J and I went to California a couple weeks ago. (It was nice. Before he even met me, his family planned their big family vacation--to Disneyland! And my family lives 20 minutes from there. So J invited me, and I stayed at the resort with his family, but we mostly spent time with my family. Since his whole family lives up here and mine pretty much all lives in CA. But anyway...)
We had arranged with Jess to have Paley (Remember? I have a cat!) stay at her house for the trip, so that Pay wasn't alone at my house for a week. (We had also planned to have the chicks stay at her house, since they were living indoors when I asked, but we decided to get the chicken coop and moved them outside and got big feeders and used the big waterer and left them alone.)
The morning that we left, I came over to J's house early and I had all of my stuff for the trip plus Paley. We had breakfast together and J finished packing, but Paley did not like being confined to the cat carrier, so she started crying. Poor cat. I set her carrier on a chair so that she could watch out the window, and that worked for a little while, but she wanted out.
Buuuut, J is totally allergic to her, so letting her wander around his house was not really an option. Instead, I took her out to watch me get food and water ready for the chicks.
And then! I had such a brilliant idea! I decided she would probably enjoy watching the birds. So I set her carrier in front of the chicken coop. Like, right in front of it.
She loved it. But it was actually funny because the birds were way interested in her, too. I felt totally fine leaving them like that, so Pay was fascinated for the rest of the morning while we finished getting ready. Hah. Awesome.
Okay, and then I have one other chicken story, which we heard while we were in California. (Having chickens is like reading Twilight. Or knitting. It just instantly bonds you with random people, and people want to talk about their birds.) SO, we were having dinner at my sister Steph's boyfriend's cousin's? [brother's neighbor's grandpa's friend's uncle's] house. And they were just delighted to meet us, and Steph told them about our chicks since ! they have hens too!
So here's what happened:
When they moved into the house, there was already a big chicken coop there. So she decided to get chickens. And she went to this place where everyone spoke Spanish and like, they I guess sold chicks there. But they were selling them straight-run. So (usually you'd just buy some and know you were getting 1/2 roosters which you would later eat or sell. but...) she asked how to tell which baby birds are hens and which baby birds are roosters.
And the guy, in broken English, esplained that the way you tell is, you pick the little birds up by their beaks. And if they flap a whole lot, they're roosters. And if they go limp and just hang there, then they're hens. So she started picking up these little birds by their beaks, and they would flap and squirm, and try to get away, and make a huge commotion! It seemed like they all did, she said, and she's sure that at this point the guys working there were laughing at her because it was just so ridiculous.
At this point we laughed, and told her how funny it was, and she said oh, we hadn't even heard the best part. She continued.
So she finally managed to pick out 16 little birds that didn't flap and try to get away when she picked them up by their beaks. She took them home and started raising them, and their hens were doing really nicely until one morning, they heard a kind of scratchy little noise one morning. She was sure it must be coming from the neighbor's house. It had to be. She didn't really think anything of it. But it continued the next day. And soon there was another little rooster noise.
And she finally realized it was coming from her hens. Her 4 month old hens.
It turned out that 14 of the 16 "hens" were actually roosters.
We laughed and laughed. But the story got even better.
She called the place that she had bought them and told them that they had told her how to pick hens and she had ended up with all roosters! They were nice about it. They told her to just put them in bags and bring them back and they would take them back and give her hens.
So she caught them and put them in grocery bags. He said bags, so she just thought grocery bags. He probably meant like, burlap bags.
They were decent sized bags, so all 14 of the birds poked their legs through the bottoms of the bags. And then she had 14 running bags that she gathered up and put in her car and took back. She said it was the funniest thing to see. She said they couldn't stop laughing when they saw her bags running all over the place.
Amazing story, huh?