The Bad Egg

Chickens LOVE worms. Do Velociraptors love worms too?
August 30, 2008, 8:00 am
Filed under: Stories

I found a worm in the backyard today. Decided to feed it to my two-week old chickens. Oh. My. God.

They’d never seen a worm before, but Wanda knew just what to do. She grabbed it from the palm of my hand and ran to the corner of the chicken run with the worm’s body dangling almost to the ground (cause, you know, these are baby chicks still). Well Wanda running let Frida and Flo know that she’d latched on to something really good. They chased after her, saw the worm and went berserk!

Imagine 3 chicks racing around the inside of the run, playing keep away. Hopping, squawking, flapping. They were the most active I’d yet seen. And vicious!

After about a minute of Wanda trying to keep the worm to herself, Frida went over and didn’t even try for the worm, but yanked out a feather from low on Wanda’s neck instead. I watched the violence happen right in front of me, no way that Frida was aiming for the worm and missed–she was aiming for Wanda!

Wanda didn’t give up though. She squawked in outrage, but kept a firm grip on that worm.

Of course, as we all should know from watching Looney Tunes, giving one worm to three chickens is just asking for a tug-of-war.

I got down on my knees to watch, almost in disbelief–were they really going to re-enact a cartoon right in front of my eyes? That stuff wasn’t all made up and dramatized to entertain children?  No. No it wasn’t. Worms turn on the bloodlust in chickens.

After all three chickens latched on … streeeeeeetch! The worm disappeared into their respective throats in less than ten seconds.

Which brings me to my most recent hypothesis: chickens are miniature velociraptors. That is, those people who made the Jurassic Park movie, they must have had some chicken trauma in their childhood. They knew exactly what would strike fear best: monster-sized, scaled-over chickens.

Photographic evidence:

I will post more photographic evidence as I obtain it.

Also, did you know that if you google “Chickens and Worm”, among other variations, not a single quality image comes up of multiple chickens tearing a worm apart?

I may try to remedy that for, you know, educational and scientific documentation purposes.


Chick Pics (3 weeks old)
August 29, 2008, 9:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics

Here are the chicks at about 3 weeks old. Click on the smaller pics for a larger view.








Wanda’s Wondering

Chickens and rabies
August 27, 2008, 9:00 am
Filed under: The Experiment

I freaked out for a moment yesterday figuring out whether I needed to vaccinate the chickens for rabies. I’ve read about a dozen books on raising chickens now, not one of them mentioned rabies. Somehow that didn’t give me the clue:

No, chickens do not need to be vaccinated for rabies. Why? Because only mammals can catch rabies. Chickens are not mammals. They’re birds.

Wow. I so don’t know what I’m doing.

The Dog
August 25, 2008, 9:00 am
Filed under: Chicken Tractor, The Dog

Well. We’ve already had an episode.

My husband and I built a temporary run out of pvc pipe, zip ties and poultry netting. Not bad for about $30, but it has no bottom layer.  Here’s a picture of the run (click on images to enlarge):


Here’s a picture showing no bottom:


Ok and here’s another picture. See that blur in the upper right of the image? That’s my 75 lb dog barreling over as soon as he saw me lift the run (click on image to enlarge):


We were lucky.  All the chickens are alive and well. After my dog flipped the run over he just wagged his tail, sniffed real close at their feathers, then went back to his guarding position:


See that other wooden cage thing to the left in the picture? That’s a strong, fully enclosed, wire and wood coop I found at a garage sale yesterday for $10. And not a moment too soon.

What the …
August 21, 2008, 9:54 pm
Filed under: The Experiment

Hello and welcome! This is the virtual home of my backyard chicken raising experiment.

Three months ago I decided it would be a good idea to raise three chickens in my tiny, suburban backyard. Three weeks ago I picked up my chicks: 2 Rhode Island Reds and 1 New Hampshire Red.

All three are meant to be laying hens. That is, if I can keep them alive until they’re mature enough to lay (about five months old).  I have a large dog who is absolutely in love with the chickens, a cat whose interest is not friendly, and about a dozen other neighbor animals, raccoons, squirrels, and beyond that, things like the weather–and not knowing what the hell I’m doing.

I’m calling this an experiment because in science a failed experiment is just a different kind of success. The point is to keep all 3 chickens alive and happy, eat their eggs, fertilize my garden, learn something about birds, and train my dog not to eat them. If the above doesn’t happen, I’m still bound to have learned something along the way. I’ll count that as a success too.

I plan to post pics and escapades of my experiment as I go along. Enjoy.