Jesus II and Hay-Zeus

Chickens in the barn

Barn Cat and the chickens

Jesus II and Hay-Zeus have quite the story. First we have to start with the story of Jesus the first.

When our chickens are butchered we move them out of their chicken tractors a cart load at a time. Summer 2009 we did this on a Friday. We thought we’d gotten all of the chickens out of the moveable cages, so we went to the farmer’s market on Saturday, Sunday was our day off and it wasn’t until Monday that we got around to going to clean up the tractors- bring in the feeders and turn off the water lines.

Imagine our surprise when Chris came in saying that there was a little chicken out there in one of the cages- all alone, just clucking to herself, wondering where the party had gone. Since she had showed up 3 days after presumably dieing, we started calling her Jesus. Since she had missed the boat, we put her in with the laying hens. She adjusted slowly to her new life. She loved being fed lots more grain and put on quite a bit of weight which made her waddle quite pronounced.

Jesus with the laying hens

Jesus’ new life lasted until our second batch of chickens was ready to butcher. Then we needed one more chicken to round out the first batch and so Jesus was volunteered. It was incredibly sad to see her go. She had become quite the landmark in the barn since she didn’t like to venture too far from the safety of the hen house.

our chicken named Jesus

Jesus adapts to the hen house

Now starts the story of Jesus II and Hay-Zeus.

There was a chicken that had not been doing well at all. She had never really feathered out, she hadn’t been putting on any weight and she still fit into my hands when cupped together. We were calling her Runty because of this.  I told a friend that they could have Runty for their new chicken run in their backyard and asked dad to leave Runty in the pen since she wasn’t going to make a very good meat bird. Dad agreed and when he came back from emptying out the chicken tractors he said that he’d also left a rooster with Runty because the rooster wasn’t that big and that way she could have company.

She's been molting for 4 months now...

When I went out to check on Runty and her new rooster companion I found THREE (3!) birds. Runty was so small and downtrodden that my dad hadn’t even noticed her. He had left a small hen and a small rooster as well as Runty! But, there they were. Now that there were so few chickens, we were able to give Runty more individualized care… which I guess ultimately led to her demise. Because she couldn’t really move, we had usually taken the automatic waterer off of it’s line and put it down beside her to allow her to drink for a few minutes and would put a handful of food next to her as well. With no one to tip the waterer over, we could leave it beside her for an extended period of time. How were we to know that she would guzzle too much water? Rest in peace Runty.


Living it large in the barn

The remaining birds became called Jesus II and Hay-Zeus. They lived out side for a while longer in the chicken tractor, just the two of them and caused me some alarm. I woke up one morning to the sound of a chicken being strangled. (Not a pleasant way to awake) And so before I was even completely conscious, I was running out of the Lodge to rescue my birds from whatever was attacking them- probably a skunk or weasel. Nathan yelled after me before I made it out the door- that it was just Hay-Zeus learning how to crow. I’d never really heard a chicken learning how to crow before, and sure enough… that is what it was. He serenaded us for a number of mornings with various versions of “cock-a-dughghghghg” and “cock-a-doodle-a;fkldjflksgjsdlkj” before he mastered his “cock-a-doodle-do”.

Jesus II and Hay-Zeus adapted to being in the barn and hen house with our 4 laying hens quite remarkably. They did some serious physical training and have managed to make it up to roost with the laying hens. The barn echos each morning with Hay-Zeus’ cock-a-doodle-do.


~ by mcquaka on May 10, 2010.

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