Cool Hand Luke is one of Nate's favorite movies, so he is always quoting lines from it, especially as they relate to the chickens. We suspected Vanilli would be the one to scale the new fencing, and sure enough, I found her on the top half this afternoon wreaking havoc with the tomatoes. I called Nate and told him she busted out of general population and was roaming free. His response was, "Cool Hand Vanilli, we have a failure to communicate. That will be three days in the hole." We've never clipped wings before, but I think we will clip hers to keep her in the bottom half for her safety from hawks and the chopping block. I can only take so much tomato thievery and general seedling destruction from scratching. In the off season, I imagine they will have full range of the yard, but while things are growing, the bottom half will have to be home.
Bella, our Buff Orpington, is a sweet bird and a good layer, but she isn't the brightest of the bunch. Nate calls her the Big Dummy. She keeps trying to jump onto the retaining wall, which is now behind the wire fence, and ends up hitting the fence and getting knocked to the ground. I guess it will take her a few more times to figure it out.
Our bantam (banty if you're from the South) rooster is coming along. He has been fighting a pretty good respiratory illness since we brought him home. Having been blessed with healthy birds, I've never dealt with a respiratory illness, so it took me a few days to figure out the problem and get some VetRx ordered and delivered. VetRx is a natural poultry remedy for respiratory illnesses that has been around since the late 1800s. We were tempted to take him back, but I knew he would face a certain death because the place we got him was not clean, and I imagine all of the birds are suffering from and passing it around to each other. I didn't want to subject him to that fate, especially with cold weather approaching. With some TLC, I think we can get him back to good health. We've kept him isolated in the tractor away from our ladies. Each day he's shown a little improvement with an increased appetite and activity level. His missing tail feathers are growing back, and the wounds on his comb are healing. I even saw him taking a dust bath yesterday, which is a first. He smells terrible, which I understand is a sign of the respiratory problem and probably from the dirty farm as well. Yesterday while scratching around, he discovered the beauty of being under the peach tree, which is the wealth of worms. We continue to put ACV and garlic in his water, and along with his new, healthier diet, I think he will be okay. This morning we were treated to his first crow, which really sounded like the caw of a black crow. It was not too loud and was only two syllables each time. He crowed about 5 times and then stopped. Then, a few minutes ago I heard a strang cackle that sounded like a demented giggle and then a squawk. I realized it was coming from him. It is really comical to hear. If he continues to sound like he did this morning, I don't see any reason why we can't keep him. Actually Vanilli's pseudo-crow is louder than his. Step aside, Vanilli, there's a real rooster on the homestead now. He may be pocket-sized and 5 times as small as the hens, but he's all man. I told Nate we could give him a step stool to service them. Just back it up to the loading dock, ladies! LOL!