Friday, October 5, 2012

The latest in Pullet Perambulations...

But first the story of the escapee...

Yesterday morning, I was awakened at 3 am by noises down by the birds. It sounded like feed slithering through/out of a trash can, and I thought maybe the turkeys who roost on the trash can had knocked it over. Then I heard some hollow thunks. I hastily put on clothing and grabbed a flashlight and headed outside.

Outside of the bird pen was a large pig. A half-belgian pig, to be precise, whose name is Tang. She (as I ultimately determined) and been lying down and when she stood up was on the wrong side. There was one step-in post uprooted, but all the tape was in place. At that point in time, the fence was not hot. I ended up tying her to a tree and going back to bed. The sum total of the damage was that she ate about 5-8 lbs of turkey food from a feeder that I had moved outside because the birds were wasting food.

When I got up at 7 and went out to feed, she had untied herself (the lead rope sucks), and was in her favorite corner, stuck. She had stepped on the lead with one of her rather large back feet, and couldn't go anywhere. I was dismayed to find that in my grogginess, I had not closed the gate to her pen, but she went down to stare at the neighbors being fed, and got stuck, I guess. At no time in her "free time" did she go to the stack of hay (4 tons) that she stares at all day long.

I installed my plug in charger. The reason it's taken awhile is that it is virtually impossible to pound anything into the ground here deeper than 18". I live on top of shattered cap rock, and rocks are everywhere, particularly where you need to put in fences or ground rods. After sacrificing one of the three ground rods (pounded in, hit a rock and couldn't get it back out), I decided to put them in the pile of dirt (and rocks) left when they leveled the area where the house is. It's closer to the pump house, where the charger was to be and I can also water it to keep the ground, well, grounded. I got one in a little over 3', and one in a little less than 3', and called it good. I then installed all the wire and insulated cable to connect Tang's pen and the bird fence, and turned it on. SUCCESS!

On to the pullets:

I went out this morning in my insulated overalls (trying them out for when it gets REALLY cold) to feed Tang. I was planning to check birds later as I have been working on a migraine since yesterday evening - it comes and goes. However, after the great fence charger installation yesterday, I was listening for shorts and found one - the abandoned ground rod was shorting against the tape in Tang's pen. I fixed that with electrician's tape and decided I'd just do the birds anyway.
When I went in to give them their scratch, I noticed that the roo (Golden Cuckoo Maran) was quite bloody on his head.
After Blue-coat
 Now, there is a chocolate turkey hen who has it in for him, but I suspect from the blood trails that more than she were involved. So, armed with my trusty poultry herder (a 10' piece of pvc) I got all the chickens in the coop and closed the door. I already had a waterer outside and moved one of the feeders outside, so the turkeys are now completely separate. Since the chickens haven't been cooped up, I gathered up 3 barrow loads of hay chaff from the hay pile. I feed beardless barley hay, which has barley heads still in it - the chickens love to scratch around it it and find the treasures.

I then caught the roo, who is actually a very nice boy - no struggling, sitting quietly while I mopped him up and squirted blue-coat on him and me. After installing all the chaff, I realized that he's still bleeding. He's got a chunk missing at the back base of his comb, which is oozing. I caught him again and applied chile powder (not cayene), which is a blood stop powder in a pinch.

 He wasn't pleased to be caught again, but cooperated. I can tell you that it doesn't sting unless you get it in your eyes (like when chickens object...). I'm hoping the lack of interference by the big bullies will make their incarceration more tolerable.
after chile powder - the oozing has stopped

I'm teaching a spinning class in Burns, OR, tomorrow. Today will be spent putting things together for that, so no chance to move the "furniture" around and give the chickens their own yard until Sunday. But I already know how I'm going to do it - just have to lock the turkeys up somehow so I can take the fence down.

But I'll think about that later...


Michelle said...

The back of the comb is the same point of injury on one of my Buffs. Fortunately, she stopped bleeding on her own!

Theresa said...

LOL, I've had four spectacular escapes up here, one resulted in lost horses who magically appeared at a lawn area about two miles away. Everyone automatically calls Howlin' Acres which is a boarding/trail riding barn.
When Joe the owner got the call, he asked for descriptions. The obvious first choice was "one of them has a big spotted white butt". Joe knew who's horses it was and grabbed a hand, some halters and led them home . He knew three of my guys since I used to board there. Tia grabbed Cooper, Joe,Dandy and the rest followed on the long journey home. I met them at Tub Springs. Gene stayed home to fix the fence. Good neighbors and friends for sure. Most people would have just called us, but not Joe. He dropped what he was doing and came to the rescue