My nineteenth nervous breakdown.

These chicks are going to kill me, I swear.

I took Billie out mid-morning today for a pee-pee, and I looked up, as I do, toward the run to check on 2.0. Twice already this morning, I had found Jezebel outside the MacGyver Terrace, and had just the best time getting her back in. There was no obvious point of exit; I assumed she’d gone over. There’s not much I can do about that except scrap the whole idea.

As I looked up, I noticed something strange. The thing that was strange is that there was one chick. ONE.

Surely, they must be hiding behind something inside the run, right? Or, possibly, they managed to overturn the board that blocks the pop door, and were inside the coop. Right? RIGHT??!!

Not in the run. Not in the coop. Ruh roh.

I looked outside the run, outside the terrace, around the back of the barn, but there was only…Dorothy. Ironically, she was the only one home. There’s no place like it.

My mind raced. Had they been captured by predators, all five of them? Without any trace of feathers or disturbance?

It seems completely unlikely now, of course, hindsight being 20/20, but at the time, my stomach sank and my heart raced. The Man was going to be pissed. Well, not pissed, exactly, but he would get all thin lipped and exhale heavily with resignation. This transgression might even merit an eyeroll.

I was imagining what would happen to poor Dorothy, alone of her generation, when I walked around to the front of the barn to find…the missing five. Just chillin’. Eating grass. Milling around the found crate. Drinking out of 1.0’s water dish. Like it was nothing.

Wait. What?!

They were all…what up, mom? I tried to corral them back into the front doors of the barn, the closest path to safety, but I had Billie on the leash and five slippery chicks, eager to retain their freedom, scattered at my attempt.

Sigh. With Billie back in the house, I was able to corral them, not through the barn (they flatly refused to go through the doors), but around the side of the barn and back through the terrace into the run. With the door closed. Dorothy was hysterical with relief.

Clearly, The MacGyver Terrace was deeply, irrevocably flawed, and needed serious rethinking. Here is The New and Improved MacGyver Terrace:

Now with more jungle!

That corner of the barn is a repository for junk: old furniture, expired appliances, outgrown children’s toys. It’s the Corner of Shame, which is why I’ve never shown it in pics before. It could have been cleared out in early spring, but, having missed that window of opportunity, a jungle grew up to conceal it, rendering the junk both invisible, and unreachable.

So, The New and Improved MacGyver Terrace now encompasses Junk Jungle: fascinating for chicks; frustrating for aerial predators. It’s win/win…until I need to get them out of there some day soon.

After running errands, I still have six chicks, so, either Terrace security is much improved, or the Jungle is sufficiently engaging so as to encourage compliance. Either way works for me.

Because…I don’t think my heart can take that again.

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11 thoughts on “My nineteenth nervous breakdown.

  1. You give words to the pleasures and trials of chicken raising so vividly that even a non chickeneer would have to laugh when they read it……. even if they didn’t truly understand. I am a fellow chickeneer so I am generally ROFLMAO while reading your posts. My place also has a corner of shame. BUT it frequently supplies stuff that has proven useful in the chicken raising process. So think about it before you purge that corner :-)

    • I’m not sure how we’ll use the broken dishwasher for the chickens, but I will take your wisdom under advisement!

      • dishwasher = perfectly awesome rat proof chicken feed storage when you remove the racks. And the racks!! I have some suspended on the walls of the goat house. Finally found a good way to keep the goat treats out of climbing reach plus you can see through the bottom so your (my) pea brain can remember “that’s where I put them”. Then…the top of the dishwasher now allows another nesting opportunity for that non-conformist hen of yours. Or just a place to put more crap.
        No charge :-)

        PS Its raining here, but I promise not to bother you with another comment
        today

  2. I really know how you feel. My turkey poults (yes I got two.. Eastern Wild) and they are CRAZY. They don’t fear the unknown. They travel way too far. They fly way too high.. They are much less afraid of humans than chicks though for some reason.. They are more afraid of the chicks than my dogs. They REALLY like to fly on top of my head! They are 2 weeks old and can fly over 5 ft in the air. I find turkeys stink less than chicks, and they poop less. From what I’ve seen.. But how much can two poop?

    Not to mention that my chicks are getting harder to herd these days.. Oh and my ten teenagers (14 weeks) are stalking my neighbour’s bird feeder. I am not sure if he likes them or not. We just moved in, and he has a bad reputation.

    Hey, if he lets his 3 fat cats come in my yard, isn’t that the same as ten chickens cleaning up spilled bird seed? Please say yes.. lol

    And yours may be doing a good job with the ticks, but mine sure aren’t!~ Never saw a tick in my life before this year.. This wet mild year…

    And I love your wild jungle of junk! What kind of appliances? I can see an old dryer making a great outdoor nesting box – always thinking of Hermione ;)

    • You got TURKEYS??!! You’re killing me. I love your description of their behaviour! Next spring should be MADNESS with 18 of them.

      There’s a broken dishwasher out there, the metal posts that held up the netting barrier for the trampoline, some kids toys, and the Love Seat of Death, which we got rid of because there was so much pet dander/mold/whatever on/in it that sitting on it gave you a spontaneous sinus infection. It was BAD.

      Haley found her way into the Terrace while I was out, and she’s a chick pecker. 2.0, as a result, found themselves waaaay back in with the junk. And they liked it!

      • Only two turkeys. We would have gotten full grown adults, but the asking price was beyond ridiculous! They only had Eastern Wild turkeys and some other type that was white. The adults were Eastern Wild, and SO BEAUTIFUL! So we got two poults. I really wanted a tom.. I hope one is.. The sounds they make.. It’s amazing! It’s really relaxing. Even their warning calls are adorable.


        Here they are :D They escaped their brooder again yesterday after I commented. One of them flew over 8 feet in the air and landed on top of the barn door entrance. I was shocked. How can something so small fly so high? I’ll have to clip their wings :/

        I can’t imagine trying to get the chicks out of your junk jungle. That must be impossible! I find it hard enough getting mine out of the woods when I need them for something. My girls/guys LOVE the woods.

      • May I ask what they were asking for adults? That bit of information might come in handy down the road…

      • They were asking $130 for a trio. I paid $15 for two poults. I’ve also spoke to someone else who raised Burbon Reds and they charged $60 an adult bird.

        Definitely profit to be made… However, with their livability, you’re bound to lose quite a few, right? The poults anyway. What were you going to pay for the Blue Slates as day olds?

      • They are $10/poult from Porter’s, and that seems to be the going rate for heritage.

      • That doesn’t sound unreasonable at all. I paid $10 for my first poult and decided we needed to get another, and I only paid $5 for it. I handed her a $10 for the second one, and she gave me back $5. I wasn’t going to question it lol.

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