Friday, January 21, 2011


Not to be a big ol' Debbie Downer on your Friday, but I'm here whining because I'm having some SERIOUS self-doubts about my ability to make this farm work.

There was yet another attack on our hens last night. Billy thankfully caught the &%@#er in the act and saved our hens - all but one. Strawberry, our sassy queen of the flock, is missing. We searched the heck out of the chicken yard, trees and bog last night by the puny light of our headlamps and found no sign of her. I looked some more this morning and still nothing. Looking for a buff-colored chicken in 3+ acres of brown grass & bog is about as fruitful as searching for a needle in a haystack.

The girls are still holding onto hope that "Berry" will come strutting back out from the bog, acting as though nothing happened. I was hoping for that too.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wrestling with my demons Hens

Sometimes, when the wind blows just so it will slam the main door to our chicken coop shut, hard. And when that happens, boy, that door is shut, buddy, and takes a good bit of joggling and yanking to get it open again. Well, the wind was up a bit today, and we were out running errands until after dark, which meant that the hens couldn't get into their hen house at dusk, and needed a plan B night roost.

Two of the hens chose to roost on the top of the chain-link fence that surrounds the chicken yard, and the other four (who typically stick together), were found sound asleep in a large rhododendron right next to the coop.

As I'm sure you know, chickens left exposed overnight are very likely to become some critter's midnight snack, so we really had no choice but to pick them up one by one and stuff them into their hen house. For this noble, lifesaving service, the hens are about as grateful as your cat might be for you giving it a bubble bath.

When a chicken is asleep, it's brain is basically turned off. It remembers to poop and breathe - it is strictly primal. And so, when you attempt to pick up a sleeping chicken, however gentle and prefaced with sweet talk, its brain shrieks Predator! and the body treats you accordingly, as in, a flap/scratch-o-rama ensues. Well tonight I got the goods times six. Trying to move a sleeping chicken is like trying to dress a nine month-old in the dark - furious wiggling, squawking and occasionally, the infliction of minor injuries to the one doing the "helping".

In the end, the sassy six were returned to the safety of their hen house and will probably wake up with no memory whatsoever of their evening ordeal. I, however, will not so soon forget the experience of having the palms of my hands raked by claws, while having both sides of my face slapped frantically and simultaneously by chicken wings. All this hoo-hah for good really good the world's tastiest eggs now and then? Apparently so.