Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Great Duck Pen Mystery

   I've been very perplexed with a recent development in my duck pen.  I have three fawn and white India runner ducks.  They don't fly. They run around a lot but I've never seen them fly and they're not supposed to be able to fly.  Yet somehow poultry poop has been magically appearing on the roof of the little duck shelter within the duck pen.  I had briefly kept a chicken in with the ducks some months ago and the chicken would occasionally roost on top of the duck shelter resulting in an accumulation of chicken poop on the top of the shelter.  I built a new chicken pen several months back, moved the chicken to her new digs and the rain had quickly erased any evidence that the chicken had ever lived in the  duck pen. But now the poop has mysteriously returned.

   About a week ago I took custody of an additional 5 laying hens that my daughter-in-law Beth had been raising. They've been living in the new chicken pen with my old Rhode Island Red hen. The old hen has been a bit territorial and has the new hens effectively cowed.  I've gone out there several time after dark and found the red hen roosting in the chicken coop by herself while the young hens were sleeping on the roof of the goose shelter (as of yet unoccupied) in the rain.  Each time I have moved them one by one into the chicken coop and hoped that the old biddy would soon figure out that she no longer had a private room.  A few days ago I went out to check on the chickens to see if they were finally roosting in the coop where they belonged.  I didn't see any chickens asleep on the roof of the goose shelter so I was hopeful that they had finally worked out their pecking order.  When I looked in the chicken coop to my surprise I only saw the old red hen.  I looked in the nest boxes and still found no young hens. Yet I could hear them making the kinds of quiet little chicken noises that they make when they are roosting.  I looked everywhere in the chicken pen and couldn't find the chickens but yet I could hear them.  Finally I listened carefully and looked up to discover five young hens roosting on the wire roof of the duck pen right above the duck shelter.  Obviously I am going to have to do a bit of a rework job on the chicken pen to preclude any of my chickens flying the coop.

    I took some evidentiary photographs but they are unavailable at the moment so I will add them in a few days

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