Chickiepoos

In my last update, the chickens were fluffballs and only two weeks old. It is a month plus since, and the formerly tiny chicks are now much larger pullets and cockerels, almost 7 weeks old. The flock is still 19 strong — eleven Welsumers (9 pullets, 2 cockerels) and eight Andalusians (7 pullets, 1 cockerel). So far, everyone is getting along. I have not observed bullying or bad behavior to date.

I have graduated from reading The Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens to Harvey Ussery’s The Small-Scale Poultry Flock (which I highly recommend btw). Downside of all my reading is that I have been debating for weeks whether to use sand or straw as my litter in the permanent coop. Good news is that I have decided to use straw and the deep litter method, as I have been doing that in the brooder with good success. The arrival of my family from Seattle has delayed my final preparations of the southern annex where the coop will be located (see photo below). It is only a half day’s worth of sweeping and cleaning left, and then the assembly of a roofed 10’ x 10’ pen within the 19’ x 16’ space. Not much left to do, but it is still not complete.

In the meantime, the flock spends most of their time in the small 9’ x 9’ pen within the brooder room while having access to the entire interior space, which is about 16’ x 16’. They fly too well to remain within the 3-foot-high foldable fencing, and so I keep one side of the enclosure open at all times. They particularly enjoy roosting in and on the floor-to-ceiling shelving along one wall. I have let them outside now several times, but they are still quite timid. It will be a long while, I imagine, before they are confident enough to forage for hours on their own. Right now, they tend to hover around the door to their brooder house, and scurry inside at any potential danger.

For some reason that I cannot fathom, I tend to call the chickens, as a group, my “chickiepoos.” Not only is it dorky and corny, it is part of a made-up ditty that I sing out loud as I walk to the chicken house each morning:

Chickiepoo, chickiepoo

I’m gonna see my chickiepoos

Chickiepoo, chickiepoo

I’m gonna see my chickiepoos

Yup. That’s it. I sing the song to the chickens as I walk to open things up for the day. It started as a way to announce my arrival, in the hopes it would startle them less when I opened the door. It quickly became part of the morning ritual.

P.S. It just occurred to me that Chickiepoo may be an unconscious callout to Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, a much-loved psychedelic kid’s show of my era. Best explanation I have for such an odd nickname.

Published by thefemfarmer

Born in Chicago, grew up in Mississippi, and raised a family in Seattle. Coming back home to MS for part of the year to work on our new farm and spend time with my father. These are my voyages.

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