Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chicken Trauma

Sunday, while we were at church, the neighbor's dog, Libby, alerted them to something going on near the coop. Good neighbor Ed came out to see what all the commotion was about. Apparently a garden snake (harmless and actually beneficial) had gotten into the chicken tractor. The girls chased it under the chicken ramp to the henhouse. He was definitely out-numbered! Ed said it managed to slip back out under the pen. Unfortunately, Ed did not take a picture. Bummer.

Later in the evening... another commotion... it was dark so Cutie and I went out to see what that was all about. I could see the hens lined up along the outer edge of the henhouse cheeping very loudly. They don't perch there a night. Closer inspection showed the heat lamp had fallen and only 3 girls in the henhouse. I couldn't find Petunia anywhere! I looked around a bit and thought maybe I was a bad chicken mom and had left her in the run. Nope. Finally, I moved the waterer. There she was, wedged behind the waterer and soaking wet!

My best guess is that when the heat lamp fell, (that was the initial commotion) they all ran like crazy and Petunia went "ostrich" on us trying to stick her head in the corner behind the waterer... it worked, only she couldn't get it out. That's when the others started calling for help. It's good to have friends.

Sunday night after everyone calmed down, the neighbor's dog is barking again. Out to the henhouse I go. Now let me paint a picture for you... it's dark, really dark. The hillside has no lights, except the red heat lamp in the henhouse. So in the vented parts of the roofline you can always see a warm red glow from inside the henhouse... only tonight, you also see the outline of several hens in the roofline opening! Apparently, the trauma of the lamp falling was enough to make them think the roost wasn't safe and they were all lined up around the top edge of the house casting spooky shadows that freaked out the neighbor's dog. Here's a photo of Petunia walking along the roofline ledge during the day (they hop up there when they hear me coming... awwww!)

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