Thursday, February 5, 2009

CSI: Paradigm Farms

I have talked about our stray flock of chickens before. They took up residence here about seven years ago. I have what would best be described as a love/hate relationship with the chickens. You might recall my frantic chick rescue that I wrote about: It's Raining Chicks Part I and It's Raining Chicks Part II. The chicks are precious and too cute for words and I enjoy watching the chickens peck around sometimes.
On the other hand they drive me crazy at feeding times when I am trying to prepare feed. I swear I have pulled muscles swatting the chickens away from the feedbags as I am getting feed ready. I turn my back for a couple of seconds to scoop some more feed or something and the chickens I had just swatted away would be right back at the feedbags. It got so out of hand at one point this summer that I would have a lunge whip by the feedroom door as I was getting feed ready. And yes, we put out scratch feed for them every day so they weren't hungry, in fact these things were FAT!
The chickens hanging out with the goats in one of the pastures
Two chicks that Jason saved. They were separated from mom and wandering around out in the rain. He dried them with a hair dryer and and put them in the cooler with a fluffy bed of shavings until the next morning when we re-united them with mom. I don't think she knew they were missing.

It is interesting to observe chicken society. I have found it to be quite ruthless. There is a patriarch rooster who arrived with the original bunch and is still around today. There was also a guinea hen that arrived with the original flock that finally died a couple of years ago. My god that thing was LOUD. Anyway, the patriarch rooster is vicious and has many murders under his belt. If another rooster or chicken looks at him wrong, doesn't do as he wishes, or for that matter if he just slept wrong you are going to die. I do not enjoy finding the sad remnants of one of his rampages. I keep waiting for him to die but it seems he is going to live forever.
The patriarch rooster. I think he is more like "the Don" - you know like the head of a mob family. He is ruthless.

The flock had nine hens and three roosters including the patriarch rooster as of about two months ago. As of this week we have one hen and two roosters. And no bodies. Hence the title of this post of CSI: Paradigm Farms. What the heck happened to the chickens???

One of the other roosters. So far he is still with us.

I've posted this picture before but it is too Green Acres-ish not to post again. My dad called me from his cell phone to come out of my house and look. I came out and looked. I saw the rooster catching a ride down the driveway on the Gator. Only on this farm!! The rooster just stood there riding along down the driveway with my dad and Bugle the dog. Crazy.

Jason's theory is that it was too cold this winter and they died from cold. My response is that they've made it through every other winter and come on, we've had snow on the ground less than 24 hours total this winter. Also where are the bodies??


My dad's theory is that they have fallen prey to a hungry hawk. I guess I can buy that but I usually notice when the hawks are flying around and keeping an eye on things, and I have actually seen this massive hawk swoop down out of the sky one time and grab a young chicken. Jason and I were standing in the grass in front of the barn when it happened literally right in front of us. I burst into tears while Jason stood there sort of stunned for a minute and then started laughing at me. I have not noticed hawks scoping things out and since we're down eight chickens I think I would have at least noticed them at some point in the last few weeks.

I've posted this one before in one of the It's Raining Chicks posts. Jason after the chicken rodeo with two of his rescues.

My theory: they moved on for whatever reason. Maybe they decided they didn't like it here anymore. Maybe they were sick of the crazy, mean rooster. Maybe someone else offered them more money or a better benefits package. They simply showed up here so who's to say they would not have moved on again? Jason had a hearty laugh when I told him my theory.

To summarize we are down eight chickens and no bodies have been found. I didn't think I would care but I will admit I am a bit sad about it. I would like to know what happened to them though.


Melissa said...

Dissapearing chickens. . .
Again, love your photos, especially the "Don" rooster.
Thanks for answering my beet pulp queries, and yes, I must say, your name is pretty great, too!
So the filly we got is pretty skinny, but not literally skin and bones. You can see her hips and ribs, and her neck is pretty thin, though. She may have been wormed, I don't know, but am definitely planning on doing it anyhow. Before we got her she was eating moderate amounts of sort of moldy grass hay. As for now her name is Blackberry, but my four year old daughter is determined to re name her Flicka, or Black beauty (She's a bay!) or Sleeping Beauty or Ariel. . . So, we'll see!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Melissa it sounds like your four year old definitely has the horse gene. She's clearly been around all of the right books by her list of names!

If Blackberry (I really like that name) had been eating before and not completely starved then yes I would feel comfortable adding some soupy beet pulp. You are probably planning to do it this way anway but I would wait a couple of weeks before worming her.

ezra_pandora said...

lol!! CSI on the farm. "the Don" is really pretty too. We used to have a duck that we raised from an egg from a science project in my 7th grade class. After it got big started finding dead birds all over our yard, with no heads. All the bodies were there, but they were all headless. It was really creepy to think we had a carnivor duck. lol

And I think, if you don't mind (I'm asking permission here), can I post a link to your "It's Raining Chicks" stories for one of my future friday funny posts? I like to direct people to other blogs that I like with funny posts if I can, and I know it was traumatizing at the time, but that story was pretty funny. If not, that's ok, let me know :))

ZionFarm said...

We are actually ordering MORE chickens this spring. They come in the mail in a box with holes in it! I am not a fan of the chickens either but my mother loves them.

Im thinking of sending our last guinea hen to you.... you sound like you are missing yours quite a bit.:)

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Ezra feel free to link to my It's Raining Chicks posts. At the time I saw zero humor in the situation but now I look back and think it is hysterical - especially my typical over reaction!

Jessie if you send that guinea I will steal Hoffy back in the middle of the night. That thing was so incredibly loud it was unreal.

Can't wait to see your mail order chicks. I hope my dad never realizes that is an option, then we're really in trouble!!

Sully said...

I love FRESH CHICKEN eggs Yummm. I miss having the chickens. I hope to have my own someday.

Vivian V said...

Melissa- I have one word for you: FOX. As a chicken owner for the last 15 years, I have lost many chickens and guineas. I have also been attacked by a vicious rooster. I have lost many chickens but none to the cold. As a matter of fact, we lost one chicken for 11 days in the middle of a blizzard in Va. and she returned unscathed. I have had chickens killed by dogs and by raccoons. But the only chickens I have had killed that literally disappeared with no corpses were taken by a fox. They literally take the chickens to their dens and eat them. That is my theory. By the way, I love your rooster. We used to have an Aracauna who was a rapist and he met his fate with a hatchet.
-Vivian, Apollo's Mom

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Vivian, that is an interesting thought about a fox. Since our dogs are terrified of the chickens courtesy of the Don I am confident it is not any of the dogs. I wonder if maybe we have a fox around now especially with the new construction on what used to be the big farm next to us. By the way I can't believe your hen made it eleven days in a blizzard!!

Since you obviously know way more about chickens than I do would you have any guesses as to what kind of rooster the Don is?

For that matter does anyone have any guesses? I have no idea what the different kinds of chickens are or how many different kinds. I know of Rhode Island Reds but obviously (even to me!) he isn't one of those!

Sport's Mom said...

I have twelve hens and one rooster. We keep ours locked up all the time since we have so many predators so I don't know what to tell you as we have never had this happen before. I do know this though. If I lost one of my guys we'd probably have to have me committed because I'd go insane! I LOVE my chickens. Sometimes I sit there for hours just watching them doing their chicken things. They even have names. Every single one! The rooster is Rhett as in Rhett Butler, and the hens are Katie Scarlett, Nevaeh, Hera, Sophia, Athena, Granite, Chelsea, Fuzzy, Jessie, Jasmine, Emily, and Gertrude.

Yes, I KNOW I'm Crazy!

-Victoria Sophia

Anonymous said...

Melissa- My guess is that the "Don" is a mixed breed with Jungle Fowl. The Jungle Fowl have the long dark green tail feathers but they are smaller and thinner than the Don and the ones Pete and I had were a darker rust colored brown. I had a Jungle Fowl rooster who got into the bathroom one day when we lived in Va. and hung out there from lunch time till I came home from work after 5pm. I totally freaked out when I saw him there. I still don't know how he got inside!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Vivian - I want to know how you got the rooster back OUT of the bathroom?? I could not exactly walk up to the Don and pick him up and carry him outside. If I tried I have no doubt that one of us would die . . . probably me!

~*~Amy~*~ said...

Did I ever mention that I LOVE that picture of Jason with the chicks.....although he looks like he might squish them with his hands & eat them!