Mild winter earth is
easy to dig; maple and
azalea bush wait.
Victoria’s Stone by Azalea & Japanese Maple
We lost our first chicken this past weekend. She’d been noticeably unwell since about Thanksgiving, but we think her condition had been going on for at least a year, when she started drinking a lot of water and laying peewee eggs. We treated her for the typical parasites and infections one finds in backyard chickens, but the other two girls had no symptoms, so we weren’t surprised that she didn’t really improve. We finally took her to the vet, who said it was something more serious, e.g., ovarian cancer, heart disease, kidney disease. We weren’t going to spend the $$ to get a full diagnosis because we knew we weren’t going to treat her beyond offering comfort.
So, for the past couple weeks she lived in the garage (actually on and off for the past couple months). She didn’t seem like she was in pain, but she couldn’t eat much and didn’t seem to be getting nutrients from what she did eat. She just got weaker and quieter. She finally died Saturday. We were glad to be home with her when it happened, and we found a nice spot to bury her in the garden.
She was our little sweetie! Goodbye, Victoria!
Victoria, Our First Chicken
Chickens strut their stuff
on the wall or on the cage—
all the world’s a stage!
Anne on the coop, Margaret on the wall, Victoria on the ground
Another in the chicken haiku series for those who supported Raleigh Review‘s scholarship fund.
Take a bow, Harry! 🙂
Here’s another of my promised chicken haiku for those who contributed to Raleigh Review‘s scholarship fund:
Feathers in the yard
and chickens cringe from touch—
the prick of new growth.
We’ve entered molting season at Coop de Kaferberg.
Feathers in the yard
Poor Victoria has lost all her tail feathers! She is very grumpy about that. (“Look away! I’m hideous!”) She doesn’t like to be picked up right now. Having all those new feathers coming in is a little like teething in babies—it needs to happen, but it doesn’t feel good.
Poor, tailless Victoria
Victoria is a faverolle, which is a variety of chicken that has feathers on the feet. You can see where the new pin feathers are coming in. If they get bumped and broken, they bleed profusely.
Pin feathers on Victoria’s feet
Hang in there, Victoria! It will be over soon. (Well, in a few months, if last year is any indication…)
Chicks in the backyard
tumbling down the ramp—
the sun is up.
My three chicks after the morning ramp-tumble
One of Kajsa’s chicks going down the ramp—no tumble this time!
Another of my chicken haiku promised for Raleigh Review scholarship donors!
Well, I owe a few people chicken haiku for helping out Raleigh Review with scholarship contributions. The first is for Sue, creator of Look, Cook, and Eat!
Scratch, scratch, scratch,
digging for gold flecks—
when do dreams hatch?
Sometimes ya gotta get it yerself…
Sometimes yer friends help ya out…
Incidentally, Look, Cook, and Eat has garnered 200+ backers and over $25,000 for their Kickstarter campaign to create a digital how-to cooking magazine for those with intellectual disabilities. With just under two weeks to go, they still need about $18,000 to hit their goal and be funded. Scratch, scratch, scratch.
shuffle in the roost—
How could I not end NaPoWriMo with a chicken haiku?? 🙂 The final prompt from Poetic Asides was to write a “calling it a day” poem.
It’s been a good month. Busy on a lot of fronts, so it was tough to get in a poem every single day on that specific day, but close enough. I figure out of 30 poems, a handful of good ones will emerge. Here are some of my favorites from the month.
Thematically, these three fit together for me: Some Things That Stay, Survival, The Follow-up.
This one was fun because it was such a different voice for me: New York School.
This was was fun because it was a challenge—and it just seemed so sweet: Junior High Dance.
I think this is my best poem out of the month: The Bus Stop.
I think this is my favorite poem of the month (be sure to see the photo): The Night After the Boat Race.
Thanks for following and commenting—and congrats to everyone who participated. Now, call it a day…
Three hens huddle
underneath the dripping roost—
stones in a puddle.
The Poetic Asides prompt for April 26 was “water.” It’s been a busy few days, so I will be in catch up mode the rest of NaPoWriMo. And, you know, when in doubt, write a chicken haiku…
NPR tells me chickens are cool.
Urbanites get them, then play the fool,
dropping them off at the animal shelter
when they no longer lay or end up as fellers.
Victoria is noisy and aging (two peewees??),
but she’s going nowhere—she’s our little sweetie!
Chicken Mama holding Victoria
Yesterday’s prompt from Poetic Asides was to write a “pop culture” poem. Incidentally, Robert Lee Brewer (the host of Poetic Asides) posted an article this week titled “What Is the Value of Poetry?” It’s worth a look.
Look! How absurd!
Did a cousin come visit?
Large egg and Peewee egg
Today’s prompts from the usual places were not inspiring me. And I’ve been crazy busy all day getting ready to travel tomorrow, so I thought, Eh, might have to wait and catch up on Day 11 later.
And then the mail showed up.
The mail showed up with a handwritten letter from a cousin I haven’t heard from in ages, who has been following my blog recently—excited about the NaPoWriMo challenge and enthusiastic about chickens.
What was I to do
but write another
Victoria, our Salmon Faverolle, after taking the winter off, twice this spring has attempted to lay an egg—and failed (it gets a little messy). She finally succeeded last week with the littlest egg we’ve ever gotten—1.3 ounces, which qualifies it as a “peewee” egg. That’s the smallest category I can find, smaller than Small. And of course you don’t even see Small eggs in the grocery store. You might get Medium, but are more likely to see Large, Extra-Large and Jumbo (Our Australorp Margaret, on the other hand, regularly lays Jumbo eggs, and once laid a 3.0-ounce egg—ow!). The photo is of the Peewee egg along size a Large egg (around 2.0-2.2 ounces).
Thanks to cousin Joan for today’s inspiration! 🙂
Give me a feather,
give me a beak,
give me an egg
and two scaly feet.
Give me a burble,
give me a coo,
give me a low trill,
and, girls, that will do.
Make noise at your peril,
make noise to your woe.
One more loud squawk,
in the soup pot you go!
Today’s prompt came from www.napowrimo.net: Third Time’s The Charm. “Write a charm – a simple rhyming poem, in the style of a recipe-slash-nursery rhyme.”
We had some seriously noisy chickens around here today…