The trees are transitioning to brilliant colors of red, orange, and yellow. The days and nights are steadily growing cooler and visibility shorter. Animals scurry to prepare for the coming winter season, as the first snowfall of the year covers the ground. All this symbolizes the coming of winter, ushered in by the astronomical mid-point between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice more commonly known as Halloween.
Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. The stores become haunted with costumes and creatures of all sorts. Caramel apples become a staple, and pumpkins color the store fronts a brilliant orange. A symbol of the last crop of the season, bringing a finality to the year’s harvest.
Children carve faces in pumpkins and place them on the front porch. A tradition tracing back to the Druids to ward off evil spirits. Harvest displays appear on doorsteps along with a humble scarecrow overseeing the bounty of the season’s surplus. However, Halloween traditions are not just limited to the humans during this time of magic and fantasy. Here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm, the girls also participate in the season’s festivities.
Every year after Halloween, I frequent the local stores, buying up all the pumpkins that did not make the designated cut to be Jack-O-Lanterns. The remaining pumpkins left are reduced in price, making perfect carving projects for my girls. In addition to late fall fun and entertainment they provide, pumpkin is very nutritious for chickens. They supply an abundance of essential nutrients needed for my girls during this late season, after the bugs and plants have gone dormant. Additionally, since they are large, they will serve as boredom busters. Pumpkins are the focused of activity for my girls during November going into December. Due to the fact that temperatures are below freezing at night, the pumpkins stay fresh before giving way to the natural process of decomposition.
Over the years, my girls have become excellent pumpkin carvers, Enjoying the season’s final harvest of pumpkins and other fall delectables. They happily peck at the pumpkin, anxious to get to the seeds contained within the center of the tasty orb. As they peck their way to the center, they carve a design in the exterior of the pumpkin, carving their Halloween pumpkin. All the finished projects are different, each displaying unique features and designs all created by chickens. A true piece of chicken art.
Many people do not associate chickens with artists or even expert carvers. My girls are here to prove that chickens are natures little artists. The girls enjoy their own version of the holidays as they share in the tradition of the season.
As the fall season surrenders to winter, it’s time to think about over-wintering your flock. I will be back with tips on how to keep your flock happy and healthy till the return of the Sun’s warmth.
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~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~