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Dog went to vet for checkup prior to clipping all his fur off. Has some weirdo growth on his chest and is now sporting a blue recovery collar. At first the cats kept their distance, thinking him some sort of alien monster. But now they're just laughing at him. Normally he would beat the crap out of 'em, all except the little one. But he's a tad exhausted by the stress of a trip to the vet. Beating the crap out of them will have to wait.

Once again, the boys are on the wrong side of the glass door. Mrs. Gaines has a mouse and is gutting it in plain sight. I let the boys out. PD once again scoops up the mouse and takes off to parts unknown. In the normal scheme of things, Mrs Gaines can boot any cat out of the dry food. The little one is top of the heap. But in this situation, it's clearly a snooze, you lose as far as PD is concerned.

Meanwhile, chickens run amuck. They occasionally go tearing downhill, flapping madly, like something out of "Chicken Run." I'm leaving them in the run in the mornings now because egg production is down to 8 eggs per day and we found one in the grass. But even shut in, it's still 8 or 9 eggs. So I think they're molting out of season. Egg production goes down when the energy goes into growing new feathers. Molting would be a nice answer for why 3 of them have no neck feathers to speak of. And yesterday, I didn't let them out at all because E and I would be on the road for most of the afternoon. Within 5 minutes, Walkabout was out. By the time E and Weatherdude got home at 5, three chickens were out. Either there's a break in the fence or she's taught someone else to fly. Big, fat chickens should not be able to fly. The book says so. (It also says they molt in the fall.)

Frog Out

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
juliabk
Apr. 5th, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
I think you need to give the Girls a copy of the book. Maybe even read it to Walkabout.

Or maybe they're just not getting their memos.

Tell the dog the cats can't help it. He even sounds like he looks like an idiot.

Their time will come.
birdhousefrog
Apr. 5th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
updated the entry with photo. judge for yourself how he looks. If you were a cat, would you laugh?
juliabk
Apr. 5th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC)
Like you wouldn't believe.
juliabk
Apr. 5th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, I gotta ask. You ever planning on breeding the girls? I'd love to see if Walkabout's odd talents would be transmitted to her offspring.

Not that you need an entire run of flying chickens with wanderlust...
birdhousefrog
Apr. 5th, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
The far neighbors have one or more roosters and their crowing can be heard all the way here, across acres of land. I'm not in favor of being crowed at. Plus, I promised E that these weren't eggs in the sense of 'babies' that she was eating because there wasn't a daddy. No daddy, no baby.

On the other hand, as a 4-H project, it sounds rather cool.
juliabk
Apr. 5th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
Well, I was also thinking how awful it would be to NOT get babies out of them when it comes time to start consigning them to the stew pot. What is the life expectancy of a chicken?

And could you just, y'know, *borrow* the rooster for a while? :-)
birdhousefrog
Apr. 5th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
Maybe, like a stallion, there's some kind of mock-hen he can mount for purposes of collection...or I just borrow him, like you said, assuming he's the right breed.

Life expectancy is up to 16 years. sigh. And they're not worth much in the pot after age 2. Not that we would. They have names, after all. They've been guests in the house, after all. Just not guest of honor at the dinner table.
juliabk
Apr. 5th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
Ah! Gotcha. :-)

As you can see, I know little about the actual live bird that results in a favorite food. :-)

Does the breed really matter all that much? (Serious question.)
birdhousefrog
Apr. 5th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
well, yes. Weatherdude picked this hybrid for its egg production and lack of aggressive behavior. They were always meant to be pets, not meat animals. And we've done well with their egg production, in both size and quantity. I think if we introduced a different breed or cross-breed that it would cause problems in the flock. But first we would have to get them to incubate the eggs. Only one shows any signs of being broody. The rest sort of drop the egg and forget about it.
birdhousefrog
Apr. 6th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)
Update from Weatherdude.

The hybrids aren't rebred because they don't necessarily breed true, so in the normal course of things, Walkabout wouldn't be bred. She's a red sex-link (there's a mark so they can separate boys and girls at birth), which is a cross between a Leghorn hen and a Rhode Island Red cock. They're egg-layers and bred not to sit on the eggs, because once they do, they stop laying. Which means they wouldn't be good at hatching an egg anyway. Weatherdude is actually surprised at how 'friendly' and calm the girls are. The hybrid is not usually this tame. So I think if we introduced young hens that she would teach them her behavior, that it's learned behavior. Point in case, that two more escaped and they WANT to be out. She has always been this way. The others are just developing a taste for it.

And, as he reminded me, if you pick these girls up, there's no meat on their breasts. Not much to cook, not bred for it. Which might also explain how they can fly as well as they do. Most of their food energy goes into delicious large brown eggs.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )