Our baby chicks are looking more and more like miniature adults, only awkwardly so. Their heads are still mostly downy fluff balls, but their bodies are sprouting feathers. They are still absolutely adorable.
Baby animals are universally adorable and delightful, but baby chicks have a special place in this suburban homesteader’s heart—especially since they’re really the only baby animal I have as of yet. When they arrive in the mail, they’re one-day old, and I promptly send out text messages to all my friends with small babies and, well, all my friends to invite them over for chicken cuddles. Everyone seems equally excited to hold a small baby chicken that peep peeps away into their hand before settling cozily into their hands and looking content and even drifting off to sleep.
Our chicken arrangements have not been harmonious since we first attempted to integrate new baby chicks into the flock. First, Fortunata nearly died, so Fortunata ended up in her own penthouse suite. We tried to sneak Fortunata back in with the next round of baby chicks, but that didn’t work. Next we corralled most of the bully chickens into the penthouse suite (redubbed the henitentiary). The bully chicken remaining in the main coop became a tyrant that laid few eggs at this free-reign opportunity, so we ate that bully chicken (so, long Scissor beak). The two bully chickens remained confined to their henitentiary, and the chickens in the main coop partied on. For a hilarious albeit short-lived time, Fortunata was even top chicken.
I dislike our garden-shed coop for so many reasons, but I do like that when we bought our house, we had a ready-to-use chicken coop, so it has sufficed. One day, though, I have real coop dreams. Until then and in-between the awkwardness, I have the occasional comedic moments in our less-than-perfect coop.
I understand that animals live and die and that chickens are no exception. Usually, on our little suburban homestead, chickens die very purposefully: to be eaten and to make room for new layers. Of course, I care for the chickens that we eat though a few of our chickens are jerks. On the flip side, a couple of our chickens are pets and have earned themselves a name. Yesterday, my pet chicken Ianigena died of unknown causes.
As an Alaskan, I never feel as if winter has arrived until it has snowed. To me, that means a blanket of snow that causes the grass to disappear and the trees to huddle up under their white garments. As a Kansan, I take what I get whenever it arrives (and it’ll probably change the next day).
Fall has been a touch on the warm side this late into October, but autumn also arrived early. The temperatures in August and September were nowhere near as oppressively hot as they normally are even if October has been unseasonably warm. Our garden is still producing more tomatoes than we can eat (though fewer than we can can). Better yet, the baby chickens are all grown up and laying teeny eggs in the nest boxes.