Bud bought a flatbed trailer in preparation for our trip (yes, that is frost on it). We really needed a trailer for hauling lumber and other supplies out to the Little House since we are doing a lot of work on it. We had been borrowing the neighbor’s trailer, but we didn’t feel good about continuing to do that. His trailer was also a bit too large for our Chevy Malibu to pull.
We shopped around, and were able to find a trailer with full sized tires, which was better made than those we had seen at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Bud got a really good price on the trailer he found. They were out of the 4×8 Bud wanted to get, so they sold him the 5×8 for the same price.
We left at about 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. It was dark, cold and windy, and we were expecting it to be even colder in the Ozarks.
We went through drizzle and/or rain a good portion of the day of travel, but thankfully there was no ice on the roads, and no frozen rain or sleet.
We had three new travelers with us this time…our three new hens (Gertie, Mable and Beatrice). They were excellent travelers. It’s always a trick to pick out who is going to go in which cage with what other birds. There is a pecking order that must be maintained or vied for constantly amongst the hens. Being in close quarters with an enemy doesn’t go well sometimes.
Henrietta is ‘high strung’ and doesn’t handle stress well.
I put her in with the three new girls, and Helen- one of the few hens who can keep Henrietta in check. Everything was okay while it was dark in the back seat, but as the sun started coming up, and she realized who she was in the cage with, Henrietta freaked-out! She doesn’t like anyone invading her personal space. When she feels threatened, she goes into attack mode, and attack she did. She started pecking the other hens and going berserk, and had all of the other hens-including Helen-backed up to the edges of the cage. She didn’t let up, either. It sounded like a cat fight back there.
Bud was driving, and pulling our new flat bed trailer, which was stressful enough already. I sent an email via the I-phone to my sister and asked her to pray. She is a prayer warrior. I’m telling you…her prayers get answered! Time and time again, I have requested prayers for one thing or another, and I get help almost immediately.
Simba (our cat) was upset by all of the ruckus and started howling. His pet carrier was tied very securely on top of the chicken cages behind the driver’s seat headrest. I decided to let him out on my lap, and then Bud had the idea to put Henrietta in the pet carrier. Brilliant idea which could only be God-inspired. It worked like a charm! We didn’t hear another peep from her after that for the entire trip, and everything settled down in the back seat.
Simba was fine for a while. He enjoyed being on my lap and getting the attention.
I do realize that this is not a safe way for him to travel, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and given the choice of Bud having a wreck and killing us ALL, I took a chance and did what we needed to do at the time. It’s not ‘ideal’ to take the chickens and cat with us, but hiring a pet sitter for that long is prohibitive. I just can’t wait till we are finally up there for good and all of this traveling back and forth is not necessary.
With everything settled in the back seat, we had peace at last. The two large cages for the hens in the back seat have worked out very nicely. They do get to scratching in the wood shavings, and though we put a tarp underneath the cages, there are wood shavings ALL over the back seat and floorboard when all is said and done. Sometimes the smells are not that pleasant in the car, but a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do when she’s gotta do it, ya know? Chickens poop. It’s a major part of their day, and they do it well!
The chickens did very well. The only thing I hate is that they will not drink during the trip. It’s a 10 hour trip. I have tried offering them water when we stop to get gas or switch drivers. Sometimes I throw some scratch grains in there if they seem antsy, and they will scratch around and eat the scratch. All in all I’m very pleased with how they have traveled both times we have taken them.
Gertie even laid an egg on the way up there. Two of the new hens laid eggs on the way back, too!
All was well, until Bud and I switched drivers. We usually drive 2-3 hours and then switch. When I was driving, Simba moved underneath the passenger seat. When we switched back and I was the passenger, I put some water on the floorboard in front of Simba, and he looked like he was struggling to get out. I thought he was stuck underneath there. I tried helping him out, and he bit me. I bled…and bled. It was on the pad below my thumb.
It was very painful, and it seemed to me, unusually so. Again, I emailed my sister, who has also dealt with cat bites and who, having worked with cats, knows a lot. She indicated how serious cat bites can be because their mouths are so dirty. She had been bitten by a cat and ended up going to the emergency room for antibiotics and a tetanus shot. She offered advice on how to treat it, and again she said she would pray.
My whole hand was hurting, and during the night, my arm hurt. I remembered that I had brought my Chicken First Aid Kit, so when we got to the Little House, I cleaned the wound with hydrogen peroxide, and put Betadine on it (which is a microbacide). I also had recently purchased some Ichthammol Salve. It use to be popular amongst our grandparents as a ‘draw-out’ salve for boils and splinters, but now, I think it’s mostly used by horse owners. I put some of that on it, and bandaged it up.
That, along with prayers, saved me a trip to the doctor. I repeated that same routine for several nights, and the pain lessened each day. It never looked really red or inflamed, either.
Anyway, to backtrack, it took us a little longer to get to the house in AR due to pulling the trailer, and the rainy conditions. There was very little daylight left, but enough so that the chickens were able to get a drink and a little food before they went to bed.
The hen house is pretty drafty, and there is a window with wire mesh over it in the back. We wrapped a tarp around it to keep out the drafts.The tarp covered the top and three sides, plus the front partially. This is a pic of Bud securing the tarp better the next day.
(To be continued…)