Gee, look at that nice, sunny day! You’re having lovely weather, Lisa!
I say unto you – HA! The weather was just kidding. I promise.
Yesterday afternoon, the sun mocked my optimism about Pacific Northwest weather by coming out – for about five minutes. The day started as any other has, of late – cold, gray, and cloudy. Oh, heck, it probably even rained some. I honestly don’t remember. But right after lunchtime, there it was! Bright and happy, the sun shone through what seemed to be a great break in the clouds. So, I bundled up (I wasn’t so naive as to think it would be warm too) and headed out to give the chickpeas some time in the sunshine and grass. As pictured above, they came flooding out and set straight to work on the grass. They do this same thing, regardless of the weather, but I sensed an extra hint of enthusiasm this day and I attributed it to the sun.
Thinking ahead, for once in my life, I also had brought along my camera so I could take some good pics in the glowing light. I managed to snap a handful before the heavy, black clouds came rushing back over the sun with great, gloomy gusto. It was a pipe dream. A few minutes into our photo session and the sky looked like this (again):
The sudden disappearance of the sun seemed to confuse Blanche, who looked quizzically up at the blackening sky.
Perhaps she was confused as to precisely why her body would choose to drop all its feathers at a time of year when the weather behaves so badly. I know I am.
Confusion aside, I did manage to get a couple of decent shots of the needly-looking new feathers on her head (I guess it’s what they look like before they grow feathery stuff).
And this picture is blurry and crappy, but it’s still a good comparison of Blanche (in molt) and Sophia (not in molt) so you can see the differences.
This was Soup yesterday and today he looks even better. Day before yesterday (I have no pics) he had fresh, wet, bright red blood on his face, beak, neck, comb, and wattles. I assumed he was in a fight and lost, and that’s still my guess. By yesterday, his blood had dried and his wounds were healing and he was back to hunting and pecking like normal. He still stayed away from the girls, though. Today he tried to mount one or two and JB promptly kicked him off each time. But, all in all, he seems to be fine. I think he’s low-man on the totem pole now, but hopefully it won’t last. I don’t think Luke can hold his ground for long anyway.
OK, so today I found that our friends, the rats, had tunneled a SECOND entrance into the chicken run. That did it. I saw red. For about a week now, I have had this plastic (read: rain-proof) bait/trap station set right outside the run by the rats’ exit hole. The idea is that they run in the hole of the box to eat the bait and get snapped in the trap. This is nice because the rain won’t wash away my peanut butter. However, I was reluctant to put it IN the coop with the chickens because I’m pretty sure a determined chicken could gets its head in the hole and get snapped in the trap. The last thing I need is a dead chicken with its head in a box. Soooooo… it’s been outside the run. And the rats have laughed at me for it.
Well today, sirs and madams, I have stepped up my offensive a notch or six. Today I, in the cold and rain and near-dark, I gathered up several cinder blocks from around our property, carted them to the coop in the wheelbarrow, and built a chicken-proof, rat-attracting death trap. I put the trap against a wall on the way to the waterer. I then put cinder blocks on either side so that the rat would have to walk through the cinder block holes to get to the peanut butter (and trap) and so that chicken necks wouldn’t reach. Then I put another cinder block on top of the whole thing for good measure and to keep it from shifting. I now have a tower of concrete in my chicken coop, but it’s gonna be worth it. I’ll tell you one thing – rats LOVE tunnels. And walls. Rats LOVE walls. They run along them. That’s why you’re supposed to place traps under things and along walls. Well, my friends, I have created a haven of tunnels and walls for those rats and now I sit and wait for victory. Oh yes, the time has come. Rats will die. I can feel it in my bones.