Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Downside of Downsizing...

Well I had planned this sweet post about how much we love having our chickens...and telling you all about the different kinds we have and what benefit's each have shown. So yesterday I took some lovely photos of all the hens, babies (well teenagers really) and roosters...I spent time petting our Barred Rocks. They are some of my favorites. They are not skittish and will come right up to you. They are a pretty black and white. Two days ago we let out some of our Barred Rocks out to free range. It was so fun, they follow me around begging for food while I am by the coop, they tend to stay close to the coop so far. They will eat right out of your hand. I had let four total out and they seemed pretty darn happy about it.
So after playing with the Barred Rocks, I went to take photos of our Jungle Red "teenagers" for you. They have been free ranging for about 2 weeks now. They are a great bird to free range. They are very skittish and run from anything so they are not as easy for predators to catch. (Or the neighbors dog as it may be) It was super hard to get them, because every time I would get close, off they would run. For awhile they were doing the little "chicken dance" as I call it. Trying to figure out who's the boss. It's the funniest thing I've ever seen. But they were behind some tall grass and no good photo's were coming from there. I finally got a few by part of the garden.
So off I went to the house, pleased with how things were going with the chickens that had been let loose. This morning I got up...happy to go see my chicken's. I can not explain to you how wonderful they are. Like any pet they make you so happy, and better these provide you with food. It's one of the best parts of my day, especially seeing the Jungle Red's running all over the property. They stay closer to the house so I watch them roam around and dance all day long. I think for myself that there is nothing like seeing them. It just makes you happy.
We have 9 Jungle Red teens...but this morning I only saw 7 roaming. That's not abnormal for them, to go off in little groups and socialize so I really didn't think anything of it. We were headed into town so I didn't pay as much attention to them as I normally do in the morning. I didn't even take Nikolas because I knew he would slow me down. Trying to get an 18 month old to hurry is well I think you know! I made my way across the field to the coop and didn't see my friendly Barred Rocks...I thought hmmmm, maybe they wandered off to the grown over area behind the coop. That's where I would go at night if I were out. Well as soon as I got to the fence I knew I was wrong...two of them were back over the fence. They are big enough to fly over, and there were little black and white feathers EVERYWHERE! I ran into the coop, but no chickens. They were gone. I cried a bit, and figured a vulture had got them. It's a risk with free ranging. They are friendly and curious birds. I fed the rest of the chickens as normal and left the two in the coop. I figured they had a scare, but as you can see still are curious! (The funny one is a White Crested Black Polish Hen)
Well after we got home from town, we saw a note on the door. It was the neighbor...apparently she found a dead chicken, our dead chicken. Her beagle had run loose last night. I went through the yard to find the "teens" and check their water...and no chickens...I looked all over and finally saw three hiding in an overgrown area they use as their safe spot. I had to chase them out to count. That's it...THREE....I was so upset. Ma went over to the neighbor and apparently she had found a little one dead, not the big Barred Rocks. She had no idea that the dog attacked so many. Don found four more hiding little chickens thankfully...but we still lost 5 chickens. Just like that we lost two hen's and three roosters. Needless to say I had myself a little cry...I know it's how it is...the food chain, and cycle of life and all that, but man...those were my chickens!
As a side thought which I will talk about more later....we have a rather LARGE Rooster (He's called a Jersey Giant)that will solve some of these problems...He is just a baby now but when he grows he will scare off predators...More about him later!


  1. I am so sorry about your baby chickens I would cry too.. you get so attached to your animals.

  2. I kept telling myself it was silly to cry...but you just can't help it. They are like part of the family. Thanks Andrea