Chicken Perch Problems

Today’s guest post comes from Ben.

I put up some new perch racks for my chickens. This latest batch of chickens never seemed to get the hang of them and they kind of just huddle up in a corner on the floor; easy pickings for some raccoon or coyote.

So lately I’ve tried to get them using the perch. Chickens don’t listen very well. And they sure as heck don’t ‘herd’.

There are a variety of perches. Wonder what sort of perches I provided?

Here’s a hint. Not this:

Not this either:

My perches are simple 2×4’s. About as basic as a tree.

My older siblings could tell you stories about chickens in trees. My brother had to climb up and get them down. My sister had to collect the eggs. They both hated their jobs. At least my chickens don’t roost in trees. Much.

They do hang out in a lilac bush during the day.

So, the first night I simply chased the chickens over to the perch. They don’t really settle down and roost until night so it was dark out when I decided to do this. In hindsight I should have told my wife what I was up to. The chickens were greatly upset by my meddling and it sounded to Kelly like a massacre down in the chicken coop. Five nights in a row now I’ve poked, prodded, chased, herded, carried, lugged and cajoled those chickens to the roost.

And they still haven’t figured it out.

The White Rock breed is very quiet and I can pick them up and tuck them under my arm and put them on the perch. The Black Australorp do NOT like to be picked up and they make a real fuss about it. The Silver Laced Wyandotte have no sense of balance. I’ve been picking the chickens up and carrying them over to the perch and I place them on it.

One of those black ones lept straight up, smacked into my face and broke both nosepieces off my glasses. They were broken before and I have super glued them back on twice now. But this time I couldn’t find the nosepieces. They’re down in the dirt and feathers and manure and….

Well, I didn’t look too hard.

I have been trying to help these birds, and have been handsomely rewarded for it. A couple weeks ago it was a stick up my nose. Today it’s broken glasses.

It’s quite an ordeal. I’m hoping they learn soon. Or one of us should anyway.

They say no good deed ever goes unpunished.
When has this been true for you?

95 thoughts on “Chicken Perch Problems”

  1. my old dog zeke died this summer and i was heartbroken and knew i needed to do something so i would be able to go on in my love of dog relationship with the world. i have a basset and a little shivery thing and neither of those was going to do it. the besste is a good ol girl but its more like having a sneak thief and bad guest than a pal. the little dog is never going to be my cup of tea. so we got these two new pups from the rescue dog folks who found them in the woods at one week old of so and e have had them since they were the size of a football and now they are about 4 1/2 months old and i m guessing about half grown up and a kick to watch but the reason i chose the basst 10 years ago was because i didnt want to go through the 3 or 4 years of shoe chewing you get with a retriever or setter or lab, the basset doesnt have that trait too bad, these new guys eat pop cans, plastic bottles, gloves shoes wood from the fire pit and whatever else appeals to their pallet for today. it might well be a pallet that appeals to their pallet. they love my yard and the squirrels and the moles and chipmunks that live in the yard. they play chase all day long burning off millions of caories of puppy energy and the main area as far as i can tell the main criteria for the race track selection of the day is to decide which hosta garden to toast. the great thing about hosta is there is always next year. the great thing about life is there is always next year. my dogs are great but… puppyhood is part of the deal that my kids wanted to be sure to exerience and i must admit its fun to watch them wrestle for hours on end there in the garden and in the midst of the holes they have dug in the yard. i am glad to have them around but. oh did i mention my daughter discovered they enjoy using her glasses as a chew toy alternative. she now has a right half and a left half of her glasses. the throw rugs in the house are evidently the best teething material ever and i would never have though you could shred a piece of carpet like that but now i know. wouldnt trade the experience but…

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    1. I’m having a similiar (sp?) experience with the new kitten. We got her in July; she had been abandoned and ended up at our vet. My, oh my, kittenhood is something else. Just two days ago, she discovered my little basket of Ukrainian eggs on the buffet. The teenager, thinking she was helping, moved them to a higher spot on the buffet. Unfortunately this meant that when the kitten jumped up to that higher spot and knocked the basket, it fell from an even higher distance. Every single egg broken, including the two goose eggs and my first egg from 30 years ago. Big sigh. Teenager was really upset, but in truth, they’re just eggs.

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        1. Not too awful… most of the eggs in that basket were quite old and dried up. But it smelled rotten enough that the dogs were thrilled and I had to lock them out of the room in order to get it cleaned up. Because you know the Teenager didn’t do it!

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        2. No, of course. It was the cat’s fault, and besides, why did you leave your eggs in that basket where the kitten could get at them? You should have known better and put them away. They were your eggs, you know. (I can hear the conversation across the miles.)

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        1. Nope, no gluing. I did keep some of the larger pieces of a few in case I want to remake them. I will definitely remake the goose eggs, but that’s a really time consuming task, so not soon!

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    2. We’ve been talking about puppies. But yeah, I just can’t work up the energy for dealing with it right now. They are cute and fun but boy, Good Luck!

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      1. When we got our most recent pooch a couple years ago I knew I did not have the energy or patience for a puppy (as one friend has said, “puppies bring out your dark side”). I was glad to find a gently used adult dog who was past chewing on things and at least mostly knew about pooping outdoors rather than on my carpet (thunderstorms being the rare time when that training is in question).

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  2. Good morning. That “no good deed goes unpunished rule” fits my substitute teaching experience. I actually liked being a sub, but I certainly found out that my efforts to treat the students well would often result them giving me the opposite treatment. The advice from one of the school principals to subs was to not worry if the kids didn’t like you because she thought that would probably be a good thing. I learned that I had to be use a firm hand at times in the classroom, but refused to take a heavy handed approach. It wasn’t all bad. It was fun getting to know the kids and I was told by a number of them that they did appreciate my less than heavy handed approach and my efforts to help them. There were also some teachers who told me they appreciated my willingness be there to substitute for them when they had to be absent.

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  3. I have said that many a time in my many years but cannot now remember any one incident. Perhaps my memory lapses have a positive side. But I am still not ready to believe that chickens would ever show gratitude.
    “Last of the Summer Wine” on TPT in the afternoons has gone back to the beginning. I was thinking yesterday that Nora Batty in the first few appearances looked and behaved just like a chicken.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your chicken stories, Ben. I was told by a farmer that one of the least favorite chicken chores that he did when when he was young was cleaning out the chicken coop. He told a story about a trick he played on his sister when they were cleaning out the coop. They would sometimes encounter mice living in the litter in the coop. He said that he slipped up behind his sister and put his hand on the back of her leg so that she though a mouse was gong up her leg causing her to scream. His sister did not appreciate his trick, but he thought it was extremely funny.

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  4. When I taught freshmen how to write college papers I suffered every time I made a paper assignment because there were so many little and big turds in the student papers, and I hated criticizing my student. It wasn’t enough that I spotted horrible sentences. I had to tell the kid why something he had written violated all notions of clear expression. And sometimes I could tell something was wrong with a sentence, but I was fuzzy about why it was wrong. I’d end up just wanting to say, “You can’t write shit like this! You just can’t!”

    I used to keep a folder filled with golden moments from student papers:
    “Early in the riot a big red-hair cop came up to tell me I had to evacuate on the spot.”
    “Frances had reached the height of her depression.”
    “As the saying goes, when he striped off his shirt I fell head over heals in love.”
    “Everything in an airplane is in logical places.”

    That’s just the little stuff. What really stunk up most student papers was lousy logic, the absence of any point to make and a total lack of originality. Sometimes a defiant student would want to know what, exactly, was wrong with a paper. And I had to exercise discipline to keep from saying, “It reeks. It is an offense against the English language. It just sucks.” Instead, I would turn mental cartwheels, trying to find some better organization for a paper that had nothing to say in the first place.

    It took me perhaps three years of agonizing over student papers before I caught on. The sad truth was my students weren’t shattered by all the stuff I found offensively wrong in their papers. Heck, they had usually slapped some piece of junk together just before coming to class, and I often had spent more time struggling to clean up their papers than they had spent putting them together.

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    1. The more things change the more they stay the same. I think I’ve seen those papers just the last day or two.With a bit of text language thrown in.

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  5. I find it quite fascinating that the Williams-Sonoma company is selling chicken coops and chicken runs for all the trendy urban farmers who want fresh eggs. The company is also selling bee hives. I can’t imagine what a big city person imagines it will be like to properly care for chickens, but it could certainly turn into a punishment beyond their comprehension.

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    1. A friend of mine in Minneapolis got the permit, built the run and got three baby chickens this spring. Lost one in the heat, but his kids are really enjoying them and the eggs.
      Where the plan sort of falls apart is chickens can live for roughly 6-10 years. They lay eggs for 2-4 years. So, uh, the math doesn’t really work out there.
      We are working on a plan. I’m going to run the ‘Chicken Retirement Farm’ and he’s going to be the Twin Cities middle man.
      They exist; you can Google it.
      Crazy or what!? Boy, one of us should learn!

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        1. I didn’t realize until last year that Ma and Pa Kettle were actually modeled on real people. Stumbled on “Onions in the Stew” by Betty MacDonald which led me to “The Egg and I”. It wasn’t until after I had finished both these books that I put it together that this was the same woman who wrote the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books that I adored as a youngster.

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      1. “Chicken Retirement Farm”? That is funny and I can see that it is not completely a joke. It is time for some people to wake up and understand that it is okay to eat the chicken as well as the eggs, but that probably isn’t going to happen in most cases. I have vegetarian daughter and I am sure they probably want the chickens that lay the eggs they eat to go to retirement farms when they are done laying. You might have a very large flock of retired chickens before long, Ben.

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  6. In every congregation are members for whom pastors have many names, such as alligators. They demand everything of you, never thank you, snipe at you behind your back and at meetings. My daughter has her worst one as a next door neighbor, as well as several others. She has finally started putting her foot down and refusing to do the extras, to work no more than 60-65 hours a week. One of her alligators two days ago demanded (She has quit asking because my daughter put her foot down) Becca develop an adult online confirmation program because a niece of hers in CA wants to join a church. So Becca will have to explain this at a church council meeting, where the council will fully back her and the alligator will storm out again and threaten to quit, but will not.
    I had only one alligator whom I could never please. She asked for the extras, which I sometimes did, and complained about how I did those extras. But nothing I ever did so fully offended her as resigning. She got very angry at me and cried for days when I resigned (not in any way because of her, by the way). Suddenly I was the gold standard in pastors. She has driven the three following pastors crazy because they do not do anything like me or as well as I did. Go figure human nature.
    The husband of the woman for whom my wife gave the kidney as a neighboring pastor with whom she has done shared ministry But he does not do his art leaving her with most of the work and then snipes at her about how she does it. Since she gave the kidney how has his behavior changed? None.

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  7. Ask me again on Sunday afternoon at BBC. I volunteered to help teach Sunday school this year – 6-8 year olds. My co-teacher is a dear and the kids are engaged and ask smart questions, so I think mostly it will be fine. Sunday, well, Sunday the lesson is about Joseph and is Dreamcoat…so we are tie-dying pillowcases (dreaming, sleeping, technicolor…did I mention it’s sort of a hippie-type church?)…I may not leave the same color I began the day as on Sunday. If I show up at BBC slightly purple or green you’ll know why…

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    1. How many 6-8 year old are we talking about? I did tie-dye for a birthday party when teenager was younger, but there were just six of them. More than that? All I can say is you’re a braver woman than I!

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      1. If everyone shows, it’ll be at least 8 kids (that’s how many we had on our first official day last Sunday, anyway). We have a third adult there to help – and my co-teacher had the brilliant idea to put the dye in spray bottles so we won’t have to dip and drip…though the spray bottles might provide their own dangers.

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  8. An update on family matters for those following them:
    My wife seems to have stabilized after her lupus versus the virus battle.She is worse off for the battle but lives a mostly normal life again. Has terrible morning headaches for which they can do some things but those things would be bad for some of her other ailments. So she lives with them.
    My son has chosen between his two jobs but has to lie very low for awhile about it so I am saying nothing more.
    My daughter’s chain of kidney transplant folks are doing very well; all six of them passed their exams in Ben’s town with flying colors last week. The woman who got Becca’s kidney has never liked sweets before and now she craves them, which has let to lots of humor in the group since my daughter very much has a sweet tooth.

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    1. Glad things have normalized a bit, Clyde. And I like how we’ve renamed the medical mecca as “Ben’s town”. :)

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      1. There will be times I will not want to be associated with the WFMC. (World Famous….) :-)
        but you’re always free to visit when you’re in ‘my town’!

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    2. Makes sense to me. I donated a kidney to my cousin about 15 years ago. He had never liked chow mein until he received my chow mein permeated organ.

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  9. One of my temp jobs in San Francisco went permanent when they saw that I could help them transfer the inventory from hand-written to computer. While Myrtle, the lovely woman who had done a bang-up job on the manual system, was willing and polite enough, she wasn’t very excited about al the time it took to work out the glitches. If memory serves, I would code the changes and take them to the computer guy, who had someone key them onto punch cards (anyone remember keypunch?) that he would then take to the computer…. Several people had participated in the coding – everyone did it a little differently (abbreviations were particularly fun) and we had to weed through it all. Frustration abounded and NO ONE was happy – I, as the go-between, got to listen to it all.

    There’s also plenty of family stuff around the 2 years we had our nephew live without us while his mom was off the deep end, but TRUST ME, you don’t want any more detail about that.

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  10. Starting on Sunday, I’m on a two-week chicken sitting duty while my friends, Helen, Sarah and Laurie, are off on a trip to Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and Vienna. Two of the six chickens, the same two every day, invariably get out of the fenced in area surrounding the coop, and spend the day roaming freely in the yard. The problem is that they can’t figure out how to get back in. That means that each evening I have to catch the two strays and try to get them in before the other four escape. Looking on the bright side, I’ll have plenty of fresh eggs for next couple of weeks.

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        1. I think it’s so cool that this group knows and loves that birthday greeting. So many other people I know would just say a big “Huh?” if I wrote that for their birthday.

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  11. Back when I was working at the school, Lolly, the school’s secretary, turned 60. That morning I went to Bruegger’s Bagels in downtown St. Paul and bought a couple dozen bagels and an assortment of cream cheese so we could have an impromptu celebration of Lolly’s special day. I had also bought a nice birthday card that the entire staff signed. We all gathered during a midmorning break but Lolly refused to join us and made a big scene because I had revealed to everyone how old she was. Sometimes you just can’t win!

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    1. Some people!
      Perhaps because I used to look a bit young for my age, I have no inhibitions about this. I will reveal that I’m somewhere between 61 and 63 years old!
      Thanks for the B-day wishes. I dropped a hint at choir last night and I got a good singing-to.

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  12. Here are a few example of how kids will take advantage of a sub teacher who is not too strict.

    Pencil sharpening. I learned that you can’t let grade school kids use the sharpener freely. Just before trying to get them started on a lesson one of them will want to sharpen his or her pencil. Then you will get more requests. Soon there is a long line at the sharpener. After seeing that I started taking care of pencil sharpening and found out some of those pencils didn’t need sharpening.

    Permission to go to the bathroom. Only send one kids at a time to the bathroom otherwise you are likely to find more kids are going than are coming back and there is a party underway in the bathroom.

    Early dismissal. Kids will tell you that their teacher lets them leave before the bell rings for some reason or the other. This might be true, but usually it isn’t. You would probably like to let them leave early because you are tired of dealing with them, but no one wants them running around in the halls before the other classes are out.

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    1. In one of my high school classes, the sub had a nervous habit of sharpening pencils while he was talking to us. In fact, poor old Oscar Ourth was just one big mass of nervous tics. Some of the meaner kids would removed the handle of his sharpener and then install it backwards, so the handle would hit the base of the thing every time he tried to turn it. Poor old Oscar. The kids called him “Zorro” because he was the absolute total opposite of cool and devil-may-care.

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  13. Off topically related to BiR’s reply to my OT post late yesterday, I think “Holy Goat” deserves a place in the glossary. And, in researching to ensure it wasn’t already there before venturing out of lurkitude twice in two days, I find I have an alternate definition for “cannardly.” In the jewelry industry, and in my jeweler encrusted family, cannardly refers to diamonds or other gemstones that are so small you cannardly (can hardly) see them, i.e. “The center stone is so large that the ½ caret side stones look like cannardlies.”

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  14. Ben, a piece of chicken lore for you from my mother who knew a lot about chickens but was full of unbased rules, too. When we moved our baby chicks from the brooder we had to put them into a space with the roosting area for their size, otherwise my mother said they would not roost as adults, that they had to learn it at that age. All I can say is that we always did that and that our hens always roosted.

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  15. Just remembered this: “If you pick up a starving dog and feed him, he will not bite your hand. That is the primary difference between dogs and humans.” Mark Twain.
    Funny but the problem is that in my experience the dog is likely to bite you, too.

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  16. Last weekend I visited several chicken lovers on the Twin Cities Urban Chicken Coop tour. It was fun to see the variety of coops that people had built. One guy had built coops for each of his grown daughters with clever feed and watering systems. He showed us that one of the varieties that his daughter had would hop on his lap if he sat down.
    I’m not really thinking of getting my own coop but it is appealing and when I saw that i realized that what I wanted was a lap-chicken. When the guy had gone back to explaining his system to newcomers, I sat on the chair hoping a chicken would join me. No one chose to do so but I was able to pick up a tame one and hold her for a while. Very nice.

    Thanks for the great post, Ben, and thanks for sharing chicken pix. Such interesting and sometimes beautiful animals even if they aren’t the brightest bulbs.

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    1. My mom had a pet chicken when she was a kid. I think it may have taken naps with her. I’m going to have to look up that story, I have it written down somewhere.

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  17. I have a friend in Minneapolis who knits sweaters for chickens who have been rescued from large egg laying operations and have lost some feathers and need sweaters to keep warm until their feathers grow back. I wonder what the chickens think about wearing sweaters?

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    1. VS, here’s a possible merging of Warm Hands Warm Hearts (still a better name than Keep ‘Em Warm) and Hats for the Homeless (these are two projects that VS’s and my church sponsor). As she has probably told all y’all, VS is the chief Poohbah and Bottle Washer for coat collection for kids; she does a most marvelous job.
      The project Renee describes could be Warm Hens Warm Hearts or Hats for the Featherless.

      The embarrassed look I can picture on the chickens’ little faces would probably be similar to the expression on rescued greyhounds’ faces as they shiver in their coats.

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  18. Second day in a row I get nothing but a black box with a little red-white arrow in the middle. Could somebody tell me what the story and the song is? and I’ll go look ‘em up on You Tube.

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  19. I once put a baby blue jay back into its nest, with both parents scolding and diving all the while. It was stressful for all four of us.

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