Lotts of Family Fun

My mom and my nephews, Philip & Nathan LOTT came to visit last week.  The younger prefers to go by “Nate Dawg” so if you’re ever in his proximity, please address him thusly.

Watch out for this kid.  He'll either be the President of the United States, or the funniest guy in prison

Watch out for this kid. He’ll either be the President of the United States, or the funniest guy in prison

His brother Philip is a gentleman and a scholar currently attending college in Mississippi and kicking some major buttocks in academia and baseball.

Mr. "Yes I can grow a beard in 72 hours"

Mr. “Yes I can grow a beard in 72 hours”

The parents of these two youngsters are secretly planning an arranged marriage.  So far, the arrangement is in our minds only.

We know what's best guys!  Just fall in love already!!!

We know what’s best guys! Just fall in love already!!!

My mommy, Peg Peg, enjoyed visiting with human and animal family members alike.

Mulder had a little crush on his grandmommy

Mulder had a little crush on his Grandmommy

Nate Dawg enjoyed harassing Dave & Buster during evening bunny time.

Just try to ignore him Dave.  Maybe he'll get bored and go away.

Just try to ignore him Dave. Maybe he’ll get bored and go away.

Whenever Jim can coerce young fit people (not me) to join him on a vigorous hike on the Alabama trails, he’ll usually take a day of leave to do it.

Jim, Philip and Hannah BEFORE

Jim, Philip and Hannah BEFORE

And…

AFTER

AFTER

Certainly a good time was had by all the relations, and we were sad to see them go.  On a totally unrelated topic…I was taking pictures of my house on a beautiful sunny afternoon because my man-slave and I had just finished three hours of grueling yard work, and I wanted to document our accomplishment.

Paradise in Pike Road

Paradise in Pike Road

All was going well until some idiot in a golf cart wouldn’t get out of my frame.

They really need to screen the neighbors better.  Sheesh!

They really need to screen the neighbors better. Sheesh!

Navin Johnson-The Sequel

Some may remember a previous post about a little black kitten who came to live with me for a while.

https://kittybunnychicken.com/2013/06/11/meet-navin-johnson/

The shelter had asked me to “un-feral” him.  He became very tame and sweet, so I took him to the shelter for adoption.  Apparently he was returned to the shelter with ringworm and was again in need of some intensive care to cure his ailment.  Ringworm is very contagious to humans and other animals; so as much as we hated to do it, we had to isolate him from our critters.  We played with him as much as possible and gave him his pills and his ointment, but we had to wash our hands and clothes thoroughly after each encounter.  It wasn’t fun, but necessary and now I’m happy to say that the little guy is well and playing happily with his best buddy, Mr. Mulder once again.

I remember this guy!

I remember this guy!

I’m supposed to return him as soon as he’s well, but I figure, this little fella has been through so much, that he deserves a nice little week-long vacation at Casa de Burlingame.  If any neighbors would like to come by and give Navin a test drive as a potential family member, I “know people” who could make this happen. 🙂

No Mulder, we can't keep him.  Sorry :(

No Mulder, we can’t keep him. Sorry 😦

My Fifteen Minutes

Mr. Warhol said we’d all get our 15 minutes of fame.  Here’s mine.  🙂

Go to the link, click on the rectangle where there may or may not be a picture.  Endure a 30 second commercial that plays over the first part of the clip, then behold yours truly about 1:16.  If the video doesn’t show, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “extra”.

http://www.waka.com/home/top-stories/Afowl-of-The-Law-216609161.html

A Tragic Day for a Dear Friend

Jim’s first furlough day was yesterday and we were running errands and planning to have lunch after we finished.  My cell phone rang around noon and I answered it to hear my girlfriend crying so hard I couldn’t understand what she was saying.  I asked her to calm down and try to talk and she said “A pack of dogs have gotten into our chicken yard and killed all my chickens.”  I calmly told her to wait for me, and Jim took me home.  I got into some into work clothes and put on old shoes.  He put a cardboard box in my trunk to bring home Rosie, Daisy & Violet.  Debbie lives about 45 minutes from me and I drove to her house trying to imagine what I would find there and what I would say to comfort her.  As I stepped out of the car I saw her standing with her head hanging and could tell she was still crying.  I saw a couple of chickens walking around some farm equipment so I was glad to see that the dogs had not gotten them all.  I walked up to her and hugged her and she told me to be brave.  There were feathers everywhere.

dog attacks chickens 002

A small pile of colorful bodies were loaded into her husband’s tractor for disposal.

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I was bracing myself before I asked about my girls but I saw that Debbie had separated them from the group and put them together in a box in the shade.  Before I looked in, Debbie explained that at first she had three chickens in the box.  She was sure they were all my girls.  Later, she looked again and decided that the yellow chicken was not actually Daisy.  She put the yellow bird with the others and assumed that dear Daisy was taken by the dogs or that her body was still somewhere on the premises.  She said that only about 10 chickens had been found alive and almost all of them had injuries ranging from minor to deadly.  We walked around her farm together finding more bodies and more injured birds.

I need to explain something before I go on.  Debbie & Walter had gone to much expense and trouble to provide a lovely, humane and safe home for their chickens.

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The whole chicken yard covers at least an acre and it is full of healthy grass, bugs, and a state-of-the-art watering system. It’s also equipped with hawk netting to keep even the most determined predators out.  A chain link fence surrounds the area and there are two huge houses enclosed for her chickens to lay eggs and take dustbaths in the shade.  She has provided this wonderful home for her birds for many years and no animal has ever been able to penetrate the yard.  She and Walter figured out that the pack of four or five dogs, jumped against the gate so many times and threw their collective weight against it until the latch twisted and allowed just enough space between the gate and the fence for the dogs to get through.  The dogs killed with abandon and did not actually eat any of the chickens they killed.  These were animals who had stalked their property before and were likely the same dogs that killed Carlos.  Walter was able to kill one, but the others escaped.  They know who the dogs belong to.  They are the worst kind of animal abusers you can imagine.  The family lets them run wild, does not spay or neuter them or provide them with proper food.  Debbie called them ignorant and unkind.  I call them evil.  I want to hate the dogs, but they were just acting on instinct.

After we had searched the property for all the chickens we could find.  I finally looked in the box at Rosie & Violet.   They were indeed my former pets and it broke my heart to see their lifeless forms.  Violet’s injuries were severe but she was in one piece.  Rosie didn’t have a mark on her but she must have had internal injuries.  Their feathers were vivid and shiny and I pet them gently before putting them in my car.

After our search, Debbie had a box of four chickens who needed to be euthanized.  We went to her vet and they were waiting for us.  The most injured bird had to be held for the procedure and I did it because Debbie was beside herself with grief.  After the vet put down two of the birds, he gave antibiotics to two others and gave them back to Debbie to take home.  He felt like they had a good chance of making it, so now they are in her house recovering.

dog attacks chickens

When we returned to Debbie’s house she put the injured chickens in the house and we made one more search of the chicken yard.  Sadly we found another dead bird and a horribly injured bird that Walter mercifully dispatched.  Debbie led me into one of the hen houses to make one more sweep of the area and both could not believe our eyes when we walked into the dark building.  There in the gloom was a frightened yellow bird with a funny walk and a lazy eye.

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Daisy

Despite her fear, she let me pick her up and put her in Debbie’s arms.  We checked her body all over and saw no punctures or broken bones.  She has lost some wing feathers and some pin feathers around her neck, but otherwise was in good shape.  This small consolation made us both whoop with joy and for a short moment our spirits were lifted.

In all Debbie and Walter lost over 20 chickens and were left with about 20 injured and traumatized birds.  They have put a heavy chain around the gate and have gotten all the living birds back in the yard to try to return to a normal chicken life.

On my way home from Debbie’s I called Jim to prepare a small grave for my two old friends.  We had a few words and placed a little memorial for them in our ever-growing pet cemetery.  I did not have any “Violets”, but I did have two “Rosies” from my garden.

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I leave you with some excerpts from a heartfelt and eloquent email I got from my friend last night…

I can’t tell you how much it meant for you to be here and share the burden with me.  You are truly my friend, and I love you dearly.

I was looking at old pictures of the girls just now and they only make me cry even more.  My heart has not recovered from the loss of Carlos and I’m missing Scarlet terribly, and now I don’t know if I can go on without that sweet Violet running up to greet me daily, and little Rosie, how she would dash in for a treat and dash out again – that funny little bird.  I grieve for the loss of friends that my other girls had and I grieve for the ones still in pain from the attack.  I’m constantly faced with the trauma as I tend to the two in my house.  

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed raising chickens the RIGHT way, just seeing them enjoy life, made me enjoy it all the more.  That’s how it suppose to be, and the evil in this world seeks to undo all the right we strive so hard for.  

Only time will heal this my friend.  You were, and are a true friend to animals and I’m honored to have you in my life.

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Thanks for reading.  Hope all your loved ones, animal and human are safe.

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Violet April 1011-July 2013

Violet: April 2011-July 2013

Rosie April 2011-July 2013

Rosie: April 2011-July 2013

Scarlett’s Travels

Scarlett is the cute yellow chick on my blog homepage.  If you recall in my previous blogs, she began her life in the spring of 2012 with my Daddy in Purvis, Mississippi. He tried to hatch a clutch of eggs in an incubator but only one chick popped out.

My dad is way cooler than he looks.  He's a retired Navy pilot and chicken farmer extraordinaire!

My dad is way cooler than he looks. He’s a retired Navy pilot and chicken farmer extraordinaire!

Because he was not set up to care for a single chick properly, I took her home to live with our family until she was old enough to live in a coop.

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We really enjoyed her and she got along with all our animals.

Buster deserves a medal!

Buster deserves a medal!

But since we have this stupid rule in our neighborhood that we can’t have pet chickens, we had to find her a home when she got too big to keep in the house.

That "squawkward" stage.

That “squawkward” stage.

As you know, my good friend Debbie had already given homes to our sweet girls Daisy, Rosie and Violet the previous year, so when I called her to see if she would take Scarlett, she said, “Sure! The more the merrier.”  The only problem with this plan was that it’s not easy to integrate a lone chicken into an established flock.  So Debbie kept Scarlett close to her house in a separate coop but let her run around the premises with her new friend Carlos.  Carlos was another chicken that Debbie had inherited from a family who couldn’t keep her (despite the name, Carlos was actually a girl! :)) It worked out perfectly because these two beautiful Rhode Island Reds bonded and became BFFs.

Debbie was thrilled to have two sweet “house chickens” to live near her and they became tame and friendly to everyone.  All was well until the day a dog got into Debbie’s yard and injured Carlos badly.  The good news was that Carlos made  a full recovery and the two chickens returned to their lives of begging for treats, scratching for bugs and enjoying the life of very pampered chickens–That is until the dog came back.  This time he injured Scarlett and, unfortunately, killed Carlos.  Debbie was devastated.

She couldn’t risk keeping Scarlett near her house anymore, plus Scarlett was used to having Carlos as a constant companion, so she would be lonely.  Debbie tried to introduce her to the gang up the hill (she has about 40-plus chickens) but they picked-on/pecked her and let her know she wasn’t welcome.  She called me for advice and I immediately thought of my friends, GT and Leigh.  They have a lovely place in the country and GT has raised chickens for several years now.  I recently took my foster chicken Miss Rhoda to his house to live and I thought that maybe she might be a good friend to Miss Scarlett.  Rhoda and Scarlett would be the only mature chickens on the place because GT currently has a small flock of young chickens who have not yet reached maturity.  We crossed our fingers and made a plan to meet at GT’s house for the introductions.

Leigh leads the way to Scarlett's new "Chicken Shack"

Leigh leads Debbie to Scarlett’s new “Chicken Shack”

Debbie nervously put her pet down in foreign territory and hoped for the best.

Try to play nice with others!

Try to play nice with others!

Rhoda did NOT roll out the “welcome wagon.”  Instead she walked over to poor Scarlett and gave her a nip on the noggin.

Show some manners Miss Rhoda!

Show some manners Miss Rhoda!

It wasn’t long, however, before the two decided to reach an agreement.

OK, let's make some rules...

OK, let’s make some rules…

Debbie left GT’s place with some sadness and nervousness about the whole thing, but she felt she was doing the best thing for Scarlett.  (I know how she feels.)  The update to this story is that I spoke to GT this morning and he told me that Miss Rhoda and Miss Scarlett are best buddies and they hang out all day together tormenting an adolescent rooster named Baby Legs. 🙂  Because of GT and Leigh, this story has a happy ending.  THANKS GUYS!!!

If you two were any cuter, you'd be puppies. :)

If you two were any cuter, you’d be puppies. 🙂