The fourteen chickens who run this ranch have full reign of the place. At times, they may be found perched on the hood of a truck, sitting on a tractor wheel, or stealing the horse’s feed. They do as they please, when they please, which is just fine with me. I can’t bear to coop them up. They deserve to free birds.
As long as chickens roam free, there is risk involved. The chicken hawks, the snakes, the speeding cars on the adjacent highway. And then there’s the horse trough.
There is a debate in the poultry world as to whether chickens can swim or not. I didn’t know this until the other day when I was forced to.
J-Dub was tending to the animals one evening when he noticed the water in one of the drinking tubs for the horses was rather low. As he drew near to put the water hose in, he discovered a Barred Plymouth Rock in the water. That’s a breed of chicken for you laypersons. The dear fowl was soaked to the skin, feathers drenched, exhausted, and very stressed.
He rescued her from the drinking tub where she couldn’t fly out either because a) the water was too low and she couldn’t scale the top or B)because the trough is narrow and she couldn’t spread her wings fully to fly out. We don’t know how long she treaded (is that a word) water. But we know she was sure glad to get out of there. I’m positive my husband coddled her and spoke soft and tender reassuring words to her. He put he in the chicken coop where she sat dripping in a state of shock emitting a long sad whimper. If you can imagine a chicken whimpering.
And then he came in and told me about it.
It could’ve been bad if he had not found her. I worried for my sweet chicken all night, well at least until I fell asleep. The next morning, her feathers were badly ruffled, she seemed a little tired and perhaps a bit stove up, but was no worse for the wear. She has made a full recovery and hopefully learned a good lesson.
I might have to put some floaties on her wings just in case.