Katie's Journal

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We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

by @ 9:15 am on July 17, 2014.

(I originally wrote this July 17, it just somehow didn’t get published.)

A week or so ago we had a pretty bad string of storms blow through one afternoon. We were safely ensconced in the house. Although I never gave it any thought at the time, my layer chicks were not. I’d only been letting them out for a few days and wasn’t in the habit of going out and locking their cage at night. After a busy, long day, I went to bed and didn’t think any more about them until the next morning. When I went outside, there was only 1 little salmon faverolle chick anywhere to be found. I was so upset and blamed myself for a predator getting them after I didn’t lock their cage. Ernie came and looked around. He pointed out there were no feathers anywhere. Nothing would have taken out all 10 missing chicks without leaving evidence. He said he saw the wind blowing my big chickens across the barnyard as they ran for the calf barn. His theory became that the wind blew them down into the front pasture somewhere. He walked the front pasture for me, but still saw no sign of them.

I resigned myself that they were gone. I figured even if the wind had carried them off, it was likely they’d be picked off out in the field. And even if they weren’t, how would they ever find their way back? I intended to order new chicks and try again. A few days later I went so far as to have an order in my shopping cart ready to pay for. But I decided to wait the morning and think about it. It’s a good thing I did. Ernie came back from brush hogging and said he saw some little chicks around Martha’s house in the upper garden. That morning I had found a dead australorp in the front yard. But I went over, and sure enough, the remaining chicks were all wandering around the yard over there, working their way home. I was ecstatic. I herded them back into the lower garden and figured they knew their way from there.

I was doubly excited because some of these chicks were destined to go to dad’s. His three hens came up here, and he traded for five of these. Mom wanted the gold laced wyandotte, dad wanted the columbian wyandotte, and I sent down two salmon faverolles (I believe a hen and a roo). To round out the bunch, they picked out a speckled sussex as well. That group of 5 will form the basis of my layer chick program next year – I can hatch out eggs from them to increase my flock. Yes, they’ll be barnyard mutts. But all the of the parent breeds are big, lay well and are colorful. And that’s pretty much all my requirements. Seeing what colors come out of the eggs will be a lot of fun I think.

So I praise God for giving me back my little chicks. Dad’s group is now safely locked up in his Chicken Palace. The rest of the layer chicks up here (1 speckled, 4 australorp, and 1 mutt) are free. They haven’t found the other chickens and the calf barn yet. Nor do they return to their own former roost. I have no idea where all they go, but I see them periodically all over the farm up here, usually in enough brush to serve as cover. I have no idea if they’ll make it or how this will turn out. But they’re on their own at this point. God willing they’ll make it, and if not I’ll have the eggs from dad’s chickens to hatch early this spring. The group down at mom’s hit the jackpot – they get pampered and spoiled rotten down there!

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