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

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Chicken Named After a Pirate is blossoming

The homely little hen that came to Apifera last December is blossoming. While she is still a very plain chicken, she is filling out and is as busy as ever.

I took her and two other hens, along with three roosters-just what we need-after the neighbor died and his daughter asked me if I could take them for her. I must say that Grace O'Malley is very pirate like-she takes no gruff from anyone even though she is much smaller than many of the other hens. I have seen her in the roosting box so she is laying too, although there are so many new hens I haven't discerned who is laying what. This is one of the subtle aspects of raising layers that I love-knowing which egg belongs to which hen. I used to know that. But after two surprise clutches last spring, and the new hens, I have lost track.

I don't think it will be wise to haul my chickens out to Maine. It saddens me, but I need to be practical as it is a long trip and its not like we don't have a full load already. I know I will find good homes for my hens, but I am attached to many of them, and yes, Grace O'Malley is one of them. Perhaps she can ride in the car with me, which has AC in case it is warmer. I've never traveled with a Chicken Named After a Pirate, and a Blind Pug in one car-and add the gas of the two labs and it will be a great ride.

On a practical note, I want to make sure I have a solid hen house in Maine before bringing chickens in. Some of the places will have a hen house, but I want mine to be insulated. Martyn will kill me, but it's not hard to do and why not? They pop food out of their bottoms for us so I should prepare a warm place for them. There is a craze of chicken sweaters, but this will not happen. I know chickens. As sweet as they all look running around in their colorful knit items, thy poop, a lot, on anything, anywhere. They walk and poop, run and poop and fly and poop. Martha Stewart probably has chickens that do not poop, or only in a certain room in a clean barn. But my chickens are free poopers, so even though I do intend to get back to knitting, there will be no chicken sweaters.

But perhaps there will be a sweater for Earnest or Cornelia.