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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Chick Drama

Chicks running around their chicken brooder tractor

We have had expected chick drama. We put the chicks out on pasture this past Friday evening after the storms had past. The first couple of days after the birds go out are a bit stressful as they are young and stupid and make a great appetizer to most hunters-51 bite sized morsels

They were fine their first night out, no predators disturbed them as far as we know though we did hear some coyotes to the north howling and yipping like they had just killed some prey. And to that Eugene said that was good as they would be satiated and not come to our farm and try to eat our chicks.

But than Saturday morning we had to get up early and go to a farmers' market. That meant at dawn the chick's brooder tractor was opened and they were let out to eat and drink and scratch at bugs in the ground. As we have done in the past, we left the dogs out to protect them. That was a big mistake as Nate looks at the chicks as not something to be protected but as some wonderful bite sized morsels. We got home and went immediately over to the chicks to check on them and Nate had busted through their little fence and had mauled at least two (Maybe more but since it is almost impossible to get an accurate count on chicks that move around I dunno. I counted between 35 and 49 live ones) and about 15 to 20 were outside their enclosure beginning to freeze to death (even though it was quite warm at the time-around 80˚F) and quite freaked out. I gathered together all the chicks and put them back in their tractor under the heat lamp and soon most were back to normal. 2 were in bad shape though and one died after a few minutes. The other one seems to have an injured leg but can get around to food and water and I think will recover in the next couple of days.

We punished Nate by pulling an Alpha dominance ploy of wrestling him to the ground and growling at him by the chicken area followed by a 15 minute period of isolation on the dog chain than being allowed back into the pack. It did not work, but than we did not expect it to the first time. In the night he once again tore down their fence and tried to eat some more but could not get through the closed up brooder tractor. Eugene saw the damage and replaced the tiny fence with a larger fence and put in more stakes this morning. About an hour after Eugene had fixed things he caught Nate in the act of tearing down the larger fence.

Nate behind his fence where he cannot go out
unsupervised and break down another chicken fence

We don't think Nate got any more chicks as the chicks have figured out that if they go in the tractor the dog cannot get them so this time they all went inside and did not scatter all over the placer outside the tractor. For tonight Nate will have to be kept in the back yard, which has a chain link fence. Arlo will have to be kept outside the chain link fence. Arlo is a seasoned chick guard and can be trusted not to kill them.

1 comment:

Chandira said...

Aw... Poor chicks.. Poor Nate.. Aww.. sad...

As for the wet Tshirt, lol.. One of my old friends in England is always on at me to get a webcam, but there are times when I'm glad I don't have one! ;-)