Instructions to my Mom

Hey Mom, we're going out of town to visit Jeremy's family, and, well, would you please take care of the animals for us? They won't be any trouble, I'm sure. Here's how to do it:

Firstly, you'll want to wear a jimmy jacket with the hood up. No worries! It'll just keep you a little safer...

The guineas will most likely greet you with their loud, obnoxious yelling. They are rude, and bossy. But they also don't like getting too close to us, so you don't have to be scared of them. But you do have to watch them against the chickens. Feed them first, they will quiet down (a bit).

Then open up the coop door. The chickens come running out like the coop's on fire, so just kind of step to the side when you open the door. Sunny and his hens are the only ones not terrified by the guineas, so everyone else will be trying to either get up high, or staying under foot. Sunny, though, provokes respect where ever he struts.

The 9 little black Orpingtons are called the babies. It's best if you greet them with "Hello babies!" In a slightly high voice. They will stay close to your feet, and it may seem as if they are trying to trip you, but they aren't. They are just being sweet, and avoiding the guineas.

Now for the 5 chickens not under Sunny's care. They are terrified, and bullied by the guineas. I know, those 3 roosters, especially the two big black bruisers, are bigger than the guineas, but the guineas are pack animals. Sure, there are a couple of weak guineas that nobody likes but the guineas are like big brothers, no one else is allowed to pick on anyone in their pack. Chickens will not help a brother out. Even when they are, very obviously and literally, brothers.

Anyway, go ahead and bring out some more feed for all these birds. For the big roosters, we like to feed them up on the posts so that they can eat without worrying about the guineas, poor things.

One of the big blacks, though, will sometimes follow you into the garage. Even though he looks a little threatening, he's really a big sweetie who just needs a little feed all to himself. If you don't give him a little pile in the garage, he may peck at the cup (in your hand).

Now, while you're throwing food out to everyone, this is totally optional, but I like to make sure everyone is getting some food. The babies will eat around your feet, but sometimes you have to swing the bucket so the guineas will scatter slightly. Or throw feed to the outskirts for those low in the pecking order.

And just to warn you, sometimes that means, ahem, feeding the Easter Egger chickens on your shoulder.

Don't worry, you don't have to put them up there, they jump from the fence rail onto your shoulder. And if you don't hold up the cup of food, the grey one will nip at your cheek a little.

Remember that jimmy jacket and hood? It'll protect you from getting mud and muck in your hair, and your back and neck getting all scratched up! So you'll be fine! Now for the goats...

PS My Mom did a wonderful job, and the chickens pretty much behaved themselves. :)


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