Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday Chicks

They're here!
For a long time, it has been my dream to own a few hens – like 3 or 4 max. Last week it came true when 25 baby chicks arrived in a box at the post office early one morning. I rushed over like the deranged mother I’ve become and rang the buzzer repeatedly until someone let me in the back door and eventually brought a little box of peeping fluff. True,  I only needed four, but I had this idea it would be easy to get rid of extras via Craig’s List. So far eight have gone, and today, on Good Friday, another seven will be picked up. That still leaves five that need a home.

Setting up temporary digs in the basement wasn’t hard. An appliance box lined with a plastic garbage bag and covered with shavings is doing nicely. According to the website “MyPetChicken” the temp needed to be an even 95 degrees for the first week. Testing before they arrived proved I needed to adjust the height of the heat lamp to keep from broiling their little tushes at 120 degrees. These girls are unavailable however tempting they look.

I’m mesmerized by their little chicken-y antics. From day two they made clumsy efforts to scratch like big mamas do. When one finds something interesting to peck at – an odd colored shaving, the rings on my fingers – several run to investigate and steal it away if possible. They have tiny primary feathers sprouting from their wings which they preen and flutter. With breakneck runs they launch themselves one half inch above their neighbors landing on heads with no regard for whether one is napping or drinking.

They are a mix of breeds and it is difficult to decide which four to keep. So far I’ve decided on an Ameracauna that will lay the green or blue eggs I’ve always marveled at, a Black Astraulorp, a Barred Rock and a Buff Orpington. A friend identified them for me. I don’t know if I should trust her or not – she has fainting goats and to her surprise two of her does dropped three unexpected babies – one of the mothers had twins. Among the 25 chicks are three unusual brown-egg layers –   
Turken
Turkens. They have naked necks and are more common in Europe than here. The lack of feathers makes them look like they need a good moisturizer one their skinny little necks and a boost of vitamins, but they are supposed to be calm, friendly and good egg layers, and if its any indication these three readily run to my hand to see what I’m about. They have grown on me.

Beauty is often linked to the visual and isn’t always an advantage. Many ugly things, on inspection, reveal a depth of beauty that can go unnoticed unless time is taken to listen and watch. John Fowles observes in The Collector that “a lot of nice things are ugly and a lot of nasty things are beautiful.” This also being Good Friday – I’ve always wondered what Jesus looked like – especially on his way to the cross, since Isaiah described him as having no beauty or majesty that would attract us to him, and yet, and yet, here we are 2000 years later where like iron filings some of us still cling to the power of his love. So maybe I’ll keep a Turken to remind me.

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