Monday, September 20, 2010
My friends, the chicken whisperers
I never told the story of what I got to do on Labor Day afternoon two weeks ago and this is an event that, for me, can't go unmentioned. Why? Well, I finally got to visit my chicken mentors, Tonya and Kao, at their home (and chicken paradise).
I first mentioned Tonya and Kao about a year ago when one of my sweet Barred Rock hens, Bippity, came down with some odd ailment. It was clear my girl wasn't feeling well and I was beside myself with worry. One phone call to Tonya and before I knew it, both she and Kao were here at Critter Farm, giving Bippity a full exam:
The fact that our homes are about an hour apart and it was a work night didn't even phase them - you can read about this night (and their prescription for Bippity, who made a complete recovery) by clicking here.
I first "met" Tonya and Kao through a Yahoo group called PDX Backyard Chickens (the PDX is an abbreviation for Portland). This is an online support group for local chicken owners to ask questions and share experiences with other chicken lovers. Tonya and Kao are renowned within this chicken community for their vast chicken-keeping knowledge and their unbelievable kindness.
Aside from providing unlimited support to this ever growing community, they also adore every one of their own 60+ hens (and yes, even the one still-developing rooster) and can not only identify every single one by name (KC (aka Kitchen Chicken), T-Rex, Honey, DooDad, Dancy, etc.) but can tell me the precise breed (and mixed breed) that they are.
Here's Kitchen Chicken coming in (to the kitchen) for a bite to eat:
Look at this adorable little playhouse-turned-chicken coop:
This is Boots. I think she liked me:
Every time I turned around, there she'd be, hovering around my feet.
I finally bent over and scooped her up and she didn't mind a bit! For a good portion of the time, I just carried Boots all over the property and we had a great time. (She whispered in my ear that she'd like to come to my house for a sleepover, but we still need to discuss that with her mom):
It was wonderful spending time with both Tonya and Kao and hearing them tell me -in person- about all their pretty birds. And then there was the car. Can you see it down the hill in the distance?
Yup. A 1960 cascade green Corvette...and Kao took me for a ride:
I had *the* biggest smile on my face.
And my Jim was delighted to go for a ride with Kao, too:
Back at Rancho de Kao, Tonya shared some of her chicken tricks:
They even have two White-Crested Black Polish hens in their flock. This is what my sweet Dottie's head would look like...if her coop mates didn't keep picking on her:
Hi again, pretty Boots:
It was a delightful afternoon and evening - made even more incredible then by the fantastic meal they prepared for us. Wonderful conversation and fabulous tri-tip on the grill...:
...and homemade (I watched Kao make it!) strawberry ice cream. Oh.my.goodness - yum:
If you own backyard chickens, I hope you are fortunate enough to have a chicken mentor. In my case, I am beyond fortunate because I have two.
P.S. If you recall seeing the great carrot tonic for chickens that I posted here a year ago, this invaluable health aid, of course, came from Tonya and Kao, too: chicken tonic recipe.