Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘natural order

Partial Freedom

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When the time arrived to open the fence for our young pullets and Rocky, allowing them their first taste of free-ranging, we had already changed our mind about how we would do it. Soon after, we also altered our thinking toward making the transition in shorter stages.

Originally, based on reading the experiences of others, our plan was to keep the three adults inside in the morning for longer than normal while we let out the youngsters. We actually did the opposite. For our own convenience, it just worked better to proceed normally in the morning, letting the big girls out as usual and opening the coop door so the young ones could have time inside their fenced run.

After our breakfast and walking Delilah, we could put her back in the house and give the chickens our undivided attention. We opened the fence and with very little excitement, Rocky slowly led his brood a few steps outside the fence where they immediately busied themselves pecking at the green grass blades.

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Two of the big hens were in the vicinity and took in the activity with only brief interest. Then they wandered off through the trees. The Buff Orpington was in a nest box laying an egg at the time.

After the pullets made their way to the far side of the outer edge of their fenced courtyard, Cyndie decided to show them the way back to the entrance. Once back inside their familiar stomping grounds, we decided to secure them for the day while we tended to other pursuits.

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In the afternoon, I was walking through the tall grass in the paddocks with Delilah when she suddenly scared up a stray cat that had been hiding a short distance away from the coop. Was that intruder eyeing our birds? Hmmm.

During the morning session, I was multitasking with some day-job remote communications while being physically present for the chickens.

Late in the day, we opened the fence again and gave the chickens our full attention for their second session out. There was only one confrontation in which one of the adults doled out some aggression to establish her dominance over a brazen Light Brahma that dared to stride up with a bit too much confidence.

When opportunity arose that the young ones all found their way back inside their protective fencing again, we took advantage to close them in.

We will transition them to full freedom over a period of days, increasing their autonomy a little each day.

Based on what we’ve witnessed thus far, it doesn’t appear that Rocky the Roo will be much of a protector if predators show up this soon in the process of orienting the new brood to the great outdoors. We will exercise moderate caution for however long we are able to muster the extra attention to the detail.

Ultimately, we acknowledge the risks of free-ranging birds in our environs. It’s a natural contest of the cycle of life.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying them to the fullest. Chickens are wonderfully fun to have around.

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Written by johnwhays

October 10, 2020 at 9:42 am

Trees Down

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It’s certainly not the first time that I have written about fallen trees on our land and it definitely won’t be the last. The most recent two incidents were both completely unexpected and surprisingly large. They both came down after the stormy weather that dowsed us with over seven inches of rain in a very short time. I finally got around to dealing with them on Friday and upon close inspection of the job at hand discovered just how big they really were.

It was hard to cut them into pieces small enough to lift because they were so hefty. In fact, the initial effort didn’t result in removing any of the wood and branches, we just rearranged it into more compact piles.

The tree that was closer to the house and thankfully fell away from the structure now lies in the woods of my neighbor’s land. When I first noticed it, there was no evidence from the surrounding trees that anything had happened. There is a wall of leafy growth on the edge of forests that form a sort of walled barrier to the cathedral within, where the canopy of shade protects a spacious natural auditorium.

When I stepped through that outer shell to see how big that tree was, I was even more impressed with our luck that it didn’t lean toward our house, instead.

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At least this tree didn’t mess up any of the others around it.

The big oak, on the other hand, was merciless to many of the smaller trees in its path. It is heartbreaking to discover how many of the surrounding tree limbs have been snapped or bent over severely by the pressure of the falling beast.

When a big tree falls, you often lose more than just that one tree.

We are at no shortage of lumber to be turned into woodchips for our landscaping needs.

I’m hoping we might enjoy a break for a long while now before the next big tree makes its way back down to earth.

It’s not my favorite event in the natural world.

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Written by johnwhays

July 5, 2020 at 9:51 am

Absolutely Disgusting

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Now, I did not choose today’s title just because it is election day in the U.S. I witnessed something yesterday that was nauseating, but it had nothing to do with politics.

To spare you the horrific image, I did not take any pictures of what Delilah and I came upon during our afternoon walk. In fact, here is a difficult to discern shot of our cute cat playing queen of the pillows for you to view as a mental image cleanser after –should you choose to continue reading this post– you read my description of this unsettling experience.

Content Warning!

If you have a weak stomach for graphic details, avert your eyes now.

Delilah’s nose sensed it first, but luckily, the disgusting find was off the trail and I spotted it in time to shorten her lead to keep her from reaching it.

It looked like a basketball-sized animal had been turned inside out. I think it was a rib cage that was most prominent.

We kept walking.

When I got her a fair distance past the carcass, I secured Delilah’s leash to a gate in the pasture fence and retraced my steps for a closer viewing. I wanted to know what it was. I was also curious whether I could see a clue as to what animal was responsible for the kill.

I knew right away the dead animal wasn’t a chicken because my initial glance had caught sight of a hairy hide. Plus, there were no feathers around. It was also bigger than our chickens.

I spotted a foot and a tail that told me it was a raccoon. It was laying in plain sight in the middle of the main drainage ditch –currently saturated and flowing due to a continuing wet period of days lately– that forms our southern property line.

Having the gross spectacle so prominently exposed next to our pasture, within sight of the chicken coop and horses, made me a little uncomfortable, but I wasn’t much interested in dealing with it while walking the dog on our way to feed and clean up after the horses.

I settled for tossing it from the middle of the open ditch to some brushy growth on the far side, toward the neighbor’s property. When I picked it up by the tail, the surprisingly intact entrails dangled out from the gut. In the world of nature’s predator/prey relationships, I would say this was only a half-completed job.

It was also one of the most disgusting things I recall ever picking up.

Later in the evening, long after darkness had settled in (which now happens around 5:00 p.m.), I felt conflicted over having left the gruesome carcass where it would continue to attract attention.

Maybe I should have bagged it and thrown it away. At the same time, I would rather have local predators feeding off raccoons than my chickens. But, it was uncomfortably close to where our chickens roam.

Interesting side note: On Sunday, I spotted a beautiful bald eagle perched in a tree along that same drainage ditch. I fretted over the possibility it was eyeing our chickens. Maybe it was looking for raccoon carcasses, instead.

Now I want to go look at some cute cat pictures for a while.

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Written by johnwhays

November 6, 2018 at 6:00 am