The Bad Egg

Nest Politics
May 28, 2009, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Stories

The chickens enjoy squawking for a minute or two each morning to announce an egg just laid or an egg about to be laid. Their noise is not quite as loud as a dog bark, but it’s a sound that definitely makes it over the backyard fence.

Normally, I don’t think the pronouncements last long enough to draw attention from our neighbors, but today, Frida squawked for over 30 minutes!

I went out after five minutes and shooed her quiet. Thirty seconds later she was back at it and got Flo to join in! I waited another few minutes before going back out, then threw down some corn, trying to distract them into silence. Flo stopped. So did Frida, but only for about a minute. Just enough time for her to gobble down a few kernels before starting back up again.

After waiting her out for another couple of minutes, hoping she would shut up, I was determined to figure out her problem. I found Frida in the coop, squawking at Wanda. Frida wanted Wanda out of the nest so she could lay her own egg, but Wanda wasn’t budging. That’s what all the fuss was about!

I thought if I took Wanda’s egg out she would give up the nest to Frida. I endured Wanda’s outrage at my intrusion and felt for a warm shell … no luck!

I think Frida’s complaining gave Wanda stage fright.

I tried to get Frida to leave Wanda alone, but she wouldn’t give up her squawking, or her outraged stare in Wanda’s direction.

With both Wanda and Frida still not budging from their positions inside the coop/nest, I finally moved the whole thing to a corner of the yard and hoped the neighbors had kept their windows closed. Ugg.


Frida, The Adventurer
May 11, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics, Stories, The Dog

We decided to separate the chickens from The Dog. We haven’t had a single problem with The Dog and the chickens (well, except for that one time, and that other time). We were just tired of The Dog eating the chicken poop.

Already though, Frida figured out a way to escape the enclosure. Here she is trying to blend in:
(She’s not supposed to be outside the fence)

The Dog was happy to play with his old friend. We’ve been so busy unpacking and setting up house, we haven’t taken him out to explore the new neighborhood yet, so he’d been feeling a little miffed:

More stories later. I’m off to walk The Dog before he eats one of the chickens out of boredom.

It is Not Just the Animals
May 9, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Stories

The plants and trees are advancing.

I already mentioned the ivy. Now, the dozen or so mature fruit trees have attacked the house through the sewer pipes. Their roots infiltrated the pipes–treating them as if they were underground tunnels leading into the enemy’s camp.

They had us under siege for a couple days. They managed to stop our water and back up a toilet. They are not above fighting with medieval tactics. Yet … we want to love the fruit trees. We want a symbiotic relationship with them–we’ll take care of them if they’ll let us eat their fruit–but we need to show them we can’t be pushed around.

We called in additional reinforcements and had the plumber snake the pipes. The trees have retreated, for now, though the plumber says they might try to test our defenses again in a year.

Second Day in the New Place
May 7, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Stories

The second night we were in the house I saw a tiny spider, no larger than a pinhead, catch a mosquito-hawk’s leg in its web.

The hawk was ten times, no, more like one hundred times, the size of the spider, but it could not get it’s leg free of the sticky web. I watched in close-up horror in our new family room as the mosquito-hawk struggled for its life and the spider methodically fastened first one leg, then another. It climbed over the hawk, ignoring the hawk’s seizure-like, panicked jerkings.

I could not watch the finish. I walked away and am now avoiding that corner of the room.

Yes, I know abdicating territory so quickly to the other side does not bode well for future negotiations. I will try summon up additional courage soon … or, I will send in the S.O. to deal with it instead.

First Day in the New Place
May 5, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Stories

The New Place is WILD!

The Ivy is Buckling our Bedroom Wall

The ivy grows so thick and strong on one exterior wall, it’s growing into the wall–it’s formed a crack on the drywall interior. It’s created a triangular ridge that has moved the floor tile, the phone line, the baseboard and the drywall. The crack runs from the floor to halfway up the wall. I estimate that within another couple of years the ivy will have punched through, bringing the suburban wilderness inside to sleep with.

When Pigeons Attack

The first full day after we moved, I went into the backyard and saw a pigeon fly low overhead and drop a white object. I picked it up. It was a hollowed-out half of a robin’s egg–the veins were still attached to the interior membrane, but the yolk was long gone.

I watched as the pigeon and its mate returned to a tall tree in the yard being choked by the same ivy that is pushing its way into the bedroom. The pigeons continued their massacre of the Robin’s nest. They pulled apart another Robin’s egg right in front of my eyes, flew over our backyard again and dropped the second empty shell onto the grass.

The robin parent’s could only flutter and cry nearby. The pigeons were too big, too violent, too intent on destruction to be stopped.

The robins flew off and the pigeons took over the nest.

Here’s a picture of The Pigeon, taken through a cloudy window … it is a pigeon, right?

Wild Suburbia

The house was vacant for over a year before we moved in. It’s about a mile or so from the American River. I think the combination of these two facts means that the wildlife essentially staged a coup and infiltrated the backyard so thoroughly, our only choice is to work towards peaceful cohabitation. Anything else we do might be seen by the wildlife as an Act of War–and I’m just not up for that kind of time commitment or effort.

Stay Tuned

I have a feeling the above incidents are just the tip of the iceberg; intimidation tactics meant to put us, the new trespassers, on notice.

We will not let them scare us into huddling inside the house, the backyard is too pretty to surrender. Some sort of truce will need to be agreed upon … but I’m afraid negotiations might get a little hairy.

We Moved!
May 4, 2009, 8:47 am
Filed under: Stories

About three months ago, My S.O. and I realized we could no longer afford our house … the economy (blah, blah, blah) … major income reductions (blah, blah, blah) …

Anyways, we are now renting a house from a family member who has no problem with us raising chickens. Or owning a large dog. Or maintaining an aging cat. Or growing a compost pile. Or planting a vegetable garden. Yay!

We packed up The Dog, The Cat, and yes, Wanda, Frida and Flo. We stuck the chickens in The Dog’s crate (The Dog was happy to give them his spot since that meant he got to hang his head out the car window) and took everyone, and everything, over to the new house–with lots of help from family. Thank You!

We’re almost done unpacking. I’ll put up pictures of the new place and get back onto a regular schedule of posts soon.