Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bad Day to be a Chicken....

Yesterday, I took 6 of the "runts" from the broiler house and put them into the coop with the free range chickens. I figured that they weren't going to get big enough to butcher, and weren't small enough to get rid of, so they could live over there now. They cautiously inspected things inside the coop. They made it outside for a bit, but didn't venture far from home. They have never been on a roost, so they spend most of the day together in some straw bedding I have on the floor of the coop. They HAVE learned to fight for breakfast, though.

Before breakfast this morning, it was another installment of "Lose Your Head Lottery" in the broiler house. It started out with the judge (me) picking three "lucky winners" in the drawing. Most of the time, I ask for volunteers, but there are usually no takers. I guess, in the long run, it's not REALLY a lottery.

I just "axe" the winners to leave....

Two of them went into our fridge (we had fresh chicken breast for supper), and the other went to a neighbor's house, along with some eggs. It was a "Coming and Going" special, you could say...

I spent an hour or so, collecting more "stuff" from the remains of the barn that is just about torn down. When I was getting ready to head over there, I had to load some tools. I started the pickup and headed toward the barn. I backed around the "corner" in our drive and gave it a little gas going up the hill. I remember spinning the back tires a little bit on the new rock. I backed into the barn and got the tools I was after.

For some reason, I looked out of the barn window and down the drive. I noticed there was a chicken laying oddly in the grass next to the driveway. I first thought that I had run over him, so I walked down to "take care of" the body. When I got there, I noticed that he (one of the big Welsommer cross roosters) was still moving.

I poked him with my cane and he turned his head to give me a dirty look. I reached down to pick him up and he actually tried to get away. I caught him and gave him a good "once over". I didn't see anything, and it didn't seem like there were any broken bones. When I put him down, he tried to walk, but stumbled around like he was drunk. I WAS going to put him out of his misery, but decided to wait a bit to see what happened. He staggered off a few feet, then collapsed again. I decided to go get the materials and figure out what to do with him when I got back.

When I returned an hour later, the guy was up and walking around normally, like nothing had happened! He was still ok this evening when I closed up the coop - about 5 hours after the "incident". The nearest thing I can figure out is, when I spun the tires going up the hill, I somehow threw a rock in his direction and I "beaned" him. He was just knocked out for a bit and dazed for awhile afterwards.

Meanwhile...

After I got back from picking up a few things at the other farm, I decided that I had better re-install the gas tank on my tractor. I had it repaired this week, and I am gonna need to use it. I have the tractor parked about 15 feet from the free range coop. While I was working, I kept getting a small "peck" on the back of my legs, shoes, or my arm, when I reached down to pick up a tool. At first, I ignored it, but it was REALLY persistent. It went from a gentle "tap" to a downright "grab and twist". I found out that it was the smallest of the "runts" I had moved to their new house yesterday. She evidently figured that I brought the food every day, so I'd give her some if she pestered me enough. I DID have a small handful of grain with me, so I dribbled it out as discretely as I could so nobody else would see.

She got the whole hand full and then sat down a few feet away to watch. I think she might even have dozed off in the warm sunshine we had this afternoon. She got a rude awakening, though. Two of the cats were "frolicking" and came around the corner of the shed and nearly ran her over. She ran off squawking.

I finished out the day by taking the bottom off of the grain bin feeder I'd scrounged. Now I need to figure out what needs to be done to it to turn it into a storage bin for chicken feed.

About the only other thing exciting that happened today, involved a squirrel. I was heading over to a neighbor's house. As I crossed over a bridge, I noticed a squirrel standing on the edge, about in the middle of the span. He did the normal "which way do I go" squirrel thing - then JUMPED OFF OF THE SIDE OF THE BRIDGE. It is about 20' down to the creek, so I was shocked to see it.

Maybe he was a little "chicken", too.....

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