Our “traditional” outdoor dinner with the chicks.
For the first couple weeks that the chicks spent each day in the outdoor pen, we often didn’t have much time to be with them during the day, the weather was very hot, and the chicks were too small to risk mixing with the adult hens. So we started a “family tradition” of bringing our dinner outside, where we could sit with them at our leisure until sunset.
When the chicks got big enough to easily fly up to our picnic table benches, we started having dinner on the table. We’ve had to learn a few tricks along the way. One essential tactic is to cook a one-pan dinner and serve it to ourselves in Pyrex bowls with lids. Another is to bring appropriate chicken treats such as sunflower seeds, bread, and tortilla. For a lot of the time when they’ve been in the pen all day, they’re happy to forage in the weeds and the asparagus garden, but then they want to know what we’re eating and if they can have some of whatever it is. A handful of sunflower seeds on the ground can keep them occupied for long enough that we can grab a few bites, or a big piece of bread gets them to run after each other for a while. Here are some typical everyday table scenes, featuring Amy the Cream Legbar, who now sports a stylish feather crest:
One evening when I was pouring some white wine into our glasses, Amy darted in and took a drink straight from the bottle. Now she’s quite fond of wine, and she watches for any spilled drops. Naomi is somewhat worried about Amy becoming an alcoholic, but we’re careful about moderation, and Amy has shown no signs of tipsiness yet.
Lately the chicks have been getting so big and strong that several times they’ve knocked over our relatively stable stemless wineglasses. From now on we’ll use heavy, squarish fruit jar-style glasses instead.
While Dori, Amy, and Shanti scratch at our wine and utensil transport bag, Puffy scans the sky for potential predators, including airplanes:
“All clear. Now where’s my piece of ‘drill bit’ pasta?”