Sunday, December 20, 2009
The First Present of Christmas
Friday night we had our first big snow of the year, which beautifully reflected our holiday lights, the first we've put up outside. The chickens, for the first time, stayed in the indoor upstairs of their coop despite having the door open and being free to go out. They didn't like the snow on their feet, though they pecked snow from snowballs, as eagerly as a child eats a snowcone (though presumably without the ice cream headache from the cold on their top beak).
Also yesterday, I put in a box - a nest box - with a fake blue egg in it, to encourage laying. I'd read about this in Storey's guide to raising chickens (apparently the classic on the subject), and figured it couldn't hurt to try. Gabby had been acting for days like she was ready, digging and sitting, squatting when I raised my hand above her back to pet her.
This morning when I went down to given them their cracked corn, check that their water was still unfrozen, I did a double take, because I thought at first that the blue egg had been moved, and then I wondered who would have put an egg in the chicken coop to fool me. But when I picked it up, it was still warm, already dry, and with bits of leaf litter stuck on.
I'm sure I'll enjoy whatever presents I get this holiday - I always do, having never been a finicky gift recipient. But I think this one will be hard to top. I've never gotten a Christmas present from a chicken.