Thursday, September 18, 2008

Leghorns: The Mass Exodus

In episode 1:

I explained about the building of the pen in the work shop. I did not say we fenced the area with the chicken wire to the ceiling. We didn’t know what to expect from our new tenants.

When we built the out side pen we figured one 4 ft course of wire would be enough. Because we observed they had not flown higher that.  

The next part is a little excursion from the leghorn story but necessary to the plot.

When I was growing up I had gone to visit my great aunt. She lived out side a big city. They had a very avant-garde house. I believe they got the plans from a 1950’s Women’s day magazine. It was a square house with an enormous living/Dinning room with windows covering the wall and the other half of the house had a large bedroom with a huge bathroom backing up to a tiny laundry and a galley kitchen. As an eleven year old I was impressed, but what impressed me more was an old garage on the property they had turned into a tractor shed for their cub cadet tractor and the work shop that was attached was turned into a chicken coup. Out side she had made a chicken wire run. I asked her why the chickens needed a ceiling. She said to keep animals out. She didn’t want the chicken hawks to eat her chickens. I am sure my eyes got big, because I remember looking at the skies and asking her what a chicken hawk looked like (I had a new baby sister that was not even as big as her laying hens, I was worried about her laying in the buggy in the sun).

I had never seen chickens before and was enamored with the idea of them. Great Aunt Flora took me inside to gather eggs and another lesson awaited me. I found wooden and glass eggs in the nest. I was told to leave them there. It teaches the hens where to lay their eggs.

I wish everyone could have a Great Aunt Flora in their life.

Now back to the original story. We left the last segment with the chickens learning what the outside was like. Each day it became routine to let the chicks out unless it was raining. Chickens are creatures of routine. They expect the same thing to happen everyday at the same time. My leghorns (rejects from the egg factory) were no different. When I came in, in the morning they crowded over to the little door, anxious to get out side. They never seemed to learn only one chicken can fit through the door at a time. It was always like the stuffing of a phone booth routine. Once released they always ran helter-skelter around the pen. You heard the raucous cackling and crowing and a tremendous flapping of wings. It was like a freedom cry.

For 2 weeks everything was copacetic. I wasn’t worried about leaving during the day because they seemed to recognize danger and run into the house at the slightest disturbance.

The kids and I went out grocery shopping, the little one blowing kisses to the chickens and telling them she’d be right back. (Mind you at other times she was saying she was afraid of them.) The shopping trip turned into dinner out, we returned home late. It was just getting dark and you could still see, especially if it was a white object. As we drove up to the house, against the black of the asphalt drive, were white objects all over the drive. It looked like someone had driven up and thrown out their towel wash. It was all our chickens. We jumped out, counted bodies and wondered what had broken into the fence and let the chickens out. Before it got too dark, I went around to see what damage there was.

I told the kids to pick up the chickens, one by one, and carry them into their house (the chickens had already decided it was sleep time, so they were very docile).

I surveyed the outside and couldn’t find any damage and scratched my head and wondered how they got out. I figured I would give a look see the next morning; they must have crawled under the fence.

The next morning I discovered no egress. So I opened the little gate and let the feathers fly. Yep that is exactly what happened, the feathers flew and flew and flew up and over the fence. The Exodus was complete.

They say hind sight doesn’t count; as the leghorns made the great escape, my eyes followed them skyward. I remembered looking at the sky when I was eleven years old and knew the real reason Aunt Flora had a ceiling for her chickens.

Episode 3:  “Double Trouble"

Other blog sites by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle

Blogs about our pair of pitbulls.

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .

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