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.
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.
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.
She’s over here, the chicks are over there…well they’re just all over, now. Often in this pine tree.They are scattered, seemingly not too attached to being with each other, either, let alone Mom. It makes them really hard to count, now, to check on them, now they are roaming solo.
They’re so confident! So small still, but they think they’re big chickens. Even in the coop at night, they’re all scattered around, with their own little spot claimed. They’re really done with Mom, and she’s done with them. It gave me a heart attack at first, I thought she’d been taken, but then she was safely found under a pine tree, bathing, having adult time.Looks good in there!Meetup! Meetup? By the door in two!Perchick was on a long solo date with Philippe today, like a poly wife that’s getting her “husband alone time”. They were out together in the pig field, oddly far away from the other chickens.
Ursa Minor’s looking smug (it’s funny how they always look smug or proud when they get their chicks, but it is an achievement that cost endurance and attention). Four chicks! How exciting, she got all of hers.There’s one!There’s another one. These two new moms got transferred out of their broody kennels into boxes and chickeries today, so I could clean the kennels for the next tenants.Daisy finally got her suite upgrade.This one (tentatively “Wolverina” is still so fierce! She only has two chicks hatched, which isn’t good, but she’s sticking to her eggs. They were both model sitters, so the problem must be with the eggs. It’s sad when they don’t get all their chicks. Side by side chickeries.There’s a kennel vacancy (not for long I don’t think). That’s Sprout and Apples enjoying greenhouse privileges.
The heat wavefinally expired in a thunderstorm, as they often do. After so many days sticky and gross, I decided to go out in the downpour in near swimwear and plastic shoes and just get drenched with the rest of the hot thirsty world. I had to move lots of water, as I always do when it rains, to make sure not to waste a drop that the roofs are catching, and shuttling water in a rubber suit to stay “dry” underneath was not appealing.
It was as glorious as I imagined! I was even a little cold at first. It’s good to be reminded of the true function of eyebrows. They divert water from your forehead around your eyes.
The only thing lacking was listening to something; electronics don’t mix with water like that. No pictures either for the same reason, but I had to risk it for this: The hens were not as enthusiastic about a good drenching, and utilized the heck out of their hen tents. They love their hen tents. Perchick and her chicks were running around in the rain at first, the chicks shaking off like dogs, and then I didn’t see them for awhile. I worried they were in a cold wet huddle somewhere, so I went looking, and found six of them in the coop! The coop they learned to use only the night before. Quick studies. The seventh was with mom:) They’re at peak cute, with their fuzzy little heads but feathered bodies, long legs. Full of personality chickenality. Well, I guess peak cute lasts a while.
The tomatoes are taking off now, the eggplants are coming, the cucumbers have decided to start growing after putting growth on hold completely for a solid month, even the melons are experimenting with a few new leaves – seems like there will be a crop of some kind after all.
Because of the crazy (now four) days of heat, I’ve been releasing all the birds, so that they can manage their own needs, and won’t ever possibly be trapped without water. The Silkies move no more than 4 feet, piling up under the pine tree they’re under anyway.
Some of them are panting, and some hold their feet wide and wings out flat like airplanes for a draft under their wings, but they’ve been just fine. There’s a stiff breeze, and under the pine tree, it’s quite cool. All they need is for the drinks to keep coming. I come around checking on them, worried, and they just look at me. What? We don’t need anything. Unless you’ve got snacks?
I check on the broodies, but they’re never panting. It’s quite temperate by the door of the GH when there’s some wind. It’s me that is ready for this heat to be over. But no, two more days of this. An overnight low of room temperature. Sheesh.It turns out that Apples and Sprout (Sprout has made a total recovery from the broken leg– not even the bump remains) prefer the other chickery, as do the first chicks. Conveniently, Perchick etc are out of there in seconds in the morning.
These are the first chicks of the year, and their mother on the box(airplane-winged). (I always, always, need more name suggestions – so many important chickens remain unnamed. Maybe I can auction naming rights, like newly discovered stars ). I’m kidding.
There’s one rooster that gets stuck in Apples’ chickery, not ever dipping his head low enough to see the way out, or jumping over. He’s a bit dim.I suppose we should expect this of Perchick.There are other pine trees too, several of them used as bird oases. Perchick’s chicks disappear in the jungle of weeds. That must be very cool, like us in an evergreen canopy.Her chicks are so bold and self-assured. Adorable.
I’ve got three little broody Silkie hens, installed in the covered wagons in the greenhouse. Amazingly, they are all from the new set of chickens. Which is great, that means that they have learned how to chicken enough to go broody. Impressive.
All of them are sitting on full sized eggs that I gave them. Four each – I’m hoping for 100% germination, and the hens are petite. In the past I’ve always given a Silkie 5-6 big eggs, but they never all seem to hatch.
These girls are all excellent sitters. They sit very still, and they don’t let their eggs leak out. This little lady is patient enough to have endured the orphans spending a few nights with her in her kennel.This one is vicious. She’s so small, but she’s not afraid to peck. She´ll just hammer away at my hand like a woodpecker when I reach in for anything, like to change her hay. Food refills are tolerated. She’s always moving her eggs around or turning circles on them, arranging her nest to her satisfaction, but she doesn’t let any of them get away. The first two went broody at the same time, and are due very soon. This one went broody most recently, and is occupying a cardboard box in a chickery, waiting for a vacancy in a broody kennel suite. She hangs out all day with her beak over her water dish, so I know she’s staying hydrated in the heat.