My Peeps Introduction

thundercloud

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 22, 2013
11
3
24
Hello Folks,
I signed up for BYC over a year ago and I'm just now doing my intro. This is because several days ago I was at the Orschelns store in Hermann,MO and finally took the plunge into raising chickens and rabbits. I have dealt with chickens when I was a kid growing up on a farm but not rabbits. I chose the Cornish cross for meat and because they are a calm bird. My wife and son have not dealt with chickens before so I felt that dealing with calm ones would be best.

I'll be honest here.... I did not like chickens.....( past tense ) I only got them because my wife and son wanted them....... I resisted the idea for quite some time. My dislike came from my farm experience. Our chickens were truly free range. They had the run of the whole farm. You always had to watch where you stepped or you'd wind up with poo on your feet. Forget to check your feet before going in the house and mom would get mad if you missed cleaning your feet. Try to milk a cow when the chickens were close by and they would pester the cow for her food. The cow was short tempered when chickens were there. She would not relax and let her milk down. She'd kick the milk bucket. She'd swish her tail like a whip. When the hair at the end of the tail was wet with either rain or urine ( Usually urine and feces ) it stung when you were hit with it. Lastly if a chicken got in our large garden it was my fault because as the youngest child it was my job to keep them out.

The solution for all this would have been to keep the chickens in a large pen. Mom and dad did not want to do that because then they'd have to be fed all year instead of the winter time. It was cheaper to let them run loose.

We jump forward in time in this paragraph. We had a bit of trouble getting the chicks home. My female Miniature Longhaired Dachshund, whom I could write a book about, insists on being with me at all times. She loves stores like Orschelns. Since the Hermann store is located in an area dominated by people who came from Germany ( where the dachshund originated ) they love her and give her attention. My dog loves the whole town and gets excited when we go there.

My dog's name is Dolly. When we get inside the store she immediately tries to jump in the tub where they keep the baby ducks. We know ahead of time whet she's going to do and prevent her. Before she chose me to be her owner she used to hunt birds and was very successful at it. She loves the taste of fresh blood. We selected 6 chicks and put them in a box. When we got in the truck Dolly seemed to think that I bought the chicks for her to eat. We did get them home without incident but only because Dolly chose to obey me.



She's thinking of them as a McDonalds Happy Meal here.


She has totally accepted their presence here. She don't like sharing HER truck with other creatures. The truck is supposed to be for one on one quality time with her humans.


Looking back now I realize I started liking our chicks the moment I selected them at the store. They did not mind me trying to catch them or hold them. Try that on the farm years ago and they'd raise a fuss which always caught momma hens attention. There is no creature in the world that is braver than an angry momma hen. They can put a dachshund to shame when it comes to courage.

Once we got them home Dolly still wanted to kill them. I decided I needed to work with her more to get her to accept them.
We put them in a cage close to my recliner where in the evening I sit with Dolly sleeping not in my lap but up on my shoulders. She can watch a fair portion of the house this way plus look out the window. One important thing to remember about training a Dachshund is that they meet force with force. Don't get angry at them. They were bred to go down a dark tunnel and fight to the death with the European Badger. Training is best done in a calm, gentle and most importantly patient manner.

Dolly sat in my lap staring at the birds who were cheeping right along. Each time she showed the tiniest amount of aggression towards them . I would hold on to her and say NO in a calm manner. Eventually she realized that the chicks belonged to Mr. Carl and not her. In the world according to Dolly her job is to protect Mr. Carl's things. Our cats got interested in the birds by now and Dolly helped me train them. Each time a cat approached the cage she barked at it.

Eventually Dolly let out a sigh and climbed up on my shoulder to nap. The cats chose this time to sneak on the cage. I'd say "Bad Cat" and Dolly would pop up and bark at them. The first time it happened Dolly positioned herself better, to where she could see the cage, then she gave me one of her " Thank You Mr.Carl " looks and guarded the cage for the rest of the evening.

In the meantime I became even more attached to the birds. They seemed to like being handled. I can't tell them apart but I can already see their individual personalities showing. One little chick especially likes it when I stroke the top of it's head. It will close it's eyes and stretch it's neck out. We have had them several days now and they have all lived. I need to move them outdoors. I know that if they get loose either Dolly or the cats will kill and eat them.

I now call our Chicks "My Peeps". I already know that they will be pets and not meat birds. If you think I am a softie maybe I am. Men of my generation are not supposed to do this. I have hunted and fished but do so no longer. I have helped with the butchering process. With my game animals it don't seem right if I don't have a bunch of yowling cats around who were eager to assist me with the disposal of things we could not eat. With farm animals I did not allow myself to become close to them. I had done that with the first calf I had bottle raised. When it came time for him to go to the butchers I told mom and dad I would not eat his meat. I also did not help when it came time to load him up and dad did not make me. Dad sold him to the butcher so nobody at our home ate him. After the first one it was far easier for me. In fact one steer was so mean and onrey I kept telling it " I am going to enjoy eating you."

I apologize for this long introduction. I am a 60 ish year old semi-disabled man who is married and has an older son living with us. My wife at I met at work 32 years ago. We worked at the same place for over 35 years and we no longer work. Our work always was dangerous. My wife was assaulted there a few times. On the last time we decided it was time for us to go. Old people don't heal like young people. Right now we both spend as much time as we can working outdoors. My wife was a nurse but in our later years she has discovered she'd have rather been a carpenter. her nurse skill still come in handy and she loves getting in there and helping me with a project. Me as a result of too many injuries can olny work for about ten minutes at a time and then I have to sit for 20. I have learned to be patient and that I don't have to get things done in a hurry.
 
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Wyandottes7

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
20,586
1,316
401
Welcome to BYC!
frow.gif
We're glad to have you.
 

thundercloud

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 22, 2013
11
3
24
Thank You Wyandottes. I hope to be a good member!

There is one thing I forgot to mention in my story above.

When I was a kid I thought 99% of all chickens were stupid. It did not help that I had been flogged by an aggressive rooster when I was three years old.

However..... we had one rooster who was the exception to the rule. We had three huge potato patches along with our huge garden. Dad liked dealing with Colorado Potato Beetles the old fashioned way. He would go along the rows and hand pick the beetles and drop them in a tin coffee can. When he finished he'd bring the can full of beetles home, call the chickens, and then feed them the beetles. Sometimes they would eat them but many times they did not.

There was one rooster who loved eating them. He was the smartest chicken I have ever seen. Eventually he got to where he'd see dad with the coffee can and he'd follow. He watched dad pluck the bugs off the plants. I think dad may have even fed him a few. Soon the rooster noticed that dad would miss seeing a beetle so he'd pluck it off the plant himself and eat it. After that dad no longer fed him. He always followed dad to the potato patch and helped himself to all the beetles he could eat. Dad still brought bugs home to the chickens and if the rooster followed him it would stand there and do it's food call to the hens who would then come up and eat the bugs.

Because our chickens were free range our smart rooster eventually disappeared. We'd no plans of eating him and we'd have let him live to a ripe old age. He probably fell to a fox, or a coyote, or even the neighbor who lived up the road who loved to steal things. He always seemed to get our good things.
 

TwoCrows

🌻🐣🌻
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Mar 21, 2011
47,960
107,364
1,712
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
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Welcome to BYC!

What a wonderful intro!! I loved your story about bringing your chicks home and the dog pics are priceless!! Yes, chickens can be very affectionate and not as dumb as they seemed when we were kids! I remember being chased by the rooster as a youngster. That sort of stuff seems to stick with you as you age. But yes, chickens get under your skin and it is hard to get them out of your soul. I am glad you are enjoying your new flock!

So pull up a roost bar and make yourself at home here on BYC! if you have any questions, that is what we are here for. Enjoy this new adventure you are on and welcome to our flock!
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,684
4,939
586
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! What a great introduction! Love the story of your dog and the chicks she thought you bought for her. Good luck with the chicks, you will really enjoy them, they are so entertaining, and they are amazingly smart in their own way.
 

thundercloud

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 22, 2013
11
3
24
Hey All !!

Thank you for your terrific responses.

Update;

My Peeps are doing fine! Boy do they have an appetite! I also don't have to worry about forgetting to feed them. The second the food bowl is empty or the water runs out they send out a distress call. None of my family can stand to see helpless creatures go hungry so the get fed quickly. I think they are a bit spoiled. I don't care. Not too long ago I would have laughed at the thought of me spoiling a chicken.

What is even funnier is the fact that as soon as they no longer see a human in the room with them they send the distress call. We have all become Momma hens.

There has been a couple of incidents My son took a nap and forgot to close his door. I thought Dolly was in the bedroom getting her beauty rest. I found out that she had gone to Rich;s room. Our rabbits are in there too.. I don't know how long it was but I heard no distress call from the chicks nor did I hear any rabbits in pain. I only knew she was in there was when she ran a cat away from the cage.

I think she just sat there and watched them all for quite some time. I love our chicks but i am most happy with Dolly. She's the most loyal dog I have ever owned. if there is any way possible that she could help her people out she will cheerfully it.
 

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