Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chicken update

Well, the last four months have been full of LOTS of learning about chickens. I guess I knew adding a totally new animal to our mini-farm would be challenging, but the biggest challenges we faced were totally not on my radar.

Challenge #1:  AKA Heinz. The best, most trainable dog in the world. It took 4 chickens, 4 incidents, before he really figured out that he MUST NOT play with chickens until they stop playing back. He knows it now. I trust that, if exposed to a chicken, he will resist as long as his still-semi-puppy nature will allow. Think the kid and the marshmallow test.  I think the chicken would have at least 15-30 minutes unmolested. Not that I'm willing to test that theory and risk another Incident.

Challenge #2: Random possum attack. One chicken down several months ago. Hasn't been back. My theory is the dogs might kill the chickens, but they also scare away predators. So that's sort of a win, right?

Challenge #3: This adorable puppy, RollyPoly. You wouldn't know he's a chicken killing machine, would you? He looks all adorable and sweet. He's cuddly and fluffy, too. And he REALLY likes to play with the chickens. Until they stop moving. Because really, they are just fluffy squeaker toys, right? Oh, man. He got in the pen with a new batch of chicks through a hole in the fence we didn't know about. It was truly awful. Our fences are so much better now. He's also starting to respond to training, so there is hope he'll calm down once he gets out of the young puppy stage.

 Challenge #4: Random chicken stupidity. I forget what all the chickens have done to get themselves killed.  We've lost at least a couple to sheer birdbrained stupidity (and that's not including the ones that flew over the fence to play with the dogs. Fence is taller now). I'm ALWAYS sad. I ALWAYS cry when I find one. But at the same time--seriously? How many crazy things can a bird do?? That said, we always fix whatever it was that the chicken did and never loose two to the same stupid thing. At least we are learning, even if they are still birdbrains.

And, for all that, we still haven't gotten our first egg. Though it is really hot here right now, and they are still a couple weeks out from normal egg producing time.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a tale! My theory is "chickens die" and therefore we hatch about 40 each year just to keep up the flock. We've had some predators, some just random deaths of a perfectly healthy looking chicken, one or two chicks lost to "over handling" and one almost gone to a neighbors dog but I chased it down and recovered the hen!