Monday, May 31, 2010

Chicken Problems

So we moved our old solar dehydrator down to where the chickens roost so we might possibly get some eggs from them. Well THAT hasn't quite worked out. We have eggs all over the place but we can't eat them since we don't know when they were laid. Eggs all over the place in non-obvious spots where we can't see them, and hens sitting in harms way that don't move and suffer "mishaps." (more about that later). This white hen was sitting on about 18 eggs and I spotted her when I was harvesting parcha. She is right under the parcha mound in what becomes a stream or raging river depending on the rainfall amounts. I start checking up on her daily and one day I hear a faint peep. The eggs were starting to hatch!

I could hear a faint peep and when I sat and watched saw the first little guy under her. There was another dead looking wet slimy one that would peep occasionally and then stop then peep then stop but wasn't under her. I moved it over and hoped for the best. So I spend the better part of an afternoon watching these things hatch out - the babies in the eggs peck a little circle, they move occasionally, she kind of rolls the egg, it pecks it's way out after a few hours and then lays there peeping once in a while while fluffing up.

To make a long story short, in the end there were six that were trailing her around the next day. 4 were dead in the nest (I think she suffocated them) - 3 fluffed up but dead and a few that never fluffed. There were some eggs that didn't hatch at all. I pushed the dead ones out of the area since ants were invading and hoped she would be a good mom. Today there are 5 chicks. Number six couldn't really keep up. I would hear it peeping and would go and retrieve it and bring it to its mom and siblings and it would be left behind again. I figured I either had to raise it or ignore it. If I raised it it would be heartache when it became a "pet" and something got it so I let nature take its course. Now there are 5. In the end there will be only 1 or 2 since the birds swoop down and take them. For now I enjoy watching them grow up.

So I am in the yard and see this thing coming up the driveway. It doesn't belong here. Turns out to be a mutant chicken that somehow flew in. It has a comb that flops to cover one eye, it doesn't ever stand upright, and only one tail feather. It also has a pathetic crow that doesn't even sound right.

I put out corn and it can't even see until it does the hair toss to flip its comb out of the way!

I swear - if it is mutant, pregnant, injured, sick or disturbed it makes its way here!

This hen was almost hacked with the machete. I was cutting down a platano and after it fell I bent down to cut closer to the ground and I saw her just sitting on a pile of eggs. She never peeped, squawked or made any effort to move. Her nest was in grass at the base of the platano. She sat on the eggs a long while and then I guess gave up and nothing hatched.

This nest is abandoned - no one sits on them.

Lots of eggs everywhere but none we can eat since I don't know how long they have been there.
A sad mishap in the yard happened yesterday. Jeff weed whacked the feathers off one of the wings of yet another hen sitting on eggs. He was using the trimmer (very noisy) and made a pass and the stupid hen was hit and flew up and away. She has a nasty bare spot on one wing and has left that nest for good it looks like. It wasn't even a nest, she was just sitting in the grass. If it were a pet hen we would take it to a vet but I can't pick it up so it is on its own. Eggs everywhere and none we can eat. None that will hatch. I even relocated a couple eggs to the base of trees to give them a similar but better location. Nothing. Oh well.


Anonymous said...

It's very likely that the mutant chicken will decide to stay in which case perhaps you could name him "Abby".

Thanks for the good laugh!

We hope the chickens eventually decide to use your retrofitted solar dehydrator.

H Jr.

Anonymous said...

At least "Abby" isn't 7 1/2 feet tall! Abby N. seems like the perfect name and yes, he is here to stay..roosting with the others, hanging out with Tuca the cat. Oh, and tonight as I was doing the nighttime tour of the yard I made a couple discoveries - the best was that our Dragon Fruit (Pitaya or Pitahaya) vine is blooming!!!! (more on that later) and while looking for bugs I found another stash of eggs. Unbelievable. I marked them with a sharpie and will check for additions...katrina