snuggly ella

Winter’s definitely here.

It was 13 degrees at 6:30 this morning and a whopping 18 degrees around 4:00pm.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I visited the chickens yesterday afternoon after returning home from a workshop I co-organized.  All of the chickens were perched on the roosts: Caroline and Daisy on the top roost; the three Ds–Nony, Heidi, and Pippi–on the middle roost; and poor little Ella off by herself on the bottom one. 

The chickens are more pick-up-able when they are sitting or standing on the roosts.  I have two theories about this:

  1. They are more comfortable when they are higher up with respect to humans, even if that means they are at (our) hip or eye level.
  2. It’s easier to grab them when you’re standing up versus bending over, reaching, and grabbing a somewhat uncooperative chicken.

I say “somewhat uncooperative” because the chicken girls are funny about being held.  They don’t like being grabbed (um, transitive verb??), but once grabbed (act of grabbing is now past tense), they seem pretty relaxed and comfortable.

Yesterday afternoon I picked up Ella and craddled her in my left arm–and, notably, my old down parka–for a few minutes.  If there had been a stool or chair in the chicken coop, I would have sat down.  (But if there was a stool or chair in the coop, it’d always be covered in chicken poop…)  I have to say she seemed entirely content and maybe even happy.  After all, she nestled down into my arm and half closed her eyes a few times.  When I put her back on the lowest roost, she let me pet her back and wings like a cat or a dog.  Usually the chickens don’t seem to mind a quick pat on the neck or the breast, but they really don’t like being petted.  She must have been in some chicken Zen state so she wasn’t protesting–at all.

Needless to say, tres cute.

Given the temperature, blustery wind, and 2″ of snow on the ground, the chickens never ventured outside today.  We didn’t bother opening the coop door until early afternoon when the sun came out and the wind had died down–a bit.  Apparently, still not appealing.  And who can blame them?

More house updates later this week…

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