The baby peepers, what I call the chickens who we added to our flock in November, are almost fully grown peepers at this point. They still sleep in the room in the barn instead of in the coop with the rest of the chicken crew, but this weekend they are moving in for good. Until then, chicken wrangling has become my new favorite afternoon sport.
While I sometimes use a broom to help me head the not so baby peepers off at the pass, I prefer it when I simply walk behind them and the go where they are supposed to go! Since this is not high on their favorite ways to get to the barn, I spend more time running around while trying not to scare the little beasts than I would like.
Today, all three of the babies were near the big coop when I headed up the hill to tuck them in. After I filled the water for the others, I had the brilliant idea of simply catching each one in the coop and carrying it to the night quarters. Since they were in the enclosed coop, this was much easier than attempting such a feat outside.
I got the first two captured and moved with limited trouble and surprisingly little creative cursing under my breath. I may have said, “Sugar!” once, but that was pretty much all that escaped my lips other than standard baby peeper speak. The third baby peeper is the one I think the adopted nieces and nephew named Oreo. This one was slightly bigger when we got them, and so is smarter in some ways.
After three or four laps around the coop, I finally got Oreo to step up in a proper fashion. This was great until s/he remembered that after stepping up onto my hand, she used to like to climb up my arm to roost. Now that she is five times her previous size, her climb up my arm was slightly more precarious. Since I wasn’t sure if she would stay on my shoulder on the walk to the barn, and I didn’t want her to jump down from such heights, I had to demonstrate my contortionist skills as I reached up to grab her for a more controlled ride to the barn room.
When we got into the barn, she made her way back up to my shoulder as I reached to open the door so I could reunite her with her other two better behaved peepers. Despite the fact that the donkeys were closely watching our every move, the transition from shoulder to the barn room went fairly smoothly, and I was able to close the door safely on the three almost grown baby peepers.
As I headed out of the barn to get ready to head to town with mom for dinner with one of her old students, Football, the rooster who was supposed to be a hen crossed the barnyard. He’s a Silky. Actually, both of our Silkies turned out to be roosters. The person who sexed them did not do the best job of it. Ahem. In any case, Football’s name used to be Bock. However, dad renamed him due to his propensity to charge anyone or thing (even our sixty pound puppy) who he thinks is too close to his hens.
I tend to carry a broom in the barnyard just in case he doesn’t remember to listen when I say, “Back!” The sad thing for poor Football is that his hens don’t like him much either. The other tiny rooster is quite the active little beast. But when all the other chickens come down the hill to eat the birdseed which falls from the bird feeder, Football is the lone chicken who does not venture from the upper part of the farm.
It has to be a lonely life being the least liked animal on the farm, but Football continues his lonely little side stepping shuffle despite his solitary status. That said, when the flock decides to stay up-hill, they do let Football stay with them.
Today, I am grateful for a baby peeper who likes a shoulder ride, and for a funny little rooster who, despite being the least liked animal on the farm, keeps protecting the flock no matter what.