Ever wondered what a typical day looks like for one of the Gypsy Chicks here at Cypress Bayou Farm?
They normally start their day bursting out of the coop and heading to Freedom’s stall to pick up any feed that falls. He’s still struggling with some teeth issues and drops a ton of feed the Gypsy Chicks happily mop up for him.
Sometimes they just hang out with Freedom and wait patiently for their morning snack.
With the intense summer heat, the Gypsy Chicks spend most of the day chilling in the barn or under the house. The barn has become their favorite hang out so far. It was certainly a surprise to watch the Spice Girls fly and perch on the barn windows. Leave it to the Spice Girls to be pioneers.
Any surface becomes a perch and no matter how dirty they make things, it is the cutest sight to me. Chickens make everything better.
Because our barn still has a dirt floor, the Gypsy Chicks spend a good portion of their time dust bathing. What the heck is dust bathing you ask? It is a very important ritual for chickens, serving the purpose of keeping their feathers clean, and free of mites, lice and other parasites. A dust bath is the chicken equivalent of a shower.
As strange as it seems, they get dirty to get clean. Chickens will dig a shallow ditch, burrow and throw dirt on themselves. They continue this routine until the dirt coats their feathers and settles on their skin, absorbing excess oil and moisture, and clog the breathing pores of parasites that may have found their way onto them.
One thing we have noticed are the chicken cliques that have formed among the flock. You will find the Spice Girls huddled together chit chatting in different spots, carrying on about what’s hot and happening for the day. You will usually find a couple Easter Eggers hanging with them too as side kicks. Felicia and Ginger are seen here in the background.
They are always together, never fails.
If they aren’t hanging out in the barn, they are found by the hog pen, perusing the ground for tasty treats or hopping to a high perch for a better view.
They will venture out and have what I call “mid-morning meetings”. I imagine the girls discussing what new bugs they have discovered, their long distance travels to the pasture, encounters with their big animal friends, Sparkle and Freedom, and deciding which one is going to hook up with the rooster first.
You will find them under the carport usually first thing in the morning.
You will find them on the back porch.
As much as I discourage it, you will even find them in the front flower beds. I always blame the Spice Girls because they seem to be the leaders of the flock. Wherever the Spice Girls go, the others will follow.
There’s always lots of commotion going on at the farm but the most recent “to-do” was the presence of a cat in the barn early one morning. I finished up morning chores and as I was walking back to the house, I heard the Spice Girls making quick, distinctive clucking noises. As I moved closer, I could see a tiny cat in the store room of the barn and the Gypsy Chicks continued to stand as a united front, clucking their hearts out.
The Spice Girls exhibited such bravery when approaching the store room. They got a little flustered but were confident enough to approach the barn intruder head on. Nothing gets past our girls!
It continued for quite some time and the Bantam roosters joined in the fun. Eventually the cat made a quick exit and the Gypsy Chicks felt proud of their fete for the day. All of this before 7:00 a.m. Oh, how I love this life!
When they aren’t warding off neighborhood cats or keeping us company during farm projects, they are frolicking around the farm at their leisure.
Drinking out of the large rain puddles we have around the farm is a must for Napoleon. He doesn’t miss a chance to get his feet wet.
Sometimes I spend my afternoons capturing sweet moments when all I can here are crickets, frogs and chickens singing their afternoon song.
The Gypsy Chicks come in handy when I’m finishing up weeding the front garden too, always there to take a bite of whatever I put down in front of them.
They give you the Most Important Person on the Planet Award when they greet you as an entire flock. My cowboy felt pretty special when he pulled up to deliver feed to the barn and opened his door to find all of his girls at his feet.
And when we have tiny visitors at the farm, they make sure to introduce themselves properly then too.
My favorite relationship at the farm is between the horses and our Gypsy Chicks. Watching a large animal such as a horse interact with something as small as the chickens is quite heartwarming.
They live in complete harmony with one another and provide such a beautiful landscape for the rest of us.
Freedom has a funny dance with the chickens most days. He loves being around them and enjoys their company, but when he walks into the barn, he nudges the air causing the chickens to disburse. They flock about and then ultimately, return to his side. Freedom must be letting them know who is boss.
The best part of everyday as a chicken owner is definitely the late afternoon. Around 4:00 pm every afternoon, it’s as if an alarm clock signals and the chickens know to wake up from their naps and begin investigating. They emerge from under the house, inside the barn or coop and begin their afternoon adventures.
Sometimes the adventure entails lots of relaxing in the shade with your peeps.
Afternoon feedings are always a crowd pleaser.
Once they are done nibbling and scratching, they settle on their favorite perch, usually as a group. Since the Cochin Bantams are the smallest breed of our flock, they tend to stay together in unity and exemplify strength in numbers.
There usually is a Spice Girl straggler, taking her time getting back to the group because she is discovering new horizons.
And then there is always one that wants to be right next to you at all times.
On good days, they get to enjoy one of their favorite treats – boiled eggs. It is an excellent source of protein for our growing girls and boys.
As the day reaches a close, each Gypsy Chick walks up the plank, one by one, and finds a spot in the coop according to the pecking order. And I created a new coop sign which hangs above the tiny chicken door reading “Last One In Is a Rotten Egg”.
As you can see, life as a free ranging chicken at Cypress Bayou Farm is rather delightful. Our chickens are the happiest and healthiest around. They have large animal friends, farm visitors to socialize with from time to time, plenty of ground to forage and beautiful spaces to relax and enjoy sweet chicken dreams. Who wouldn’t want to live here?!
Since hunting season is creeping up, my cowboy has warned me that “project time” is over. Unfortunately, our chicken coop expansion will be moved to next year. At least that will give me plenty of time to design the new coop. And now that our fence face lift is complete, we are still working on dog and chicken proofing our crawl space under the house. We hope to have that portion of the yard functional for our dogs very soon. That will be the day!! Until then, I’m snapping photos with a smile on.