Sunday, February 07, 2010

Crouching Tigers, Hiding Chickens


The evening routine around here starts around sun-down. I do muck out the horse stalls, fill their water troughs, put out hay and feed, collect any eggs the chickens may have laid in their feed troughs and then I bring in the horses from the pasture.

Then I move onto the chickens where I collect the eggs, fill their water and their feeders and throw some kitchen scraps inside the yard of the Super-Max to lure them in for the night. I do a count and lock them in.

I did all this on Thursday night. It had been a rather nice day, but right at sun-down a rain squall moved in so I got wet. When I got into Super-Max I found that three Buff Orpingtons, two Barred Rocks and one Silver Laced were missing. There should always be four of each breed and Blue, the rooster. There were a lot a lot of hens missing. My heart sank. I looked all around and called for them. I went into the house and got a flash light and I poked a beam under every deck and out building. I searched the thickets and around stumps. I could not find the six missing hens.

I wondered if a family of coyotes wandered through nabbing them, but I saw no feathers or tracks in the mud. I had heard nothing and I know I had seen all four Buff Orpingtons on my porch looking in my living-room window just an hour earlier.

I had hoped the rain squall caught them off guard and they took shelter somewhere. I wasn’t looking forward to the option of restricting their free ranging during the day or building a chicken tractor to move them to a new location every day.

Just moments ago I was sitting here in my living room at 8:00am and two of the Buffs showed up on my porch. I put on my boots and went outside and the other hens out on the lawn. They weren’t killed, but hollered up somewhere for the night. I’m glad the local raccoons didn’t discover their hideout.

12 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

Don’t play the heavy-handed parent and ask where they’d been – just be grateful they came home safely... ;)
(smart chickens)

4:57 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

whew, i was worried for a second of a repeat of last years carnage. Glad they are safe. And can lay some tasty eggs for me. :)

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's a "chicken tractor"

7:34 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Ok, here's the official drill in case that ever happens again. If you notice a discrepancy in your count, you immediately count again to make sure. Then you lock the place down. Hard. No movement for any reason. Nobody in or out. You notify the local Sheriffs department that you have had an escape. Then you page out your e-squad and dog team. Once they are on site, the e-squad searches the farm and the dog team attempts to follow the track of the escapee. Hopefully you get them back inside and locked down before the press gets wind of the incident and blows it all out of proportion.

If you're going to do this, do it right.

And what the hell is a chicken tractor?

veri word: comonde- The french word for a portable toilet.

7:42 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, sounds like you learned that on the hard way.

Auntie, I'll deliver a dozen tomorrow.

Darev, an obvious expert on escape procedures. You've never had an escape at your house have you?

Anon and Darev, a chicken tractor is a big open bottom pen or cage on wheels or skids you put the chickens inside and drag it to an area where the chickens can scratch and peck the ground for a day and then get moved to another location on the next day.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Shelly Rayedeane said...

I think they look pretty cute up in that tree. I wouldn't want to be the one to have to coral their chicken butts down though.

egotistical = stupidity

The ability to foresee future events = smart chicken

9:32 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

You can always lo-jack those chickens.....the modern miracles of gps and all that....

10:15 AM  
Blogger qandlequeen said...

One of the guys in our group said trying to get all of the wives gathered up when it's time to leave is like wrangling cats (I may or may not have been the worse in the group on that particular occasion). Sounds pretty much the same.

By the way, I would love to see a picture of the chickens looking in your window.

5:03 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Shelly, they are generally pretty cute unless they get into the garden.

Amy, have you gotten it for your kids yet?

Q are you a polygamist? I will take that photo for you.

5:23 AM  
Blogger qandlequeen said...

HA! It does read that way. No, seven women all close friends and the associated husbands and boyfriends are our drivers, wranglers, payers for stuff, bag holders, babysitters. We totally abuse them and they keep coming back for more.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Ha....my kids... like I'm not on them like white on rice as it is...hee hee...

1:23 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Q, I love syntax...

Amy, control freak, eh?

5:17 AM  

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