Silly birds

I risk repeating myself, for I believe I have recounted the adage before, but around here they say that Although a dry summer will hurt a farmer,  a wet one will kill him. Summers, in our corner of Pennsylvania, can be warm, especially toward the end of July and through the middle of August. Precipitation is heaviest in the spring and then either stops completely until fall or dwindles into late summer. This year however I do believe that someone forgot to turn off the spigot! The consecutive days of dry weather we had to make hay a few weeks ago have been the only consecutive days of dry weather we’ve had to make hay this summer – period – no joke. The humidity has been high for several weeks and we’ve been getting enough rain every day to keep it that way. Occasional deluges have saturated the ground. We brought home our turkey poults on June 12th and the broilers followed on the 18th. We always start both groups in the off side of the brooder house and eventually move them to pasture at the appropriate times – and the time for the broilers arrived earlier this week. I cleared brush and put up fence for the birds last Friday and built a new shelter on Saturday. Because Sunday and Monday were so hot I delayed putting the little ones on pasture until yesterday morning. Although it was quite humid it wasn’t all that hot and the weather service wasn’t calling for rain save the potential for pop-up thunderstorms in the afternoon. I had collected the birds and introduced them to their new digs by mid-morning and they took to their new situation well. Here’s another bit of country wisdom … Folks say that turkeys are so dim-witted they’ll drown themselves by standing under the eaves, gazing up, agape, at the torrent of water running off the roof. I knew this applied to turkeys but thought that chickens were a bit brighter. Once the broiler chicks were on pasture I checked on them every half hour or so. A few birds had squirted through the netting, but that was really no matter for they would soon be too big to do so, and I simply squirted them back through. I was on the mower at about three when it began to storm. The rain was so heavy that I didn’t have time to run to the house so I took shelter in the barn. As I stood watching the thick curtains of rain I noticed a number of water-logged chicks sitting dazed in the dense grass. There they were, inches from shelter, watching, being pelted from above, and calling for assistance. A larger number would have drowned if I had not gone out to rescue them. As I picked each one up and placed it within the dry confines of the new shelter it seemed to look up at me wide-eyed … as if to say thanks. Silly birds. Silly, silly, birds indeed. By the way, the image below shows one of Joanna’s favorite Purple Iris.


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