Almost bedtime. Philippe PetitPuffcheeks demonstrating the hot weather “airplane stance” to perfection. Ailerons out for cooling breezes.It’s possible I have an olive-sided flycatcher visiting (need positive ID). It’s a species at risk in NS, and it seemed to be shopping for snacks off the side of our house, possibly wasps. It was making repeat visits and swooping at the corner of the house.
Remember that “wild” rabbit? It did not quite allow me to get a picture, but it was taking a dirt bath, writhing around like a chicken, in the sand pile outside our door last evening. Very undignified.
Well the chicks are all out. I figured it was today. The hens let me know when it’s time. They become dissatisfied with the playpen and start doing this. Can you let me out? Then usually a chick leaks out (all of them can jump out the top anytime and sometimes do), and instead of helping it back in, I let all the rest out. Ursa Minor came out first, and launched into a scratching demo the likes of which have never been seen. She was scratching and scratching, like crazy, like she meant to dig a hole. Very excited. Fierce! Don’t get near her. She can be a bit of a Major Ursa, in fact.
Start of day:
After Ursa Minor was out, I propped a stick under the other chickery, and the chicks figured it out pretty quick.Philippe seems to like chicks.
The hen had more trouble finding her way out.
Then, minutes later:I swear my chickens are more connected to their bird source all the time.I have to zoom out here to show you how many chickens there are in the pine tree. There’s three dark ones in upper right.Including Pepper. So many chickens in the tree. I pruned the lower branches of this tree last year hoping to make it more useful to the birds, and scythed under it, because there are thorny raspberry vines, and mulched it to kill the vines, because chickens can’t resist mulch, they’ll scratch it all up and kill everything.
Um, it worked. I never expected this kind of response. Best half hour I ever spent. I’ll have to do the same to a couple more pine trees.
The teen roos, hanging out in the abandoned chickeries.
Finally some rain! The pigs, who are usually muddy to the eyes, are today muddy to the ears. They look funny, with their eyes cleanish in the full muddy cones of their faces.By afternoon they had gleefully mudded the whole rest of their bodies until they had single cleanish strips only along their spines.One of the pigs has a predilection for bringing one or more of their rubber bowls into their house. Sometimes all three are in there, sometimes stacked. I’ve read that pigs use their bowls as toys if you leave them in their pen after dinner, but these are the first pigs to have played with their bowls. Here one pig has just dragged one bowl out from under the other pig, and dumped some of it. Every morning they play food bowl duck duck goose. They start all with their own bowl, then one inevitably goes to the next pig. You got something better in there? The first pig exits, and instead of going to the vacant bowl, goes to the next pig’s bowl. What are you eating? Same thing? I think I’ll try yours. That pig goes to the empty bowl and…they do it all over again, every few mouthfuls.
I’ve got some varmint taking out my beans. It’s really annoying. I suspected a vole, but, would a vole cut down the beans and then drag them under the overhanging thyme and sage in the next bed? I’ve got something like a tiny beaver, felling beanstalks and then hauling them to the adjacent garden bed to hide under herbs. These stalks are freshly wilted!I thought I already had scapes. These are the second round of late or postponed scapery. Almost as much as the first round. I’ve got some garlic.
The fence posts I put in this spring are growing. Three new garden fence posts are sprouting a half dozen lush plumes of leaves. This isn’t too surprising, fenceposts are known to do that, but the posts are in upside down. Opposite of the way the tree was growing before I cut it down. So the wood has decided to reverse the flow of sap? Root from the skyward end? That’s wild. In the greenhouse, the peanuts fold their leaves tightly closed every night like prayer hands. I like this reactionary plant movement. Plants have their own responsive awareness.
Just when I thought the “wild” rabbits couldn’t get any tamer, I took these through the window of the front door, a whole 7 feet away.I had had some bread crusts piled on the deck to bring the chickens, and this little bunny wasted no time hoovering up the crumbs.There’s an even smaller baby bunny around that has the same white forehead spot. Unfortunately, I had just set down my camera, when the rabbit stretched out its nose to touch/smell my starts in the pot. Mmmm, lavender.
The rabbits and chipmunks have moved right in to our circle, staying as close as they dare for their protection (mostly). Partly, it’s for the snacks.
Apples and Sprout have a totally adorable thing going on. They’re so attached. I hope it lasts into Sprout’s adulthood.Also, Apples has made an astonishing and unexpected total integration into general population. She’s turned out to be a big Silkie hen, the opposite of what made her a house chicken in the first place. She’s still extremely relaxed and mild, and rides my arm without hesitation, reasons why I thought she’d be attacked by the outside chickens.She’s always been into hay bales.
Sprout was starting to spend more time out of the chickery than in, just orbiting Apples like a satellite, and I saw Apples get frustrated pacing at the wall, so I just lifted it up and out she strolled. I monitored to be able to interrupt any fracas. She promptly fought, actually fought the ranking Silkie rooster, who was probably so surprised at being challenged by a girl he threw the fight, and that was that. She’s got some kind of agreement with Philippe the big rooster now; she’s under his protection.She’s even becoming a little more tolerant of Sprout’s three siblings, the orphans. Sprout is spending more time with them too; that’s nice.There’s the Family in the background, hovering. Philippe the rooster, Cheeks,Puffcheeks, Galahad the Guinea, and two layer hens (aka “those hens that are always glued to the rooster”) make up the Family. Always together.My phone rang.Ok, let’s all groom at once! There’s the orphans. Speckles the Silkie cross and … I have a lot of names now and many of them are tentatively reserved, but if they’re not gender neutral names, they aren’t firmly assigned yet because I don’t know yet who’s roos. Also it takes some time – names don’t just get applied, they have to settle on the bird. Like, is this right for you?Trying out neighboring haybales.Like Big Bird, only, not big at all. We can haybale too.Try out the other one!Perchick’s chicks sometimes hang out together, but usually they’re scattered far and wide. I can’t get over how confident and independent these little birds are. Many times more so than Sprout and the orphans, who are much older than them. I’ve even seen them peck the older chicks, and they have to reach up to do it. They’re just out in the weedy wild on solo missions most of the time.
I rebaited the trap, in case there’s a second raccoon, and the hens really, really, want that egg.Ok, we gotta work the problem!
The little silver chick is the cutest thing ever. I wonder what s/he will turn out to be.Their colouring is uncannily similar to their mom’s.Only, she’s not their real mom. This one was hatched out of a full-sized egg, so there’s no direct genetic connection to this mom. Maybe she’s really the aunt, though (?). Whoa! What is that!?
There’s a red bug, walking, on the wood juuust on the other side of that mesh…Long neck:)The bug has walked to the right, and its progress is being closely followed.Too bad it’s not Easter. Look at this.
This brazen baby bunny has been visiting the chicken snack bar, and the chickens don’t blink at her. Here comes Perchick, spending some time with her chicks for a change. Adorable!!
Every year around this time, a raccoon wanders in and gets a little too comfortable. I know, because I see someone’s been washing their dirty hands in the water dishes, and I have to get the trap.
The chickens weren’t quite as alarmed and fascinated as I expected, but the guinea was aghast. He hopped back into the greenhouse to alert me, shouting. Threat!!! Threat!!! Hey! You seem to be ignoring that there’s a RACCOON out here! He and Puffcheeks are the only birds that attempt to communicate with me, looking me in the eyes and vocalizing, like they really mean to tell me something, and giving me the benefit of the doubt that I might be capable of understanding. The barred rocks were the most concerned, looking at it, looking at each other.
This is Ketchup and Mayo and their Mom. Every day they hop up on the edges on Silkietown for post-breakfast perching hour. In fact, they come and go all day. These are the year’s first chicks, and they are now being taught to go in the coop with the big chickens at night. I fish them out of the Silkie coop and stuff them in the big coop, and they take it well, but in the morning, they fly home for breakfast and perching hang time with Mom.I was inspired by “Mustardseed”, and thought, oh, those two are perfect, red, and well…more white than yellow, but they can be Ketchup and Mustard. I was pointing them out to HW and he said “Wait, who’s Mustard? (scoffs) No way!!! That’s Mayonnaise!”I couldn’t argue. She’s very white. But condiments are a very rich line of potential names. There will be a whole fridge door of chickens.