Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's Raining Chicks Part I

This is an old post from December 2008 that I decided to post again. The events described actually happened in October 2008. Someone recently mentioned this post to me so I thought I would repost it for those who have not seen it before. (I'll confess I've also been really busy the last few days and don't have the energy to write a new post this evening).
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That title is meant to be sung to the tune of "It's Raining Men." I mentioned in one of my posts in early October about the chicken rodeo we had. I never did fulfill the requests to explain what I was talking about. I know I've mentioned before about the stray flock of chickens that took up residence on the farm a few years ago. Of course they lay eggs and we have some chicks hatch several times a year. In case you didn't know this chickens are not the smartest creatures in the world.

One Thursday in early October, the 9th to be exact, I was finishing up morning feeding and barn duties. As I was walking towards the barn from one of the pastures I could hear a chorus of loud chirping coming from the barn. I knew what that sound meant, a new flock of chicks had hatched. Chicks are little but they are amazingly loud!

Instead of heading into the house I decided to go back to the barn and try to find mommy hen and her chicks. What is cuter than brand new chicks anyway? The ruckus sounded like it was coming from directly inside the barn, and as I walked in it sounded like mass pandemonium. I looked up and saw chicks right at the edge of the loft, precipitously close to falling down onto the concrete aisle. They were at the edge because mommy hen decided she'd had enough of the loft and was hungry and thirsty. Stupid mommy hen didn't realize that her hours old chicks couldn't follow her that easily!!!

I decide to go up in the loft to try and relocate them to a safer location. I cautiously approach them in the loft saying "it's ok chickies, I'll save you." Clearly they didn't understand me and one chick decides to make the jump. I bolt back downstairs to check on his status and he survived his suicide leap down to the concrete aisle. I managed to catch him and deposited him in an empty stall full of fluffy shavings for safe keeping.

Unfortunately his leap caused havoc amongst the remaining chicks in the loft. They have scattered everywhere. Some are making the leap down to the aisle, others are running around in the loft and make the leap down through the hay drops into the stalls. There were two horses in the barn at the time, Asterik and Faune. Asterik was a brand new arrival and I'm sure he wondered exactly what dump his mom had sent him too as chicks fell down into his stall. He very carefully avoided stepping on them, as did Faune.

First I focused on the chicks in the stalls with horses. I caught them and deposited them with the original suicide jumper in one of the empty stalls. Then I started rounding up the chicks in the aisle. I'm sure I looked like I was doing my best Three Stooges impersonation all on my own. I managed by some miracle to corner and catch all of the chicks running around like crazed things in the aisle. I could still hear one very loud, peeping, distressed chick. I finally located him on the other side of the fence, on the neighboring property. I couldn't climb the fence because A) the tree line is too thick and b) the fence is no-climb mesh and it really is not possible to climb it.

Jason had left for a meeting and I called his cell phone in tears and explained my predicament. Of course he has no helpful advice and was laughing his butt off at me as I sobbed on the phone. For some background information I really don't like the adult chickens, but have an incredible fondness for baby animals and I realize it is something of a juxtaposition to be crying over something I won't even like in a few months . . .

I sat down on one of the benches in front of the barn, quietly crying over the fate of this poor little chick, terrified and separated from mommy and siblings, all alone in the world. Then, a few minutes later he wanders back to my side of the fence. I commence chasing him around the barn and finally manage to scoop him up, triumphantly depositing him in the stall with his eleven other siblings.

I then block the chicks into the corner of the stall with some buckets, open the door, and proceed to herd mommy hen (who had been absolutely useless in rounding up her flock by the way) into the stall with them. She repays my kindness, care and concern by attacking me when I go to remove the bucket barricade so the chicks can wander the stall. How dare I approach her chicks! Did I mention that chickens are stupid!! So I fetch a broom and proceed to swat mommy hen away as she attacks me while removing the bucket barricade.

I then call Jason again to let him know I managed to reunite the last chick with mommy and siblings. Triumphant and satisfied I went inside to eat lunch.

To be continued . . .

3 comments:

ezra_pandora said...

LOL!! Oh my. You had me rolling picturing all that happening. I would have been freaking out, holding my shirt up as a little catch-all for the suicide jumpers. Sheesh. What madness. lol Too funny.

Holly said...

You sound like me and my quest to protect all house wren nests (and the subsequent hatchings) around my place. I've become very attuned to the different wren "voices" and what each means. I spent much of a Sunday this past summer collecting up little newly-denested baby birds and putting them up in a big walnut tree in my backyard so they could follow their parents to the new nest. It's a good thing that wrens don't mind humans touching their babies. Or, maybe it's that they just don't mind ME touching them!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Well, I definitely know that the hens don't care if you touch their chicks. I just with they were a little smarter and didn't need me to constantly round up their children for them!