This is the beauty, strength, and power of a community. In the hundreds and hundreds of replies I got about our Violet’s experience (and I’ve read every single one several times) I received some tremendous gifts.
There was a comment from another chicken owner who had had a similar experience with cinder blocks.
“Shoot, yeah, we never get to quit learning and improving in this life. Even after 50+ years of chickens, I just found out about the cinder block thing. I flood irrigate so my coop is on blocks, and recently some of my girls decided that laying eggs underneath it was better than the nests. I had boarded it up, but they knocked one down and for several days we kept wondering where all the eggs were. By the time we figured it out and re-secured the boards solidly, they were so fixated on that being the place to lay that the next day I found one stuck in a cinder block hole! So stuck, in fact, that it took me a while to get her out…but that ain’t gonna ever happen again.”
Another person shared some examples of other unknown dangers in the coop that I would have never thought were a problem. Now I know.
“Other suggestions for coop safety: Someone told me once that a piece of plywood leaning against a barn wall fell on one of her pullets and killed her. Also: cracks in the roost —- toenails can get ripped. It’s happened to my bird.”
One fellow chicken owner left this fabulous suggestion to use when integrating chicks into the flock. I will be using this trick the next time we have chicks:
“Squirt bottle. It’s my training tool of choice for chickens (when it’s not freezing out of course). I have trouble accepting pecking order sometimes and other times they simply take it too far as you have learned. Armed with a good squirt bottle I can inflict a “peck” from several feet away, and it only takes a few squirts to show them who is really the boss of the yard. It works like magic. They are pretty fast learners. The instant you see a behavior you don’t want, squirt. It shouldn’t take more then a dozen squirts for even the most determined behaviors. Take care, loss is never easy, especially when you feel responsible.”
And I got a whole lot of compassion from people who understood my pain and my sharing of our story. Because of Violet, cinder blocks are either being removed or are being filled up in coops all over. Chicks lives may be saved.
Violet had a short life but just look at what she was able to do.
“Thank you for making me aware of the issue. I have blocks in the house for the waterers. When the new chicks hatch they will be removed. Our grown hens are much too large to squeeze their fat bodies into a block hole and they have settled into their order… but with new arrivals things can get interesting.”
“I am so saddened by your loss. I am just now back into keeping chickens, with my first batch of four chicks, and a deep concern about how to provide a safe environment for them, secure from predators. I will now focus on inside safety as well, and keep your lesson (and Violet’s) in my mind as I plan their coop and run. Thank you for the courage to speak the truth and help others be aware of unknown dangers. Hugs!”
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.