Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘mixing flocks

Triple Jump

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The latest dozen chickens that arrived in July continue to mature and adjust to their first winter. They are showing a strong dislike for all this white stuff on the ground.

The morning after the big storm, I opened the coop and coaxed a few birds out to brave the deep snow. One of the dark Barnevelders boldly forged her way through undisturbed powder, despite my well-tread path already open to the barn. She only made it so far before regret seemed to set in.

After a brief pause, she let out a chicken version of a power yell and suddenly leaped with flapping wings to make a most spectacular triple (quadruple?) jump in order to reach the barn, where she stopped against the wall and stayed motionless for a disturbingly long time. I worried she may have pulled a “hammie” if chickens even have hamstrings.

I was in the process of shoveling a clearing for them beside the sunniest side of the barn that the previous brood always appreciated. Eventually, I made my way to the shell-shocked pullet and gently cleared the snow around her to provide unobstructed access around the wall to the area under the overhang where food and water awaited.

Somewhat reluctantly, she took advantage of the easy travel and joined the two-year-old Wyandotte who had already wisely strode up the easy footpath and walked right past the motionless triple jumper to get to breakfast.

We keep hoping the two remaining old birds will teach the next generation the tricks but it’s been going the other direction. The old Buff Orpington has gladly joined the young ones in staying in the coop like a bunch of chicken chickens.

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Written by johnwhays

December 26, 2020 at 11:15 am

Making Modifications

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Our three surviving adult hens were presented with a big change in their sleeping and nesting quarters yesterday. In preparation for moving the new chicks out of the brooder in the coming weeks, we gave the coop a thorough cleaning and then installed some temporary barriers to subdivide it.

We opted for netting up above to allow the young chicks and adult hens to become familiar with each other behind protected space that will allow the youngsters to stay out of reach of aggressive gestures.

So the thinking goes, anyway.

Cyndie was reading to me yesterday from a multitude of internet sources on raising backyard chickens and introducing new birds to an existing batch of hens. There were very few where we meet all the precautions and instructions described, but I sense they were written with an overabundance of caution in mind.

Real-world situations are never as precise as the theoretical instructions convey. We are taking the information as a rough guide and will rely on good old trial and error to learn what works for us.

I will always remember the effort of yesterday as being burdened by the tropical dewpoint temperature and the looming threat of thunderstorm (that in the end barely slipped past to the south of us) which complicated my tasks and hurried several steps, capped with my getting attacked by a hornet as I rushed to put things away.

My shirt was plastered against my skin, saturated thoroughly with sweat, and my arms were ridiculously full with tools and equipment I was rushing to return to the shop when the angry beast of an insect unleashed its burning venom as I stepped out of the barn. I screamed into the thundery dark sky and frantically contorted in attempt to pull my shirt loose from my skin to eject the attacker.

After failing twice as the burning increased, I dropped something and finally got a grip of slippery fabric behind my neck and yanked violently. That’s when I caught a glimpse of the almost humming bird-sized monster as it instantly found a second perch on my bare forearm. At that point, everything I was holding went flying in every direction, and flailing of arms and wailing of curse words dwarfing the ominous weather in ferocity were unleashed.

As quickly as possible, while ducking the continued threat of the hornet, I grabbed everything I could find and ran to the shop to lay down on my back on the cold concrete in hopes of soothing the fire raging in the flesh of my back.

That grand finish will always be my memory of fixing up the chicken coop for the soon to be mixed batch of our free-range backyard chickens.

Today’s project will involve mitigation, and hopefully, removal of stinging insect nests near the barn.

Oh, joy.

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Written by johnwhays

August 9, 2020 at 10:22 am