Sunday, May 16, 2010

Snapshot Sunday: Don't Try This At Home

Photo not staged. I'm not kidding.

Today I moved the fifteen spring Cartmans outside to a chicken tractor for their last couple weeks before they leave for freezer camp. This freed up their stall in the barn for the 101 McNuggets that have been stinking up the house while living in two Green Giant potato boxes in the basement. And the nine replacement layers that I hatched out last month.

Pip has a particularly strong English shepherd nurturing instinct. When she was still a virgin bitch, she tried to appropriate and nurse some kittens we were fostering for the shelter. The kittens had a perfectly competent -- and unbelievably tolerant -- lactating Momma Cat, so this ended with a compromise that was amenable to all. Pinky the cat curled up against Pip's belly and nursed her kitties while spooning.

Pip thinks all our babies are hers to protect, including chicks. The chicks obviously get it.

We've taught Rosie and Cole "Baby -- gentle." They get it too. A few seconds after I kicked them out of the brood stall, they were serving it up to the two rutting, strutting, ill-natured free-range tom turkeys in the barnyard. Entirely appropriate, and emphatically not gentle, but not a feather damaged.

Folks, please do not try this with your Jack Russell terrier.

Also not staged, except I asked them to stay as I moved out of the stall to get the shot


  1. My two Jack Russels are great with adult chickens and will hunt mice in the coop or our friends sheep barn and leave the livestock alone (the male did kill one hen once when he was young, but learned that they don't "play" well and has never done it since), but chicks are too squeaky and fuzzy, so they are kept safely separated from the dogs. The side of the house with the junco nest also needs to be temporarily fenced off until the chicks fledge.

  2. My Bull Terriers wouldn't do so well in there with the chicks. I can just picture the mayhem. I feed raw food. But that's a little too raw for my liking!! Gee, live toys you can eat!

    Marilyn Burris

  3. They squeak well, but not for very long.

  4. Kaylee is the same way, and it's one of the things I really adore about her and collies in general. :) (The demonspitz is more into squeaky toys, unfortunately.)

  5. I'd be intrigued as to what my dog would do around the Tiny Cheeping Evils (or any Tiny Cheeps). I can't see her NOMming them, but when she's left to her own devices, she can keep the yard effectively cleared of small animals.

    Great pics, by the way.

  6. I assume you all know Sharky the pit bull and his fetish for small creatures?
    The latest is particularly odd..

  7. By the way, now that Jazzie has migrated to another foster home (and is she any closer to an adoptive home?), is Rosie better behaved?

    Rosie is the last remaining ONB foster in your care, yes?

  8. Drummer, my WPG, totally ignores the adult hens, but the chicks are too much for him. He had no idea they were in the basement under a heat lamp, but last week they moved out to the chicken tractor and now he stiffens and quivers whenever he is outside. It doesn't help that the little aracaunas look a lot like quail. A few days ago one of them bolted through the door of the chicken tractor when I reached in to check the water and he was on it in a heartbeat. He brought it right to me, unhappy but unhurt and was thrilled and proud for the rest of the day.

  9. Rosie is the last remaining ONB foster in your care, yes?

    No, Rosie is all ours.

    She's a Piston, Evil Daughter of Pip, Evil Sister of Audie.

  10. Ah, sorry, complex question.

    You have no more ONB fosters. True?

  11. Ah. Mostly not raised in a chicken tractor, though I guess a couple weeks at the end of their lives probably doesn't much matter for the purposes of this discussion.

    1. The tractor for the Cartmans was just a night shelter. They were free to come and go during the day. There were not enough of them to justify the large canopy we used for the bigger flocks at the time.

      I guess it wasn't really a tractor, because not used as such, but a moveable coop.


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