Sunday, May 17, 2009

a man on a mission

That bird you're looking at is Sussex, the Ameraucana rooster. He's one of four honchos in the coop. I snapped this photo while carrying him to the cabin. I had a mission for him: to rescue a pair of hens having a panic attack.

I bought two pullets at the poultry swap a few weekends ago, but to call them timid is a ridiculous understatement. They are beautiful Red Stars, hardy brown egg layers to help replace some of the gals that died this past winter. They were instantly welcomed into the coop, but either their age (15 weeks) or upbringing has made them too scared to leave the hen house. In two weeks they had yet to feel sunlight on their feathers, or chow down on bugs and green grass. I decided to push them out the door.

In an act of tough love I took the young pair and brought them to the hammock's trees. I placed them underneath it, with the other birds and they stood there like statues. Then they shook a little, hunched down, and looked ready to die. Great.

instead of the wilds of the yard, I decided to bring them to the safety of the porch. All my birds love the porch. They can jump on the hay stacks, walk around eating worms and bugs where the rain collects.. it's pretty much the best place for foraging poultry. I brought the hens to the porch and they scurried under it, and that is where they hid out all day.

"We'll Smoke 'em out, Sussex!" I said to my rooster, who had no idea I was going to shove him under the porch in an attempt to coax (or scare) out the new birds. I held the rooster in my arms like a puppy, and then gently launched him at the hens. Which he noticed, clucked at, turned around and left. Thanks buddy.

The hens did eventually come out. Last night near dark one was on a hay stack, and I carried her out to her throngs. This morning when I went out to deliver formula and feed the other was in the same place and was thusly returned as well. Now all the birds are accounted for, and back with the safety of numbers where the local dogs and cats can't scare the hell out of them. (Or the local foxes or coyotes).

It's Sunday morning people. I already called Wayside and had them set aside a copy of the Sunday NY Times for me, a pot of coffee is percolating on the stove, and I'm getting ready to make a quiche to enjoy on the porch to with my Peet's before I take on more hoeing and weeding. Today's another day of hard work in the garden, but I think only suflowers will get seeds in the ground today? The rest of the day is preparing for corn. Sweetcorn pulled off the stalk and then thrown into a fire might be the greatest thing you can eat all summer...

Enjoy your weekends, folks. If you get a chance, set aside some time to put a seed in a pot or play a song on your guitar. Monday comes too soon not to.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with those chickens!

May 17, 2009 at 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could put something in the ground, its been cool and rainey here in Kentucky.

May 17, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Little Ant said...

I know your pain having dealt with "chickens with issues". LOL. Where are those chicken whisperers when you need them?? I love how your garden is coming together so nicely. Kudos.

May 17, 2009 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Rois said...

Our young Wynadotts did the same thing.I opened the gate and the older birds squaked FREEDOM! While those young ones stood at the gate looking out seeming to say"Ummm Are you sure we should be OUT THERE ?" Finally got them out and roaming the yard. Now its time to train them a bit.I call Coop Coop and the older ones go in. Hopefully the Wynadotts catch on soon.
Good Luck.I love your blog.

May 17, 2009 at 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Annie said...

I have a pair of neurotic Welsummer pullets that act the same way. They are about the same age as yours I guess (born Feb 23) and I hope they grow out of it. They're either cringing on the edge of the run or cowering inside the henhouse nearly all the time. I thought it was the breed but maybe introducing younger hens has its risks. My 3rd Welsummer, who seems to be turning out rooster, has no similar issues. Weird birds but you gotta love 'em.

We just turned our 7 wk. ducklings free yesterday and after a great deal of persuasion they finally figured out that the pond is for swimming. They look so great on it.

May 17, 2009 at 12:42 PM  
Anonymous windwoman said...

I pulled the "tough love" ace outta my sleeve a week ago with the 2 red stars we purchased from that same swap vendor...shoved them right out the coop door...I can happily report that therapy has progressed well and they are happily following Icarus, the Frizzle rooster, around hoping they will be his next beneficiary when he scores a "treasure" scratching in the yard...

BTW, we discovered a small animal auction that is scheduled for the 3rd Sunday of every month, just south of Albany, NY. Might be of interest if you need more replacements or even used farm paraphernalia...FYI...

May 17, 2009 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

I can't wait to be able to have chickens! They sound so FUN! After raising two kids (people, not goat!), I think I may be able to handle the strange behaviors of the birds.
Here in Montana, we are just getting to the gardens. I had hoped to get my raised garden prepped yesterday, but mom called and wanted me to go through some old cookbooks and take many of them home. That was FUN! Nothing like recipes from the 1920's and 40's to inspire some good 'ol home cookn'!
Garden will be done next weekend (I hope!).
Keep up the good work! You are my inspriation to not fall into procrastination as I have a tendancy to do! LOL

May 18, 2009 at 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your story of the hens!Hopefully they will become used to their new home in the near future and lay some great eggs!...debbie

May 20, 2009 at 9:12 AM  

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