The Bad Egg

The Flour Thief
November 23, 2009, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Stories, The Dog

This is what we came home to over the weekend–I wonder who the culprit is?


Scrambled Eggs for Breakfast
October 7, 2009, 12:39 pm
Filed under: The Dog

Someone tried very hard this morning to politely ask for the scrambled egg crumbs I left on the coffee table…


July 28, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics, Stories, The Dog

Frida’s escape from the chicken run does not go unnoticed:

I’ve seen Frida in the act of escape. She takes a running leap, flaps her wings to steady her course and barely makes it over the fence. She reminds me of Orville in The Rescuers:

The Rescuers – Orville’s Swamp Scene – Click to Watch Video Clip


Keeping Your Backyard Chickens Cool in Triple-Digit Heat
July 1, 2009, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Stories, The Dog, The Experiment

It’s June in Sacramento

That means triple-digit heat–108 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact.

Yes. That’s right. Our neighborhood hit a high of 108 degrees on Sunday. Did I also mention that our air condition is broken?

We have one small swamp cooler for the family room. Unfortunately, the cool air makes it about, oh, ten feet before dissipating. Even though we closed all the blinds and turned on all ceiling fans, it became so hot inside the house that we moved our bedding and have slept under the swamp cooler for the last few nights. Just for fun, we measured the temperature inside the house. It topped 90 degrees.

Animal Cooling Systems Don’t Work When It’s 108 Degrees

Both the S.O. and I were miserable, but at least we could sweat.  All The Dog has to cool his 75 lbs is a tongue about the size of a hotdog and the small sweat pads on his feet. At least The Dog could be inside the house with us, panting in 90 degree heat instead of 108 degree heat; the chickens were not so lucky.

Chickens have an even worse cooling system than dogs–an itty, bitty tongue that’s not meant to pant. They can also elevate their wings to allow greater air circulation, stay in the shade, drink lots of water, and dig themselves a hole to rest their undersides against cooler dirt. Our backyard chickens did all of the above, but in 108 degrees it’s not enough–our girls were panting like crazy by mid-morning. We needed to take action.

The Garden Hose and The Dog

The S.O. turned on the hose until it ran cold.  I went into the chicken area, pointed at the first victim and told The Dog, “Get the chicken!”

The Dog happily obliged. He chased the panting offender into a corner (in this case, Wanda) and gently pinned her to the ground between his chest and paws until I could pick her up. Don’t ask me how we trained him to do that, because we didn’t, at least not actively. I’d played around with coaching him to ‘herd’ the chickens, but nothing too serious.  I can’t remember how or when he figured out how to pin them to the ground (and that he’s only allowed to do it on command). One day he just knew.

Let me tell you, in 108 degree heat that trick sure comes in handy–no sweat and no foolish backyard chasing is fine with me. Well, there was still sweating, but that was just cause I was alive and breathing.

Anyways, I took Wanda from The Dog, pinned her wings to her body so she couldn’t flap away, and then the S.O. doused her with the hose. Once we thoroughly soaked her and offended all her sensibilities, we let her loose. She flapped and sprayed us with a bunch of water, then calmly went back to scratching through the dirt, sans panting.

I called The Dog to pin Flo next, and then Frida last. By the time it was all over, the chickens were soaked and so were the S.O., The Dog and myself. We repeated the procedure once more in the afternoon.

There are other ways to keep your chickens cool in the heat, but in a pinch a garden hose is a great way to keep your chickens alive to lay another day.

Wet Chickens

Have you ever wondered what soaking a chicken with a garden hose looks like? Well, you’ll have to wonder a little longer because it was too hot to bother with a camera. Maybe next time.

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.

Be My Friend?
November 7, 2008, 7:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics, The Dog


The Dog says, “I didn’t mean to fart. I promise. Please be my friends.”

Hanging Out
October 28, 2008, 7:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics, The Dog