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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chickens in the Snow (Blog Seventy-four)

We often refer to our chickens, which were hatched last spring, as teenage chickens because of their relative youth and how they react to new things.  Their newness to the world was on display last Sunday when our birds experienced their first snow.

In short, they were both terrified and befuddled of the white stuff falling.  Around 3:30 when the snowfall was at its peak, Little Jerry and his five hens stopped moving and feeding altogether.  They huddled near one corner of their run and did not move for over 2 1/2 hours.

As darkness was approaching, we began to fear that they would not have enough sense to walk the few feet to their house and the warmth to be found there.  It is also a fair question to ask that as the birds were all cold and miserable and were not drinking or eating anything, why had they huddled in abject terror for such a long period of time?  Had they not enough sense to come in out of the snow?

Finally at 6:10, one of the hens moved out from the pod and began making her way to the hen house door and the rest followed in single file.  The next morning their behavior was also puzzling - they refused to leave the hen house even though the snow had stopped and was just a few inches deep.

Around 8:00 A.M, we placed food inside the hen house and periodically added more.  Around 9:30, we placed a slice of bread on the gang plank and brave Ruby and Tallulah, our two alpha hens, ventured out to nibble.  But when the bread fell off the gang plank, neither had moxie enough to walk  the few inches to the slice that was lying in the snow.

At last around 11:00, the flock worked up enough courage to come outside.  "The Sunday it Snowed" was not our birds' finest moment.

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