Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Random Bits

Elias is sick today.  He woke up throwing up, and this time I don't think it's because he was spinning around too fast.  Every 20 minutes like clockwork.  This will prove to be a bit of a logistical dilema as Silje and David have their choir practice followed by their choir concert tonight.  I have a strict 24 hour-sick-kid-stays-home rule.  By that, I mean, 24 hours once he feels better...which is not now.

The older kids have homeschool group this afternoon too, which I feel better about skipping when someone is sick.  A big end of the year concert tugs at my heart a bit, though.  I think this time I'll ask Grandma to bring them to practice, and I'll send Knut into the concert.  I'm sure he'll offer to stay home, but this time I think I will.  I've at least heard them practice.  I'm so bummed over it.

I was going to tell the story about one of our chickens dying.  It was one of the black ones, which are my favorite.  I call them "the Rubies" because their combs are a striking red.

I left the coop open overnight accidentally.  I do this a lot, so I guess I thought nothing of it when I realized what I had done, and foolishly went to bed anyway because I didn't want to go outside in my pajamas.

The next day when we were in the yard, I saw a large pile of black feathers.  Some friends of ours were over for a campfire where we roasted some hot dogs, and they have chickens as well (our friends, not the hot dogs.)  Anyway, she pointed out to me that it was just the pretty tail feathers and whenever she had a chicken killed by a predator, there were wing feathers, and a few body parts.  This was merely a pile of fluff.  She supposed that something was chasing it, and it probably fled into the woods.  It was probable it would come back, sans tail feathers.

That night I was very sure to close them in just at dusk.  I counted them, and one of the four black Rubies were still missing.  It was dusk, though, so I shut  the door.

In the morning, before church, we sent David out to let the chickens loose for the day, and to collect eggs.  As he set the egg basket on the table, I asked if he had counted the black ones for me.  (I wanted to be sure because it was a bit dark when I counted the night before.)  He said that there were 4 black ones, but one was dead.

"What?" I asked.  "What do you mean one is dead.  In the coop?"
"Nope.  Under the slide.  It wasn't there last night, but there's a dead chicken under the slide now.  The other 3 black ones came out of the coop. Can I go play chess?"

Yup.  He's a farm kid.

Now, I'm certain I didn't see a dead chicken under the slide when we were out the night before.  Knut buried the chicken, which was mostly in tact, he said.  Something did not eat it all.  I don't know what predator got it, but it was my stupid fault that I didn't shut them in at night.  I can't tell you how much I've been kicking myself over it.  Why did I have to remember after I had climbed into bed, and why did I not get up and shut them in after I had remembered?

So we're down to 16 chickens.  The pro to having them free range is that they cannot easily be cornered.  If a predator does come, they rarely get more than one.  In enclosed structures, I've heard of a coyote wiping out a whole flock.  Still, they should be shut in at night.  Our coop is night and tight and safe.  Well, when the door is closed, that is.

Egg count is now rotating between 14 egg, and 16 egg days.  We're seriously overrun with them.  It's thrilling.

4 comments:

Mom said...

Oh bummer about Elias being sick! I'm so glad you were at least able to hear the kids practice their choir songs. I hope Elias gets well soon and that his illness doesn't spread!

annalise + andrew said...

We're getting chickens soon! 5 layers (complete with coop and everything!!) from a friend who is moving and can't have chickens at the new house. SO excited to start getting those eggs!!!

(And sorry about E being sick. :o( It is so hard to watch our little ones suffer AND to miss out on life as it goes by! Praying for him and you!!)

in the coop said...

I don't know which part of your chicken was left, but many times you can find out what killed the chicken by what was eaten/left behind. http://www.raising-chickens.org/chicken-predators.html
has some good info about it.

Robert said...

Such a great article which The pro to having them free range is that they cannot easily be cornered. If a predator does come, they rarely get more than one. Thanks a lot for posting.