This is what happens when the husband and Older Son are left to their own devices on a sunny Sunday.
Meet the newest additions to our crazy household. This is Izzy:
She's definitely the boss. Noisy little cuss--she never stops cheeping. She is a Delaware chicken, and should grow up to look something like this:
This is Maggie:
She's tiny and very quiet. She is a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and will probably look like this:
Both types are supposed to be sociable and good layers. They are less than a week old at the moment, though, so the laying won't start for a few months. For the time being, they are housed in an old fish tank in Older Son's room with a heat lamp and a steady supply of chicken feed.
Eventually they will move to the vegetable garden, where they can be "free range" backyard chickens.
Several years ago, we had a chicken named Patty. She came to us as one of our many rescued critters. She started out as an egg in Older Son's 2nd grade class. The original plan was to return the hatched chicks to the chicken farm, but Patty had a clubbed foot. The class was distraught at the thought that the farm would likely put her down, so the Class Mom--that would be me--agreed to take her home. As soon as she settled in, her foot magically healed, and we ended up with a pet chicken. She was an awesome pet: friendly, cuddly, personable, and laid a fresh egg every day. (All I've ever gotten from the dogs is poop.) She was a neighborhood favorite, regularly escaping from our garden and visiting various friends along the street. She especially liked our next door neighbors, who would leave a plate of sunflower seeds for her on top of their pergola every morning. They live slightly downhill from us, so it was only a short hop from the top of our fence down to the top of their pergola. Unfortunately, one day Patty overshot the pergola and the neighbors' dogs thought she was some kind of cool new toy. She didn't make it.
My husband has wanted another chicken ever since. But first the tortoise came to stay with us, and then all the dogs, and there wasn't really any place to put chickens. A few months ago, the tortoise went to live with a friend who has a huge yard and no dogs, freeing up space in the vegetable garden for another chicken. Or chickens. And while Younger Son and I were at the Natural History Museum, hubs and Older Son seized the initiative and brought home Maggie and Izzy. They have agreed to install some chicken proofing along the fence with the next door neighbors to prevent any more unfortunate incidents with the neighbors' dogs. As for our dogs... let the games begin!