Friday, December 30, 2011

Hash update, building a vault, incubating eggs in a dehydrator

Hash watch.  Hash spent his second night back in the coop with the reds last night. This morning he didn't need any coaxing to come out and he was first in line for breakfast (very good sign).  We will keep watching him closely for  a few more days but we think the worst is over. He actually  crowed yesterday which made us very  happy .  None of the chickens are happy about being in complete lock down every night .  They are also unhappy that I am waiting until its full daylight  to let them out.  Jimmy put a good thick door over their  chicken entrance along with a strong,complicated latch.  They are now being kept in , for all purposes, a vault. The large trap I am borrowing  should be here today or tomorrow.  And I should look very fashionable in my coon skin cap next week.
Elphie left one egg behind and Prissy left 6.  I have made a makeshift incubator out of  my  dehydrator. The method I am using came from this link  If I can get a couple of babies out of this it will help.  I should know in about 6 days if the eggs were viable when I candle them. Some of Prissy's eggs were almost a week old.  And Elphies was 2 days old.  It's a long shot but I am going to try anyway.  I know that Prissy and Hash were doing the ancient dance but I'm not sure about Elphie.  So we will see what happens.
One of the reds started laying yesterday.  First one since the carnage.  I suspect its Hester since she is the youngest.   Jimmy and I talked  three weeks ago about trying the egg incubation in the dehydrator. He  was adamant about waiting until we move to try it.  And he was right. Trying to move and  brood chicks at the same time  would be a serious pain in the butt.  He came in the kitchen yesterday when I was turning the eggs. He didn't say a word.  Sometimes he's a very smart man. And I think in a manly-man sort of way he would like to see something of Prissy and Elphie saved as well.  I'm pretty certain that if this works he will give me a world of crap  when I'm trying to juggle moving and babysitting.  I'm also certain that he will spend goodly amounts of time playing with them and cooing over what nice chicken dinners they will be.  I'm also certain that if it doesn't work .... He will be stone silent.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Update on Hash

Update on Hash:  I opened the studio door this morning to see hash roosting on top of his bed.  When he saw me, he jumped down to run to me and immediately fell over.  He picked himself up and just stood there looking surprised . He then took very slow steps that obviously were painful, but he was walking.  I made a path to the door so he could enjoy some sunshine and he backed into his pen , not quite ready to come out.  It wasn't until he heard the  the reds calling for him that he finally got up the courage to go outside.  He was very slow today but he did eat and drink. The three uninjured girls circled him and protected him all day.  He wandered the yard, did a little foraging and I think he even tried to take a bath.  He started looking a little sluggish and cold about 3 pm so I put him back in the studio for the night.  He probably could have slept in the coop with the rest of the girls but I decided he should use his energy for healing instead of trying to keep warm.    We will be watching this week for any signs of infection. But we are hopeful.

Sadness and anger, carnage in the coop,christmas sucks

Sadness and anger. Christmas sucked.   Elphie and Prissy died in battle with a raccoon christmas morning and Hash tag was gravely wounded.   We were awakened 4 am Christmas morning to screams and banging on the side of the house.  Jimmy  was out the door so fast I couldn't keep up.  By the time I arrived all I could do was stand  still and stare at the carnage.  Prissy and Elphie were in pieces on the ground. Jimmy and My Darling Daughter  both  said "don't go in in the back, Hash is dead too'.  Never one to turn a blind eye to reality, I went to the back anyway and there lay  my fearless Hash. I was just about to let loose with a primal scream of pissed when Hash flipped over, stood up and began to stagger towards me.  DD and I quickly wrapped him in a warm towel and set up a makeshift hospital in the studio.  His comb was torn, His neck was bitten and  he couldn't stand up.  He had that cloudy eyed look that  bespeaks shock.  We warmed him up, Put antibiotic cream on his wounds and let him sleep because that's all we could do.  Jimmy in the mean time was on burial duty.  The two ancient reds and Hester made it through   physically unharmed but their combs had shrunk to nothing.  We locked up the coop and stood guard until the sun came up.
I  am not some Pollyanna  who  doesn't understand how  nature works.  But we have a killer on the loose in the neighborhood.  This was not a search for food. This was wholesale  slaughter for the sake of slaughter. If jimmy had not acted  as quickly as he did , we would have lost them all.   It is still dark outside as I write this.   When the first streaks of light show in the sky I will go to the studio to see if Hash survived the night.  I was unwilling to disturb his  much needed  healing sleep.  I was also afraid that another night time disturbance would be too much for his heart to bear.  I am afraid of what I will find when  I open the door in hour.