Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘hens

Mist, Continued

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I don’t have anything particularly dramatic to add to yesterday’s narration, but a couple humorous tidbits that Cyndie shared last night continue the themes.

I carefully (slowly) made my way to the interstate in the morning and didn’t have any problems driving the rest of the way. I texted Cyndie when I got to work, letting her know travel was possible, as she needed to drive through the cities, as well.

In the afternoon, she was miles ahead of me on the way home, and she sounded the alert that road conditions of the last few miles were still bad. She couldn’t even make it up the driveway. Her car just slid sideways on the slope by the shop garage.

She parked by the barn and precariously made her way up to the house to get driveway salt to scatter.

My car rolled right up that slope without slipping. I’m just sayin’.

I’m ready for a change of weather. Unfortunately, the forecast is all about a polar vortex of Arctic cold headed our way next. Snow seems to be a slim probability.

Later in the evening, after Cyndie returned from closing the coop, she had this to report: As usual, there was a hen squeezed onto the 2×4 over the side window, but this time, it was one of the Australorps. That top perch is usually claimed by one of the Wyandottes.

Cyndie said there was a lone Wyandotte on the near roost gesticulating obvious dissatisfaction with the arrangement.

It’s not just the horses who are wrangling over who’s highest in the pecking order around here.

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Year Ends

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Today is the last day of 2018. What do you make of that? I think it’s just another Monday, strikingly similar to all the others, no matter where they fall in a year.

Our animals don’t seem to notice any particular significance to the date. The passage of time is doing our balding Wyandotte hen a bit of good. New feathers are slowly growing in.

They have all handled the day of rain and following freeze well enough, mostly by spending the majority of the ensuing days beneath the overhang with the horses. For their part, the horses show signs of understanding the precariousness of the icy slope, but it hasn’t kept them from braving the danger to walk down to the waterer, even though we put a tub to drink from by the barn to save them the trip.

I noticed several marks of slipping hooves which was rather unsettling, but they are choosing to make the trek of their own free will. I trust their horse sense in this instance, partly because the last time we tried to outsmart them, it didn’t go so well.

Walking Delilah around the perimeter trails has become a treacherous exercise of trying to walk like a penguin over very unpredictable surfaces. She hasn’t been slowed much by the conditions, so there is an added challenge of being pulled along by her, faster than little steps accommodate.

When she stopped to give a prolonged inspection to something that caught the attention of her nose, I spotted this single stalk of some plant that was dropping seeds on the snow. It looks like such a delicate process playing out, despite the harsh elements nature has been delivering lately.

It’s just another Monday, and life goes on.

I don’t know if it is something of a placebo effect, but since we are now over a week beyond the shortest day of the winter solstice, I got the impression it was already lighter outside during our late afternoon walk.

Or, it could just be the dawning of a new year.

Farewell to 2018 and greetings to 2019! It’s all just a series of individual moments. May we benefit by paying attention to them all.

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Our Debuggers

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The main reason we wanted to get chickens was as a means of reducing the number of flies that show up when you have horses. Even more so when we heard they eat ticks, as well.

I had no clue how much fun they would also be as social pets. Of course, there is the added benefit of eggs, too. That’s a feature that I have come to value much more highly than I ever imagined I would.

Our flock continues to number twelve birds, which is really rewarding, but tends to make the inevitable threat of future loss more ominous, at the same time.

Lately, we’ve seen the chickens exploring ever greater distances away from the area around the coop and barn, which I am hoping means they are eating more and more bugs.

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Otherwise, they tend to spend the bulk of their time under the thick cover of the trees between the house and the fields. When we walk past, it is common to hear their 24 feet clawing the leaves that cover the ground, as they search for bugs to eat.

My piles of composting manure no longer hold the shape I build up, as the chicken’s busy feet quickly wreak havoc in their search for precious morsels.

It’s a disruption to my sense of order which I gladly tolerate.

Despite all the bugs our chickens can eat, there remain plenty of flies that pester the horses. We put masks over the horses’ eyes, and this summer we are trying wraps on their legs.

Horses will often stomp their feet to knock loose the biting flies and that repeated concussion takes a toll on their feet and hooves.

Cyndie gave them some time on the short arena grass at dusk yesterday, where they can get some reward that helps distract them from the relentless harassment of the flies.

After that, Cyndie made a pass by the chicken coop to check for eggs and was rewarded with TWO eggs at the same time.

Now we know there are two hens laying. The rest won’t be far behind.

They might be our debuggers, but their eggs really are the crowning glory of our wonderful chickens.

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Written by johnwhays

August 1, 2018 at 6:00 am