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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Godzilla, Another Chicken of the Past

  Another walk down Memory Lane -- meet Godzilla, another porch chicken. A perfect name for her, as she had a similar temperament to that famous Japanese star of science fiction.

She had a convenient habit. Each morning she left an egg in her nest in this corner of the porch. Want an egg for breakfast? Open the door, lean out, and reach for that freshly laid, glowing brown egg. Some day it was so fresh the bloom (protective coating, applied just before egg is laid) hadn't even dried on it. Perfect eggs, at least AAA Grade, orangey egg yolk standing high and proud in the frying pan. Until one terrible morning....

I reached out and found her on her nest wearing a most curmudgeon-like look on her face. Not moving, she dared me to reach under her. Does she look friendly in the picture above? No, she had gone "broody", and she had plans for this egg and the subsequent ones. Each day she laid a new one, until she had a clutch of  ten. Those eggs were hers, and violence was the preferred method to deal with the kidnapper of her future children. She pecked like a coiled snake striking. Drawing blood made her happy. I could tell by the way she smacked her beak after she connected with my hand or wrist. She never lifted off that nest as long as I was visible.

She developed such an evil mood it was dangerous for the grandbabies to come to the door. The solution was a cage. How to move vicious and violent Godzilla? We waited until she went to sleep; while in chicken sleep-stupor, she and her nest were scooped up and placed into a cage on the porch.

Notice how "Spud" (Grandbaby Matthew) kept his hands out of her reach? Her chicks had hatched and she was Super Mom, able to reach through cage wire in a single strike. Banties are well known for their mothering, and Godzilla was a first-rate example. One very scary chicken. You might see a Coke bottle of water hung on the back of the cage; we couldn't reach in to water her, so she had to drink from a bunny bottle. Food was poured through the top.

This chick is not one of Godzilla's, I wouldn't have tried to take one away from her. It's from a hatchery order we made a year ago. This chick is the same size as Godzilla's hatchlings on day one. The coin is a quarter, to give some scale to the size of the chicks. Some even had the feathered legs like this one, as the rooster back then was feather-footed and feather-legged.

Sadly, free ranging porch chickens have a limited survival rate, even though they have strategies to avoid predators. She hated being caged, and slept high in a tree to avoid capture ever again. Godzilla came down and set on her next nest somewhere on the ground out in the woods or goat pasture. We never found her or the nest. I miss my morning egg from the porch, and I miss her, too.

1 comment:

  1. I remember that. You were telling me "Don't hurt her." Hurt her! Who was it enjoyed drawing blood?