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.
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!!
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.
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.
It’s a dirt bath lineup. They’re lovin’ it. They get really satisfying results from their pint sized scratching practice in the fine mulch of the greenhouse. The dirt flies!She’s panting because she’s hot, so within a few minutes, they were back out on grass. The heat wave wasted no time arriving.
We got the rain overnight, and early, and then the sun came out again, and wow, it’s already hot, and muggy, and the bugs are terrible!! The mosquitoes are awful, lying in wait in big clouds, and the noseeums are eating me alive, right now. The night isn’t cool enough to tone them down; they’ll be lurking at the door at 6am. I think it’s the end of the cool, bugless mornings, at least for a bit.
I just might resort to wearing my beekeeping suit as leisure/work wear. Check back shortly. I always think it’s so cool and comfortable, when I’m in it. I’ll need another one. One for the bees, one for work coveralls. Oh no, I’m not working with the bees today; I just live in this.
The crippled chick is doing very well. She’s using her foot but not bearing weight on it, and it very active, but still rests a lot.Very active. I don’t know how she got out, but I think she went over the top. Apples feels like perching today.
Cream Puff released herself today. A little early, but the chicks are managing just fine.
I don’t even know how she got out; there was a chicken wire lid on her, but all of a sudden, she was prowling around in her turkey pose, outside the chickery. We don’t call her Cream Puff the Fierce for nothing; I didn’t even try to catch her, I just let her chicks out.She’s really attached to her turkey shape. She spends most of her time puffed up, with her neck ruffled and tail spread. It was impeding her ability to give scratching lessons. She’d deflate to scratch, puff up again. She’s funny. She’s got a real chip on her shoulder. She can’t even rest without puffing. This is my favorite little chick, with a white dot on top of her head.
The chicks are all alive, even the little half size yellow chick, but there’s been no late hatchings. That’s a pretty poor hatch rate – 12 live chicks out of 23 eggs under two hens. The 13th was unlucky. But that is a dozen bright new little lives, which is wonderful. Maybe not all the eggs were fertile, or the late frosts we got made it too cold for them.
I’m coming in there
The other chicks are still in the chickery. Usually they start to break out, which lets me know it’s time for them to be at large, but so far, they are all staying inside, although they could fly right out.The little black “runt” of this clutch is catching up with the others.
And the oldest chicks, well: They decided to dust bathe at the bottom of the ramp, in the smallest dust bowl ever.
These two blip in and out of Silkieland at will, as do some of the other Silkies, since they can slip under the fence if they want.
For these chicks, the coop is the safe house, so they sprint up the ramp if there’s any strange noises or shadows or surprises. It’s funny.