My critters have a lot to do with my life, including the big human critter that I put even more food into than I would a horse. (well, a larger variety of food, anyways.) I won’t be putting up a picture of him, so you’ll have to settle for images of my other critters.
This was taken on the day I got him, so covered in fleas that he was anemic. His prior owner wasn’t necessarily bad, just ignorant. Due to the fleas, he was also wormy. Despite this he was a hyperactive terror, except that he instantly decided we were his humans and would plop himself down on top of us to sleep (or find a handy folded up sock, in this case). As I type, a much larger Mr. Mojo is face-down on me while I slump in my computer chair, paw possessively reaching up towards my face.
He’s that mixture of “too smart for his own good” and “so dumb he’ll fall off the t.v.” that some cats seem to manage. He’s a clever monkey, and has learned several tricks such as “sit up”, “speak”, “turn around (left and right)” and the latest, “Knuckle head” (where I put my fist down and he bonks my knuckles with his head). All of which he does for his supper, and no other time. Because he’s smart, he knows he can just walk away any other time. Because he’s dumb, he DEMANDS that he does his tricks, because what kind of cat do you think he is?
For a time I was free leasing Cleopatra, and arabian flaxen chestnut mare. She was a pretty princess who’s motto was “OH GOD MONSTERS TAKE HER I’M TOO YOUNG AND PRETTY TO DIE!” Unlike the alpha bitch mares I’m used to, she was an omega sissy sensitive girl who distrusted most people. She was too thin, feet needed a bit of work and I spent every day fixing her up little by little. My proudest moment was when I walked into the paddock one day and called out her name like I always did. She flung up her head, whinnied, and galloped up to me to tuck her face against my chest. I really miss her when I think of that.
Since I don’t have a horse, and we moved to a duplex where we’re friends with the landlord (who lives in the other half of the duplex) I stated that there needed to be chickens. I’ve always loved dinosaurs (along with horses, reading, and art) so it’s only natural to want my own living dinosaurs for pets. Plus I like eggs, and I hate how factory farms treat their hens.
A little bit of explanation of terms for the non-chikeny types. A chick is a baby chicken of either gender. A pullet is a female chicken that hasn’t laid yet/is under a year of age. A cockerel is a male under a year of age. A hen is a laying female, and a rooster is a male chicken over a year. Pullets start laying sometime after their third month, usually closer to their sixth. I want eggs, so what do I get? Pullets that are 8 weeks, 7 weeks, and two chicks that are only two weeks old. ::sighs:: At least I can teach them to be handled, in theory.
Pogue Mahone, a Black Australorp. They hold the world record for laying eggs, one hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days. They usually lay far fewer than that, of course. For those unusual few who know Gaelic, you probably snickered at her name. Translated it’s “Kiss my ass”. Obviously, she’s the least friendly of my pullets and is Highly Offended if I pick her up. Fortunately none of my chickens peck me, unless I’m holding food. Or could be mistaken for food.
UPC, named for her barcode like feathering, is a Silver Penciled Plymouth Rock. Being the greediest, she’s usually the first to figure out if something is edible or not. Due to this, she’s given herself a bad case of sour crop (likely from yanking on a long piece of grass and swallowing it whole, forming a wad in her crop). Despite this setback, she seems to be maturing the quickest, developing a comb and teeny tiny wattles. She also objects to me picking her up, but once I have her she settles down, resigned to her brutal fate of being petted.
Archaeopteryx, supposedly an Ameracauna but in reality what’s known as an “Easter Egger” (one is an actual breed, while Easter Eggers are a mashup of whatever bloodlines produce pretty colored eggs which means that their coloring can vary wildly) is the most friendly of the pullets. The first night I had them sitting out in the garage while I worked on their chicken tractor, she decided to jump down onto my shoulder and keep me company. She’s the one who acts the most like a velociraptor, running full speed and flapping her wings to get where she wants at top speed. She’s also growing what’s called “muffs”, soft fluffy feathers on the side of her face, which I find quite funny. She seems to be the most intelligent of the lot and has made the connection that when I pick up the food bowl, I’ll be bringing it back full of goodies.
Then there’s the Peeps, Fluffasaurus and Foofasaurus. They’re Light Brahmas, a friendly breed that’s known for being winter hardy, feathered feet, and reaching almost 10 pounds when adults. The two of them stick together since they’re the same age and the older pullets will peck at them. It’s truly astounding how fast they grow, they’re now six weeks old and have lost nearly all the baby yellow fluff they had on their faces and have gained a few inches in height. Foofasaurus out of all my avian pets is the one who actually loves me. The other day when sitting out front and letting everyone free range, I hear a “PEEP!” I look down to see little Foof peering up at me. Next thing I know she leaps up with wings flapping, shuffles along my leg so she can tuck her head under my “wing” (arm) and take a nap while chirring at me. This has become a routine occurrence, and I doubt I will ever stop being amused at this tiny dinosaur that demands to be petted.