Saturday, July 26, 2014

Failure: It tastes like chicken

Old NFO recently wrote an essay puzzling about twenty-somethings who take their own lives.

A common thread in the comments is the perception that young people have been deprived of the opportunity to overcome adversity.  "If it doesn't come easily, then it was not meant to be."

Every kid is a champion.  Every kid gets a medal. 

And then they become an adult.  Welcome to my world.

They encounter failure and it is an unfamiliar taste.

Failure:  It tastes like chicken

Belladonna watched our flock dwindle and it came to a point where she became emotionally  engaged.  "Dad, what is it going to take to save the chickens?"

"Well, Bella, I would love to beef up the chicken run but I need a little bit of help and moral support."

Bella has been quite the gal about town.  She gave the matter some consideration and decided to spend a little bit more time around the house and to help save the chickens.

The ducks adore the little kiddy swimming pool.

This is what the run looked like after our first swing at the ball. It is about 50' by 30'.  It is much larger than it needs to be for 4 chickens and 4 ducks.

Cinder blocks used as latches.  They are not fancy but they will work until I have something better.  Gate is into the run is framed with PVC pipe.

Unfortunately, our chickens are reincarnations of Houdini.  They found many ways to escape the run.  And, one-by-one and two-by-two the chickens continued to disappear.

Black Locust poles.  This was a win-win because these saplings were shading one of our prime blackberry patches.  The tops were thrown back into the patch to recycle the nutrients.

Poles were cut out of the woods.  Fences were extended upward.

South fence extended upward with green, plastic snow fence.  Swim pool ladder (seen on extreme left of photo) are very handy things to have.  They are useful as step ladders.  I also use them as "stiles" to climb over perimeter fences around the pasture.

We lost our last chicken last night.  We are now down to three ducks from twelve chickens and eight ducks.

Feathers, 70 yards from the where the chickens and ducks bedded down.  My best guess is that a coyote was taking them back to the den for the pups to gnaw on and worry.

Belladonna was there with me in the batter's box as we swung at every pitch. We ran the count up to 2-and-2 before whiffing on the chickens.  I intend to buy some more chickens and continue to armor the chicken run.  There is much value in spending time with kids, especially on projects that are learning experiences for both of us.  She is watching me dust off my knees and restart.  No cussing.  No anger (although I am a little pissed at myself).  Just starting over in an adult kind of way.

In the comments section of an earlier essay I pontificated that winners operate with a Decision ===>Consequence loop whereas losers are trapped in a Consequences ===> Decision loop.  I was a loser in the chickens. My decisions and actions were after the consequences and the chickens paid the price.

One of my reasons for continuing to armor the chicken run is that I see it as a simulation in armoring my dwelling against attacks, invasions and burglary. 

My current thinking is that I do not need to build a perimeter fence that will keep out all predators.  I need a perimeter fence that will contain the birds.  They go into the coop at dark of their own free will...unless they have free-range of the yard.  Then, they roost wherever...under the deck, on the steps of the swingset, on the picnic table.  I need to get them into the run before dark and shut the door of the coop after dark.

Being a tech-weenie, I may end up hanging alternating hot-ground chains in the door way on 2 inch centers and using a photo-eye to activate at dusk.  That that remains in the future.


  1. Dude! Take a minute and scroll through this slideshow of fine chicken coops.,,20712574,00.html
    Read the captions. Learn. Chicken coops are easy, but you've got to build them right.

    Bonus question: Why does a chicken coop have two doors?
    (If it had four doors, it would be a sedan.)

  2. I do hope it work out. One puts a lot of effort and hope into such projects.

  3. Yep, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose... But at least this time, you get another swing at it!

  4. Pawpaw and Brigid: Thanks for the kind words. I know you have both been there and done that.

    Pawpaw: Thanks for the link and the joke. I am also taking your advice regarding a game cam under strong consideration.

    Brigid: L.B. = Lady Bird? No, don't answer that.

    Belladonna is visiting her birth mother until mid-week, then we will load up with some more hens and try again.

    Old NFO: Yup. Simulations have several nice points. For one thing, the analogies are pretty apparent. For another, the cost of failure is not excessive...unless you happened to be one of the first batches of chickens.