Monday, July 6, 2009

Father's Day Chicks

Some people are chicken people and some people aren't. I would say I'm a chicken person. I think the deal with chicken people is a little bit like with cat people. You can almost pick out a cat person within the first five minutes of meeting them. Cat people have something about them. Hopefully, it's not a smell : ) Although some extreme cat people might have a smell too. Sometimes you can tell a cat person from a block away just by the way they're dressed or the style of eyeglasses they wear. No offense to cat people. Cat people are often the most interesting people I've met!

I think Chicken people have something about them too... and sometimes it IS a smell, but really. I am a chicken person and I don't smell like chickens. I love the idea of chickens. I don't love the smell of a chicken coop, but I sure do love the sight of a sunny farmyard with fresh laundry hanging out on the clothes line and a handful of colorful chickens scratching around in the shade of the flowering crabapple tree. This scene is like heaven to me. The only things that could make it better are a couple of kids in rainboots hauling a tin bucket full of water out to the chickens, spilling most of it along the way, and the smell of fresh baked bread or pie crust wafting out the open kitchen windows of the farmhouse in the background.

I'm a chicken person. Unfortunately, I also live in an area thick with raccoons, skunks, coyotes, possums, fox, and "wild" farm cats - all of which could do some pretty significant damage to a brood of nice little brown hens! I'm not sure how our dog would do with Chickens either. Surely he would want to chase them! No, I'm not sure how chickens would fare in my yard. I am afraid they wouldn't last more than a day. I'm not the kind of chicken person who wants an enclosed chicken coop full of white broiler chickens, nope not me. I want a couple of chickens of every color wandering the yard, eating all the june bugs! Cliff isn't really a chicken person. He is a Wild Game person. He would much rather raise something like pheasants for hunting than chickens for pets. So, for Father's Day, we got him a few pheasant chicks. Perhaps there was a personal motive in this. Perhaps if we became equipped to raise pheasants, we would also by default, be equipped to raise chickens. although, their needs are very different! Pheasants are actually a lot of work to raise and we're not yet equipped for keeping them, so we released our chicks after a few days. It was fun to have them and to watch them for a few days, but they were the perfect age for releasing, so we let them go. They seemed to know just what to do. We have three books on raising pheasants, so by next spring, we should know everything there is to know about the subject and maybe we'd even have a more permanent structure set up to house them until they're old enough to release. These chicks were 9 weeks old, which was just right for releasing! They ran right out of the cage one by one and straight for the tall grass. We left the cage out there with food and water in it for a couple of days in case they weren't able to find enough on their own. We also left a large shallow water dish out in the yard alongside the tall grass so they can find it when they need it if they're still around. They pecked around in the tall grass for a while and all we could see was the rustling tops of the tall grass. When we came home from work, there was no sign of them. That must mean they're off on their own some place and thriving! They could be living the good life in the corn field, they could have traveled all the way across the field to the wooded hillside, or they could potentially still be in the tall grass or wooded area right by the house and we just haven't seen them.

It was fun to see them take off and head straight for the tall grass. Here's a little video of their release:

I do have another video of the tall grass moving, but you can't actually see the chicks. It's pretty funny though because you can tell right where they are. Hopefully they'll learn to be more sneaky quickly!

Maybe next spring I'll be posting video of our chickens!

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