October 11, 2012

Beau Coop vs. Flying Egg Farm

By now almost everyone has seen or heard about the Beau Coop From Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, 2012 Fantasy Gifts.

Beau Coop
"Dawn breaks. The hens descend from their bespoke Versailles-inspired Le Petit Trianon house to their playground below for a morning wing stretch. Slipping on your wellies, you start for the coop and are greeted by the pleasant clucking of your specially chosen flock and the site of the poshest hen house ever imagined. Your custom-made multilevel dwelling features a nesting area, a "living room" for nighttime roosting, a broody room, a library filled with chicken and gardening books for visitors of the human kind, and, of course, an elegant chandelier. The environment suits them well as you notice the fresh eggs awaiting morning collection. Nearby, you pick fresh vegetables or herbs from your custom-built raised gardens. You've always fancied yourself a farmer—now thanks to Heritage Hen Farm, you're doing it in the fanciest way possible!"  
         Heritage Mini Farm
        Price      $100,000

 For every Heritage Hen Mini Farm purchase, NM will donate $3,000 to    The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy  a nonprofit organization that protects genetic diversity through the conservation and promotion of endangered breeds.

Reality from our kitchen window:

Dawn. I stand at the window in our brightly lit kitchen looking out at the hen house. The early dawn  makes it easy for the chickens to see me from their run. I hold up my cup of coffee and do a little wave. Having know idea what I'm really doing they just know that's a signal I will be out soon. Carmen's silhouette is easy to make out because of her crest and light coloring. The other five chickens are lined up alongside her but their individuality is harder to make out...just five fluffy shadows. Yes, I know you're waiting.  I can almost telepathically hear them calling me to come out (or maybe it's their loud squawking I'm actually hearing). I'm coming, I'm coming!

Okay, on go the boots (NOT Wellies) and jacket. I grab a bucket and food and whatever else I might need. Just to get out the back door I have to herd two big, goofy dogs into the house (they want to help me with the chickens) and that makes  pretty interesting morning entertainment! Once past the dogs and other obstacles I head across the yard to the hen house. The chickens have run around to the side where the door is and they're clucking and looking at me like I'm delivering the worlds largest slices of watermelon!  Nope ladies just feed and water. Treats later...maybe.

Great Playground
 I think they are pretty happy in their made-from-love coop!

Carmen Miranda

I just won't tell them about the N M Beau Coop.

I let them out to forage while I change water, add feed and do various other chicken related chores. They have a nice area to stay in while I work. Not a huge area, but safe, and when I'm through with my chores I can sit and watch them. For a few minutes my 'pretend' reality is that they're are running around in a huge grassy area and I can sit there watching for as long as I want!

I'm learning  that chickens, ours anyway, are a 'flocking' bunch (can't think of a better term). It makes me feel good to see them keep their eyes on each other.  They may try to slip past me and get into the rest of the yard but they don't go far before looking back at me and the others to see who is following. I've also noticed when they try to make a big escape into the rest of the yard they're not hard for me to catch and carry back to the others. You can almost see the mental fight between pride and safety...run, show-off, maybe get swooped up by a hawk or let her catch me and take me back to safety.

Living in the city presents different sets of predators and we are on the look-out for all. The chickens have their own cluck or squawk if they see or hear something that might present danger. This is great until it comes to airplanes flying over. So how do you explain planes to them? We don't live anywhere near the airport. We are in a corridor if airspace that's used depending on the weather. We are also a hub for  FedEx.  When we do have air traffic it's disconcerting for the chickens - they're looking or some huge prehistoric monster hawk in the sky. The have a goofy dance they do and it's the same dance for every plane that comes over. They're on guard till absolutely every plane engine sound is gone. Same thing when sanitation trucks come down the street. They don't do a dance for the trucks but they definitely grumble and cluck and do weird noises back and for to each other. I don't know if they will ever get used to these city noises. Do any of you have unusual sights or sounds your chickens have to deal with?


Safe to come out now?

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