Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Local Line-Up

About 4 weeks ago when the garden was winding down for the season, I decided to let the chickens out into the yard to free-range for the first time. After some initial trepidation about leaving the security of the chicken yard, they ventured forth, and then never looked back! They gossiped among themselves as they strutted and scratched, finding grubs and bugs like no one's business. Every once in a while, one of the hens would fan her wings, set off running, and then take flight. Never mind the low altitude and short distance. They were free and they loved it.

It has snowed twice since the hens have been free to roam the back yard. Boy, were they bewildered by that first snow. They gingerly stepped from the coop, and then stopped in their tracks. Unsure on how to proceed, they either ran or flew to the Adirondack chairs where they roosted off the frozen ground and its icy covering. After about an hour, I couldn't bear watching any longer--they were huddled en masse and covered with snow. I donned my boots and trudged out to the clump of snowy feathers. One by one, I carried each confused bird back to the covered chicken run, where the flock spent the entire day self-confined, but protected from the NW wind and blowing snow.

By the following morning, the winds had died down, but it was still close to zero degrees. However, the sun was out and it was a new day. When I opened the coop, the hens hopped down, checked out their new landscape, and waded out into the snow. Before long, they were dancing their two-step--scratch, scratch, dip; scratch, scratch, dip. With the snow pushed aside, there was grass to nibble, along with fallen safflower seeds from the bird feeder. These happy birds even found the pumpkins left for them on the terrace where they had a go at the stringy flesh and seeds from the sagging jack-o-lanterns.

So here is the line-up:

Nettie Zook, a Silver-laced Wyandotte

Olive Batman, a Black Australorp

Cora Stenges, a Buff Orpington
Ida Grove, a Barred Rock

No comments:

Post a Comment