You'll have to zoom in to see the little chick peeping out of the carrier.
This is the sole remaining chick from that surprise hatch last week and one of my ratty old hens. I thought this old gal was going to die two winters ago but she just keeps on hanging on. She is mostly lame and lives entirely in the garage. Her job has been to scold me while I am milking... and be adorable. Her new job is to keep this little chick company.
Sadly we've been in Chicken Hell. Not only did we have that random hen flop over and then lost 2 of the 3 chicks... but then I went out to find the chick's momma dead. It was kind of horrible. Then it got worse when we needed to cull my favorite rooster.
So what happened? Who knows. We don't think any of the chicken deaths were related - but we did get some very good advice to worm the flock. So we will be working on that. But mostly some of our flock is getting to be old and it's just the cycle of life. Some of these grand old gals have been around for a while and I'm completely soft on my old bitties.
Sorry pal. The last of a long and glorious line of roosters named Pansy.
My favorite rooster had been going downhill over the last couple of months. He might have had an impacted crop...and we could not fix his chronic bumblefoot. So it finally just got to be The End for him. I'm still very mad about it... and sad. Fortunately my husband did the deed and then buried him while I was off farm. All I could do was stand over this roo's sad grave and be sad. Dang.
Back to this odd couple....Why is the little guy in the carrier? Well... chickens are not all sunshine and love. They are extremely cannibalistic and chicks are seen as bugs or bait. So I don't want her to kill him. But since one is the loneliest number - and I couldn't find any chicks locally.... I had to do something. So this old gal is now enjoying the heat lamp and clucking at the little chick. It's kind of hilarious. They keep each other company and she is benefiting from the high protein chick food.
The other garage/barn inhabitants - other than our superfabulous barncats - are an assortment of poultry who need a break from the main herd. Mostly I have one little dwarf duck momma who doesn't do much but peep around and try (unsuccessfully) to hatch a clutch of eggs - it doesn't matter who lays them...and also my Miss Duck who is one of our oldest barnyard residents.
Miss Duck has single-handedly eliminated the flies in the barn from this summer. It's awesome. She is one of my favorites. Pretty much she just toddles around, peeps at me, and eats flies.
Why would we keep these odd ball assortment of lame ducks and useless chickens? Because they just don't take that much effort or resources, they have done their duty for the farm over the years, and because I just really enjoy having them around. I know that this crew won't last long - probably not thru the winter - but I've said that before.
Happy Wednesday everyone - do you have an odd ball mix of old bitties and lame ducks?