Wednesday, July 16, 2008

vagrants

What should I do with them? I mean the dozen and a half vagrant chicks found squatting up in the loft of our barn?

No one invited them, I mean the chicks, or for that matter, there mothers to live in our loft.

This wasn’t a planned hatching.

(I'm sorry, I'm not in the business of raising baby chicks).

No one invited anyone to be up there. They weren’t given permission. No rent was paid.

The eggs the chicks hatched from, in my mind, would have been much better served if, three weeks earlier, (and egg go from freshly laid to baby chick, if I remember correctly, in just about twenty-one days). they had been found and put in an egg carton and sent out with the egg shares.

But, now, there they are. Vagrants. Squatters. And really, really innocent, cute, little defenseless creatures.

What should I do with them?

Should I take them down, the chicks and their misbehaving mothers (two hens had been surreptitiously laying and sitting on eggs up in the attic) and put them out in the hen yard?

Are the chicks old enough to go out into the world of hens, roosters and pecking orders?

NOT TO MENTION PREDATORS!

Just last week I moved the half a dozen geese we had been raising in the barn up to the asparagus bed.

The next morning the young geese were gone.

Disappeared. (Except for a few feathers and a wing). And these weren't little birds either. While they weren't full grown geese yet they were already standing almost twenty some inches tall.

In other words. it’s a cruel, cruel world out there. A mammal eat bird, or is that bird eat bird world.

And birds too small to defend themselves (and I think most chicks are) often end up as the main course in someone’s meal.

But we haven’t, as far as I can tell, been losing that many chickens, or guineas, or turkeys just as long as they stay where they should. In other words, as long as they stay inside the electric, anti-predator fence that's surrounds the pasture the mobile chicken house (you know the chicken house built up on a large trailer) sits in.

For the summer the mobile chicken house is parked under the tall poplar trees below our house.

With the chicken house surrounded by the mobile electric fence along with our Great Pyrenees close by seems to be keeping the predators at bay.

The geese, though,while surrounded by an electric fence were up on the hill in the asparagus bed and much further from the house and gp's

What do you suppose it was that came in and dispatched half a dozen birds in one night?

The critter, the one that got the geese, most have found its way through the double row of deer fencing (this is woven plastic with holes only an inch or so in diameter) that stands almost ten feet tall.

Did it climb over, fly over? dig under or tear a whole in it?

And once in side, what did it do about the electric fence? Jump it or just tough it out and get a rather unsettling shock?

This is someone that also took its meal home with it because it left very few feathers behind.

Hmmm.

Leigh Hauter

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