Thursday, October 29, 2015

Adventure Chicken Ingenuity

I gave a head's up last night on Twitter that I'd taken a video of one of the Adventure Chickens catching a ride on Maisie's back.  You know that's gotta be good!  In my excitement over that I forgot that I'd taken a couple shots earlier in the evening.  Now, looking back at both sets of pictures, I'm wondering if it's just a coincidence that Lila is a chicken's choice in (wide) backs or if they purposely team up every night. 

 Whether Lila likes it or not ;-).

Kate and I had everyone locked out last night while I put down some dry straw after two days of pouring rain.

This particular chicken likes to sleep in the outside sheep stall, up high on my 'out of Graham's reach' working shelf.  

She's gotten old (or smart) enough that she can't fly up on her own.  She uses several sheep to help out...starting with Maisie.

Yep, that's the face we know and love ;-).

Watch what happens next! 

This is long (three minutes) and sort of like watching grass grow if you aren't really that into interesting animal behavior, but Oh sweet, sweet Petunia.

So here's a chicken question for you.  I've been offered eight laying hens - older, not chicks.  I still have four old hens here.  Very old hens - probably close to nine or ten I'd guess.  Our chicken house is a good size for twelve hens, but I don't want to over stress my old girls by bringing new hens in.  Is this an issue?  Any suggestions on how to integrate two flocks?

*     *     *     *     *

Speaking of questions, I've had several about calendars, mugs and yarn.  I'm going to do my best to have some available for pick up Saturday.  I know where the mugs and yarn are, but I have to find the box of calendars packed away in the house.  As far as mail order...I'm hoping to be able to start that next week.  I so appreciate everyone's patience.

And while the Hug a Sheep Party was not designed to be a shopping party, don't forget that this year we have some special guests bringing some goodies Saturday as well :-D.  If you've been to the wool festival, you probably already know them, but here are some faces to put with the names in case you don't.

Sweet, sweet Hannah, (ewe fluffly ewe) who really is that sweet.  I'm looking forward to her helping carry the sweet load around here Saturday in case I've 'done used up all my sweet' by then ;-).

The talented and also sweet Melanie from A Yarn Well Spun.  We are holding out hope that Daniel's yarn will be ready, but will still have a ton of fun if it's not!

And Tonya, of Flat Creek Wool and Pottery fame, also very sweet and a fabulous shepherd and potter...and somehow I never got a picture of her actual face in all those festival years.

See you Saturday!  Oh, and for everyone too far away, don't worry, another very sweet friend of ours, Amy (Auset Images), is coming to take lots of pictures for us.  Maybe she'll bring her harp as well :-D.

Speaking of sweet, sweet Auntie Reg is bringing her sweet carrot cake cupcakes and some other sweet goodies :-D.  

Yes, all my friends are sweet...but you already knew that :-).

This really should have been two separate blog posts.  

A re-cap - laugh at Maisie, awwww for Petunia, answer chicken question if you can, come out Saturday and hug some sweet sheep :-D.

No, Maisie probably won't be in the hugging pen.  Remember..."sweet" ;-D.  

She hates sweets anyway ;-).


Unknown said...

I really wish I could come to Hug A Sheep. Maybe someday I will be able to make the trek from CA to come meet the crew. Have a great weekend. Look forward to seeing lots of pics!

Juliana said...

This is the most wonderful chicken video that I have ever seen!!! I also wish I could come to Hug A Sheep--maybe next year I can somehow manage it.
Thank you for writing your wonderful blog and for keeping the rest of us entertained with photos of your beautiful sheep, of Hank in all his dignity, and Betsy. Now I get to add Petunia-enjoyment!

I need orange said...

I could just hear that chicken thinking.... "How the heck do you steer these things, anyway?" Petunia -- so tolerant!

I'm with Marcy -- I would love to come to Hug a Sheep Day some time................. Perhaps after my better half retires. We could make the trek south, and I could hug sheep while he finds a golf course somewhere............ :-)

I know you all will have a wonderful time. :-)

Windswept Farm said...

Unknown said...

That video is downright amazing. Who knew a chicken was smart enough to think all that maneuvering through? And that sheep are that patient with a chicken walking on their head and back. I'm glad you managed to capture it.

Tyche's Minder said...

What a great video! That's one patient, persistent, and opportunistic chicken. The sheep are pretty funny too.

Chicken question - I think I would worry about forcing such a big flock of new hens on the old ladies. I'd probably start out with them separated, but within view of each other, and give them a long ramp up time before I mixed them.

Have a great Hug-a-Sheep Day. I'll participate long distance.

thecrazysheeplady said...

That's a good article - thanks! I hadn't really considered that there might be unseen viruses or something that could take down my hens. I know this farm and caretaker, but still...something to think about for sure!

One good thing is my four aren't really doing much in the coop these days. I could probably put the new hens in there for a few days and then let them out to free range with lots of room to spread out and move around. Hmmmm....

thecrazysheeplady said...

That's why I left the whole thing in even though it was long. I just find it interesting to watch. Like a game :-).

Far Side of Fifty said...

Oh I loved the video, that Chicken is something else as are the chicken movers:) My Grandma never mixed new and old hens/chickens, each had their own was better that way...but she always butchered her old layers...probably not something you want to do. You all have a great weekend, last year were were in Southern Indiana and it was so cold and snowed so I hope you have a warm weekend:)

LL Farm said...

That is one smart (and determined) chicken. Cute video.
Your Hug a Sheep Party sounds like so much fun!
We just combined some new chickens in with ours. It's best to introduce them to each other first - separated by some protection at first - fence, dog crate, etc. There will be pecking order to be determined. I'm actually working on an article to post about it next week.

Cheryl West said...

Your photos and video are just the best. Who knew chickens rode around on sheep? How kind they are to help an old hen get to her night spot.. I hope you have a marvelous weekend and I look forward ordering a calendar soon.

Terry and Linda said...

Oh, how I wish I were there!


Shirley said...

I enjoyed the video- that is one calculating hen! The sheep were pretty accommodating, especially the one who had the hen on her face.

Susan said...

Oh yes, THE face we know and love so well! In the beginning the others were looking like...what the heck? Then the hen got more clever as time went on, what a rodeo! does she have a name? Chicken movers was a clever title for her. I was going to ad my 2 cents in but looks like you got the chicken intros covered. I am excited for you and your weekend :)

flowerweaver said...

Ha! Loved the video, reminded me of Avo and Phoebe. I have mixed new and old flocks successfully many times, but it takes a while. I put the new comers in a large wire dog kennel and let them get used to each others presence for several months. Then I let them out for increasingly longer supervised mingling. Sometimes they get along fine, sometimes there's one hen that becomes challenging and I put her into the kennel for a few days of time out. Eventually the pecking order shuffles itself around and order is restored. Only one time did it go badly for one hen, my favorite of course :(

sophy0075 said...

That is one crafty ol' biddy! I'd say she knows how to pilot those sheep. Well, the friendly, helpful sheep (sorry, Maisie).

Jo said...

I loved this amazing video. What a clever chicken and what patient and helpful sheep!


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