October 30, 2006

Chicken update and chicken cam

Ramona and Ramón

We've had the chickens almost a month now. They seem to be doing great and have grown a little, although they still weigh about as much as your average chicken breast. They are bantams, miniature chickens, in case you didn't know what that meant like I didn't a few months ago.

If you compare the picture above with the pictures here, I think you can see that they have grown and that Ramón's comb has gotten bigger and stands up straight now. Ramón definitely acts like a cocky rooster. He struts around while Ramona follows. He rushes to protect her if he thinks she is being threatened. Their favorite treat is a ripe plantain which he eats first while Ramona waits. They stick together all of the time.

They are getting to be more trusting of us. They will eat out of my hand, but generally try to stay at the exact distance where they know I cannot reach to grab one of them. In the evening, they come back from their chicken work and wait for me to put them in their cage. That's the only time that they willingly let me pick them up.

I cover their little pen at night. I don't know if this is silly or not. I know that parakeets' cages are covered at night, so what the heck! Twice I slept in too long in the morning and Chloe the Rottweiler removed the cover for me. This morning they were making a big ruckus about 6 a.m. I think Chloe was tormenting them by banging against their pen. I think I heard Ramón's first crowing but it is hard to say because it sounds like a jungle around our house when the sun comes up. The wild birds make every kind of chirping, singing, squawking, whistling noise that you can imagine.

Every morning I take the chicks (technically they would be called a cockerel and pullet) down to the vegetable garden area where they spend most of their day pecking and digging for bugs. They come back to the terraza (where their pen is) every afternoon. Some days they come back too soon and spend the afternoon, pecking at ants, digging in potted plants, and otherwise making a mess of the terraza. Usually I take them back out to work and then they return sometime before dark. They cuddle up on their blanket out of reach of the dogs and wait for me to put them away for the night. Smart chickens!

One day Chloe went after Ramón who tried to hide in a hole. It was the same problem as before with Ramona − only his top half was actually in the hole. Chloe apparently pulled him out and carried him somewhere. El Jefe brought Ramón inside, soaking wet and flopped over on his back in the palm of El Jefe's hand.

I jumped up and started shrieking, "What happened?! What happened?! Is he dead?!" El Jefe said no, that Chloe apparently gave him a slobber bath and I needed to dry him off. Whew! That was a close one. For the most part, the chickens keep a safe distance from the dogs.

And for a special treat for my readers, I have another chicken cam. The music is 'Rompe' by Daddy Yankee. In English, 'rompe' means to break, smash, shatter, tear into pieces. In the context of this song, El Jefe tells me that it means something like to make a disaster. It seems an appropriate song for the 'chicken work' being done in this video. Enjoy!

If you have any problems with the video, like I do on my poor old computer, just click on "YouTube" and it should play fine on that site.
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