December 10, 2005

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Chickens in the snow...

Well, we did get snow yesterday, and how! I had let our chickens out to free-range in the morning as usual, and even as the snow piled up I didn't give them another thought. I should have!

We have a dozen hens, seven Rhode Island reds, three barred rocks and two aracunas, the ones who lay the colored eggs. Or at least they're supposed to, anyway! End of the day, with the snow winding down, Bert started the snowblowing. I walked down to check that the girls had gone into their house for the night. Eight had, four were missing. Oh-oh.

One barred rock was huddled on the back doorstep and I was able to herd her down to the house. One aracuna was perched on top of a planter on the deck where I captured her and carried her home. The second aracuna was on top of a bird feed than hangs from a six-foot pole. I foundered over, caught her and carried her, too, back home for the night. I counted, then counted again. Nope, still one RI red missing.

I searched under the arborvitae, in the old turkey pen, and finally under the back deck where I found her shivering. She wouldn't come out when I rattled grain so I crawled under and shooed her out. But she panicked and tried to fly away only to land in the foot of soft new snow, completely immobile, terribly cold, and very scared. I was able to get her and once more trek down to the chicken house.

As of this morning, none were the worse for the first serious snowfall of the season. BUT, from now on, we'll only let them out into their pen for the day!

Back to Christmas present ideas the next time we visit, okay! Mary

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