Monday, September 7, 2009

Life, Death & Mystery on the Farm (Email Classics)

Written May 22, 2009

The following is a sequel to "Suicide Watch on the Farm"

Strange things are happening around the horses' trough at Walker Farm. Or more accurately, IN the water trough. You remember back in early April when I rescued the despondent red hen from the near-freezing depths of the trough? (She recovered fully but is still a little standoffish when I'm around. I understand. It's often uncomfortable to be around those who have seen us at our most vulnerable.) Well, what I didn't relate was that the following weekend, when we were leaving for our Easter picnic in Payson, Mike found one of our pretty Barred Rock (black-and-white spotted) hens drowned in the trough. The water was only a few inches deep, so we're just not sure what happened there.

Then, about one week ago, Mike found one of our young layers, a Buff Orpington, in the trough, pinned between the float mechanism and a board we put over the trough, presumably to discourage hens romping in the trough. (By the way - I'm telling you all of these breed names since it's Friday, I know you're bored at work and you'll have time to go to Google images so you can see what our chickens look like. Go ahead. The boss isn't looking.)

Well, this hen was alive, if wedged, but a new twist to the story is that there was an egg in the water beneath the hen. So here's the mystery: did she seek out the hidey-hole in the trough because she was looking for a secure place to lay her egg? Did she get stuck, freak out and shoot that egg out of her butt in a moment of panic? What is the fascination with the horses' trough? Does it resemble a mystical poultry icon that beckons to both rooster and hen?

These are some of the questions I ponder as I walk among the chickens.

Love from the farm,

(P.S. For those who will be Googling, our other breeds are Aracauna, Wyandott, Rhode Island Red, Australorp and Leghorn)

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