Saturday, February 22, 2014

Of Rain and Roosters

      Yesterday we started really warming up - it is in the forties and everything is melting. This makes for interesting times in our barn, but more about that later.
      The mystery of the bloody cock's comb has been solved.  My daughter and husband told me it was probably the hens.  Apparently at least one of them will sit on the ramp leading into the coop, and when Snowy (the rooster) walks by, she will peck at his comb. He is literally being hen pecked.  I am wondering if he may have not even realized it, because with the weather we have been having, it looks like the edge of his comb may have suffered from frostbite.
     Now I was feeling sorry for Snowy until yesterday morning.  My youngest son, who is 8, went into the run with some treats for the chickens, and they all came over and ate from his hand and from the bowl.  Then, after having eaten, Snowy walked away, then turned around, and squawking furiously flew at my son, spurs extended and tried to scratch him.  Had he not been wearing a winter coat, Snowy would have succeeded. As it was, the darn bird frightened him to tears, and this is not a child who cries easily.  He was scared but also felt a bit betrayed, I think, because he looked at me and said, "But I was just feeding him.  He was eating the treats.  Why would he do that?"
     Snowy has been running at my husband quite frequently, and I assure you that if he keeps it up, he will be finding another home, or end up in a pot.  We never wanted a rooster, but kept him because he was so pretty and we hoped he might keep the hens safe from any rodents.  This new aggression, however, is beyond my tolerance.  He is walking a very fine line.
     Now to the rain.  Along with the warmer temperatures, we got some  rain last night.  When putting the chickens to bed las night, we found a couple of inches of water in the low part of the barn.  This morning it was a couple of inches in a fair amount of the barn.  This evening,  the entire barn, except for  the section where the chickens' run is, was covered with anywhere from 2 to 6 1/2 inches of water. (Yes, I measured.) The rain and melting snow are all flowing into the barn.  Part of it is expected - this is a poor design for  the area it sits on.  However, prior to our buying the place, another prospective buyer insisted the barn be "cleaned out" before she buy it.  Instead of using a backblade and scraping out  an even floor, they hired some local kids who dug it out with shovels, leaving many areas well below the level  of the surrounding ground, making a perfect  place for the water to stand.   The only reason the coop has dry areas is it sits a little higher, and I have been shoveling composted manure/hay/dirt from the run in and making little dikes all around the run.
     Tomorrow after getting one child to a snow tubing/water part date, and another to a birthday party, I suspect I will be buying a sump pump of some sort and/or bailing out the barn.  Funny, I never thought I'd put bailing and barn in the same sentence!
      At least my dear husband will be home - he missed all this fun as he was taking our daughter to visit some colleges she is interested in.  He had his own fun, however, when he blew a tire coming up from PA.  Ah well, as they say, "It never rains, but it pours." Off to dry out my boots!

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