The Downside

The one year anniversary of my blogging has passed by quietly, but I really wanted to thank all of my followers- I don’t think I would have been able to keep this up without you!

From reading this blog, you can probably figure out that I am a rather anxious person. One thing wrong, and I freak out in a flurry of panicked question-asking on BYC forums, internet searches, and combing through chicken keeping reference books. A case of this happened the other day, in which a few of my lovely readers really helped calm me down.

I think this weird feeling has a great deal to do with the pressures of taking care of four living things. I am only a teenager. I hate saying that sentence, because (being a teenager) I would like to believe I can do anything. But the day that I lifted up that box full of peeping chicks began this feeling. It is always there, but most of the time is covered up by school, friends, books, etc…

Its the feeling of something high stakes. In all my life I have never had to deal with anything that would truly make a difference in a living thing. Sure, I have had a rabbit, and two dogs, but my parents were the ones making all the decisions. My mother had to decide to put our sick rabbit down, and my parents will have to make the decisions about our dogs in the future. But as far as my chickens…

They’re mine to keep, mine to take care of, and they’re mine to lose.

That idea terrifies me, but I’m getting used to it. They bring me so much happiness that it almost cancels the stress out. Almost.

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Usefulness?!

I actually… think I might have done something.. useful!

Cora and Mabel have glaring bald patches on their backs. Cora’s wing.. I want to say elbow, but I know that isn’t correct.. is red from Edith mounting her constantly. I think Edith needs to dial down his enthusiasm a bit.

Anyways, I went ahead and ordered one of those chicken saddle things. I got onto Amazon, and finally found one for about ten dollars. It is camouflage with weird butterflies on it. I read the title of the product about ten times before ordering it, and yet I still managed to get a double-strapped one instead of single-strapped.

In case you aren’t an expert on chicken saddles (who isn’t?), I’ll inform you of the difference. A single strapped saddle is essentially a square piece of durable cloth with two loops of elastic on either side. The chicken’s wing is pulled through the elastic on either side. This design is far more comfortable for them, and easier to put on. But it goes both ways- it falls off just as easily.

A double strapped saddle has elastics that cross in the middle. Its hard to explain, but essentially there is a whole in between the two elastics, a separate loop if you will, that some how you shove the chickens head through. So this elastic thing is pressing against her throat all.the.time. I definitely didn’t want that.

I definitely am not skilled in the art of sewing. Not at all. Someone missing both of their thumbs could probably hand-sew better then me. And yet I fixed this double strapped hen saddle, and converted it to a nice single strapped one. It took me a few hours, which is kind of depressing when you think of the very minuscule amount of sewing I actually had to do. But I did it, nonetheless, and it works fantastically.

I slipped it onto Cora without much trouble, and she hasn’t succeeded in shaking it off during this 24 hours. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I feel so very useful!

A Rainy, Bittersweet Day

Today we got a call from a man looking to buy Sybil. He had seen my CraigsList ad, and wanted to buy him for his son’s three hens. Ironically, he wanted a rooster to crow whenever something happened so he could run out and protect him. All day long rain has poured to the earth, making everything soaking wet. When the man, named Oscar, arrived in his shiny blue pickup truck, my father and I walked out to the driveway to meet him.

My stomach was in knots, tears were hiding behind the surface of my eyes, and I was shaking (not just from the cold). Maybe I’m a bit “sensitive” but I LOVE my animals, and giving one away was no easy task. He inspected the strutting little fellow with us, asking questions like “What do you feed him? Are pine shavings better than hay? Does he always have constant access to feed and water?”. I answered the questions competently enough, and was able to keep my voice steady.

Before he arrived I had already set up a cardboard box full of pine shavings, with a sprinkle of scratch and meal worms, so I caught him and brought him over to that. He shook a little in my hands, and I hope it was just from the dampness. He waved his head, trying to get a good look at his siblings, but didn’t squawk all that much. I kissed his head, whispered “I love you” and plopped him in the box. When he tried to fly away my father grabbed him and put him back. 

I shut the lid, and turned away as my father handed the box to Oscar. He smiled, graciously taking the box, and generously offered us a visit to his home to check on him. I smiled back, and said we’d love to, and walked into the house as he backed down the driveway, with Sybil in the backseat. 

After this, I walked to my room, mumbling something about changing into sweatpants and cried, and cried. 

I know, I’m dramatic. It’s the way I am. When my tears dried however, and the rain let up, I began to feel much better. Sybil had, so far, avoided butchery. He is going to a good home, with green grass, hens of his own, and the freedom to crow his heart out. Much more than I would ever be able to give him.