Friday, August 6, 2010

Can chickens faint?

It was Thursday afternoon, around 4:15, and Wynonna was on the front porch waiting for her dinner. Then all hell broke loose. The skies opened up and sheets of rain started pouring down, along with lots and lots of hail. Before Wynonna had time to consider going back to the barn, the stream started flowing across her path. She was getting pummeled with hail and rain and I couldn't let her just stand there, so I tried to convince her to come inside. She wanted no part of it.


She walked around to the side of the house where she was protected somewhat from the storm, but I could see she was scared and confused. I was getting a little scared and confused myself.


My trench was working but how much more rain could it handle?


I ran to the garage and got my golf umbrella and did what any over-protective mom would do – sheltered my pig from the storm.


As we stood there watching the rain and hail come down, I could see that Hank and the burros were safe in the barn, so I wasn't worried about them. But I was concerned about the chickens. I left Wynonna with the umbrella and sloshed over to the other side of the house to check on the girls.


All three of them were standing together in the corner of the garden getting pounded by the storm. They could have gone in their coop or under the bench or in the bushes, but no, they just stood there drowning. I picked up one of them and took her drenched self into the coop. As I placed her in a nesting box, she fell over on her side, lifeless. WTF? I was stunned. But I had to go save the other two. I catch chicken #2 and run back to the coop. I placed her with still-lifeless chicken #1. I go catch chicken #3 and run back to the coop, where chicken #1 has risen from the dead and seems perfectly fine. I don't know if chickens can faint, but it sure seems like that's what had happened.

I went in the house to check on things. What a mess. I hadn't realized how much water had come through the door when I was trying to convince the princess to get out of the rain.


When all was said and done, the storm dumped 1.3" of rain in about 45 minutes, then the sun came out, along with a double rainbow. I let the girls out of their coop and all three seemed as perky as ever. Go figure.

45 comments:

  1. Good gosh, what an adventure you had! Glad Wynonna got taken care of, and hoped she wasn't too stressed, but the chickens ... I never knew chickens did that! Glad she recovered too. Looks like when it rains it literally POURS at your house ... my goodness.

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  2. That last picture is a really really nice one!!!
    signed
    Theresa in Alberta

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  3. PLEASE send some of that rain our way. We're melting.

    Can't say as I ever heard of a chicken fainting, but I can attest they aren't the brightest crayon's in God's box, and would stand there and drown.

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  4. "Whoa, a double rainbow....what does it mean?"

    Sorry. I'll never look at a rainbow the same way again. Search youtube for "double rainbow" and you'll understand my madness.

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  5. Well, that was scary! Glad everyone is okay and that you didn't faint along with the chicken!

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  6. That storm gives weight to the saying 'when it rains it pours!' Wow!

    Glad all is well but it does sound the chicken was in a state of shock. Good thing you went out when you did!

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  7. LOL! Fainting chickens and umbrella pigs!

    You may want to create a larger arroyo, though...

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  8. Anne Boleyn8/6/10, 5:46 AM

    I like to think it was more of a swoon than a faint, poor delicate girl.

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  9. We got a MBL of rain up here yesterday afternoon. The corral is one giant pond this morning.

    Sure sounds like chickens can faint to me... and wow, that last picture with the rainbow is gorgeous!

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  10. Rain usually means a cup of coffee, good book, and a yawn, but not in your world.
    I have to laugh at this visual I have of a woman standing in the rain with an umbrella over a pig. I bet Hank would say--"no thank you, I'm good."
    Double rainbow-that's neat--that's 2 promises about the rain.

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  11. This monsoon season is not for the faint of heart! But, what do bloggers do when practically floating away and sheltering pigs with golf umbrellas (lol)--they TAKE PICTURES!

    Glad that all is well, but these storms can be scary, especially when you have a bunch of animals that need evacuating, as I know from my experience here in LC.

    I don't know about fainting chickens, but when I had my first flock many pre-Internet years ago, I was convinced that they had some paralyzing disease when I found them lying on their sides with glazed eyes, kicking out spasmodically. Nowadays, I could just check online and get the answer right away, but back then it took me quite a long time to understand that I was watching chicken dust baths.

    Last point (when will I ever learn to obey the 25 words or less rule?): I know that some will tell you that chickens have tiny brains and act like it, but after many afternoons sitting in the coop and admiring my girls I can say that they are truly a wonder, and admirably suited to performing the chicken tasks at hand.

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  12. Nancy in NC8/6/10, 6:45 AM

    We've been getting crazy storms also! Poor Wynonna - were you surprised she wouldn't come in? I am. I totally agree w/Anne - a definite swoon...

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  13. It's a good thing you share your trials and tribs - otherwise the 7 M S of N would be crawling with us.

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  14. Nancy, I was very surprised she wouldn't come in. At the old house, I would sometimes let her inside when the snow got so deep that she would get high-centered on the drifts. She loved to hang out and watch tv. But that was six or seven years ago. Maybe she's gotten claustrophobic since then.

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  15. Yes, chickens can faint. Not speaking as a birdy expert or anything, but as one who has had one 'faint'. Water was involved too. He's gotten in a fight with another roo and needed major cleaning up of all the blood. I put him in a shallow bin of water and started gently washing his head. Fainted dead away. I thought I'd killed him with fear. Rose from the dead, just like yours did.

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  16. I think anything can faint.
    And you have proof.
    Do they have (or can you make) a little poultry fainting couch? ;-)

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  17. That is a helluva rain storm!
    Still no sightings of Deets? Oh how I miss him. I hope he is okay.Don't give up hope! He has to be out on some grand journey.

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  18. I can only imagine what neighbors would think seeing you holding a golf umbrella for your pig! :) Gave me a good chuckle this morning. I have no clue why a chicken would 'faint', if that's what it was. Until I moved to the Southwest, I had NO idea how much rain could come down in such a short time span! Nice rainbow.

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  19. Goats faint so why not chickens too? She must have been utterly exhausted and just over come with fright. Poor chicken.

    Di

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  20. I wonder if the sound of hail and heavy rain on the roof was what discouraged Wynonna from coming in, as well and the wee girls from going in their coop?

    Can you put a small "culvert" pipe in your trench at the walk-way to the barn, and fill in that space, so neither your nor the porcine princess has to get your tootsies wet in such damp situations? Or perhaps a lovely arched little footbridge (think Japanese garden in the desert)?

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  21. We had chickens growing up, and Dad taught us how to "hypnotize" them by stroking their combs. So I'm guessing fainting is well within their repetoire. Perhaps you could start a new line of fainting chickens to complement the ever-popular fainting goats?

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  22. Maybe chicken #1 was just stunned from getting hit with hail? My silly birds will stand out in the rain until it gets too hard, then they retreat to their coop.

    Love the golf umbrella for Wynonna...how ingenious of you! Those 7MSN critters sure are lucky to have a mom like you.

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  23. Can we do comments on comments? I loved Brenda's--so funny.

    And, Linda--there is a book series about a southern woman sheriff; it has a character who watches TV with his pig on the sofa. Perhaps you were the inspiration? I looked it up--the series is about Arly Hanks and the author is Joan Hess.

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  24. EvenSong, I've been contemplating how to fix my stream issues - "culvert pipe" is now on the shopping list for tomorrow. Thanks!

    Clairz, I've added that series to my reading list - sounds right up my alley...er...arroyo.

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  25. Man! What a day you had. Glad to know everyone is okay. Those showers sure do green up the NM landscape. Have a good weekend!

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  26. You've had a really wet and stormy summer. It must be stressful for the animals. I'd probably faint just looking at the mess you had to clean up.

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  27. Well, that was exciting. You're such a good Mom to all your critters.

    Silly girls standing in the rain...I guess that's where the phrase "dumb cluck" came from.

    So...um....just wondering what the forecast is for the next few weeks...

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  28. Very enjoyable BBC-doumentary about the private life of chickens:

    http://www.vidbux.com/brfk0d319x1s/the.private.life.of.chickens.ws.pdtv.xvid-ftp.flv.html

    It doesn't mention fainting though...

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  29. That was exciting! I could see hail on Wynonnas' coat. I'm sure that was comforting to have you standing with her as well as protecting her from the hail. Thank goodness you were able to get your chickens inside. We have gully washers with hail like that every once in awhile here in Indiana -- it's fun as long as I'm watching it from the comfort of my home. What an adventure!

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  30. What a storm and what a good idea of an umbrella for Wynonna. Animals are funny and expecting to know what they will do is always naive in my experience.

    Tucson is getting a lot of flooding out of this monsoon season and yet up here in Oregon we haven't had a real rain for too long and our pastures could use one.

    Great rainbow photo. I love them always

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  31. Oh I laughed and laughed! Protecting your pig with the umbrella!! Ohhhh my goodness.. I have visuals and they crack me up!!
    And hey, my double rainbow made it to your place! How about that?!

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  32. It's a good thing your animals have a quick thinking Momma. I have on many occasions had to run out in one of our NM hail and rain downpours to rescue baby turtles from the low spot in our terraced yard.....turtles cannot swim...they drown. So, my neighbors and your neighbors may not understand but our animals know they can depend on us....no they don't but they should. tee hee The Olde Bagg

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  33. What a good mom you are! I hope you get your flooding issues resolved.

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  34. Oh my what an adventure for sure. What a good animal mommy you are. Poor little confused Wynonna! And the splashes from the hail are huge!

    I know you were soaked to the bone after the whole thing but it is worth it to know your children are safe. Gotten soaked myself taking care of 4 legged kids....but not in quite that dramatic of a scene!

    yea....thinking you need some fainting goats to add to your collection :)

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  35. That was one heck of a downpour!
    You should be able to get some 8 to 10 inch PVC pipe at the hardware or plumbing supply store to use as a culvert. Then you won't have to dig again next year. Saw your tweet- why a tractor? (Other than that they are more reliable about showing up to work than a ranch hand...)

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  36. Shirley, I was thinking a tractor with a blade and a bucket would make short work of the trenching. This digging by hand stuff is getting old. Or maybe it's me that's getting old...

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  37. hello from wales in the UK

    love the blog... and te pig! I have recently just had to get rid of my two pot bllied sows!and miss them dreadfully

    as for fainting hens
    they run of very high blood pressure so when shocked they can collapse AND DIE very easily!!!!

    i will be back
    regards
    johnx

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  38. Oh my, what an adventure! Poor Wynonna, I would've done the same thing. If you're going to have such a monsoon-y monsoon season, you'll need a deeper ditch. We have nearly 3 dozen chickens and they mostly head for shelter when the rain starts. Although, we have some that will still go out in the rain and scratch around. However, it's been so long since we've had any rain, I could be wrong.

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  39. Poor little princess - she doesn't look happy at all. And I must admit, I've never before seen a pig beeing protected by an umbrella - you are such a mom!

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  40. Oh, my! Fainting chickens and water in the house! When can I retire and move to New Mexico???

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  41. Well, that's a mess. Poor Wynonna, she must have been scared. At least there was a rainbow at the end of this storm.

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  42. So glad you were able to help your pets. That's a lot of water in so little time. I love the way you protected your loved ones, very cute.

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  43. Holy crap! We wanted to see if the trench worked...but, not in the ramped up version!

    Yup, chickies are not that inventive when it comes to self preservation. Thank goodness you were there when the heavens opened. I wonder what our place got rain-wise?

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  44. I can just see you picking those girls up, soaked with rain! What a great "mom" you are to your brood.

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  45. This is hysterical. I can just picture you and Wynonna huddled under a golf umbrella! I've never heard of a fainting chicken, but I imagine it's hysterical (after you get over the initial fear of having killed it!)

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