Auntie Annie's Fields, LLC

  (Dundas, Minnesota)
Doing our work with as much grace as we can find
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Ethereal

“Ethereal chicken” is almost always an oxymoron, like “plastic silverware.” For just a day or two though, when they are tiny and completely covered in golden down, chicks can be ethereal. Our new birds are in this brief phase of their lives. When they stand under the red light of their heat lamp, they almost glow. Watching them, I remember the lightness of their little bodies as we lifted them out of the boxes on Thursday. They could almost be like little wisps of air, except their tiny little feet make the quickest little pattering sound as they dart around the brooder.

My mother-in-law helped me construct a cardboard wall across part of the brooder so that we could have a separate “room” for ducklings. The ducklings came on Thursday, the day after the chickens, and we have been amazed by them. Picking them up is a completely different experience then picking up the ethereal little chicks. The ducklings are more substantial, with a long neck, active feet, and a bit of softness cushioning their belly. Ian described them best when he called them “purposeful.” They seem driven in their pursuit of any bug that has the misfortune to wander into their part of the brooder.

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Hefty Handfuls

The chickens have a new pasture now. We are letting them out the door on the east side of the coop (instead of the south side), and this is especially exciting to them because this yard includes both tall and short clover. When we mowed, we left a strip of pasture untouched, and now these plants are knee-high. The chickens love to nestle into the tall clover and munch on it or settle down next to it. We can see white faces peeking up from a green tangle of plants. Even though they enjoy the tall clover, we mow their pasture because we understand that they are able to eat more greens when the greens are shorter. When the plants are taller, the chickens tend to trample them more.

This group of birds has two more weeks to live. We will try to make sure that they are good weeks. When the birds stay out late, and I have to pick some up and put them inside their coop at night to protect them from predators, I can no longer pick up two at a time. Each chicken takes two hands, and some of the larger ones already feel like very hefty handfuls. This evening, a little rooster was so determined to sleep outside. I must’ve put him back in the coop 5 times because he kept wandering back out as I went to fetch another wayfaring chicken from the yard. He felt huge in my hands.

 

 
 
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