Second frost

Had a proper frost; ice crust on the water buckets.  This is the right time for frost though, not September 24th! Overnight, one of the Five has become the spitting image of Philippe Petit.  A petit Philippe.I don’t want to believe he’s 100% a rooster yet, but he’s looking awfully leggy.  So many roosters!The young roosters are refining their crows now.  They don’t have to go hide in order to practice.  They’re sounding pretty good.  Silkieland and the Colonel on patrol.  Who’s that big chicken in there?  Ketchup.  She comes and goes, but she definitely thinks she’s a Silkie.  All the other Silkie-raised chickens have found their ocial place among their own kind, but not Ketchup.  She’s so gentle though, she fits right in.

Cleopatra has decided she lays her daily egg in the Silkie coop.  She has to fly in and out, which seems like a lot of work, but apparently that’s the spot.  Chickens are funny.

Co-mamas

Brown Bonnet and Marsha (Marshmallow) are cute.  They hang out together, their chicks spilling over into each other.Brown Bonnet is very maternal and relaxed, and all seven of the little Silkie chicks will sometimes be with her. Marsha’s a bit nervous.  At night sometimes they share a box, and they readily share patches of food without competition.  Our kids are the same age (and size), we should be friends. This little one is already developing an extravagant hairdo.

pasture pigs

The wild birds are well fed.  They’ve been cleaning out my crop of sunflowers. From full to this, all in four days.  I grew them for them, but I hoped to ration them out a little better, and for my chickens to get some.

Makes me want to grow a field of them, but then the ravens will come and really clean them out.The pigs are moved again, now in the “pasture”, which is much easier to move the fence through.  Of course, they are hiding.It was a hot and  humid day (just before it got cold and very rainy), so they were in their brushy bit, covered with mud.

Poultry powder room

It was  a warm and humid day. Almost the whole family was piled in the dirt bath by the house, making chicken angels.  The family is growing. Except for Speckles, who’s having a party of one in a private dust bowl out by the pigs.  Yeah, and you’re interrupting it right now.Got snacks?!  Oops, I roused them.  The pitter patter of chicken feet behind me on the path is quite a stampede these days.  I didn’t even have a  bucket.

Mini release

She’s got four!  Two and two.  They’re still ridiculously small, but in spite of being the size of golf balls, they are developmentally old enough to be bold adventurers.  Time to prop open the chickeries so they could creep out and join the chicken greenhouse society.  Here they come!Mom immediately dove into a sprawly dirt bath.   Nothing celebrates freedom like throwing dirt over your head.  Brown Bonnet was a bit more furtive.  The chicks readily popped out, But Brown Bonnet wanted to mostly hide behind a board.  

Guineas going to bed

Now that there are chicks in the greenhouse, they like to come adventurously popping out when I open up for the guineas.Greetings, part-time residents.The keets are looking, and acting, quite grownup now. First they all run by, seeing if the door is really open.  Then they muster up somewhere and … all surge in at once.

Cheeks has developed a new trick.  She watches and waits, and then gets right in the middle of the flock of keets and runs in with them.  For a chicken, that’s a full speed dash.

It’s very funny.  And totally works, because she’s right in the middle of the crowd.  I still see you, Cheeks!  Twice I flushed her back out of the greenhouse, once I left her in there (door closed) until chicken bedtime, and she had a lot to say about that.  I was jsut looking!  You didn’t have to lock me in!  Now Betty will have taken my spot on the perch!

No more Inky

 Inky is gone.  She wasn’t in her tree and I searched, and  found a half dozen black and iridescent green feathers. I’m heartbroken, and I’ve already been having a hard few weeks.  I want to get out of chickens, because it hurts too much.  I can’t protect them 100% and let them range.  It’s captivity, or risk.  It’s not fair though, it’s like they know which are my favorites, and get the special ones first.  Inky!   In the evening now I’m opening up the greenhouse adjunct garden, where only some root veggies remain, so that they will go in there for the last hour before bedtime and maybe be a little more protected from snatching by the fence.  The guineas were so excited about this access that they stayed out extra late.  In fact, they all went up to roost twice and came back down and  ran back out for some more rummaging.   This one still in the greenhouse:Where’d everyone go?  I thought we were going to bed.

The evening scratch

Now there are eight.  The keet with the lower body injury died in its sleep in the morning, head tucked into a wing.  Hopefully it was peaceful.  After a quiet night it did a little scruffling in the early morning, but seemed to go back to sleep, and then, didn’t wake up.  Guineas die so easily and quickly. The evening before bed is one of the peaceful times in bird land (one of several – they like to lounge), time for a last scratch and snack in the long light.   The Brahmas and Barred RocksCleopatra high in the tree, wearing her jacket.  She got used to the one with shoulder pads. Inside the greenhouse in the evening, it’s cooling off and the chicks remember they need mom after all, for a bit of a warming.  Ursa.  Her other three are still playing behind her.  The black and white ones are SO cute.  She’s got a pair of dominoes too.

Then there were eight – nine

Last night when I yoohooed Galahad and crew in to the open greenhouse door, I was horrified.  Only eight keets came with him!  He did his doorway pause, and satisfied, he went in and they proceeded to shuttle up to their perch.  But!  You’re missing two!  Where are they?!

A white and a grey one were missing.  I came upon the grey one hunched in the weeds nearby.  Immediately I knew he was hurt, and when I tried to coach him to the door, he demonstrated a limp on the right side, and more alarmingly, deliberately avoided the greenhouse door, instead fleeing from me and then settling down in a hen tent.  Alright, I thought, I’ll get him from there later when the sun goes down.  Guineas are super dopey after dark.

That’s terrible!  They were doing so well, how can two be lost in one day?  At least this one with the lower body injury can be saved.  I just need to get him inside and into rehab.  It’s been awhile since there’s been a rehab bird in the house.

After dark, no guinea!  Gone.  I flashlight searched for quite a while.  Vanished.  That’s it for him, I thought.  A raccoon showed up two days ago.  I hoped to maybe see him come out of the woods in the morning.

This morning, no keet.  This afternoon, no keet.  Now there is a family of Galahad +8.  No keet all day.

Until close up time!  There he was, hunched near the healthy flock.I got the bird catching hoop net and pursued. He was limping even harder than the previous day, but still gave me a good chase, and the rest witnessed up close the whole capture and disentangling and removal, so I wasn’t sure Galahad would ever trust me again, but so far so good.

I carried the hurt keet home and stuck his head in a hat, so I could inspect his injury.  He laid there perfectly still for a long and thorough palpating, and continued to lay there long past the inspection.  I just live in this hat now.

I couldn’t find anything wrong!  No bone breaks or skin breaks – it’s a mystery.  But perhaps, like Sprout, it will show up later with swelling.

Now the keet is in an Ikea EKET organizational solution (lidded felt box), sans hat, with victuals and electrolytes.   Finally silent after mounting a thumping, pecking, escape attempt.  I know, it’s super weird to be in a box in the house, and guineas really really hate being contained in anything, but it’s for your own good!  Drink your aspirin water!

Happy about living naturally