You give your heart to a chook…

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Poor Mrs Crankypants. My favourite chook. She was a narky little thing…always telling me off for not getting to the chook run faster with tasty titbits; leaping on top of the coop to complain and then leaping off to try and sneak something to eat before the others chased her away. She had personality. I originally named her ‘Disney’ because she was snow white, but you know how some pets just name themselves? That was Mrs Crankypants. She was a Lavender Araucana and was the only one of my two who actually laid blue eggs. (Her sister, Lady Grey, lays totally white ones, which aren’t as much fun.)

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And dear little Pudgy. She and Hazel (who is shellshocked and hasn’t moved from the nesting box for two days) were raised from day-old chicks by Evan16 a couple of years ago. I used to call Pudgy the ‘Tourette’s chook’… she’d make the most extraordinary noises and was also packed full of personality. She was a barred Plymouth Rock – an American breed of chook raised for both eggs and meat. Once she grew to adult size you could see why. She was MASSIVE! You could imagine a pioneer family sitting down to Christmas dinner around a well-cooked Pudgy, enjoying the meal. There’d be sure to be leftovers.

The winter solstice brought more than a cessation of shortening days to The Frogdancer household and the gradual return of my voice. It also brought a fox.

Thermomix recipe: Lemon-Berry-Vodka Margaritas

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14 Responses to You give your heart to a chook…

  1. kate says:

    Oh what to say so sorry for your gerls. They gave you all so much pleasure as well as yummy eggs. Try to remember the happy, funny and silly times like the araucanas living up in the tree when you got them and not wanting to socialise with the other gerlies.

  2. foodnstuff says:

    Oh, no!! How did he get in? Was it just the 2 you lost? Are the others OK? I’ve been lucky so far, but I dread the day when it happens here.

  3. Kay says:

    Waa! I didn’t want to read that! At least Mr Fox only got 2 and not the whole hen house. 😦

    • Frogdancer says:

      Yes, we were lucky. The boys heard the commotion start and were right onto it. Evan16 was down there so quick he saw the fox running away across the top of the fence. If it wasn’t for that, we’d have lost the lot.Frogdancer

      > Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2013 02:41:59 +0000 > To: frogdancer01@hotmail.com >

  4. Barbara Good says:

    Oh no! Thank goodness for your boys. Sorry you lost two thought.

  5. Catherine says:

    Horrible Mr Fox. Sorry to hear of your loss.

  6. Ellen says:

    So sorry to hear you lost two of your girls to Mr Fox – it would have been a swift end. Well done to your boys or he would have taken the rest, and I hate to say it, but from now on the rest of your chooks are on his take-away list. These quirky little feathery creatures do get under you skin.

    Glad to hear your voice is returning. Teaching is the worst profession for laryngitis.

  7. Snoskred says:

    I was just thinking this morning that I had not heard much re your chooks just lately.. I am so sorry this happened. 😦 Foxes are evil.

    My favourite was attacked by a hawk this morning. She is sort of ok. We have not been able to find any injuries. She did have some blood on her beak but my thought now is that blood belongs to the hawk and that is why she is still with us now. She is no shrinking violet and I am sure she gave that hawk one heck of a pecking.. and was thus unceremoniously dumped as too much trouble.

    I don’t think this can have happened too far from the ground because she was still in the chook pen.

    She was unsteady on her feet, but I think maybe that is shock, and also that she was probably dropped though none of us saw the attack, we did see the hawk sitting in a tree nearby right after. Nothing is broken, though I suspect she might have bruising we can’t see. She is still alert and still her regular loopy self personality wise.

    She stayed in the nesting boxes all day with all the other girls comforting her, except for one girl on the lookout in the run, anytime a bird flew by there was much bagerk-ing and posturing from the lookout. They took it in turns – one keeps the watch, the others comfort – until it was roost time. As soon as it got dark and the other girls put themselves to bed, we took her inside because it was going to be a cold one tonight.

    Right now she is safe in a box, all toasty warm (but not too warm) by the gas heater. I am resisting with all my might the constant urge to check on her. She needs her sleep. I must not touch that box until 5:30am at the earliest.

    If she survives the night, before the other chooks wake up in the morning, I will install her back in the nesting boxes in a warm box she can get in and out of with food and water nearby so that she will not lose her place in the flock. My hope is that she’ll have had enough time and rest to be back to normal – if not, we will keep up the night time warm inside sleepovers until she is.

    It does not matter what it is, if anything happens to the chooks it is always her it happens to and I think this is because she is my favourite. I have now officially un-favourited her, and I am going to have no favourites now. I must like them all equally. It isn’t fair to the favourite! 😦

    We will now be installing bird netting over their area, to keep them safer from flying predators. Though it is entirely possible that hawk will not return – too much trouble for no reward. If the hawk had picked one of the other girls the hawk might have had better success.

    It might be time to re-visit the design of the chook pen, too.. I really want to just suck it up and bite the bullet and make them a huge totally enclosed area like the one on henblog..

    • Frogdancer says:

      Argh! I meant to reply to this over the holidays when I had time and now it’s just about up!Did your gerl survive the night? I hope she did. It’s true about the favourite thing… it’s like they get a target on their back or something. I don’t think we have hawks much around here, but we certainly have crows… huge things. Normally they’re at school, scavenging from the rubbish bins, but these holidays they’ve discovered my chook pen so they’ve been hanging around in teh mornings to see what they can score.I’ve just spent a half hour between this sentence and the last over at Henblog, thanks to your mention of it. I haven’t looked at it for ages, well over a year probably, so it was nice to have a bit of a wander through. I’ve added it to my Feedly.I was going to get some more chooks these holidays, but then a possibility was raised a couple of days ago at a demo I was doing for one of the Science teachers at school. She’s probably going to get some chicks for the Year 7s to raise and measure for a few weeks, then she’ll take them home to replenish her flock. I looked eager, so she said if they do it then I can have some. I immediately asked for black ones. I still might wander out to Emerald and get another couple of gerls, because the egg production has fallen dramatically, but it’s a miserable rainy day today so I might wait until the weather clears up a bit. (Then again, if there’s a choice between housework and chook buying who knows what might happen?)Have you got the new pen or are you still mulling it over? Lisa/Frogdancer

      > Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2013 16:03:31 +0000 > To: frogdancer01@hotmail.com >

  8. Urspo says:

    Chook? Narky? I had to look these up in the dictionary….
    Chook apparently means a few things, including a sort of bonnet.
    “It’s chilly out, so you better wear your chook.”

    Is there a Mr. Crankypants? Is the name patented? I know of Someone who could benefit from this name from time to time!

  9. Jenny @ Erinport says:

    Oh dear Froggie, so sad to see that 2 of your gerls are gone 😦

    I had to say goodbye to Honey about 10 days ago, aged 14 – she was fine until about 6 weeks ago, but then went downhill very quickly 😦

    The animal world sure does tug at our heartstrings.

  10. Tammy V. says:

    I’m so so sad. I have followed you for such a very long time and remember when you decided to get the chicks. I was against it at first, but have so enjoyed your stories – I now want chicks of my own to look after. Perhaps, after a period of mourning, you will be able to get more. I love the thought of the lavender eggs.

  11. Ohhhh, I know how attached we get to the girlies. I love my terrorists, and have had so many friends deal with the fox experience as well. So sorry, FD xxx

  12. Deb at CV says:

    Oh! Poor choox. There is nothing fantastic about foxes. Chickens just become members of the family, don’t they. So sad.
    i hope all froggie ones will recover from the shock and think seriously about introducing some new gerls to the brood.

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