After a long hiatus, The Chicken Chronicles resumes! But first, a recap:
Marlena was in a coma while two different men claimed to be her long-lost husband…no wait, that was Days Of Our Lives! Only slightly less drama with our Gals in the backyard…
First there were Clucky, Gigi, and Babraham. Babraham was revealed to be a rooster (while Clucky was revealed to be the Death Star and Gigi just one heck of a cool chicken). Sadly, Jasmine’s beloved Babraham Lincoln was forced to relocate–to a sweet setup on Vashon Island, it should be noted–and we were down to two chickens. And two grandsons.
Over the next fall and winter, there was much talk about a replacement chicken for Jasmine and perhaps even a chicken for Tristan (nine years old and an animal lover through and through). Everything we read advised against introducing a single new chick to a flock (even just a two-chicken flock like ours), strongly suggesting bringing in two or more at a time instead.
So in Spring 2010, Rick brought home two more chicks—a Delaware for Tristan and another Auracana for Jasmine.
Tristan, a big Sonic the Hedgehog fan, named his chick Amy, after the “pink girl hedgehog who believes herself to be Sonic’s girlfriend” (thank you, Wikipedia*). Jasmine christened her adorable little chick Yo-Yo.
Amy and Yo-Yo lived in the house–just as Clucky, Gigi, and Babraham had during their chickhood. Clucky and Gigi still had full run of the back yard and for the most part remained blissfully unaware of the new additions. Could Clucky sense a distrubance in the force? It was hard to tell. But soon enough it would be time for the new chicks to join the flock.
Talk about drama.
*Wikipedia also notes that “Amy’s skills with her ‘Piko Piko Hammer’ are second to none”. This may be significant, except that I have no idea what it means.
Clucky (left) and The Death Star (right) — compare and contrast
When I was a kid, my parents always referred to last place as “the behind leader.” Among our chicks, Clucky had been the unequivocal behind leader from day one. It was actually pretty endearing.
However, the unexpected departure of Babraham set in motion a profound change in the dynamics of our backyard flock.
Gigi, always Babraham’s faithful second in command, momentarily lost her bearings in the absence of the alpha chicken. Though it took only a short time for Gigi to recover herself, by then it was too late. Somehow, incredibly, Clucky had seized control of the coop.
The amount of time required for absolute power to corrupt Clucky’s tiny brain and questionable soul was truly staggering.
It soon became increasingly difficult to ignore a striking similarity between Clukcy and the Death Star.
A new era had begun.
Soon there was no denying the fact that our beloved Babraham Lincoln was a rooster—which meant we could not keep him in our suburban neighborhood. Heartbroken, we began the search for a new home for Babraham.
Rick posted a notice on an on-line backyard chicken forum and we were soon contacted by a family on Vashon Island seeking a rooster for their five hens. Their young son had been chased by a rooster, so they were looking for just the right one to help him get past that bad experience.
After numerous e-mails back and forth, followed by additional phone conversations, we decided this sounded like it could be a good fit.
Rick and Jasmine took the ferry to Vashon with Babraham and met the family. They were lovely; Babraham had his new home.
We received a number of updates on Babraham over the next few months. Some excerpts:
Just wanted to give you the one-week update on Babraham, and was inspired to do so last night by Babe himself. This week he has been fine, but still very shy around the other chickens…Thursday I was standing in the chicken house feeding him and he just jumped onto my arm. He missed being held! I held him in my arms and fed him, and pet him and let the kids feed him and pet him.
Last evening around dinner time, I thought Babe had already retired to the chicken house, but learned differently. I took [their daughter] into her room to get a fresh diaper before supper. And there was Babraham, just standing there on the carpet, for all the world looking as if he wanted to blend in as one of her stuffed animals…Babe had obviously been in there quite awhile, long enough to poop in two places. It was hysterical. I think he really likes human company!
Thanks so much for letting us be Babraham’s new people. I think he’s a great addition to our menagerie, and certainly he’s the best, most friendly rooster I could possibly imagine having.
That last one is pretty great, but our favorite came with the picture below and the subject line “Only problem with Babraham is he won’t quit coming in the house!”
Fare thee well, Babraham. We love you.
Babraham, Gigi and Clucky lived in our kitchen for quite a while after we first brought them home. They had a nice roomy cage with wood chips and a great view. We also took them out often — Babraham, in particular, liked to sit on Jasmine’s lap and watch “Family Guy.”
As they grew, we would take them outside and let them explore the back yard. They stuck pretty close together on these outings, always following Babraham’s lead.
Our intention had always been to have three hens. Early on, we had joked about hoping we didn’t accidentally get a rooster.
More and more, it seemed like the rooster comments were made with all eyes on Babraham — who definitely seemed to be growing bigger, and more quickly than the other two.
And then came that fateful afternoon.
Jaz and I were in the kitchen, fixing something to eat after school and work, when we heard a distinctive crowing noise. You didn’t have to grow up on a farm to know what that noise was.
Your basic “cock-a-doodle-doo” had just come from Babraham.
Jasmine and I looked at each other for a moment, then she wailed:
“My chicken’s a dude!!!”
This is how it all began, in the spring on 2008. Clucky, Gigi and Babraham. This picture is a fairly typical one of our little flock on an outing to the garden. Babraham, on the far right, was the leader from day one (for an unfortunate reason which we were to discover a few months later). Gigi, in the center, the second-in-command and faithful lieutenant. And then Clucky on the left, bringing up the rear, always a little clueless. That’s my girl.
NAME THAT CHICKEN
Jasmine, then 16, was inspired by a line from the movie Wayne’s World to name her chick Babraham Lincoln, or Babe for short. Click here to watch Wayne and Garth’s “Babraham Lincoln” scene.
Rick named his chicken Gigi after Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon, the Italian soccer player. Can’t quite remember why, but here is a great highlight reel of Buffon saves.
Which brings us to Clucky J. Cluckington. The “J” stand for “justice”. I don’t remember even considering any other names for my chick. Again, not sure why. She was just meant to be Clucky. Possibly a latent childhood memory of Lady Cluck from Disney’s Robin Hood? She does have more nicknames than any other of the other chickens. Crazy-feather, Clunky, the Death Star. But those all came later. Right now she is still just adorable little Clucky.