Monday, October 4, 2010

Raising Chickens... no, I mean RAISING chickens!

Barred Rock Hen Struts Out
Wow. We've gone straight from dry, hot September to wet and chilly November. Where are the crisp, clear October days and nights?  One taste and gone?  I demand a rerun!

Well, I slogged out to the chickens to see how they were faring in the continuing drizzle and damp. Although their fenced outside run drains fairly well, the ground is chicken-trampled and tumbled and it tends to turn to mud, mud, mud in the wake of any storms.  Eight inches of rain didn't seem to make it any worse than one or two inches of rain has done... but the continuing wet air, wet ground, wet grass was keeping all of the chooks muddy and dispirited looking. 

I hauled out a bale and a half of old hay that's been staying dry in the unused half of the solar hoop house. (My next-door neighbor, Kristi, gives me any hay that gets "past" being good enough for the horses.) I swear hay bales get heavier every year. What are they baling in there? Lead?  Surely the amount of effort it takes can't have anything to do with my middle-aged, out of shape muscles.

I marched around in the mud and spread the flat books (sections) of hay around on the mud.  Rob was able to hand mow the yard near the house and he added a nice, tasty layer of fresh and seedy grass to the top.
Basking in the Sun - finally!

The plan was to raise the chickens up off the wet ground so that they could walk about on dry material. Well, okay, everything promptly got wet in the drizzle but at least the thick hay wasn't sodden. I think the poultry, individually and collectively, was pleased. ... were pleased? I have to think that one through.

And so, in closing, I'll wedge in a nice shot, from my el cheapo digital camera, of Mr. Chicken and Hi-Ho Silver, the Silver Leghorn hen, free-roaming the orchard in a nice bit of setting sunlight.  Let's hope October returns and we all (farmers and chickens) get to enjoy the beautiful fall weather that makes Virginia famous this time of year.


  1. We lost our beloved barred rock in the bad storm Thursday. Poor thing could not survive the 14 inches of rain that fell in our yard. Our other three older and bigger chooks handled the weather just fine - well, it did make them a bit grumpy. Hopefully we'll have some nice weather over the next few days.

  2. Barred Rocks are wonderful chickens. I haven't had a one that I didn't love. I'm so sorry to hear you lost yours in that deluge - I wonder how many other chickens and other smaller living things didn't get out of that flood unharmed. I'm hoping to pick up some new young chickens (pullets) next spring at the Chicken Swap (Tractor Supply Co., Gloucester VA).


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