Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Guess what?

Chicken butt!

Chickens eating corn

I'm sad to say that the chickens' numbers are dwindling. Recently the barn has gone from nine or ten chickens, to only five. They found one dead one morning recently, of unknown causes, and they've found telltale feathers in the pasture — presumably from the others.

There was one night recently where I found a chicken hanging out in the cross ties, scolding me quite aggressively — pissed off at being locked out of the coup, I think. I tried to get her to follow me to the coup so that I could let her in, as it was really cold that night, but without food to bribe her with I didn't get far. I hope she didn't get eaten, or freeze to death, that night — I would feel really bad for not trying harder!

The next night, there was a different chicken in the cross ties. I walked into the building in pitch darkness, and just as I stepped up to the tack room door, I heard frantic chicken sounds. I froze, worried I'd stepped on her, then inched forward to turn on the light. It turned out she was just sleeping in the corner, trying to stay warm, and was probably warning me so that I wouldn't step on her!

I really like the chickens. It surprises me how much personality they have. Just this afternoon, when I pulled up they all came running up to the car. I opened the door, and they all made their little sounds and stared at me meaningfully (it was feeding time). One even went behind the car door and then bent her neck to look up at me from underneath.

They can also be very pissy when they want to be, like the chicken that told me in no uncertain terms how annoyed she was to be out in the cold the other night. The other day, I watched another blocking a magpie from exiting the chicken coop — apparently she was annoyed he was in there, so she let him know it by refusing to let him out.

I hope the remaining chickens are able to stay alive for a while longer, as I really enjoy seeing them around the barn!

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4 Comments:

At December 15, 2009 at 3:07 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That's neat that they run up to your car to greet you (or demand food). I've only known chickens who either run away at the sight of a human or attack. When I was having Bombay trained at one facility, the trainer's dogs would run underneath my car as I was driving down the long driveway. I had to get out, call the dogs out from under my car, pick them up, and put them all inside the cab of my truck before finishing my drive down the driveway into a parking space. It was a bit annoying at first, but after a while I worked out a system to avoid squashing those dogs. Then my trainer brought a bunch of kittens in and they started jumping off the railings onto my horse's back. That's when I stopped taking riding lessons there. I didn't think the trainer was very interested in her students' safety.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 3:20 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

No, these chickens are pretty friendly. They won't let me touch them, but they'll follow me around if there is no food out for them. Panama is also getting used to them hanging out with us in the cross ties. They are very talkative with me, too, probably because I mimic their sounds right back to them. I have tons of conversations with the chickens -- too bad I have no idea what I'm saying. ;o)

The kittens jumping on the horses' backs cracked me up. Definitely not something you want happening when you are riding, but it sounds cute. If I ever get horse property, I am going to get Panama a kitten. :o)

 
At December 16, 2009 at 6:14 PM, Blogger Rising Rainbow said...

Feathers and missing chickens sounds like something is hunting them. If that's the case, they'll all likely disappear. I hate when that happens. It's why we don't have little critters here.....too many cyotes live in the woods behind me.

 
At December 17, 2009 at 8:50 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Rising Rainbow, the ones that disappeared all did so during a short period of time, during the cold spell that we had recently. I think a predator just discovered that they were here. The owners did rig the gate since then so that the chickens could get in and out but a predator couldn't, but no chicken is going to be able to outrun a coyote or a fox in order to get in there! Poor chickens. I'm hoping that whatever killed them was simply desperate during the cold spell and will go back to hunting whatever it is they ate before the weather got cold.

 

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