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.
Butterfly party by the GH door. There’s a bit of mud there, and it drew a butterfly crowd (why?) Mama hen and her chick duo slip in and out of Silkieland, but stick close by to it. They seem comfortable over there, rather than the far side of the greenhouse. All the chickens could come and go from Silkieland, it’s not a secure facility, but most stay. They’re a little too crowded for my taste but they show every sign of contentment, so – good enough for now. When I make the next one the space will be doubled.The little chicks are very precocious, handling the ramp from day 1, making their own decisions. They aren’t very needy, or whiny. They still stand on Mom once in a while.They all got caught out in the rain, though. “Caught” – being out in the rain was optional. Mom looks like a wet schnauzer, and the chicks look dipped, but they are unperturbed.The other hens all jog off when the rain starts, and hide under a tent. The last guinea spends all his time with the hens now that he’s alone. I’m disappointed to mysteriously lose those guineas. I had a nice, peaceful flock, and they roosted in the greenhouse every night. wth? Now have to start over. I’m thinking of getting keets and hoping this guy can bring them up. The males are active parents when the pair is intact; can they do it alone?
The frost looks like lavender.According to my “research” (and I forget my source), in the last eight years it’s only frosted once in June, and that was the 1st. Here we are in the first week, and we got a doozy. It’s going to throw off all my planning numbers (this year I planned for a May 20 last frost).
I got to try out the Almanzo Wilder splash the plant with water before the sun hits it thing. The potatoes were just poking up, and a few of the squashes were frozen in spite of covering, so I ran around with a bucket and freezing hands in the morning. Everything will live.
Most things are fine, because I covered them. I’m good and sick of covering everything by now. Some of the squashes, the ones I put buckets over, took some damage, but the plants will live. The ones with boxes over were untouched. The walnut trees took a lot of damage, to the new branch-tip leaves.In the GH, in the chickery, the new chicks are whizzing around. Two Brownies and two Oreos, one mysteriously tiny – I suspect a Silkie cross.Mom is fierce! She attacks my hand sometimes when I dare reach in to feed them. Then all the chicks run and jam their heads under something, and she savages my arm, thumping it with her feet. She’s climbed it to the elbow. Take that! And don’t come back.
We got the pigs! Three little piglets. They are very pink, but they are supposed to be sired by a full black Berkshire. It seems they take after their mother.
We’ve finally sorted out our pig transport, after trying dog crates and the back of the car. That extra chickery I made came in, secured with a pallet, and covered with a piece of canvas (becoming as useful and ubiquitous around here as baling twine and wire), so the piglets don’t get a sunburn or heatstroke.
Our first piglets came in with sunburn and possibly heatstroke, but recovered. Although, after wrestling with them, sometimes you wish they had heatstroke.
We carried them from truck to pigland over the shoulder. “Easy”. HW gave me the small pig, and she was a crazy squealer, who screamed the whole trip, and absolutely pummeled my lower back stomping with her sharp little hooves. Wow. That hurt a lot.
HW had it worse though. He got peed on. Both of our pigs pooped en route, and then HW says “Oh no! Warm and wet – I think I’m getting peed on!” So I was better off with the stomping pig.
Then HW moved the third pig and immediately had them all run right through the fence, making us completely 0 for 4 on piglet retention. This time, the pigs were small enough to fit through the bottom squares of the electric fence, and they did. He got them back in though, and they fell to rooting like they were born to do it.
In the middle of the night, discussing the piglets pouring through the fence, I said “You know, the right thing to do is to take the other electric fence, with the smaller holes on the bottom, and wrap that around outside the fence already there, and do it tonight while they’re asleep. ” And he started getting out of bed! So we did that together at midnight, and the pigs are thoroughly trapped.
They weren’t asleep, but they were moving slow, watching us from the shadows. And they are SO happy! Face deep in the dirt, day one.
This morning, four new chicks!
All of them a bit damp, brown and black with black legs, and bright white egg teeth on their black beaks- SO cute. There are two from Cleopatra (copper maran Xs), and two from Cheeks or Puffcheeks (Ameracauna Xs). Proud mama!
The two “old” chicks have integrated into gen. pop. They integrated themselves, as they do.
Just before running out for pigs and doing a henyard check, I found one chick outside of the chickery. After fruitlessly chasing her around the box a few times, I tipped it up so she could slip back under a corner. She was looking. It almost worked. Then the other chick darted out, and then it was on. Those two started to run away from home together, mama flipped out, so I just let her out.
She was set upon by the roosters, and ran into the flock of hens, and the babies crouched in the grass (it only takes a couple of blades for them to disappear), but after the dust settled, they flew (flew like sparrows!) back to her, and that was that. Now they are part of the flock. They slept in the box last night, but this morning Mom was coaching them on how to use the coop ramp (although they were having none of it).
First order of business: a broody box for Perchick (smaller than a chickery, but big enough for a big hen mom – wow! I have broody layer hens!)
While I was making a broodery, I made another chickery, because I’m sure I’m going to need one real soon.
Cream Puff is still freakin’ out! She’s being good, diligently staying on her eggs, but she’s on high alert and looks very concerned, like she thinks she’s losing her mind, and no one told her this could happen. What’s happening to me?! I’m feverish! I have a compulsion to snuggle with eggs. I can’t Google these symptoms because I don’t have thumbs!
If I crack the door to her box to reach her food she flips out! and makes a wild flapping break for the door. Then gets back on her eggs a minute later like nothing happened.
It’s nice that it’s easy to peek in at her. Her guard is never down though. No matter how quietly I sneak up to peek, she’s looking right at me through the gap.
Perchick made a smooth morning transition to her broodery though. With the help of a cloaking device.
She seemed to like to be covered. She pancaked right out while I sorted eggs and stuffed them under her. I figure the disruption of being moved is nothing compared to being hassled by the other hens trying to lay an egg on top of her. Puffcheeks is a real squaller.
I set her up in the greenhouse, and am just committed now to that being the last end of a row I get to plant.There’s a kennel vacancy. The broody Silkie was faking it. Well, probably not, but for whatever reason she was broken up and frustrated this morning, Why am I in a translucent mailbox?! so I put her back into gen pop. She was a new hen, so I’m surprised she even went broody. I figure those hens are still calming down and learning to chicken, not ready to level up.
Last frost tonight. Says me! The forecast says not even, so it may have been overkill for me to run around in the dark for an hour, to cover everything and bring in the seedlings, etc etc, but it smells like winter this evening, and I’m not taking chances. I am definitely ready for that aspect to be done – the frost shuttling and the frost blanketing of the plants already in. I was excited for tonight to be the last night of that. So are the guineas. They do not like the row cover. Or someone keeping them up when they’re ready for bed.
*It did frost
The little chicks change every day. The brown one is getting browner!
Three little chicks. See how they drink. This is the pufftail stage. They’re still in the chickery with Mom (now in the slightly larger chickery), and they’ve graduated from the cardboard box and the nightly flight in to the house.
The other chicks, the two dwarves, have graduated up to the girls only fort. The sisters are not as accepting of the two dwarves (they soon need better names). Perhaps they are roosters. But their mother, Snow White, decisively declared she was done with child care by flying out of the chickery. I thought it might be a fluke and put her back in. She let me know it was not an accident, she was moving on to the next phase of her life and chicks weren’t a part of it.
I tried putting her in the fort too but she just paced the fence. She had a boyfriend on the outside. Straight back in the nesting box. In other news, Lucky Stewie is a reformed rooster. He’s been on his best behaviour.
Yin ad Yang and the Sisters are now in protective custody. They have their own fort in a corner. Girls Only!Yin and Yang are turning out to both be hens (so Yang is awkwardly named), and I witnessed a rude roo trying to mate them. I couldn’t believe my eyes! They may be old enough, but they are definitely not big enough, so I’ve put a stop to that, quarantining the whole clique so they can be relaxed and safe. The Sisters are even too small to be assaulted. They seem pleased. No more harassment. They are sitting up on their favorite hay bale exactly as they always did (these four are so sweet. I want them perfectly relaxed and happy). Even though they now have all the essential chicken amenities in their fort, including a private bath, they just sit on the hay bale all day.
We’ve got a box of cheeps:) On cold nights when we bring Brown Bonnet and her trio in, the box is set down with the flap to the wall, and in the morning, it cheeps.
So cute! At about 0:22 mom tries to open the box from the inside (also a daily activity). Excuse me, I believe it’s morning out there!
Then we ferry the box back into the chickery in the GH, which always provokes a lively conversation en route. There they are free. The only shot I get of them these days is crammed against the opposite corner of the chickery. Ahmygawd a camera! Today I vaselined her feet, and at her unexpected airlift out of the coop, all the chicks ran and hid in their box. Smart kids. Brown Bonnet’s attentive and loyal lover, Major Fowler, lurks. Someday, you will be free, and I will care for you and your offspring. Meanwhile, I sit.
Snow White and her two dwarves ave been reincarcerated in the Chickery I all month.After being integrated into chicken society at large, and even going to bed in the coop, HW put them back in the chickery while I was gone because they weren’t doing well. He deemed them still too small.
They sure aren’t to big to be above cuddling with Mom at night. They get closed into the covered wagon at night, while Brown Bonnet and her three, weeks younger, still get an airlift into the house on cold nights.I love the pompom tail stage. Following pants.