Apr 08

Truthful Tuesday alá Tres

Okay. Last Thursday I had a Craiglist exchange. Baby chicks for Organic wheat. I told the dude I had 40 chicks, he said how does 365 pounds of wheat sound? I said great. Deal. Deal. The night before I confirmed. 40 chicks, 365 bags of grain. Time. Location. Everything.

We met up in my office parking lot to exchange goods.

I pulled up, he was already here. I opened my car, he loaded wheat. I carried over chicks in a box and he loaded them into his car fastening the passenger seat belt around the box.

Then he turned to me and demanded $130. cash.

No, I said, this was an exchange

No, he says, you owe me money

I didn’t agree to this, I say, I agreed to a trade

Things got ugly fast. He started unloading grain bags from my car. I tried to close the door. Finally, I succeeded. I locked the car and walked into the building leaving him in the parking lot.

He left with the chicks and 120 pounds of grain.

I left with 240 pounds of wheat and no chicks.

A friend was smoking in the parking lot, otherwise everyone was already in the office.

Later in an email the Craigslist guy told me he was going to contact the company to get me fired.


Today, I was called into HR.

What is this I hear about chicks and wheat? I wanted to laugh. The whole thing is so insane. How do I explain this? First, I apologize for doing personal business on company property, the HR guy says, Hey Craigslist, probably better to meet in a public place.


Then I give him the basic facts. The HR guy looks like he’s trying not to laugh.

It turns out that like the kid’s game of Telephone, what actually happened and what has been reported bear little similarity. It was reported that I was kicking some guys ass in the parking lot. There was fisticuffs and shoving, screaming and all manner of carrying on. Uhm, no.

There was a question as to where I got the wheat, someone reported that the man was one of our vendors and that I was selling company organic wheat to buy myself chickens.

Then I did laugh.

And HR laughed

And we shook hands

And I came back to work.

But not before I reported that the crazy man from Craigslist might call about my stealing his wheat and wanting to get me fired.


I came back in and asked my buddy, who saw the whole thing unravel what his take was. He said he was going to help but stayed back as I seemed to have the upper hand.

Also that now everyone upstairs is a little afraid of me and thinks I’m bad-ass, lol.

Apr 06


This Blue Cochin is one of my favorite birds. Named Bonsai in honor of my friend Al (an avid gardener), they share the same birthday. She was a tidy broody mama and did me a favor by rolling the eggs out of the nest and piling them up by the door for easy removal as she decided to let them go. So far, she’s been great with the 4 babies she hatched out — a Blue Cochin, a Delaware, a Salmon Faverolles, and a Leghorn/Brahma cross.

TOP PHOTO: The mama hen will call the chicks over and pick up food for them then drop it for the babies to eat. In the top shot you can see the grain dropping (by the white chick’s foot)

BOTTOM PHOTO: In the lower shot the hen is digging with her foot, and the orange chick now has the grain in her mouth.The two closest chicks to the ground probably have their eyes closed given the amount of dust Mama’s foot will churn up.

The gray chick facing away is another blue Cochin, I am super-excited that the Mama’s genes came through on that one, the rooster is a Buff Brahma.

Mar 27

Truthful Thursday

  • Two of my roosters got into a fight. It was quick and I thought it was just posturing, but no…Blood EVERYWHERE. Both appear to be surviving the ordeal. Not sure where to put the loser in the fight. He’s currently in the bath tub. This is a temporary fix

  • The mama hen that was doing so well, abandoned her chick and it’s struggling — hard. It made it two days in the brooder and is now near death back in the incubator. Heartbreaking. Other abandoned eggs are hatching as we speak. Amazing that they survived.

  • My sister wants to put my Dad in an assisted living facility that is $11K a month. That’s $132K a year or more. Though he thinks he’s Daddy Warbucks, that’s the dementia speaking. I don’t know what she could possibly be thinking. I think she must be smoking crack. No one I know is paying more than $5K and in that case it’s a husband/wife both. This is Western Mass for God sake.

  • Tomorrow 40 chicks go to a new home and 365 pounds of organic red wheat come home in return. Great for foddering. Also 7 flats (210 eggs) head to the bakery.

  • In the last message from my Dad he threatened to break my arm, egged on by my sister. Now she wants a restraining order against me, (or court mandated calls), as I don’t call Dad often enough. He’s only awake the hours I’m at work.

  • I worked 10 hours today, and man was I cranky at the end of the day when I realized that:
    A) my boss went home midday as his kids are on spring break
    B) the account manager for the job left early to buy a birthday cake
    C) the client left early as she has an event tomorrow night in San Diego
    …so even if I finish the job, no one can sign off on it…

    Everything still needs to be completed and printed still. The crate ships in the AM for Canada and what makes it inside will go, everything else will be carried…the restis for a Vegas show next week, that crate ships Tuesday and they have shopped the job so much that now no one can do it in time to make the crate… Grr.

Mar 14

This tiny rooster realized that he could crow this morning. This was taken just after he crowed for the first time. I like that he looks a little puzzled. He’s still warming up his vocal cords, but now from the safe distance of the greenhouse. Youngest rooster to crow that I’ve ever had. And Brahmas tend to mature slowly. Yikes, lol.



This tiny rooster realized that he could crow this morning. This was taken just after he crowed for the first time. I like that he looks a little puzzled. He’s still warming up his vocal cords, but now from the safe distance of the greenhouse. Youngest rooster to crow that I’ve ever had. And Brahmas tend to mature slowly. Yikes, lol.

Mar 14

Five for Friday - Chick Edition

  1. Chicks - I’m knee deep in ‘em
    65 replacement arrives this AM
    30 hatched out for a friend
    3 broody hens on at least a dozen each (1 on 30)
    36 eggs in the incubator set to hatch this weekend (i hear cheeping!)

  2. One of the groups of chicks I brought in carried Mycoplasma Gallisepticum, it may have been from the hatchery, or from one of three farms I’m in contact with. It spread through my flock like crazy. Most likely I was the carrier from pen to pen. I’ve treated everyone large and small, and hope that’s the end of it. Birds dying, getting infected eyes, gross. Man, that’s tough!

  3. I have three broody hens - one of them has moved her nest a half dozen times, rolling into the new nest only the eggs she chooses to bring along. Currently, she is in the bathtub, a poor location but I needed to move her in case I could get her adopt chicks. Nope, she wanted nothing to do with them. She wasn’t aggressive, just distainful like I had a lot of nerve to even suggest it…shessh. Of course, it’s not as if she hasn’t been selective all along. What was I thinking?

  4. You have baby chicks and they are immeasurable tiny and frail. After a few days you get new baby chicks and suddenly the previously tiny chicks are huge. It’s hard to wrap your mind around how quickly these things grow and how tiny they are to start…

  5. I had a fifth nattering about birds but I just received a call that one of my co-workers was let go. Actually, the one that was the reason I accepted the job. He will land on his feet, if he hasn’t already, and do well. HUGE passion for photo shop, digital marketing and somewhat visionary in terms of the big picture. I’ll miss him. He has freelance clients already so I’m assuming that this will be a pretty easy transition for him and a plus for them.

Mar 04

TT #2 - Da Puppy and Da Chickens

I’m not at all sure that this newest puppy isn’t killing the chickens. If she is, I may have to find her a new home. She’s a total sweetheart otherwise, much more affectionate than her sister ever has been. But STUBBORN. She will not come when called. And both dogs are really weird around food…and the cat.

I don’t know how much of this is that I’m not home as much as I have been in the past when I was raising puppies, and how much would happen any way. Also, it’s my first time with Great Pyrenees and they are unlike any other breed I’ve spent time with. They are mixes, so that might be a factor too.

Last night someone attacked a Salmon Faverolles hen, she’s missing feathers but seems okay otherwise. Traumatized, but okay.

Time will tell.

Anyway, I’m not entirely sure that it’s her…but I have my suspicions.

As an aside, I put the hen in with a couple of little chicks and one immediately jumped on her back nestled in and went to sleep. Hatchery chicks, they are hard wired animals, they know a mama hen, even if they have never seen a grown hen before. It’s amazing really. The hen could easily kill the chick, but she’s kind of adopted it, so far.

Again, Time will tell.

Feb 25

Chick Hatchery is Ideal Poultry

Lost 65 of 81 chicks. Ideal is replacing them for me. They have been irritated by how long the claim has been going on, but I didn’t want to settle the matter while chicks were still dying in droves. This morning there was only one dead baby. But some of the remaining don’t seem all that vigorous.

Feb 25

TT#3 - Knee Deep in Dead chicks

So, I ordered a shit ton of chicks from a hatchery. They arrived 2/7 as planned. And they have been dropping like flies ever since. Part of the problem is that the hatchery shipped the birds during the winter vortex and the birds got chilled. Also, some jackhole in the postal service apparently decided that the birds were hungry and poured in a bunch of what appears to be taco Doritos chips into the crate for them to eat.

I’ve gone back and forth with the hatchery and they are replacing the birds, but this has been a horrible experience. 4-6 chicks are dying every day.

I’ve lost 3/4 of the total order. 

Very sad.

Feb 16


My chicks top, a gorgeous adult ©Showmesilkies I’m hoping to have a couple with light beards like this one, many have a black beard.

The Brabanter is a Dutch breed of chicken originating in the historic region of Brabant which straddles Belgium and the Netherlands. In a few paintings from the 1670s by Dutch artist Melchior d’Hondecoeter, appear what would seem to be Brabanters. The original form of the Brabanter nearly went extinct in the early 20th century. The few remaining birds were interbred with their close relative, the Dutch Owlbeard, and the breed was recreated by 1920. credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brabanter

Feb 06

Craigslist Folks are Weird…

The guy who picked up a bunch of baby chicks tonight had the WORST sense of direction. I’m Rand McNally by comparison. First, I gave him really simple directions, 5S to 210E, 1st exit, make a right, park your car. ‘

He got lost.

Then he drove around in the rain for an hour. Finally he chose a dark parking lot off a super busy street where he wasn’t visible. He gave me an address but I couldn’t see it in the dark, especially in the rain, in traffic. There were 7 Taco trucks visible in a two block radius by where he stopped, he describes the only one NOT illuminated. (It was a churro truck?)

It turned out he was directly across the street from MY local feed store, but didn’t mention that. He kept giving me obscure references. Well, there’s a liquor store down the street, but it’s closed. Dude, it’s 7pm in the dark, in the rain, give me something I can see!

When he was heading home I had to drive him in front of him to lead him to the freeway entrance, and then while I’m gesturing wildly for him to turn, he ignores the big green signs and continues to follow me, so I have to make a U-turn and try again. On the 3rd pass he finally calls to ask if he needed to turn onto the freeway. Oy!

Hope he’s a better chicken Dad than a driver. lol

Feb 01


  1. 7 chicks hatched overnight! More pipping…I hope to get 20 total.

  2. 2 chicks were even from the incubator that was unplugged.
  3. There will be photos. Shut up, all chicks do not look the same.

  4. I have to remind myself, I’M NOT KEEPING THESE CHICKS. 

  5. Still, I’ve been trying to figure out what the chick’s parentage is. They are first generation from my flock - so my roosters, my hens. I can’t squelch that biology-phile part of me that is fascinated with genetics. 

  6. I have chicks arriving on Friday THAT I PURCHASED. Seriously, I know chicks are like potato chips but one has to eventually stop eating them. Right?! Right? right? sigh.

  7. BAWK. How’s your Saturday going?

Jan 31

Incubators, you’re killing me!

I came home tonight to two frigid chicks and a 70 degree incubator. Just as a reference, below 100 degrees, chicks die. The chicks were still alive however and I rushed them under the heater in a brooding pen.

I came back and discovered that the power strip was off. I turned it back on — I believe the dogs turned it off by stepping on it as they wreaked mayhem on a couple of hens that probably wandered into the house looking for food. The dogs bashed the back door open, leaving them a way in. There was poop everywhere and I’m down a few birds — no remains or anything — which is weird. Nonetheless, NOT what one wants to come home to after a 12-hour day at work.

The secondary incubator, in the utility room had two chicks already hatched out and a bunch that were pipping - that’s chicken talk for breaking through the shell. Hatching is a chore. Each chick is born with an egg “tooth” which allows them to cut around the diameter of an egg and pop off the top. Then they drag their sorry asses out, where they flop onto the tarmac (as it were) and rest. Then little by little they dry off and become the cute chicks you see in photos. That can take several hours. or a day, maybe two.

There’s still a LOT that can go wrong.

There are chicks cheeping in both incubators, so who knows what will hatch. The eggs in the main incubator were cold to the touch, and I assumed that they were all dead, but maybe not, as there is chirping tonight coming from a life within. We’ll see.

Jan 31

Friday Morning, early

I’m sitting here in the dark at 4:30am listening to a rooster crow, and an unhatched chick in the incubator cheeping.

It’s Friday.

I have a meeting with HR at 8AM to sign up for benefits. I qualified Jan 1, but the HR woman is retiring today after 14 years and I need a bit of hand holding — having provided my own benefits for more than 20 years. She finally agreed that I should meet with someone else.

It was supposed to rain today but, nope. We got some heavy mist last night. I used my windshield wipers for the first time in ages and could kiss the mechanic that changed out the wiper blades for me. They work perfectly and silently for the first time, ever. I’ve spent the better part of 10 years having to look over/under the unclear space in the middle.

Gotta get out and feed/water the critters.

It’s Friday. Make it work. Don’t phone it in.

Jan 30

Truthful Thursday #2

On a happier note, there’s at least one chick still in the shell that has been “talking” to me, probably a Salmon Faverolles since they are chatty things. I’ll say Hey Chick Chick, and it cheeps back. I’m hoping it will have hatched by the time I get home today, and isn’t using all of it’s strength to communicate instead. :)

Jan 26

I’ve moved my chicken drivel

You’ll still see some I’m sure, but I moved the bulk here:


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