday, August 6, 2007

my how the chicks have grown

I think the girls have put on a couple pounds in the last ten days I've been away. I can definitely see evidence of growth both in their girth as well as in the size of their combs. Still waiting for their wattles to form in earnest, however, as they're still just hints of a fold of skin where human "cheeks" would be (are there such things as chicken cheeks?). Hard to believe they'll be laying eggs in a month's time.

From the feel of it, the girls also seem to have grown a bit more short-tempered at being cooped up in the run all day. When I reach for the door in the run to let them out today, Sophia gave me a nice peck on the finger. Not enough to break the skin, but enough to smart a bit. Perhaps it was the fistful of grapes I had? Nah... she's just letting me know I was gone too long.

So, on my trip up to Oregon, I saw evidence of chickens in most of the small towns (pop < 1,500) I rode through, but the only time I really saw chickens was one morning after waking up from camping in Cherry Creek/"Ham" Bunch County Park outside Coquille. Well before dawn (talking 5:30a, here) the roosters in the backyard next to the park started to crow, waking me up from a deep sleep. After another couple hours of their crowing, the owner sauntered out into the yard and over to the chicken run.

He opened the door and quicker than you could say "look at all those chickens!" there were a good dozen chickens sprinting in as many different directions out into the yard. From what I could see, the backyard flock consisted of equal parts bantam and regular chickens... and while I'm not expert, I know I saw some Plymouth Rocks, some Rhode Island Reds and a couple Australorps. As I was busy watching the chickens sprint to their piece of the yard, the owner was busy collecting eggs inside the coop, and when we finally started walking back to the house, I swear he had ten or so beautiful eggs in his hands. He was too far away for me to call out and get his attention, and in any case, I felt a little awkward at being so overjoyed to watch someone collect eggs from his backyard. Shortly after the egg collection was carried into the house, I'd packed my motorcycle and was gone for the day's ride.

Can't wait until my own mornings are filled with fresh eggs.

While I'm waiting, though, I was pleased to find this little video gem (courtesy BoingBoing) showing Petaluma Poultry girls making a huge omelet back in 1932.

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