The Story of Babydoll, the Little Chicken That Could

Most of us eat chicken but are so removed from our food that we don’t consider the actual life that gave us the meal. Meanwhile, upon starting a backyard flock of my own I’ve realized more and more about how important it is to treat your living food well. Happy chickens, chickens treated well with adequate space, food, affection and adventures, in my experience, have better tasting eggs. Their eggs are creamy and dark, full of nutrients factory hens are lacking.

So upon my quest to learn about all things chicken I decided, or my hen decided rather, that it was time to try our hand at hatching eggs. You girls are what, a year old now?

It happened to be my youngest hen, Macaron, that decided to go broody. Broody means she decided to steal everyone’s eggs and sit on them until they hatch. (They weren’t going to hatch.) She didn’t even have a rooster in her flock. Can you imagine? I thought about never being with a man and suddenly deciding I would have a baby anyway, any day now. She tickled me. I admired her persistence. Against the advice of my breeder I got her some eggs to sit on. Some blue ameraucana eggs and a few silkie eggs as well.

Now, to understand why someone would be against hatching chicks with a hen you have to understand a bit about chickens. These days, chickens have been bred more for looks or for egg production (or meat, gasp). Mothering instincts have not been prized by many breeders. If you’re a good mother but your feather quality is crap then you’re not going to be bred. Chances are a chicken aficionado won’t be buying a hen based on possible mothering skills. Many farmers and chicken hobbyists alike use incubators because it’s just easier for them. You don’t have to wait on a broody hen to possibly hatch chicks when you can hatch them year-round on your own.

I had faith in my Macaron. I knew she was head strong. So she sat. She didn’t give up. She got up to eat, drink and poop once a day and sat the rest. She sat during the lightening storms, she sat during the humidity.

“My only hen that was able to actually hatch chicks ate them as soon as they hatched — are you sure you’re ready for that?”

I just had to let her try. If I didn’t, I’d never know. If she failed we’d just assume hatching wasn’t our flock’s strong point. I candled the eggs (with a flashlight) at around seven days, on Mother’s Day to be exact, and each egg had veins.

Twenty days later a pip. A small beak poked through a blue ameraucana egg. I’m a little fearful my mother hen will eat it. She has to be really hungry and irritated by now, right? Possibly little case of cabin fever? I left for the day and when I came back a tiny chick emerged from underneath her fluff. She did it. I was as shocked as she was. She thought the chick’s toes were worms. She tried to snag them. I got a little worried. However she quickly realized they weren’t worms, much to her disappointment.

The next morning all but 1 had hatched. The tiniest silkie egg. Too tiny to have a yolk? I thought it had veins but perhaps I was wrong. Oh well. Nine out of 10 is pretty good for our experiment.

Macaron was so pleased, she really seemed proud. I realize have a serious issue with anthropomorphizing animals but I could tell she was living out her dream. She protected the chicks as she did the eggs but the excitement caused her to chase them all around. She let me hold them and pet her, she was done being aggressive and puffed up. Her feathers relaxed. The poor girl was already tired but now she was also exhausted and frantic.

Later that afternoon the small egg’s pip was larger. I saw the little blue beak take a breath and I snapped a photo.

I checked that evening around 6 o’clock and the egg had been partially smashed. It was bloody (I’ll save you that photo, it’s terrifying). The small chick lay curled up within half of it. I felt scared but left it with her. She must know better about hatching chicks than I. A few hours later the chick was pushed away into the nest bedding and cold. So small and lifeless. Curled like a baby robin. Looked much too small to be a chicken, to survive, to thrive. All the other chicks raced around and peeped. Happy and strong. I took the chick into my hands. I held it close, assuming it was dead, and it peeped. A small peep. As though to say, “I’m still here.”

I snapped a photo for a chicken advice forum and went inside to tell my husband the sad story. I set up a makeshift brooder with a clip-on light bulb and made sure it was warm. It laid there all evening. It started to dry but didn’t open it’s eyes. I noticed it was white, the only white chick.

Hours later it rolled over on it’s back. Dead? Maybe. I rolled it back over and let it rest. Chicks absorb their yolk the last few days in the egg so they don’t need to eat much, if any, for a couple of days after hatching. This was only a time for rest.

The chicken forums flood with advice, with concerns, with questions. People contacted me from all over the world to see the chick, to hear how she’s doing. I’m shocked at so much interest in a tiny hatchling. I feel grateful to be a part of a community like that.

The next morning I dreaded going downstairs. I knew I’d look in the shower and it would be hard and lifeless in the brooder. I heard my husband exercising in the living room. I assumed he would notify me of the terrible news. I dreaded walking down the stairs and hearing him say my name. It’s just a chick, you tried as hard as you could. It wasn’t meant to live anyway. The mother hen knew it was a waste of time. It was probably sick or something. It’s such a tiny, disposable animal. It’s absolutely ridiculous to feel sad about it.

She lived. I don’t know that she is a she but I’m calling her Baby. It’s more of a pet name than an actual name. I’m afraid to name her because I’m afraid to get attached. It’s still touch and go. However she is alive. Surviving any of that is a good sign.

Baby’s legs don’t work. She seems to have what is referred to as “spraddle” legs. They stick out and she can’t walk. Makes it hard to eat or do much of anything. I research a treatment and create a small brace with yarn and medical tape. She stands. She’s wobbly and weak. She passes out flat anytime she wakes up for a few seconds. I feed her some water with honey from a cotton swab. She drinks it. I continue to feed her this every few hours for energy. She starts to wobble around trying to walk.

I feed her some scrambled egg and she tries to eat it. She tries to eat chick starter and can’t. Her little weak beak can hardly eat anything but honey water. I bring her a chick friend and it’s a disaster. It runs over her and she has no energy to compete. I let her stay alone a little longer. I keep dipping her beak in water every few hours. I’m her mother hen so I have to teach her how to do everything, even drink. My husband and I hold her in our hands, against our torsos while we watch tv in the evenings. She cries loudly when we put her back in the brooder.

This is the second evening I’ve spent with Baby. I feed her some egg and she eats it. She eats a big piece and gulps it down like the large hens eat whole cherry tomatoes. I feel excited. I know if she can start to eat she’ll make it.

The third day I wake up to Baby walking around with her brace like she’s been doing it for days. She leaps and races around. She speeds really fast and then wobbles about trying to stop. She’s like a bumper car without breaks. She’s headstrong and ready to go but not so sure about how to stop. She ends up in the water dish several times and I have to rework things. I cannot imagine finding her having drowned because she couldn’t walk very well. I would feel so terrible to come this far and lose her over a silly mistake.

See the leg brace?

Today I decide I’ll try again to increase her attention by bringing her some silkie friends from Macaron’s brood. They all spend hours crying for their mom. I feel terrible about them leaving the flock but know that Baby needs some friends besides me. She needs other chickens. They start to settle down and connect with each other… I feed them egg and chick starter and they begin racing around chasing each other. Just like the hens. Baby is now accepted and can hold her own in the group. They were all hatched on the same day and she is half their size but her spirit is triple.

Because of the interest in adopting the healthy chicks, Baby’s nursery has taken in a new bearded blue cream silkie chick whom was the odd one out of her own brood. Baby has accepted her as her long lost sister. My oldest daughter named her Lil Debbie. They both stayed inside with me for another several weeks because Baby was too small to hold her own with the large fowl chicks. In a large group the very small and disabled chicks often don’t get enough to eat or get smooshed in the huddle. I don’t want to take a chance until she’s a few weeks older and much stronger. If I ever take a chance before she grows up, that is.

After about a week I was notified about a young cockerel (rooster). He had an odd coloring but was an English Orpington like my other big girls. I’d been considering a rooster to protect my ladies and to maybe have a couple of chicks that are all of our own blood line. I couldn’t imagine how cute they would be! So I took him in. He was about 6 weeks old. Much bugger than the silkies. I was told he would smoosh them or hurt them so I put him with the big ladies. They bloodied his comb and I couldn’t bear it. I put him with the silkies. I was terrified so I kept watch. They all snuggled and he became the mom. I was shocked! I set them in the main coop after a few weeks (much too long I’m sure) and put blinders on the hens so they wouldn’t hurt him. He put the other hens in line and established his dominance. Would he change? Some roosters become very mean when they go through puberty. However, he still cared for the little ones. Even today they’re all grown up and if I toss good treats he runs and carries them to the two silkies we kept (Baby and Lil Debbie) and they sleep under his wing.

Baby has taught me a lot about raising chickens that I never would have known even having raised a flock prior to this. She has taught me a lot about myself, too. She’s shown me that even when everything seems to be going wrong or my health seems to be deteriorating that it’s always worth the fight to stay positive. That having such a beautiful, strong spirit is the biggest asset. That even if you’re struggling you can always give of yourself to others because everyone is struggling in some way.

Baby has taught me that we all have 2 choices: We can stay strong in the face of adversity, turmoil and sickness or we can fall, stay weak and remain afraid. We can essentially be our own undoing by accepting that we are a failure. I choose to fight, don’t you?

What’s so great about chickens anyway? Even their name is used as an insult — it’s a common way to call someone out for being a coward. Meanwhile Baby, the tiniest chicken, has one of the strongest spirits I’ve ever experienced. How’s that for a chicken?

Shop is OPEN With New Pin Street Collaboration

It’s official! The shop is back open! Pin Street invited me to do a collaboration and design a Kawaii Shop. It’s pretty much one of the coolest lapel pin collaborations I’ve seen. It totally reminds me of the “Quilting Bee” pixel club and so many of the old website clubs we used to have in the late 90s/early 2000s! What about you?

What is Pin Street?

Pin Street is an on-going collaboration between about 16 pin designers who are releasing new shops every month! Each pin has the same size specs so they will line up nicely but each is as unique as the Illustrator.

The Kawaii Shop is designed by me and is the 37th in our series. The last collaboration pin. It is a limited run, as the others are. The metal is rose gold and it is in all pastel colors as well as a glittery pink cloud with rose gold stars. I feel like I’m floating on a glittery pink cloud anytime I walk into a kawaii shop so it was a necessary feature! It also is a throwback to the old Times Square Sanrio store and Puroland with the rainbow on top!

If you’re interested in visiting the shop and checking it out, just click the link in the menu or HERE and stay tuned for a Cyber Monday sale~

Shipping now!

Follow @pinstreetshop on Instagram to keep up with the street!

Day With a Camera: The Indiana State Fair

I’ve always quite a fan of the fair. Something about the red candy apples and the lights of the Ferris wheel sends my heart a flutter and my eyes sparkling like prisms in the sun. Add fancy chickens being shown like prized trophies and I’m in.

So there you have it, this is the fair through the kaleidoscope eyes of Miseducated’s colorfully skewed looking glass.

That was very Warhol of this supermarket sculptor..

This Polish chicken is patiently waiting her time to go home.

As a kid this was always my must-play game.
It was once around $1 for 20 balls and the bowls were all side to side so you won a new pet fish every time.

Esra and I adored the pineapple whip.

Esra and I had a wonderful time and seeing as our fairs are just a bit different than they are in Turkey, it was entertaining for her~ The fair is always a mixed bag.. it’s over-priced, crowded by many people you don’t want to be around and filled with delicious junk food. The lengths I go to for the fair specialties and a few glimpses of chickens is laughable.

Also, pst! If you’re going to be at the fair next Tuesday you’ll be able to see my David Cunningham’s photorealism painting demonstration in the Fine Arts Building.

August 2017 Friendship Horoscopes

Sorry about the delay in posting these~ usually I’m early enough to publish elsewhere but this month you can read your friendship horoscopes here. If last month’s horoscope was a total turn off, then just wait to see what your August 2017 horoscope has in store! Pour a glass of wine this evening and revel in the forecast with your cat snuggled on your lap (because honestly isn’t that the best way to read anything??).

Aries

This month you will do best to focus on relationship fulfillment. First, contemplate if there is any tension within your friendships. You will experience great relief to resolve these issues and your friendships will be much stronger because of it!

Taurus

This month is all about self development, Taurus! There are some exciting things in store for you. Even some new feelings arising in a friendship, complicating your social life. It may be a little off putting for your other friends but trust your instincts!

Gemini

Yes indeed you are the social butterfly of your group but sometimes is good to spend some one-on-one time with a single friend. You’ll both get a lot out of it and it’s time to let your closest confidants know how much you care.

Cancer

For you, August will be filled with change. Don’t be overwhelmed though because your best buddies will have your back and you’ll find refuge in their support.

Leo

Don’t daydream too much, Leo. You’ll need to be there for your inner circle this month, they’ll rely on your insights. Don’t feel overwhelmed if a lot of your closest friends are running to you now, you seem to be spot on this month and you’ll also be getting a lot of clarity out of the exchanges.

Virgo

Get ready to multi-task as your career/classes and your friends will both be pulling you from both ends! It will be good for you to spend some alone time this month and reflect on ways you can support your friends while still taking care of your own needs.

Libra

August is going to be a very generous month for you, Libra. As you clear away some past resentments within your friendships you will have stronger, more fulfilling connections within your relationships.

Scorpio

It’s important for you to figure out how to find a balance between your time with your friends and your work. If you neglect either of these you will experience a lot of stress and your vinas will make other arrangements. Don’t feel left out — just spend some quality time with them! It’s the perfect weekend to pop open some champagne and binge Netflix.

Sagittarius

You can overcome your stress this month with a few much-needed changes! You may find yourself snapping at your friends and coworkers alike — you’re feeling frazzled and it’s time to take a much needed vacation. Even a weekend spa will do the trick! Call your best pals and prepare a nice face steam.

Capricorn

Your big plans are looking very promising this month, Capricorn. Your creative thinking is on the rise and your budding new friendships are excited to get together for new adventures. You may even have a secret admirer!

Aquarius

I know you’re feeling a hankering to be more independent this month and it may just become an issue within your friendships. This reevaluation will take quite a lot of your time this month. Remember that emotional independence will do you well and your relationships and love interests will surprisingly become more fulfilling and intimate!

Pisces

Your bffs are in the forefront of your mind this month, Pisces! Open-mindedness is best within your circle of friends but also make time for yourself. Even better, you’ll thrive in the other areas of your life when you incorporate your social circles.

Egg Mask Recipe & Face Steam For Clean, Tight Pores

One of my best friends, Emi, has a go-to recipe for improving and detoxing the pores on your face. My added secret is using the fresh laid eggs from my own backyard flock. I like to think that eating or using animal products by abused animals cannot be nearly as great for your skin. Do you agree? I know it’s a bit of a “radical” opinion in this day and age where both human beings and animals aren’t often treated as they deserve.

First fill a pan with water, add herbs and oils of your choice (I prefer mint, lemon peels, sage, lavender, tea tree oil). Heat the water until boiling.

In the meantime (while waiting for that blasted water to boil) crack an egg and separate the whites and yolk. Place the yolk as a mask on your face and décolleté.

Place the egg white in the fridge to cool it.

Wash the mask off when dried and tight on your face.

When the water is boiling take it off the stove. Place a towel over your head and over the pot, not too close (you don’t want to BURN the skin after all) and sit there at most for 10 minutes breathing and allowing the steam to cleanse your pores. Do not feel obligated to do 10 minutes, 5 is fine, just do not do more than 10 minutes. Feel free to play meditation music or a great Podcast while you’re at it!

After the allotted time remove the egg white from the fridge and use as a mask. It should be cold. The egg whites and the coldness will tighten your face. Wash off gently.

After you’ve finished with these steps please add your favorite facial moisturizer and voila! You’re now ready to go about your day.