Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Did someone say "Peep"?

Once again, the beauty of random life has entered the farm. Going out to start morning barn chores, I walked to the chicken house, remembering that it was exactly 21 days since I placed some fertilized eggs from another farm under my broody hens. Being a novice chicken owner, I was perplexed when they had suddenly quit laying about a month ago, but appeared healthy. As usual, I consulted my plethora of chicken books, online sources, and friendly chicken freaks [as one of my farm friends said, 'Chickens are almost a cult" - this appears to be true]. I learned quickly the traits
of a broody hen, and I had 4 of them. So what the heck, I gave them what they wanted, eggs. I guess many of us ladies at some point in life, have that instinctive desire to curl up and nurture an egg, protect it, and hatch it. I confess, I like children, but the gotta-have-a-baby thing never clicked on me. I'm grateful, as I am a much better mother to sheep and rodents and weeds. If I forget to put Rosemary in, she would head to the barn [I have never forgotten to do this by the way], but if I forgot to put the baby to bed, where would it make a nest? In the corner near the blanket where Huck often settles?

So, it was not a surprise, but it was a surprise, to open up the chicken house to see a teeny little head. Then another, then another, and another. "My God!" I gasped. "It worked..." I actually gasped this to myself... I was so excited I dropped my morning donkey carrots, and fled to the house like a school girl on the run for pancakes, ran into Martyn's office and said "Chicks!"...

I spent the rest of morning panicking. I had read - and read - about what new chicks needed, but had just not really expected any chicks...This is referred to as "Unexpected New Chick Syndrome"...Fortunately, after several emails to Whitey, an experienced broody chicken herself , and a call to the woman who gave me the fertilized eggs, I quickly created special little holding areas out of dog crates within the chicken house, so chicks and hens and remaining unhatched eggs are safe, and able to have water and feed.

I am now in the stage of "Post-Unexpected New Chick Syndrome" in which I am assuming all the eggs that are going to hatch, have. This is somewhat irrational, as there are 4 chicks, and 8 more eggs being sat on. I am praying for mainly girlie chicks.

One day you have some hens, the next day you have hens and chicks. Let's hear it for Henny, Henny Jenny, Henny Penny, and Zucchi for their setting skills. If I were lost in the woods, and I was really teeny, I would want one of these hens to keep me warm -have you ever felt the underbelly and chest of a mother hen? You must.


Anonymous said...

Once again, Miss Katherine, I want to live on your farm! I have chickeny day dreams (and ones about goats and horses and and and) and this is exactly why. I can totally see you scrambling back to the house to announce the chicks' arrival. :) Thanks for the vicarious adventures~ *Anna*

coloredsock said...

oh! that underbelly! i haven't, but i can totally imagine cause i had the softest little parrot friend for many years who lived (most the time) on my shoulder nestled against my next, head tucked behind my ear. sometimes he'd fall asleep on his belly on my bare shoulder, and oh the warmth and softness...

congrats, Momma! cause you know, you'll be kinda their momma, too.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely start to the day. I hope more chicks hatch out and do well for you.
Sara from fsrmingfriends

Pam Aries said...

How cute! I have said before how much I would love a life such as this! I didn't appreciate it so much as a teen!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Midwestern girl with a high-stress job on the East Coast in sports television, and I regularly close my office door and escape to your farm. Today I was rewarded with CHICKS! Congratulations. The kids thing never clicked with me, either. I'm much prefer baby ducks, or lots of dogs.

This blog is an oasis in a crazy world. Great thoughts, great writing, great photos. Bet you didn't realize how many of us are living vicariously through your blog! Now, if I could only get my lavender to grow like yours, I'd be set!

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~