True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lil'White Goes Shopping

A Facebook friend declared August 14  "Take Your Chicken to a Pet Store Day".

So I did!

I took Lil'White.

I'm not sure what she was expecting, 

but I don't think she was prepared for all the attention.

She caused lots of double-takes and smiles.  We had some nice chats with customers...wandered around... picked up a little toy for Marky.

Lil'White maintained her composure until we arrived at the Budgie cage.
That's when her little toes started quivering and we decided it was time to depart. 

Just a little delay at the checkout --

And we were home within the hour.
To Lil'White, it seemed much longer. 

I'm glad we went on this little adventure. Lil'White served as a fine ambassador for pet chickens, and in our conversations with amused shoppers, we were able to slip in a little comment here and there about healthy eggs from happy hens -- which is really what it's all about.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dubious Treat

I visited my little raised bed veggie garden yesterday and found that several tomato plants had been stripped of their leaves overnight.  I knew who did it -- just had to find the culprit: 

The EVIL Tomato Hornworm.   
Covered in eyeballs. 
I kid you not.

I found it right away.  Took a deep breath, shook off my heebie-jeebies and plucked the pest off the vine.  What a treat for the girls! I took it straight to the coop, eager to watch my little hens chow down on this vile demon.   

The ladies were thrilled to see me.  
I bring them treats often, in order to perpetuate my delusion that they're thrilled to see me --- I usually bring something like a melon rind or a tomato, which is really what they're thrilled to see.
The girls charged greedily toward my offering, then screeched to a halt.  Spunky little Daisy snatched up the hornworm and ran away with it -- she took it to the far end of the yard, put it down, took a good look at it, then picked it up and brought it right back to me.  
Other than that, everybody just stood and stared.

I mean, they didn't even take a nibble.  I thought they'd be fighting over it - like they would if it were a worm or a slug or a beetle.  What was the difference here?  The size?  The row of eyeballs?

Offended by their lack of enthusiasm for this awesome gift, I left the girls staring at the hornworm and went back inside to post my photo of the ghastly creature on Facebook where I felt sure it would be appreciated for its enormity and beautiful freakiness.  Facebook Friends immediately responded, agreeing that it is a terrible menace in the garden.
Another friend, however, explained that it is the larva of a Hummingbird Moth, 
which happens to be one of my absolute favorite bugs.
Suddenly, I loved that caterpillar.  

I snapped my laptop shut and sprinted back out to the coop, hoping I wasn't too late for a valiant rescue.  The ladies were dust bathing in the shade at the far end of the run, and I found the caterpillar right where I'd left it, all its eyeballs still intact and glaring at me.  
I picked it up, dusted it off and returned it to the vegetable garden.
This morning I went out to check up on the caterpillar and found it joyfully defoliating another treasured tomato plant, none the worse for its adventure with the girls.

Then I took a melon rind treat to my adoring little hens.