Chicken Chronicles Returns, part 2
JUNE 12, 2012
The seeds and starters are planted and doing nicely. The best thing about chickens is that they will “mow” and till a yard. They took care of all the weeds. The only thing needed was adding compost and double digging. I now have two small raised beds.
Thing is, Muhammad saw two chickens on the garden side earlier today! He hemmed them in and scared them with the rake (they are deathly frightened of the metal sound it makes; plastic bags rustling have the same effect) and then forcibly threw them over to the other side, hoping they’ll be too afraid to do it again. I reminded him they are rabid opportunists and it will take much more than that.
The big question is how are they getting over?
Hoppy, by the way, has begun to limp on her bad leg. It seems to be twisted inward and might hurt when she walks on it, but she’s a trooper…it’s slowly healing.
Muhammad saw Floppy out and about eating today. She ran back inside the coop when she saw him.
JUNE 30, 2012
I’m seriously considering killing those chickens. I’ve wanted to grow my garden for months now, and they are still getting over to the other side! I’ve never seen them even look up or try to fly over, so they must have found a crack or hole, somewhere.
During fajr prayer we heard the chickens leave the coop and in short order some ended up close to the house. Sure enough, two Reds were in the garden biting off bits of my transplants, and scratching up my seeds!
Muhammad told me earlier they squeeze through a small hole we had to cut out for the hose to reach their watering pail. I didn’t believe him, but when I ran out there–with intent to kill –they scrambled back through this sliver of a space between a brick placed to close off the hose opening. One panicked and couldn’t find it, so I had M throw her over the fence after terrorizing her a few minutes.
Hopefully, the plastic bucket cover and two more bricks stacked to keep it in place will do.
I haven’t seen Floppy for awhile. Muhammad says she’s looking pretty haggard, but is alive in the coop…
JULY 12, 2012
After my morning walk, I decided to give the girls leftover rice and salad. As usual, they all met me at that fence, all except one. She sat by the feed dish with her back to me, but turned her head to the right and cawed. Her sisters ate everything– gouging each other in competition–in less than a minute. But she never moved. I figured she wasn’t hungry.
Later, when Muhammad went to collect the eggs, he said she was in the same place trying to get up. The sun was setting and she wanted to go inside the coop, but couldn’t. She looked to him and clucked for help… He picked her up, and she couldn’t move either leg.
We decided to separate the new Sick Chick from the others. When we placed water and food in the cage she practically inhaled it all. Poor thing was famished and probably hadn’t had anything all day.
I have a feeling this time it’s Merak’s.
JULY 13, 2012
This morning we found Sick Chick 2 still unable to move and no longer hungry. Her breathing was labored. We’ll keep her in the cage a bit longer and see what happens. A group of hens surround her cage.
In the meantime, another chicken lay in the same spot we found Sick Chick the day before. She lay there right by the food, unmoving and uninterested. When I went toward her she didn’t seem she could move either, until I gently pushed her with my foot. She squawked and ran away.
Muhammad says that later on she was laying back in the same spot, but did eventually go into the coop.
JULY 14, 2012
From God we come and to God we return. Sick Chick 2 died during the night.
Muhammad buried her to the south of one of garden beds. She’ll eventually turn into some good compost.
The chickens, of course, gathered around Muhammad as he removed the dead sick chick from the cage. As they edged closer, he had to shoo them away in case this was Marek’s (as I mentioned earlier, there are many diseases that can kill chickens). I figure if it was, our hens are doomed. We’re down to 17.
Floppy was outside, but stood back from the crowd. She still doesn’t eat except when absolutely hungry, preferring to spend her day egg sitting. I get the distinct impression the rest of the hens will not let her eat when they do. She gets the scraps.
Now that it’s warm again, we’re getting 9-10 eggs per day.
JULY 17, 2012
The last few days we’ve only gotten one egg. Muhammad found some cracked on the ground, and actually witnessed one of the Reds stomp an egg open and eat its contents. What now?
Could Floppy have gotten a backbone and pushed the eggs out of the nest in a jealous outburst? Have the other hens decided they rather destroy and eat their eggs rather than Floppy have them; sabotaging production because they’re mad at Floppy (broody hens after all do not lay eggs at all)? Are they simply trying to snap her out of it?
Asiila Imani is a doula/midwife middle aged mama of two mainly homeschooled boys. She is also my auntie:-)