R.I.P. Frida

Very sad day.  This morning I went out to feed the girls like normal and Frida was missing.  She had flown over the fence once before, so I went to the front of the house and called for her.  Normally, as soon as she hears me, she comes running, hoping for some treat that I would be bringing them.  When she was nowhere in sight and couldn’t be heard, a lump started forming in my stomach.  I went into the backyard and pulled down the door of the chicken coop.  And there she was; lying dead in the basket where they lay their eggs.  Rigor had already set in, so she must have passed sometime during the night.

Yes, I know that they are farm animals.  And animals die.  Mostly so that they can end up on our plate.  I have threatended the girls many times with “You don’t lay enough eggs, you are going to jump in the freezer!”.  They complied faithfully with giving Whitney and I more eggs than we could eat.  But somehow, this is different.  Such a shock that Frida would die so young, and considering there was absolutley nothing wrong with her at about 8 P.M. the night before.  So between then and 7 a.m. something happened and she passed away.

I have a suspicion that her death was due to her being egg bound, which is when the egg does not pass through their vent and becomes lodged inside their body.  It is very severe and can lead to death quite quickly.  I didn’t want to poke and prod her, as I think she deserved more respect than that, but that is my main suspect in her death.  There were no signs of a struggle or anything, so hopefully she died rather peacefully.

She was my admitted favorite chicken, who loved to be held and petted.  When people would come over, she was the one that I picked up and had people pet (you would be surprised how many people have NEVER touched a live chicken).  She was my faithful layer, laying the largest and most eggs with a beautiful tan color.  The one who seemed most happy to see me; especially when I had cobs of corn or a juicy tomato.  The one who cooed contendedly in my arms when I would take her around the yard touring the vegetable garden with me.

I find myself struck with strange emotions for a pet that I would just as soon eat for dinner.  She was a great ambassador for Backyard Chickens and she will be sorely missed.  R.I.P. Frida, aka Chicken #1, aka Breakfast of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, aka The Ambassadorette, aka my Favorite Chick

One my favorite pics of all time. Drenched Frida Chicken! She looks so pathetic!

RIP Frida

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One Egg, Two Egg

Brown Egg, Green Egg.

The first two!  Woo Hoo!  Whitney called me today while I was at work and told me that something was wrong.  She said that the chickens had been making the most horrendous sounds for the better part of the morning (Oh man, I should have recorded Whitney’s impersonation when she reenacted the sounds later on that night).  At my prompting she got closer to investigate and she exclaimed, “I think they’re laying EGGS!!!  I see something tan where Britany is sitting!”  A huge grin came across my face and I started beaming like a proud chicken-father.  I’m such a jackass!  Ha!

And so it was so.  But the chickens, in their haste to become productive members of the family could not wait any longer for my procrastinating ass.  They have no nesting box to lay in, (I haven’t found the time to build one) so they laid in the next best thing…  The compost pile.  Yup.  The compost pile.  Dug themselves a nice little depository and went to work…  Right into the decomposing vegetable scraps, trimmings and leaves.  Eggs a la compost.  Sounds appetizing huh?

Well none the less we have eggage!  First task this weekend is to complete some minor modifications to the chicken coop and build said nesting box.  The Ameraucuana, Fifi, laid the green one and Britany laid the brown one.  They are both not “usual” size eggs and unfortunately you can’t see the difference as well through pictures.  Fifi’s egg is a beautiful mossy green and in all shapes and appearances looks pretty normal.  Just smaller than a “normal” large chicken egg.  Britany’s on the other hand is the prerequisite Rhodie brown, but in shape it is extremely skinny and long and not really egg-shaped at all but rather quite oblong (I’m telling you, these pictures just don’t capture it!).  Size comparison below to a normal chicken egg (Much wider and taller than the homegrown).

White egg, green egg, brown egg.  Now the hard decision of what to make with the first eggs?

Davis Farmer’s Market

Well I heard about the Chicken Lady from Cache Creek Meat Co. through some browsing on Yelp and Eatwild.com so Whitney and I got up early for a Saturday morning and made our way to the Davis Farmer’s Market.  We were glad we did!  The farmer’s market is located on the edge of a park and stretches for about two blocks.  There are tons of vendors, not only selling fruits and vegetables, but local cheeses, clothing and nuts.  There was a seafood vendor, grass-fed pork and of course, the Chicken People.  We chatted with Kristy from Cache Creek Meat Co. for a couple of minutes and bought a 3lb organic, pastured, grass-fed Cornish Cross chicken.  We made out with tons of other stuff too; bacon from Bledsoe Farms, carrots, beets, pluots, green beans. figs and a whole lot more. 

I am really happy that we found this place, looks like we will be coming here every Saturday or so to get our veggies.  Goodbye Sunrise Farmer’s Market, you were good while it lasted, but I am willing to make the drive to get pastured chickens and pork and a bigger selection. 

September 12 2009 003