My Life With Gracie…Friends In High Places

My Life With Gracie...Friends In High Places

So how do you tell your chicks apart when you have more than one of the same kind and they all look so much alike? This can be a challenge for some such as Buff Orpingtons which don’t have any special markings or patches of color.

Lefty was easy. He was alway running around and trying to see and do everything. He was first to the worms, first to the pill-bugs, and first to his Daddy’s heart. All of that even before he got his name, and before I knew for sure he was really going to be a rooster and not a hen.

Gracie was easy too. She always hung back from the group or stayed close to Bessie. There was that lump on her side too. She kept that side facing the wall of the brooder box most of the time. I think she was afraid the others would spot it and pick on her. In time her fluffy feathers disguised it, and she became less shy.

Bessie was almost indistinguishable from the other Buff Orpingtons except she would always go to Gracie when it was time to rest. Of the two, Bessie was more social, but she also knew exactly who her forever friend was.

There were times when Gracie dared to put aside her timidity and join Bessie and the others in whatever game they were playing. She would jump in and then jump back out just as quickly, but you could tell she was having fun.

I guess chickens must learn to flap their social wings as well.

Bessie was a good encourager and teacher. She played with the group but never ignored her best friend, Gracie. As they grew, she would protect Gracie against those who tried to bully her.

You might think, as I once did, that Bessie would become the leader of the flock, and for a while she was. Then by a series of unexpected events, the real leader and protector turned out to be Gracie. How all of that came to be is another story for another day.

My Life With Gracie helped me understand a perfect high perch is a lonely place until all your friends are up there with you.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! Lately I have been reworking some of my earlier illustrations and stories. You can view the reworked version of this post here.

My Life With Gracie...Friends In High Places

My Life With Gracie…Goals And Successes

My Life With Gracie...Goals And Successes

There are some things that baby chicks are designed to do from the moment they hatch. One of those is learning to perch up high, as high as possible.

It didn’t take me long to realize this. They would stand on their food bowl simply to be a little higher than they were before. Tipping it over didn’t bother them. They just stood on the overturned bowl.

So I set up bricks around their brooder, first for a small “jump and flap” to get up, then for a bigger “jump and flap,” and after that there was nothing too high they wouldn’t try.

I learned not all chicks develop their skills and reach their goals at the same time. For some, it seemed to come more naturally. For others, they needed to study how others accomplished this marvelous feat. Getting up to a spot way up high, higher than the top of your head…well, that can seem like quite a task to achieve!

The Brahma chicks were by far the most naturally gifted. They already looked like tiny eagles, particularly with the extra feathers on their feet. They mastered the bricks in no time and then set their sights on the top of the water bottle.

Nevertheless, they all had the goal of reaching the highest place possible. Some of those who were slower to catch on would study what the others did. Everyone would “peep” and “cheep” about their own accomplishments and those of their friends. It was often joyfully noisy, until everyone exhausted themselves and needed to take a nap all at the same time.

There was never any competition to get to the top of the bricks, no matter how I stacked them. But the water bottle was different. There was only one of those, and it was THE place to be!

Gracie never made it to the top of the water bottle, but I just know she was thrilled when Bessie made it up there for the first time and every time afterwards. Maybe when you love someone you feel like you’re right up there with them too.

My Life With Gracie showed me we can still applaud the successes of others and be patient with ourselves.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! Lately I have been reworking some of my earlier illustrations and stories. You can view the reworked version of this post here.

My Life With Gracie...Goals And Successes

My Life With Gracie…About Friendship

About Friendship

I made two trips to the feed and seed store that day. On the first trip I got three chicks, one of them was Lefty, a Buff Orpington who was full of energy and quite handsome.

I enjoyed those first three so much, I just had to get more, at least up to the legal limit for my city. So on the second trip I got three more chicks, two of them were Gracie and Bessie, also Buff Orpingtons.

Lefty is one I picked out myself on that first trip because he seemed so strong and spirited. (I didn’t know at the time he would be a rooster. I just knew he seemed very healthy.) But Gracie and Bessie were just two scooped up at random by the sales associate on that second trip.

So there were fourteen chicks to raise in a makeshift brooder in my sunroom. Eight were for friends. Six were for me. A red heat lamp was their “Chicken Mama,” and I was their “Chicken Daddy.”

Almost right away I noticed that Gracie was a little different. For all of the other chicks, the feathers above their beaks were arranged symmetrically. Gracie’s weren’t. Her face seemed slightly “lopsided.” She was very timid with the other chicks and much less inquisitive. She stayed close to Bessie whenever she could. They always slept beside each other, more by Gracie’s choice, but Bessie didn’t mind.

Within about the first two weeks, I started to notice a bulge on Gracie’s side near her thigh. I became worried that she had some kind of “hatch defect.” As the weeks went by, it grew with her. She didn’t seem to move quite like the others, but she did her best to act like them so that she wouldn’t get picked on.

When other chicks were gobbling down the earthworms and bugs I gathered for them in the morning, Gracie mostly stayed back away from the excitement until it was over and then would go to her best friend Bessie. Sometimes she got lucky and found a bug that the others missed, but not often.

Once I felt so badly about Gracie missing out on worms and bugs, I picked her up and tried to hand feed her, but she wouldn’t eat. Being with Bessie was more important to Gracie than even a tasty fresh meal of worms and bugs.

Gracie was slow to develop, and I wasn’t sure she would ever lay any eggs. Bessie started laying almost two months before her. During the long waiting period, I would tell Gracie every day, “It’s okay. You don’t have to lay eggs for me to love you. I’ll never get rid of you. You will always be my girl, just like Bessie.”

If these two had been part of a huge egg factory somewhere…well, I just don’t want to think about what would have happened to Gracie and how Bessie would have handled it.

Gracie and Bessie have always been quite inseparable.

There is so much more I could tell, and will tell one day, just not today. I don’t want to take away from this message about the beauty of their friendship.

My life with Gracie showed me having a friend is like finding the best shady spot on a hot summer’s day.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

About Friendship