Monday, April 4, 2016

Unique function for a flashlight

We purchase three-packs of these little flashlights from Costco. They're very bright and perfect for farm use.

We always keep several hanging by the door for quick access when we need to find a missing chicken or see what's bothering the cattle after dark.

These flashlights have three settings: regular, extra-bright, and strobe. The strobe setting always seemed kinda pointless -- I mean, how often are you lost in the woods and require a strobe to alert overhead rescue helicopters where you are? -- so we never used it.

But then one evening after dark, I went looking for several chickens who hadn't made it into the coop and discovered a superb function for the strobe setting: it blinds a chicken so you can pick her up without her attempting to squack and escape. Seriously, it works perfectly.

Last week, we had a bluebird who got into the stovepipe of our parlor stove. (Fortunately it wasn't lit; we seldom use it since installing our wood cookstove.) The bird had made it all the way down the pipe into the stove itself, and was fluttering around in the soot.

The little guy was entirely unhurt. We were tasked with getting the him out of the stove without accidentally releasing him into the house. Don came up with the brilliant notion of using the flashlight strobe to momentarily blind and confuse the bird in order to pick him up.

It worked flawlessly. The parlor stove has a front and a side door, so Don shone the flashlight strobe through the side door while I picked up the bird through the front door. Then I released him outside.

Ya learn something new every day.


  1. That's a useful as anything discovery. I'm going to have to remember that!

  2. What a great idea, in our home we ended up with with a couple of young sparrows getting stuck in there, my cats would sit in front of the non lit stove and watch through the window as if they were watching TV. This happened twice, the solution by the chimney sweep was to use 1" welded wire around the pipe at the roof area, no more stuck birds.

  3. I will have to try that....!Natokadn

  4. GREAT tip! Thanks from an often unsuccessful chicken chaser!

  5. That may have had some interesting effects on that Turkey Porn you were doing the other day---ken

  6. Use the strobe on the bad guys. If someone is coming at you, hit them with the strobe. It blinds them and can make them sick. It has to be pointed at their eyes but it works.

    1. I believe that is the intended use (or at least one of them) incapacitates attackers. Or at least blinds and disorients them...much like it does with the birds. Before super high intensity LED's were the norm, there were companies marketing strope devices as non-lethal compliance devices for police use.

    2. Smith & Wesson works better --ken

  7. Thanks for the memories!

    Despite having the stovepipe cap wrapped in poultry netting, we've had at least three birds (including a blue bird), a squirrel & a bat come down the pipe in the past 35 years.

    A few shots of starting fluid into the totally NOT burning/smoldering stove incapacitated the bat. Leather gloves & some fresh country air -- he flew away in a matter of minutes.

    As for the squirrel: YOU DO NOT WANT A SQUIRREL IN YOUR STOVE! You do not want a squirrel breaking through the mica window of your stove when you are not home. You do not want a squirrel pulling down curtains, creating general chaos & eating a bowl of English walnuts in your kitchen.

    Most of all, you do not want to attempt to capture a squirrel that is hiding under your refrigerator.

  8. I will have to remember that! We SEEM to have fixed the "bird down the chimney" problem, but before we did we had several sparrows and a Bluebird end up in the stove, and unfortunately most of them did not survive the experience.

  9. I love those little flashlights. I have one attached to my purse for the nights I have to leave work after dark. I no longer trip over the sidewalks and no one comes up on me in the dark either.

  10. Another use is as a replacement for a sheep herding dog at night. I was able to herd a ewe back to her lamb in the next pasture by shining the light on the ground where she tried to bolt to. It made an otherwise totally frustrating chore possible.