Here at the Mighty Small Farm, the chickens are known as “the ladies,” as in “Have the ladies been generous today?” Because chickens do not tend to have very long life spans (even chickens as spoiled as those at the Mighty Small Farm), every year Suzanne gets a few new chicks to add to the coop, aka the baby ladies.

In an ideal world, a broody hen takes the chicks under her wing and raises them. In the not-ideal world that we actually live in, the broody hens take one look at the new chicks and say, “Nope, not them.” Then the baby ladies get to live in a caged baby coop inside the big coop, with a heat lamp and plenty of good chick food and clean water.

Also in the less than ideal world that we live in, not all of the baby ladies are likely to make it to adulthood. It’s not good to get too attached, which is why you haven’t seen a steady stream of chick photos. Having learned my lesson about loving chickens, I’ve mostly been pretending that they don’t exist.

This year’s baby loss was a true horror show. A rat (probably) burrowed under the ground and into the coop and attempted to drag one of the baby ladies away. Suzanne heard the screaming and came running. She crawled into the baby coop and for some interminable length of time (okay, probably less than a minute), she and the rat played tug-of-war over the baby while I stabbed a shovel into the dirt on the outside of the baby coop trying to collapse the tunnel. The rat escaped, but the baby didn’t survive the trauma. For the next couple days, the baby ladies got to stay in their heat lamp box until Suzanne could add some wire mesh to the base of the baby coop.

We are finally, however, reaching the stage where the remaining baby ladies seem likely to survive. They’re venturing forth from their heat-lamp box to explore their coop. They still hide from the scary things, aka a person holding a phone camera up at the door to the coop, but they’re spending time outside, eating their food, chirruping a fair amount, and looking cute as anything.


The fluffiest of the baby ladies hiding behind the bravest of the baby ladies.

Suzanne got two different kinds of chicks this year and I should probably remember the breed names but I don’t. However, one kind is super fluffy — those are the two hiding in the back in the above photo. The other kind has really great plumage on their heads.

chicks with plumage

A better view of the plumage.

Eventually, probably sometime next month, they’ll get released from the baby coop and get to be with the big ladies in the big coop, and I’ll stop pretending they don’t exist and chat with them like I chat with the others. It’ll be fun to see what kind of eggs they lay once they start laying.

Last night, Suzanne and I went out to dinner on the funds earned from selling the ladies’ eggs. I’m waiting on some test results before I get serious about starting AIP, so it was a chance for one last restaurant meal before three months or so of diet annoyance. We spent most of the meal talking about future travel plans — fun imaginings of the future. When I got home, I spent hours browsing walking tours of the world. So many cool places to go, so many amazing things to see. When I finally pulled myself away, I felt quite wistful for a moment, and then I laughed at myself. Yep, the world is filled with beautiful places, and fortunately for me, I live in one of them.

Dog by the side of the river

Sophie at the edge of the Smith River in the Six Rivers National Forest on yesterday’s mini-adventure outing.