Play Day

When it’s cold, the chickens don’t get to go out much, mainly because Vince or I have to sit outside with them and keep the corralled so they don’t go wandering off to the neighbors’ yards or into the woods, never to be found again.

On sunny, fairly warm and dry days, we let them out and they’re always so happy to run around and play.

They find bugs, and scratch in the dirt and then they flap their wings and fly. Whatever one does, they all do.

There’s the ugly chicken with just one tail feather.  Poor thing!

I wish we lived where they could run loose all the time but then a coyote or hawk would probably eat them and I’d want to go back to keeping them in the run.  I wonder how long it would take for a city girl to have farm animals before she didn’t get upset at the thought of losing a chicken or a cow or a goat.  For some people, that’s just the cycle of life but I’m just not there yet.  I would be so sad if something happened to one of my chickens.  Heck, I still have the mean chicken in the freezer and she’s been in there for almost a year.  Guess it’s time to dispose of her . . there’s no way she’s going to be served for dinner around here.


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    I’ve trained my chickens to a bell. When they were young and first getting cracked corn for a treat, I’d ring the bell. Now when I see them wonder too far, I ring the bell and they (and the dogs) all come running and squawking anxious to get their treat. And it provides the 2 leggeds a good chuckle!

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    But Judy, how you get your revenge from the mean chicken is to eat them……after you have had a few batchs of chickens, you will have no problem eating the mean one.

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    I don’t know about other people, but I’ve had my farm for several years, and I still get upset when I lose a chicken, or a goat, or a cat.

    Yes, I realize that there’s a “cycle of life,” but, it’s still hard to lose and animal…especially my goats that I’ve brought into the world and hand fed, etc.

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    Gwen. says

    Fortunately for us, this was the first year we have lost a Longhorn. We lost two young calves this year. It has been very hard for me! We also had two stolen of all things! One at a time! We have also sold some. I’m adjusting but it is taking time even though I have always know these things could and probably would happen. I have serious doubts that any of them could EVER be on the table to my knowledge.

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    Judy, if you were blase about a coyote getting one hen, then the coyote would figure out he’d found easy pickin’s and would take one after another till you had none. Just from a practical perspective, it wouldn’t make sense to allow that. So you’re not just a sentimental city girl, you’re also a practical animal husbandman (husbandperson?).

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    Hilary McDaniel says

    Judy, we make stock out of all the mean chickens. I then feed the meat to our puppy. She loves it. They don’t get butchered until there’s no other way to deal w/them. Some of those roosters are really scary mean. I’ve got a rooster now that is very territorial./ He runs like crazy and attacks me when I come get eggs. I knocked him around a few times, but that seemed cruel. He’s just doing his job of protecting the hens. He’s so gentle w/them so he will get to live/. My hubby is the one gathering eggs now. The rooster seems to not mind him being there.

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    Sally H says

    Once chickens get used to roosting in one particular place at night (and usually laying their eggs near/in that same place) they WANT to come back there. Unless your chickens get injured, they will come home at night, no matter how far they wander. The more greens (including grass) you can provide the darker yellow your chickens’ yolks will be, because greens are the source for the beta-caratine that turns them yellow. But that arched house/run in your picture can solve your problems! Just move it to a fresh patch of grass in your yard every day or so, which gives your birds protection/containment while getting the greens they want. As a bonus, it spreads out their poop so that you don’t have to clean it up! Your yard will show its thanks in the spring.

    I suppose I turned the corner about animal deaths after I had lost several that, no matter how I tried (and I do and did) I couldn’t save. Some were to accidents, some to disease, some to no discernible reason at all. I always feel horrible about the deaths I should have prevented, then I correct the problem and move on, because there are always new lives to look out for. The rule at our house is that if it has a name (goats, donkey) it doesn’t get eaten, but there are animals (chickens, sheep, geese, pigs) not allowed to have names. I use these non-named animals to provide wholesome meat for us humans (the other lives I look out for.)

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    Karen says

    Judy, I’m a country girl and lost three of my chickens to a mink just this past Monday. It made it’s way past 2 fences with one of them electrified! I still haven’t gotten over it. Those girls are just like my kids! And I am heartbroken over their deaths. These aren’t the first birds I’ve lost but it’s always like the first time.
    Karen in NE Indiana