Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘chicken feathers

No Idea

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It’s a complete mystery to us, and an entirely unexpected circumstance for the demise of another chicken. I fully expected it would be a predator killing and running off with our next victim.

Jackie found an ominous scattering of black chicken feathers inside the barn yesterday afternoon when she arrived to tend to the horses.

We leave the bottom half of the split doors closed all day to dissuade the chickens from getting inside and leaving their calling cards all over the barn. They are certainly capable of hoisting themselves high enough to get up and over the half doors, but we have yet to catch them doing so.

Our first question is, then how did she get inside? Did she come in of her own accord?

The scattering of feathers were generally confined to two separate spots. What caused the loss of feathers?

Eventually, the trail of feathers led to the discovery of a body, curled up like a little napping kitty, back behind a stack of rakes and shovels leaning against the wall. The deceased hen was completely intact, with no visible wounds.

What was the cause of death?

We have no idea.

Did it get inside on its own and then have a panic attack? Did a predator chase it inside? Carry it inside?

Would a potential predator leap over the door? A cat would.

Did the chicken come inside and then surprise a predator inside? Most likely guess would be a neighbor cat that was trespassing in our barn.

This would have happened sometime in the middle of the warm sunny day yesterday. Cyndie and Jackie said it was really windy around here during the day. Did that have anything to do with how or why the chicken ended up in the barn?

No idea.

We are now down to 9 chickens, three each of the three breeds we purchased. In fact, we only paid for nine. We received 1 extra chick for each breed back in March. This marks the end of the spares provided to cover for possible loss due to any hardships for day-old chicks traveling through the US Postal service.

We received other news from Jackie last night. After a couple of weeks back in classes at UW River Falls, she has decided she needs to move back on campus. Our live-in helping hand will no longer be available to provide the coverage for us like she did through the summer. Jackie has allowed us a good number more weekends away than we’ve been able to achieve previous years.

Our basement “apartment” may be back on the market for someone who knows and loves horses. Also being able to handle a diva of a Belgian Shepherd would be an added plus.

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Written by johnwhays

September 14, 2018 at 6:00 am

Meanwhile, Feathers

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While we have been a little distracted with a sick dog, a buried tractor, and a colicky horse, our chicks have been busy making feathers.

It’s not like they have been ignored, though. There have been a few more visitors than usual stopping by to sneak a peek at the spectacle of John and Cyndie having chickens, and we have welcomed the opportunity to give the chicks as much exposure to being handled as possible.

The yellow Buff Orpingtons are proving to be the least interested in being held. The rest of the birds are beginning to take our upturned palms as an invitation for a magic carpet ride.

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This particular Barred Plymouth Rock seemed to take great pleasure in using the top of the water jar as her perch. I’m not sure it is all that great for the water quality down below, though.

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On Sunday, I re-attached a door handle to the front door of the coop and did some tightening of screws. We are going to add a temporary containment fence just outside their door in back for the first days they will be granted access outside.

It won’t be long before their big move from the brooder to the coop, where they will be confined to quarters for a week or more in the process of acclimatizing them to their new home.

I’m so ready to have them reach the point where they’ll be safe with free range access to the fly and tick smorgasbord that our property offers.

Some folks look at our chickens and think, egg-layers. I am much more interested in the chickens’ skills as insect controllers. I tend to envision them more as killers.

Hmm. That gives me a new idea for a theme of names…

I gotta do something to counter-balance all the sweet names Cyndie is plotting to give them. I don’t want these birds to become a bunch of softies, after all.

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Written by johnwhays

April 11, 2017 at 6:00 am