Chickens are a Hot Topic at City Council Meetings:
The Domino Theory has reared its head again. At a city council meeting in Salem, Oregon this spring, one of the residents strongly objected to allowing backyard chickens in the city, by arguing a unique theory: Allowing chickens will eventually lead to meth labs.
Barbara Palermo of Salem, who has been forced to give up her backyard hens until the city council decides this issue, is producing a video about her efforts to legalize backyard chickens. She couldn’t resist creating this rap song:
Outlaws, outlaws, what’cha gonna do? What if you find out they’re living next to you?
You know they’re out there somewhere, hiding chickens in the yard. So you better watch your back, don’t let down your guard.
‘Cause the next thing you know, this will lead to other crimes. The hood goes downhill, we see it all the time.
Roosters on the stoop throwing up gang signs, hens on the corner flippin’ tricks to earn a dime.
Prostitution, meth labs, gambling and more. Why can’t you people just get eggs at the store?
The Chicken Revolution!
My friend Pegi has joined the backyard chicken movement and recently got 7 adorable chicks. I’m so excited—I feel like I’ve become a sort of chicken aunt.
Her husband built a beautiful chicken palace next to their garden shed and my girls are jealous. They originally planned on getting 6 chicks, but the feed store threw in an extra one. I guess it’s the updated version of the baker’s half-dozen. Although lately she said one of the chicks has been acting strange and is a little larger than the others. This could become interesting….
The Chicken Palace
The chicks are growing fast. They are Black Australorps, a large heavy breed from Australia. Apparently this breed is the Australian’s take on the Orpington breed (my Roxanne is a Buff Orpington). They are friendly, gentle and winter hardy. They also hold the world’s record for the most eggs laid in one year – 364! With my inconsistent layers who seem to drop an egg only when they feel like it, I can see that hen envy could become a real problem for me.
On the Mend
I can’t believe some of the things I’ve done in the past 2 1/2 weeks since Lulu went to the vet. Trust me, it wasn’t what I signed up for when I decided to get these three girls.
The first day that I gave her meds was quite a trip. I wrapped her in a towel (like the vet tech did), tried to get her to open her mouth and got lots of medicine on my hand. I’m not so sure how much went in her mouth and when we were all done I found out she had pooped on my pants. I had nine more days of this!
She’s now on a regimen of probiotics in the form of plain yogurt with live active acidophilus and bifidus cultures to add good bacteria to her gut. She’s also getting her protein supplement, like a real athlete, in the form of meal worms. Live meal worms in the fridge is not something I do lightly; it really grosses me out. Luckily a friend told me about the freeze-dried meal worms that Mills Fleet Farm sells in the wild bird section. Naturally, the chicks preferred live worms but, as I’m calling the shots, they’re getting the dried ones for now.
Probiotic-Protein Afternoon Snack
Lulu is now back with the rest of the clan, but each morning I still take her in, wrap her in a towel and clean her bottom with warm water. I then blow dry her feathers with a hair dryer, rub a little Preparation H on her vent area, rub the rest of the no-feathered area with Bacitracin for good measure and let her go back out with her friends. Whew!
What’s interesting about this whole episode is the change in Lulu. She’s always been my obstinate one. She embodies the problem child in every family. But early on in this process she seemed to understand that I was trying to help her and has been very gentle and cooperative through it all. She also seems to have gained a little humility. She no longer attacks the other two chicks or pecks at them as they try to eat. She has lost some of her cockiness.
I thought perhaps she’d even let me hold her in the yard now that we had become buddies, but no such luck. She still runs whenever I approach. But come morning, she limply snuggles into the towel as I try to help her recover. After all, she’s a survivor. She’s also my best egg layer—an egg a day—even through this ordeal!