The chicks which were devised to hatch co- incidentally with the arrival of scores of children at the October Farm Tour event have come of age. The little chicks which are now evidencing the virility of Tux the Black Lacy Wyandot ( poultry aristocracy) and Ernie the Gentle giant Meadows Ranch Barred Rock/ mutt) roosters have graduated from the brooder to the nursery. The White Leghorn chicks who, due to their deranged disposition I'm quite convinced are closely related to the legendary Road Runner or Big Bird have been forced to share their accommodation with the less well bred and very voracious black chicks. On Saturday, Greg and Tyler rounded up the less than enthusiastic Tux/Ernie offspring from the nursery brooder into the Chevy truck for the short trip up the hill to their new juvenile "des res". Sadly, on route to the chick's new home, Greg paused to throw some cornbread crumbs into the mature hens in the "Roost with a view" henhouse...but forgot to secure the gate to the pen. Simultaneously, Sue arrived for her 4 gallon buckets of steaming compost, the Chevy truck, Greg Bran the Border Collie and Robyn the ranch volunteer disappeared up the hill to the chick nursery and the mature chickens found the open gate. DOH !!!! The escapees, red black and speckled hens were happily filing out the 6 inch space into the expansive vegetable garden which is clearly Nirvana for the domesticated chicken in breakout mentality . Fortunately Bran the Border Collie was busily supervising the chick transfer and was unable to contribute to the chaos of barn yard escape from the bed of the truck, even more fortunately, chickens appear to have a per chant for soggy corn bread. Greg and Tyler arrived just in time to see the red tail feathers of the escapees finishing up the last of my corn bread trail and heading determinedly for the garden, orchard...and freedom. Clearly the absconding birds have not been advised of the risks of life as potential chicken takeaway for eagles and hawks, lunch for raccoons and dinner for coyotes....and had obviously underestimated the determination of the ranch team to recapture them. Tyler instantly adopted a football catcher stance and the first chicken despite a foolish attempt to squeeze through a two inch hole was an easy first score for our young footballing volunteer. Only seven to go, scattered around the garden. The Greg and Tyler team worked the recapture and one by one ( with much less entertainment than I had hoped for !) the birds were herded right back into the pen. Nicely done boys ! . Sue was highly delighted with the contents of her buckets, Bran the Border Collie was distraught that he was not involved in the barn yard chaos, the ranch team were able to continue with a scheduled assignment and I could return to my stall cleaning.
Well, Robyn has been back in the city for the weekend and is due back to the ranch this morning. We have just watched a beautiful sunrise over the silhouette of giant cedar trees. Bran is asleep on top of the heat vent and Greg is asleep on top of his computer. Clearly all is well with the world. Take care, keep safe, M