Saturday, April 03, 2010

Laya (Best Hen Ever) And Her New Brood!!

The Queen Mother.


Thursday was a teacher workday for us and the first day of spring break for the students. I was in my classroom finishing up some grading when the phone rang.


"Hey Dad, I just got home and Laya is walking around the yard with chicks!"

"Great!" I responded, " How many?"

"Not sure, I'll get closer and let you know."

"Okay, remember to keep Bear under control when you let him out ... he's never REALLY over his chicken addiction."

"Gotcha!"


A few minutes later I got a short text message, "8!".



When I arrived home and parked the JEEP, a rustling sound in the oaks proved to be this ...



As pastoral as that looks, we have given up on allowing Laya to handle chick raising on her own, not due to any fault of hers, she's AMAZING!

(Best Hen Ever! ... have I mentioned that yet?)

It's just that we live in a small hole in a big woods, and there are just too many native predators like opossums, coons, and ratsnakes. When you add the neighbor's %#$!#%$&!# cats to that list, her chicks just don't stand a chance if left with her to forage.


So, Junior and I rounded them up, which would have made a good video in itself since she took them into a scrubby oak section as soon as we approached and he was barefoot as usual.

Let's just say, round up was challenging ...



After a while we did manage to corral them and place them in an old rabbit hutch with Laya.

Last year we did the same and my pal the ratsnake slipped in through a loose door gap and ate all 4 chicks. I did not see that happen, but there were no shredded remains, not even a feather. Just a single drop of blood to mark their passing.


I'm sure it was my favorite giant grey ratsnake and I hold her innocent. She's an instinctive hunter ... and belongs here.

Even if I like having the grey ratsnake around, I don't have to make it easy for her, so Junior and I ziptied the flappy wire door completely shut. We can drop water and food through the wire mesh from above,


We also moved the cage up on to the porch near old, deaf, blind Flounder's bed so he can protect them.


Stop laughing at my dog.


His nose works a thousand times better than yours even if he can't see or hear.

Actually, I'm counting on the very intense doggy scent of him to be a deterrent for the mammalian predators who might venture close to the house.

It seems to work with human visitors.

19 comments:

Freste said...

Great thinking, great planning, great execution, great philosophy, great set up. Was this post grating?

Dani said...

PEEPS!!! I LOVE THEM ALL!!!

Cracked me up when Laya(best hen ever) was giving those pissed off little clucks in the rabbit hutch. She was not happy!lol

Island Rider said...

I suppose that is the proud papa crowing and smoking a cigar in background. After Laya did all the work!

Dani said...

LOL Cathy!!

Suwanee Refugee said...

Where did ya come up with the name Laya?

Floridacracker said...

Freste,
Great day! That's a great amount of greats.

Dani,
She's strictly business when it comes to her babies!

Laya,
Proud Papa ... and son. They are keeping it all in the family.


Refugee,
It's a play on Star Wars and egg laying. Her full name is Princess Laya.

Kimberlee said...

What a beautiful brood! How big do the chicks have to be before they stop being a potential snake snack and can get outside?

kathy a. said...

chick chick chick! hoping the snake has other food sources, and that flounder employs his scents to the fullest extent of the paw.

Anonymous said...

FC-You won't get any argument here about the doggy scent! LOL!
Lightnin

Anonymous said...

You might want to put a board or something for them to stand on... I am sure you won't keep them in there too long, big enought o defend themselves or fly into trees. It mangles their feet if they stay on wire too long.

Miz S said...

Man, everyone's in a LOL-y mood today. Don't you people understand that life is just one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders were dead? (A little Simpsons reference for you. You're welcome.)

Naturally, I kid. Life is actually more like a box of chocolates.


Those chicks are adorable and so is Princess Laya (best hen ever).

And I am a responsible pet owner who keeps her cat inside. Go ahead, praise me.

cndymkr / jean said...

I swear I have chicken fever. Every where I look there are adorable chicks, luscious eggs and free roaming hens. I'm very jealous.

Cathy said...

Are you really as stoic as you sound regarding that snake and those chicks?

Cause my read is that you've got a heart the size of the Okefenokee on matters of kids and dogs.

You're bluffing.

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

First....kathy a., that was very funny!

I hope you can keep the snake away. They are cuties. Princess Laya is mighty fine herself.

P

cinbad122 said...

Chicks....just in time for Easter! I guess the bunny won't need to bring them!

Sandcastle Momma said...

Easter chicks! Laya did good. They're so cute - I'm glad your friend the snake won't be having chicken for his Easter dinner.

Bwahhaaahaaa! Word verification is inoven

threecollie said...

Chicken wonderfulness! I was just thinking about what a cool chicken Princess Laya is this morning (honest, I really was) when I was dragging the Christmas tree out of the yard...and came into find this post. Miss Sera at work again I guess. Have a great Easter

Caroline said...

Easter greetings to the Queen Mother and her humans!
We were at the local feed/ag store last night, they have the season's batch of baby chicks, ducks, turkeys in, cute peeping fuzziness.

robin andrea said...

Princess Laya, may she have a wonderfully long reign and someday become Queen. Her babies are such cuties.