Wednesday, May 14, 2008

By way of China

My sister acquired a brood of chicks from some foreign exchange college students who didn't know it was illegal to keep chickens in your apartment. Those chicks grew into a beautiful flock, providing amazing eggs-big and BLUE! Yes, blue! Araucana (or Ameraucana) chickens lay colored eggs and are also known as "Easter Egg Chickens"-they are like any other egg; they just have a beautiful shell, which can arrive in a variety of colors: blue, green, pink, yellow. "Brownie" came to us due to all her mates being killed off by raccoons. When my sister got new chickens to replace them, they pecked and picked on poor Brownie until she was in danger of death (bottom of the "pecking order"-literally!). Once the barn was built, my sister begged me to take her. Now, mind you, we live 4 hours apart-no small ride for a chicken, especially in the pelting rain that occurred that weekend. Luckily, I was in the area with my truck, picking up rubber stall mats, so they loaded me up with a large, roomy cage for Brownie to make the trip with a tarp cover to shelter her from the rain and highway wind. We all survived, and Brownie, now also called Fred, provides us with a beautiful blue-green egg every day. She lives "free-range" and roosts way up in the barn rafters, away from predators. She digs in the dirt, eats flies and other insects and provides both entertainment and comfort with her soothing little clucking sounds. She LOVES cat food, and comes running when I call her at morning feeding time. We've certainly learned a lot about chickens-and plan to add a couple of chicks soon.


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