Monday, January 19, 2009
Dog's Plot Progress
The skunks who were living under and with our roosters seem to have moved on, though I can't imagine a better place for them near here. The little ones had a good time in the rooster feeder, but skunks prefer mice to sunflower seeds (or chicken) and they have probably eaten all the mice within short range, so now it will be the mice who get into the rations.
The skunks were good tenants, and they are free to return. Hope they do.
In Spring, adolescent male skunks get kicked out of communal dens and go looking for new hideouts. I knew a skunk in Ithaca that moved right into a dog kennel with a pack of fascist Border Collies, and was tolerated there until he tired to go in the pet door to the house. Then there was a big stink all around.
Young roosters, like adolescent beavers and other boys, make some very daring explorations. Davey's adolescent roosters would go a hundred yards or so up and down toward the neighbors. Our top rooster Dot would lead his four lieutenants and two or three hens right across the busy highway twice a day.
But in their second year, the roosters all prefer to hang around where they know food and the hens are, just pecking around, bluffing, and throwing their voices.
Today is the first day since the week long cold spell, that even Dot and his boys (who spent last winter outside by choice) have made the treck between the Chicken house and the Ark.
You can set the chickens free, but you can't make them range. Not if they don't want to...... and the stiff cold our hens will only come out to eat a little snow and maybe pull a few nubs of oyster shell off the stucco
Still, even though I expect to be leaving here soon, I can say that I have
already gone a long way toward training these guard roosters and chicken dogs, though none of the hens have shown any inclination to go broody and sit on eggs for longer than it takes to lay one, and are still generally meaner and less civil with one another than the roosters.
The hens will come around on that. Meanwhile, we have Taino the broody
chicken dog, who of course does not hatch the eggs....I do that in the Ark....but he nurses and broods over the chicks.
This is surprising as we expected him to be the fierce defender(not that he isn't also that) because he is a Labrador-pit bull male, whereas Deerdra, the older dog and a female, is the one you might expect to be the nurse dog.
Right now old Deerdra is in need of a nurse herself, and that seems to be me.