Chicken Races: TUESDAY (!!!) Nov. 21st, Veggie Share Week #5

 In CSA Newsletter

Chicken Races

My kids are growing up. My eldest daughter, now 14, sometimes engages with me, but mostly shrugs and rolls her eyes when she’s not blaring Taylor Swift through her ear buds. My middle kiddo is an avid reader. And while this is a good thing, she mostly escapes into fictional lands whenever she can. Interacting with her family members is becoming less and less attractive to Sora. My youngest, only 8, is starting to follow the same patterns as her sisters, but thankfully  she still wants to play.

Hence the chicken races.

Yesterday was so beautiful! I really wanted to spend some time with my kiddos outside, but it was too cold for biking (in their view) and they vetoed both a playground and hiking. As I was headed out to feed the chickens (this batch of layers is remarkably docile and pet-like), I spotted two old tubes of nail polish, one sky blue, the other purple. The brand is piggy paint, which is non-toxic and also comes off super super easy. 

That was when I hatched the chicken race idea.

Our 5 layers have taken to running after me wherever I go. Backstory: they stay in a movable coop all growing season, both to protect them and to keep chicken poo off worker boots. When fall comes and the food is mostly out of the ground and in food safe storage, I tend to let the ladies out to roam. Winter can be long and eventually their coop will freeze into place. The soft side of me loves to let them out after months of being contained, and to give them freedom before they have to bear the hard, cold months. (This is not without risk – see last week’s story on the opossum).

Anyhoo, this batch are like pets. They come beg on the porch at lunch. You can beak feed them, and then watch as they peck the wooden deck floor hoping for additional scraps to be there.  Whenever I walk outside they find me and follow me, curious if I have food for them. In particular, if I am holding the yellow food scoop, they are right at my feet, ready for grain.

Chickens that follow yellow scoop + non-toxic blue and purple nail polish = chicken races.

Juna and I had fun catching and marking the chickens. One hen remained unmarked. Another received purple painted toenails (sidenote: the crew and I had to brainstorm the correct word here…. talon? claw? nail? toenail?), another blue nails, another purple dots on the comb, another a blue-dotted comb.

The idea was simple. Juna would hold the yellow scoop and get them all to round up on the wood entry to the barn. Once they were all lined up, she would run down the gravel drive and dump the food. First chicken to reach the food wins.

It was surprisingly fun and silly. You can catch a glimpse of a heat on our Instagram or Facebook page if you want to see some funny chickens and a cute kiddo (or maybe cute chickens and a funny kiddo).

May each of you enjoy a full-belly Thanksgiving with folks you love.

Farmer Cassie