Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring HAS OFFICIALLY Arrived.....

I keep telling my wife that the first SURE sign of spring is when I hear a Western Meadowlark. Today I HEARD ONE! It still might snow, and we still might get some cold temps, but if the 'Larks are here, then it's SPRING!

I have a little escape artist in the barn. I was out there working today, when I heard one of the moms beller like something was wrong. When I went to investigate, the first thing I noticed was her kid outside of the pen. She was still in the barn, just not with mom.

I knew right off where she snuck out. The gate to the pen has part of a cattle/hog combo panel on it. She slid through one of the bigger holes. I foiled her plans, though. I put another piece of panel on the gate - this one has 2x6 holes, so she'd have to be pretty good to get through it!

The other two kids are only a day younger then she is, but they stick close to mom. They COULD get out of their pen, but haven't figured it out yet. They wouldn't get far, though, just into the next pen. I still have 13 hay bales in the way - otherwise I'd fix it so they couldn't get out.

My chickens never fail to amaze me! They always have a knack for doing odd things, or getting themselves into trouble but, since it has warmed up a bit, they seem to get into even MORE "situations".

This afternoon, I was in the barn and decided to give the chickens a handful of corn. I opened the barrel, reached in and grabbed a handful. I left the lid just sitting on it, instead of pushing it all the way on. My plan was to give the corn to the birds, then come back and give a little bit to those pesky goats.

While I was getting the corn, I noticed a hen keeping a close eye on me. She was standing on the barrel next to the corn one (about 6" away). I left with my corn and proceeded to go out the front of the barn to toss it to the chickens. In an instant, I felt like I was in the middle of that Alfred Hitchcock movie.....

There were birds everywhere! All of them were jocking for position and eagerly snapping up any kernel not already swallowed. I laughed as I turned back to inside the barn.

That's when I saw her -
I didn't know it when I left, but the hen that was watching me stayed behind when I left. She wedged her pointy little skull into the opening between the lid and the lip of the barrel. She managed to get her whole head in before she lost her footing on the barrel and fell between the barrels. Unfortunately, her head was still stuck under the lid!

I was only gone for about 30-40 seconds, so she couldn't have been hanging like that very long. To make matters worse, another hen, who had stayed behind, had jumped up onto the lid, and was standing there like nothing was going on. I got to the situation as soon as I could and "popped" the poor girl loose (I lifted the lid). She IMMEDIATELY fell to the floor with a thud, and lay there, motionless. I feared the worst as I picked her up. She was still alive, but REALLY disoriented. I massaged her neck and sides, and tried to make sure there were no broken bones.

After 2-3 minutes of massage, she started to regain her "senses" and wanted down. She seemed no worse for the wear. I guess she just "blacked out" from lack of air. She was still ok at about 7:45 this evening. Good thing I was coming back, and not heading for the house.

The goats are still waiting for their handout.....

I took the trailer I am working on over to a neighbor's house again today. We welded the last two things on to make it ready for a floor. Hopefully, I will be able to get at it this next week.

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