Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Buff Orpington

Please No

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Not again. This morning, we are wondering what we will find when the door to the chicken coop is opened. Yesterday, Delilah once again broke a hook holding her leash and this time attacked the Buff Orpington hen.

I was up on the other side of the house splitting wood when my phone rang. Cyndie’s voice immediately revealed something was wrong.

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Intent on making my way through the entire pile of logs stacked at the base of the big oak tree, which first required sledge-hammering them out of the frozen block they had become, I had already fought off several urges to take a break and do something else.

I couldn’t deny the urgency implied by Cyndie’s call.

Rushing down to the sunny southern end of the barn, I found Cyndie standing with the chicken in her arms. She wanted me to hold the bird so she could search for visible injury that would explain the blood on the ground. Finding nothing, she took the Buff back and asked me to look.

I suggested she give the hen a chance to stand on her own and we could watch her. The Buff stood just fine, but that is when I noticed blood on the beak. It appears the injury was internal.

We are hoping maybe she just bit her tongue. She was breathing and swallowing, with some effort, and the bleeding did not appear to be continuing more than the initial small amount.

If she survived the night, the next goal will be to witness her drinking water and eventually eating food.

As soon as Cyndie had reached the dog and saved the chicken, she marched Delilah up to the house and shut her inside. When we came in for lunch, it was pretty clear the fiercely carnivorous canine was aware she had displeased her master. Her body language was all about remorse.

It was hard to not continue being extremely mad with Delilah for hurting the chicken, but that moment was now in the past.

I decided to take her out for a heavy-duty workout. Strapping on snowshoes, I headed off to pack down a path on our trails that hadn’t received much attention since the last few snowfall events.

Since Delilah has a compulsion to be out in front and pull, that meant she was breaking trail most of the way and expending more energy than normal, which worked right into my plan.

Much to Delilah’s surprise, I also had a plan to double back in the direction from which we had just come, giving me a chance to pack several of our paths a second time.

Each time that happened, Delilah would race to come back toward me and then pass by to get out in front again, pulling against the leash to which I gladly added drag.

I’m pretty sure any energy she got from engaging in the attack was long gone after her unusually intense afternoon walkabout, but I doubt she fully grasps that our earlier displeasure was because the chickens hold protected status.

We’re not confident, but we hope we’ll still have three chickens to continue teaching Delilah to leave alone, despite her irresistible canine instincts.

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Written by johnwhays

February 11, 2018 at 7:00 am

Other News

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While Delilah and the horses have been getting a lot of attention lately, the chickens and Pequenita haven’t been entirely neglected.

When it gets extremely cold, the chickens tend to stay put all day in their coop, but some days they surprise us and venture out anyway. This week, Cyndie reported, one day it was the Buff Orpington making the trek to the barn overhang, and the next, it was the two Barred Plymouth Rock hens.

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They have us wondering if there might be some issue between the two breeds, that they are doing less commingling lately.

Last night, Pequenita was ferocious about getting some attention from me, so I decided to put a video designed for cats on my laptop screen. She went nuts for it.

A little mouse keeps darting across the screen. She quickly moved her search to the back and sides of the computer to see where the critter was going when it disappeared from view. We were both highly entertained.

It was a nice distraction from some of the dreary news of the day. Have I mentioned how sad I am over the deplorable political situation in this country? And now the thawing permafrost is going to release noxious Mercury gas into the atmosphere.

Although, on the subject of news, one item was out of this world fantastic. If you haven’t seen video of the Falcon Heavy Test yet, I hope you will make time to absorb the ramifications of this spectacular feat while witnessing the amazing footage of a new milestone in space exploration.

That Tesla Roadster with a space-suited mannequin in it flying through space is one spunky escapade. I love it!

“To infinity, and beyond!”

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Written by johnwhays

February 8, 2018 at 7:00 am

Divided Three

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I know there are a lot of divided opinions in our country lately, but what does that have to do with our three chickens? All summer long, that triumvirate operated as an impressively cohesive unit. 

Now, that seems to have changed. The Buff Orpington appears to have decided to break from the group, choosing to stay close to the coop while the Barred Plymouth Rock pair go gallivanting off in search of adventure.

Look at them just struttin’ their stuff on the freshly shoveled path Cyndie cleared of the paltry 1-inch NUISANCE amount of snow that fell yesterday.

I think the Buff is just being chicken.

Is it possible our yellow hen is being rebuffed by the other two?

Sorry.

What can I say?

It was a slow news day on the ranch.

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Written by johnwhays

December 12, 2017 at 7:00 am

Finishing Something

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Far be it for me to stay on one project all the way to fruition. Instead of finishing the fence we started on Friday, I let the weather move my focus to something else. Luckily, the change of direction let me toward the completion of wiring AC power to the chicken coop.

Like so many other occasions, after accomplishing the hardest part of the job – like getting the wire buried between the coop and barn– I have a tendency to lose momentum. That initial dose of job-satisfaction can be enough that my sense of urgency to complete tasks dissipates.

Just when the end of a tunnel is in sight, I discover a side route that hijacks my attention.

This day, I headed back down the primary path in the tunnel of electrifying the coop.

First, I removed the panel of the circuit breaker box and made connections to a GFI breaker.

Next, I set about getting the electrical box mounted in the coop. This only required two extra trips back to the shop for tools, hardware, and a modification to the box.

Things were progressing slower than I wanted, but without any insurmountable problems. The one big interruption I needed to work around was the unplanned arrival of a chicken.

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It was late enough in the day that I assumed I wouldn’t be a bother to the chickens while I worked, but our Buff Orpington proved me wrong. She puttered around in the nest box right beneath where I was working, so I just kept at it, hoping she wouldn’t be bothered by me.

After she started to stress out a bit, I took the hint and agreed to take a break, closing things up enough to give her all the privacy I thought she might need.

For whatever unknown reason, that wasn’t enough. After watching the last quarter of the Vikings game, I came back to take my project across the finish line, only to find the hen still in the nest box. Really.

Not to be deterred, I assembled a few objects into a barrier for her so I could forge ahead with my work. It is the first time I ever listened to a chicken lay an egg.

Before the day was over, the coop outlet was live, everything was buttoned up, and all tools were put away.

Yes, finished. That’s a special level of satisfaction.

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Written by johnwhays

October 16, 2017 at 6:00 am

Hot Chicks

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The call from the Post Office came much earlier than expected yesterday. I’d barely started my day at work when I received a text from Cyndie at 7:18 a.m. indicating she was heading out to pick up our chicks. She told me later that when she walked into the Post Office the immediate sound was of chirping chicks.

She got them home and transferred the tweeting fur balls from their travel box to our water trough brooder, after covering the wood shavings with some paper towels. This will make it easier for them to find the food crumbles we are introducing them to.

They were a pile of chicks at first. Julian informed us the term is, “clutch” of chicks. Since they appear to be clutching each other, it seems most appropriate.

New momma Cyndie picked them up and taught them where to find water, and the first step of imprinting was in the books.

We didn’t plan it, but these birds are truly spring chickens, as they were born on the first day of spring.

In answer to Liz’s questions from yesterday, Cyndie ordered all females. We ordered 9 and received 10 birds. The different breeds are the Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, & Barred Plymouth Rock.

At first, Cyndie felt that one of them looked a little more frail than all the others, and suggested it might require a little extra attention. By the time I got home, they all appeared to be getting along just fine. She couldn’t identify which one had seemed less able.

Earlier in the afternoon, Cyndie brought Delilah into the barn on her leash and tied her some distance away, reporting it as the first introduction and qualifying that it had gone superbly. The dog stayed calm and quiet.

I suggested we bring her right to the brooder trough and let her have a look at the new arrivals. She was happy to have the chance, but didn’t quite understand what to make of it. She could hear them better than see them, as she isn’t tall enough to easily peer down on them over the tub wall. She kept putting her head down to explore around the base of the trough.

After we held her upright to get a clear look down on the chicks, her interest was peaked. From then on, it was almost impossible for her to relax and be quiet after we moved her back out of reach and ignored her while making a health assessment of the birds’ backsides.

Back in the house after dinner, Delilah was annoyingly insistent about being taken for a walk outside again. Cyndie reported that the dog had no interest in walking her usual left turn to the trail in the woods. She made a line for the direction of the barn.

It appears she has a firm focus on the new attractions.

Let the games begin!

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