Thursday, August 21, 2014

For The Birds

As I write this post (last night),
it is once again steadily raining outside.
Most of my hay hopes have been dashed...
with more rain coming today.

Since I am unable to commune with my critters and take fresh pictures,
I am going to compile a batch of photos taken previously.

I thought I would give you an update on our birds.

Happily, all 10 of the new ducks are still alive and thriving...
good news after a summer of duckling disappearances!

And a few of the new chickens that arrived April 1st have begun laying eggs.
It will be another month or so until they are all laying with regularity.
For now I find tiny "practice" eggs.

No talk of chickens can be complete without mentioning our dear old Ivanka.

You may remember when Ivanka was relocated to the barn...
seemingly headed for that great henhouse in the sky.

She was, at the time, housebound and in risk of being picked on by the other hens.
A move to the barn would help her last days to be peaceful.
That was a year ago.

Today, Ivanka is thriving.
She is friend to barn kitty Moll Flanders.

In fact, in the winter they share a heat lamp 

and nightly sleep together.
Ivanka hangs out in the barn, visiting with dogs and humans alike.

I think she has even started to look forward to the shoulder rugs that I give her 
when encountering her out of her stall.
She used to crouch down as low as she if she was trying to get away from me.
However, now she stands tall as I gently rub her shoulders...
almost as if she values a good massage!

Like the rest of us, age is taking its toll on her...
her smooth slender legs are now stocky and scaly,
but they carry her weight and take her on strolls out of the barn,
where she seeks the shade of a nearby chair.

At bedtime, with these cold summer nights we have been having,
Ivanka buries her naked neck between the soft folds of an old sheepskin...
fashioning a comfortable muff to keep her warm as she sleeps.

And so it is, with retirement, on the farm.
Even if you have outlived your productive years,
you always get a warm and cozy place to lay your head...
until the day comes that you head off to that great henhouse in the sky!

My only hope is that one day when I am old and scaly like Ivanka,
I, too, have a heat lamp and a comfortable place to dwell...with plenty of company...
enjoying each day that comes with the security of knowing I am home.


  1. An American in TokyoAugust 21, 2014 at 4:50 AM

    My pet finch enjoys shoulder rubs, too! He closes his eyes and looks like an old man saying, "Oh yeah, that feels gooood!" ha ha!

  2. I am sure if Ivanka could talk she would thank you for your kindness and care. I love reading stories of unlikely animal friendships, and your photos of cat and chicken together are beautiful.


  3. we had so much rain that i was worried it would do your hay in. this is the sweetest story about ivanka!

  4. Like Ivanka I have two senior hens. They haven't laid an egg in years but still enjoy pecking in the yard and occasional rub. Both still hunker down like I'm going to harm them, crazy girls. I'm sure Mother Nature switched coasts this year. We are setting record for dry days in a row and you have our rain. Our nights are sure cooling down so I feel Fall is in the air. Enjoy your day, hugs!!

  5. What a sweet post about your aging Ivanka. I have lost 5 hens this year due to old age or digestive ailments. I always make sure they have a safe place to end their life. They give us a lot and they deserve it.

  6. Lovely going out to pasture for us! She has a good home and a great family to keep her company in her waning years....all that I could hope for, as well. Is she a special breed with no neck feathers?

    1. Ivanka is a Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken....also known as a Turken.

  7. Amazing what a little loving care will do, lucky hen, I hope I get the same care when I am old, what am I saying I am old!!!!

    The rain is on its way here in Ct, have already seen a lot of yellow leaves on trees and some falling down already, cant even bear the thought of winter yet, but seems that a frigid one is on its way...
    Annie v.

  8. Don't we all ? lol ! A tuff old bird for sure ! Glad all are well on the farm and thriving ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

  9. Some days I feel like that poor old chicken. Sweet post.

  10. I had been wondering about what had become of Ivanka and hesitated to ask for fear she had departed months ago. I so happy to see she is still kicking & looking so much healthier than when she first went to reside in the barn with Moll Flanders. Glad to hear that your chickens are on their way towards being able to provide you with fresh eggs again. Hopefully predators will keep their distance. How are Oakley & Annie recuperating from their recent porcupine adventure?

    1. Hi Ellen...thanks for asking. Annie Oakley are just fine...fully recovered and up to their old tricks!!

  11. Sweet post . . . love the story and the comfort you bring to Bee Haven residents . . .
    Such a tender, caring heart you are . . .


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