Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maude & Myrtle

We picked up our little chickies today. After a couple failed attempts at securing the chicks beginning on saturday, we are now the proud owners of two little yellow and red chirping chicks. My goodness they make more noise than I thought they would.

I feel like keeping chickens in an old tradition and I associate it with fat old women in aprons. Hence the old lady names. I came up with the theme but then could only think of names of women in my family. Reread that association and you'll hopefully realize why I'd be mortified if my mom found out that I named our chickens after my grandmother. Ryan came up with Maude. I texted some of my friend and asked for the most old fogie women's name they could think of. Erin came up with Mildred or Bertha. Gabe & Beka came up with Nancy (thanks a lot!!) or Ervine. My mom opted not to give a suggestion. Julie came up with Myrtle... and she won. She has been awarded the promise of Myrtle's first ever egg. I told her its pretty much guaranteed to come out deformed and small, but its the equivalent of her first born, so its an honor.

Apparently it takes chickens about 5 months to start laying eggs. That time frame means THE RACE IS ON as to who will birth first... me or the ladies.

I checked out "Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces" by Barbara Kilarski from the library. Its really informative and seems to be targeted to our "urban situation." Its humorous and told me pretty much what I needed to know. Something I needed to know RIGHT NOW: the chick is only sleeping when it looks half dead and knocked over. Baby chicks are supposedly like baby people... they sleep. A lot. I keep thinking that Maude isn't going to make it. She just isn't as active as Myrtle. The book said to give them their first drink mixed with a little sugar to help them cope with the trauma of a new situation and being boxed & banged around for a few hours. I think we missed that window, but will try again the next time we get babies. I just checked her a second ago and she seems to be just fine and pecking at the food & water. We had just a bulb hanging in their hangout but most people have a bulb and a reflector to keep in warmth. Ry jimmy-rigged up a tin foil reflector and they've moved out from under the light. Maybe Maude was just a little colder.

Maybe I should explain how we can tell them apart. Mrytle has a whiter stripe pattern down her back. Maude has a redder stripe. I'm wondering how that will change as they age.

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