This morning Cynthia and I were eating breakfast. Being the day after New Year’s Day, we had a high degree of doubt that Armando and Sammy would show for work due to, well, it was the day after a big holiday and there probably was a whole lot of celebrating going on. Plus it is Monday, the most difficult day of the week for them to get a bus out from town because so many people are traveling back to the city.
For a couple years now, Armando has been keeping a lot of his chickens here at Cynthia’s and my rental house. He lives up against a mountain, and mountain cats (tigres) frequent his neighborhood at night looking for tasty morsels, i.e. his chickens.
It is the custom here in the interior of Panama for chickens to roam totally free. Ours show up at our back door every morning and every evening and hoot and holler until we throw corn to them. We throw just enough for that meal. If we put out a large amount, it would only draw other birds, rats, snakes, and who knows what else. The chickens sleep in the trees at night and can easily fly to the roof of our house.
Cynthia has had her favorites including Joe, Helen, and now Chicken Cheeks. She encourages Armando not to prematurely take them home for chicken soup. When Armando wants to catch one of the chickens for dinner, he and I run around the yard like chickens ourselves until we get one of them cornered. It is good exercise at the end of a long day of welding.
We have had as many as thirty, splitting themselves into two flocks; one inside the fence and one outside. Currently we are down to five, although one has been missing the past few weeks.
Back to breakfast, Cynthia and I were just finishing when we heard a chicken clucking and chicks peeping. You never know where the hens will hide to lay their eggs, so we followed the peeps to our storage room that we made in a semi-enclosed outdoor kitchen. On my hands and knees, I found mom and four chicks tucked in a corner, well protected by storage boxes. She was still sitting on at least two more eggs.
I made a quick drive to town and bought some baby chick feed, a finely-ground corn with some supplements added. The chicks were starting to wander afield, so I sprinkled some of the feed near mom and moved the little fluffies back to mom.
Here’s a video of mom and her brood:
Now it is 9:30, well past the acceptable time for me to go to work on the house. Cynthia suggested that we take down the Christmas tree, so that sounds like a plan for the day. And I’ll keep checking on mom to see how the remaining eggs are progressing.
Update ~ 10:00 a.m.: Chicken Mom has decided to venture outside to the back door. Three of her four followed her, and we still heard peeping in the storeroom. I went in and found that two of her now five chicks had become lost in the maze of boxes. Chicken moms aren’t the sharpest crayon in the box. I scooped them up and moved them to mom by the back door.
I made an InstaCoop to protect the newlings from the local eagles and other flying predators.
Soon, though, they will be on their own, taking their chances at survival just as you and I do every day. It’s a jungle out there and for us here in Panama, it is only a few feet away.
Speaking of Chicken Mom, it reminds me of the Chickenman radio series from the ’60s. Short episodes of silliness.
That’s all for now. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find another reason not to work.