Monday, November 12, 2012

Peace on Feather Beach

Feather Beach is the name of our chicken enclosure. Thought I would have some fun with the fact that I use a sand floor, live in Florida and have some beach decor to spare.
I love my girls! And like any good mama I don't like to see them fight. I especially don't like bullying and seeing blood drawn. But, that is sometimes the world of chickens.
We have 5. A golden comet named Haley (my husbands pun) a black giant named NightWhite (she had a single white feather on each wing until she started to lay. Kyle named her.) Snowy is one of 3 easter eggers, white with black flecks, Sadlie is a lovely buff color and has a beard. And then, there is Raven.

Raven is EE#3, mostly black with white flecks, I think it is called penciling. She has never wanted to be petted, picked up or handled in any way. As a chick, she would often seem to push her sisters around and try to be first at everything. Kyle named her because the markings on her head when she was a chick reminded him of a bird of prey.

When they began to lay, she seemed to settle down a bit. Still bossy from time to time, but nothing serious. Until this past weekend.
She seemed more agressive than usual all week. Then I noticed her picking on NightWhite. I saw her jump on her back and attack her a couple times, so I chased her off. Friday evening I saw that Nightwhite had a cut on the back of her neck. I went to the feed store and got some Blue Lotion to put on it. The deep blue covered the bright red wound and even had a simular iridescence to  her beautiful black feathers.

But her safety was short lived. The next day I had just finished putting in a bed of onions when I heard loud cries from the pen. I looked up just in time to see Raven on NightWhite's back. I ran to the pen and she got off, but Nightwhite did not get up right away. She did however when I got the pen open. She flew to the highest roost. Since she was safe, I was determined to get Raven out of there and away from the rest. I got a hold of her and put her in my travel cage. Just enough room in there for her,  a perch, food and water, but not much else. I did not feel right to leave her in there for long.
NightWhite's neck was torn open again. With Fred's help, I poured peroxide on it them more Blue Lotion. I needed a better solution for the night. A friend of mine loaned me a decent sized cage that was missing a side. Fred and I attached it with bungee cords to the side of the pen. Raven spent the night and all of next day in it.
When I came home from work, I saw that Raven had knocked her water over. I let everyone out so I could watch them interact. I tipped the waterer back up and Raven spent the next several minutes drinking from it.
I put the rest of the girls in the back yard and put Raven in the pen by herself. I left her drinking yet more water and went inside for a while. About a half hour later I heard her calling. I went out and let them all free range together for awhile. There seemed to be no problems, so I put them in the pen together for the night. Last I checked, they were all lined up on the perch for the night.
Peace has once again returned to the coop, for now :)
From what I am reading, and others are telling me, sometimes you need to isolate an agressive bird for awhile. Hopefully, they peace will last until we can enlarge their area.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Why is it that I try to put so much thought into this blog, that I never end up posting anymore.....

Perfectionism. I want to blog my experiences and feelings with the hope that I can connect with and help others in my position. So, I need time to get inspired, open a word document, type something inspirational that will be a good read and inspire others, spell check, read through at least 3 times to make sure it is something that meets my expectations, add some stuff I forgot, spell check again........
Oh yeah, then I need to add pictures and choose a font! Then I copy and paste onto my page and try to find a Bible verse that fits the occasion.

No wonder my last post was in January.

But I am perfectly fine with typing a single sentence or question onto my facebook page. At this point I have already read this post through for the 3rd time. I am not helping anyone this way.
So, with this post I will try to start anew. I will be more kind to myself, and anyone who is still reading this.

Tonight we enjoyed leftovers and watched a few innings of the Rays game. It is the top of the 7th and I am the only one still watching. Hubby has retreated to the office to work on our taxes and my boy is in the shower, rather late, and preparing for bed. The highlight of our day was checking his grades online. Four A's and a B so far. We are only a week and a half into the grading period, but I wanted to catch him doing well and celebrate the moment. He announced to my that he was no longer going to try to make Honor Roll. He was going for Principal's List!

I love my family and my life. Thank you Lord!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mountains and Valleys

Life is so full. It has ups and downs everyday. Stress, busyness, sickness and sometimes even loss are intermixed with happiness and joy. It can be an emotional rollercoaster for the heart and mind.
It seems difficult to predict how my son will react. Some things we’ve learned are just not good for him such as loud noisy crowds and video games. A room full of rambunctious children can send him crouched in a corner with his hands over his ears. Most video games he can only handle for about 30 minutes before he loses his temper.
There are other times when I feel he should be reacting more, or differently. This week has been one of those very full weeks. Last Friday, he was looking forward to going home with a friend. When the boy’s mother arrived to pick them up, he said he did not want my son to come over. We still don’t know why, but they are friends again today. It was a sad afternoon for him, but he buried himself in his books.
 The next day, we went to pick out baby chicks to start our flock. I surprised him by taking him to a farm where I knew they had baby black chicks. They had other types too, but he has had his heart set on a black one for over a year now. I had not planned to get chicks at this place because she was more expensive, but I knew he really wanted a black one. He was calm, but happy as she let him take the net and scoop up the chick of his choice. It was a Black Sex-Link (black ones are female, white ones are male). He named her “Nightwing”. He held her box close and talked to her while we drove to the next farm. There we purchased our Golden Comet “Hailey” and our Easter Egger “Annabelle”. When we got home, he was calm and helpful as we set up the brooder box.
 The next morning was the local BAHA Horse Show. He placed 1st in Trail and 2nd in Equitation. Again, he was excited but acted pretty much as expected. It was his first show on “James” the Percheron he has been riding. He is a very large horse, so he had to have a leader as a precaution. But he didn’t seemed to mind too much.
Monday was a holiday; Martin Luther King Day. It was a day off of school for Kyle and off of work for me. We had a lazy day at home with the chicks, tv and a few chores. In the afternoon we headed out to pick up my hubby from work. We met him halfway at our friends’ house.  My hubby’s boss is the husband of one of my best friends . So, he sometimes rides with him and our families hang out together. This day was a short visit. Us girls all talked while the boys played out back. Then the husbands arrived so we stayed a little while.
I started hearing noises out back and was about to go out when her husband came in. He said that Kyle had stepped on something. When I got out there, he was screaming and holding his foot. Whatever he had stepped on had gone through his shoe and into his foot. He had ripped it out himself and threw it away in anger. His screams drew the neighbors attention and he said all sorts of unkind things about never playing out back again. He finally calmed down when we reminded him that we were going to his favorite ice cream place.
The next day my Mom became very ill. It took some convincing to get her to go to the hospital. I kept Kyle posted on how she was doing, without too many details. He seemed fine with it all, just sort of matter of fact.  His foot really isn’t healing like it should, but he had a checkup scheduled for Wednesday. The doctor said if it did not improve by Friday, we would need to call in some antibiotics. My Dad already had day surgery scheduled for Thursday and Mom was still in the hospital facing surgery herself. This has made for a crazy, stress filled week at best. Then Thursday morning, we lost Nightwing.
I had warned Kyle that she did not seem as strong as the others. She was listless and did not grow like the others (yes, baby chicks do grow in only 4 days). When I got up that morning, all three chicks woke up as usual. Hailey and Annabelle went to the food dish and began to eat. Nightwing seemed to just reposition herself and go back to sleep. A few minutes later, she was gone.
When I woke Kyle, I gently told him that she did not make it. At first I thought he would be ok. But when he saw her tucked into the little tin I found for her, he fell to pieces.
So, before dawn, we buried her at the foot of our peach tree. We both stood crying and hugging in the moonlight. How can we become so attached in five short days! As sad as I am for the little bird, I am  more upset to see Kyle so sad. I had hoped to give him enough warning to prevent all this. But he has not had to deal with death very much in his thirteen years, except for pets.
So, Dad’s surgery went fine and he is home. Mom’s lab tests came back saying there is no cancer. Hopefully, they will do a procedure today and she will be home soon. Nightwing is in heaven. Life goes on.
As exhausted as I am, I woke up 2 hours early today. The coffee is warm and sweet and there are few distractions. The house is quiet except for the occasional scratching and pecking from the brooder box. It has been a perfect time to write. Now it’s time to start the day. I have to check Kyle’s foot first thing to see if it is improving. Hopefully, Mom will come home and things will calm down.  I am looking forward being out in the sunshine today, setting up activities for my students and watching for hawks in the sky.  Times like that are when I can most feel the Lord’s embrace.
As rough of a week as it was, the Lord has seen us through. I pray for strength and guidance always, and for a quieter week ahead.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV