Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Down a chicken due to our previous visitor.
As you can see she'd ended up flying off and plowing a bit of a furrow into the snow. There are no tracks around her, and she hasn't been dragged from what I can tell. Only the head and a few soft bits were eaten which is the main supporting evidence for the owl. It could have been a weasel, but I don't think so.
There was a second chicken out as well, and she was the first one I noticed because her black silhouette stood out in the snow as you can see Left. She's what brought me up into the snow, and made me realize we were down chickens. The Lady of the House and I hadn't checked the number of chickens last night before we closed the hatch, so they may have been out all night. Either way, I saw her out there on the ridge, and went to bring her back. As you can see Below Left she ended up pulling herself up and flying away from me. Unfortunately for her she wasn't very good at getting back into the run by herself. The Rhode Island Red is in and out of the run all the time, and seems to have no problem, the others seem to not be as good at flying over the fence. Obviously she ended up flopped against the fence where she stayed until I went down and helped her over the fence. I think she may have hurt one of her feet a bit, but she seems to be doing ok a couple days later. I'm very glad that we only lost one chicken given the survivor being buried most of the way down her body out in well below zero temperatures. It was actually so cold that I couldn't clear the whole driveway in one go. It was just too painful to stay out for 2 hours at one go, especially with the really brutal winds. We've been changing water regularly, but the chickens other than being grumpy seem to be very hearty to the conditions. So hearty in fact we had a nice surprise.
In the coop, of course far back where we can't get at them without a stick is a big pile of eggs. The chickens must have been laying for a few days for them to have that many. We haven't been able to get at them yet, I'm probably going to get a spoon on a stick to get at the eggs. Right now they chickens seem disinclined to lay in the nesting boxes right now for what ever reason. We're going to thoroughly clean the nest box, and hope they start laying there, and start checking the eggs every morning. I suspect most of the chickens are going lay after we take the eggs in the morning, and we're going to be losing a lot of eggs to freezing in the short term. That's ok for the time being though. That does mean though that we're going to have eggs again soon, at least in some supply. I'm also looking forward to seeing if any of our hens go broody and raise any chicks which could come out very strange. Either way, here's hoping things are going to warm up soon for health of the animals, our sanity, and the eggs!