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Before updating you on the goings on of our flock, here is some other relevent chicken news:

Closer to home, our new chickens have finally moved from their digs in the tub in Madeleine's bathroom to a coop of their very own outside.  They're fenced off so they can free-range in a good-sized corner of our yard and so we can try to grow some grass on the other side for Maddy to run around on.  Eggs will probably start arriving in June.

Before we moved them outside permanently, we were putting them outside (in our backyard) during the day and bringing them in around dusk.  After doing so for about six weeks, we had a scare the first time we forgot to bring them in before dark.  I was the one who forgot, as Ann and Madeleine were spending a rare overnight away from home (precluding the need to bring the chickens in before Maddy's bedtime). 

Once I realized it was dark and I hadn't brought them in, I rushed out the back door and heard something big scamper up the redwood tree (probably a raccoon).  I found two very scared chickens huddled up against our front fence and no sign of the others.  After bringing them in, I spent another half hour unsuccessfully looking for the others before calling Ann to tell her the bad news.  I decided to look some more and after an hour found two more, each hiding up against the fence in far corners of the yard (one behind our compost bin).  I kept looking for our last chicken—"Quiche, our Ameraucana—"even checking our front and side yards to no avail.  I looked again at 6am the next morning and finally found her nonchalantly walking along the other side of the street (yes, for the first time in our experience as hen farmers, we did have a chicken cross the road).

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The chickens were all freaked, but apparently uninjured except one.  We noticed that Scramble, one of the Rhode Island Reds, appeared to be blind (with both eyes closed all the time).  One seems to have recovered completely after a few days, while the other remains closed and sunken in.  We're watching her closely. We thank Ann's veterinarian aunt and uncle for tips on treating traumatized chickens.

Hopefully the future will be less eventful for this flock.

It's hard to get them to pose, but formally introducing them with the photo on the left (clockwise from the top), are new chickens are: Quiche, Sunny (as in sunny-side up), Soufflé, Frittata, and Scramble.