For the most part, I am pretty good about laughing off bad days. If something goes wrong I usually just acknowledge that what I just did didn't work and try something different next time, or I just laugh at my pathetic self for my ineptitude. Today I haven't managed to do either of those... It's just been "one of those days".
It all started out with my hat. I have a hideous, bright purple, knitted hat that I wear in the winter time, and I as dorky as I look in that thing, I wanted to wear it today while milking and doing barn chores. Couldn't find it. You would think that it would be easy to find something that is as loudly colored as this hat, but it seems to have camouflaged itself somewhere in the depths of my closet. So I had to just get over it and endure having cold ears. One of these days I'm going to get a nicer looking hat...
As if feeling like an icicle wasn't bad enough, Mattie stubbornly refused to come up to the barn to be milked. She was at the far end of the pasture enjoying watching me try to entice her up to where I was. Nope, that cow decided that she was quite content in her spot. So I had to go get her, which meant all fourteen of the goats, and the two sheep had to accompany me in a ridiculous looking parade of mammals. Where the human goes, the goats go, and where the goats go, the sheep go. On a warmer day I might have laughed at all of us, tromping out to get the cow; but today I just wanted to get the milking done and over with.
After milking chores, and regular barn chores, I went to check on the Freedom Rangers. I had put mine in my chicken tractor the day before and was a little apprehensive to see how they fared through the night, which had ducked into the mid-30's. Alas, one of the Freedom Rangers had frozen to death in the night. All by itself in a corner, it had ice particles over its feathers and beak. It was my pretty little lemon cuckoo colored one too (the golden barred pullet). I pulled the dead bird out and started working on moving the tractor to a fresh piece of grass. The rest of the birds seemed okay, if not a little subdued by the cold temps. I shoved the wooden dolly beneath the back of the tractor, which puts wheels on my behemoth structure, and started pulling from the front.
Turns out that I didn't have the dolly shoved under there well enough. In one quick motion the dolly popped out while I was in the midst of pulling the tractor forward and the whole thing landed with a dull THUD on the soggy November ground. A chicken squawked loudly and then went silent. I zoomed around the the back and found that the tractor had landed on another Freedom Ranger and it looked like the bird now had a broken wing. Great. I tried catching the poor thing, but it evaded my grasp and hid in a corner out of my reach. I'll have to see about getting it tonight when it's asleep.
I gave up on the dolly after that. From here on out I would just try and pull the tractor, which weighs around 200 lbs. and has no leverage for me to work with. For the record, it is really hard to pull a dead weight that is at least 80 lbs. more than you. I gave a huge heave-ho, saw the tractor look like it went over a bump, and then it scooted forward with relative ease. Or it would have been called "ease" if my sudden exertion hadn't caused me to pull a muscle in my back. This day was just getting better and better! (Not.)
Satisfied that I had at least moved the chicken tractor to a new spot, I went to put the useless dolly away. When I got the back, I found to my dismay that the "bump" the tractor had gone over was yet another chicken. And it looked dead. The tractor had scraped all the back feathers off of the bird, and its head was bent beneath it in a grotesque form. I nudged it with my boot and to my surprise, the chicken hopped up and sped off. It didn't go far though before it started running in drunken circles; its eyes dilating wildly, and its feathers all puffed up. Could this day really get any worse!?!? Now I had one dead chicken, and two injured ones on my hands! I picked the chicken up, and looked it over more carefully. Under its left wing the skin had ripped open. With grimness I thought what a pity it was that this was a pullet to be hurt; the tear was in the perfect spot to try surgical caponization if it had only been a cockerel. I know, of all the things to be thinking right then, THAT just had to come to mind... I put the little bird back in the warm brooder box with some food and water. I don't know if it will live or not yet; only time will tell.
I think at this point I am going to pull the meat birds out of the tractor and keep them in a more sheltered spot until they're butchered. I only have two or three more weeks to go with them, but it seems like forever. It's just too cold for them to be outside, and frankly I don't even want chickens on my pasture right now. The grass is supposed to be resting and the birds are scratching their area into a mud hole. Grrr.
So now I'm inside with a hurt back and I'm trying to figure out how on earth I'm going to get all those meat birds back in the barn before nightfall... Ugh.