Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A chicken with her _________ cut off

Now be nice.  Think positive thoughts when you fill in that blank.


We have a flock of four lovely chickens.  These are Wyandottes (both silver and golden), which were bred in upstate New York as a more cold hardy variety and we thought they'd fit in well here in high, dry and cold Central Oregon.  We raised them from chicks, first in our bathtub, which earned me the title of Extremely Tolerant, and then in a variety of enclosures, finally graduating to a lovely coop with run.

The chicken run encloses a few volunteer and transplanted volunteer trees that are going on a handful of years old now and who are really showing their stuff in growth potential over the last year or so.  As a result we left a couple of gaps in the "roof" of the chicken run.  The other major gap is in the area over the door to enter the run. 

A little while back, I got a knock on the door from a mom of a family who recently moved into the neighborhood.  Resident Kid was pleased because the new kids on the block attended the same school so there was an instant network.  I answered the door and she said hello and by the way, there's a chicken in the alley.  I stupidly responded, "Is it one of our chickens?"  Duh, we're the only chicken owners on that alley...

I grabbed a can of feed corn, their favorite treat, and went to investigate.  Sure enough, there was one of our golden-laced Wyandotte ladies wandering the alley near the fence backing her run.  I didn't even need the corn because she was very happy to be caught and carried back to the run. 

Later we debated how she got out but, without witnessing the event, couldn't really say for sure. 

A couple weeks later, I looked out the back door and saw one of the silver-laced ladies pacing the run fencing on the outside of the run.  Obviously distressed, she too was pretty happy to be caught and put back with her fellow ladies. 

Finally, Resident Kid witnessed one of the silvers hop up on the edge of some boards we leaned against the coop to shelter their watering dish from the snow and vault out over the run door. 

The motivation for this behavior is obviously a version of the "grass is greener" syndrome with a major drawback being that if only one chicken vaults out of the run, she is too distressed at being cut off from the flock to enjoy the greenery...Leading, course, to her behaving like a chicken with her flock cut off.

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