It was a COLD morning, and husband noticed this little hen shivering up on a perch, so he grabbed her (Get your hands off me! Put me down, you big brute!) and stuck her in his coat (Oh. OH. Ok. This is good.)
Then he took her for a walk. When they went outside in the cold cold air she sucked her head all the way inside the jacket like a turtle.
They came and visited the house chicken, and she and Cheeks had a remarkable conversation, a back and forth with a whole series of sounds that you don’t hear every day out of a chicken. We were both just quieted, listening. What are they saying?!
– You’re alive! We had no idea. Benny’s been worried sick. – Let me tell you, the snacks in this place are unbelievable. They just do weird things to my feet sometimes. – I’m in a jacket right now, I can imagine. – How is everything in the greenhouse? You must tell Wilma that the right side of the perch is mine. If she thinks otherwise she’s got another peck coming.
When returned to the greenhouse, the traveling hen resisted being extracted from the coat, burrowing in and struggling to stay. No, no, don’t make me get out!
I’ve been blogging here at WordPress for nine and half years, and I was perfectly delighted with it for eight and a half. I’ve never had so many problems as I did this year. Coincidentally, this year is also the first time I’ve paid for the top tier account, for extra storage (nine years of images, yo), and to keep my blog free of annoying ads.
To hell with that. It’s usually easier to just stick with what you know than do time consuming research and transition, but I’m not thrilled about paying for the suck. I switched from Blogger in the oughts, it’s time to move again, although there’s some time before my subscription renews. WordPress fail. Research ahead.
In the meantime, chickens.
Puffling is storking. The Pufflings are laying eggs – green ones! They are blue egg layers crossed with brown egg layers, and their eggs are almost olive. I inadvertently created bearded olive eggers.
Cheeks put herself back in her box after breakfast yesterday. I’m done. Either I spent too much time with the other chickens, or she thought if she was settled back in her box when I got back, she might avoid the pill procedure.Today she just settled on her box. In the greenhouse, all it takes to create a stir is a half dozen hay bale chunks set around. They disrupt chicken run flow, make something to pick at, and they must all be inspected. All the muffets have to find a tuffet.Sidewinder and Sidekick are still very much a thing. They don’t spend every minute together, but close. Sidekick is an interesting little chicken; I can’t figure it out. Clearly half Silkie – feathered, five-toed feet, but clearly not all Silkie, with smooth feathers. Pale feet, not black Silkie skin, but not albino, because he/she has black eyes. Interesting little thing.Oh, this was funny. I was taking pics of S&S, and behind them, the Colonel goes poking his head into the covered wagon, and Cream Puff and a brown Silkie rooster come shooting out!As pictured in lower left, making a getaway:)
The four middle chicks are kinda loners. A little little chicken gang.On the left is a Silkie cross. She’s experiencing the unfortunate phenomenon of her friends all growing up faster than she is. Her growth has stalled.Caped crusader on the right. The four of them are very attached to each other, and haven’t become latched on to either flock of grown chickens. Their preference so far is to be in the greenhouse with all the babies, but I often put them outside, where they just pal around with each other. They’ve found a great place to simultaneously shelter and lounge.Meanwhile, inside the greenhouse: Oh, they love a good haybale. The little dominoes are so cute. They’re turning into Barred rocks, apparently.I’m here too!Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey impression!
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.
Last night when Galahad and the keets went to bed in the greenhouse, there was a lot of noise, and G was running laps around the greenhouse like he wanted out. He settled down, but I felt he was distressed, and maybe frustrated with sleeping on the ground.
Tonight after bedtime, I thought the greenhouse was remarkably quiet. I peeked…and just about died! In case it’s unclear what you’re seeing, that is one keet perched on Galahad’s back, yes, and all the keets lined up on the (swinging) perching rail, at 6′ in the greenhouse. They are all very content.This is how they got up there. I gave them a laundry rack last night (I’ve offered it before as perching media). I thought it would be a starter perch, and they could probably hop hop hop up and maybe get on their final destination, the rail (in a day or two). They wasted no time about it!
That’s how I endure the ugliness of the plastic A-frames – seeing the birds all run to it when the rain starts pelting down.Haven’t seen them all day, as they’ve been out somewhere being adorable, but Sir Galahad and the keets of the round table know where to find shelter. Awww, they’re starting to snuggle in for a warming!
The bee swarm denouement can wait – this is too cute.
So, also yesterday, I picked up ten beautiful little guinea babies! Keets are crazy cute, with their orange puffin beaks and long necks. They were almost completely silent on the drive home. Birds seem to like car rides, if not the transitions and banging doors.
I was looking forward to Galahad‘s reaction to them, but I got home at bedtime. G hopped right up to his perch, and I installed the keets in a vacant chickery, slowly tipping their traveling boxes to the side (scuffle scuffle) and opening the ends. They didn’t come out.
In the morning they were quiet. Galahad hopped outside as usual.
Then the babies came out of their box and started singing their little car alarm sounds, and he went nuts. He was streaking around the greenhouse, stopping, listening, peering, running back and forth. I hear them! Where are they?! I was doing all the morning feeding, shifting, and watering, and I left the door ajar for him to get back in if he wanted. He did. It seems louder at this end.Warmer. Warmer…Found’em!They’re a month old, and they are a selection of colours! “Normals” – pearl grey, white, and buff.
I left him there chatting. They would car alarm, and he’d talk, and they’d quiet. I checked on him later- did he want to stay in the greenhouse? Yes, definitely.
The keets were cute, relaxed. A content guinea is a quiet guinea, and they were all piled up roosting on top of their box.
Then came lunch time. I moved their lid askew to feed them, and left it that way, and when I came back later, uhoh. Ghost town.What do we have here?
I thought it was extra quiet in here.
The keets had liberated themselves (should’ve known, guineas are mad escape artists) to get to their new Daddy. G was struttin’ around, tall and as proud as if he hatched them, and they’re all scuttling along behind him, happy as clams, digging under the vines. They are used to a jungle. So adorable!
Lock up time, there was one little keet scurrying around the door. I don’t know how it leaked out, but I opened the door and it shot inside and showed me where the rest were. They were buried under a pepper plant, and I could just see Galahad’s black and white speckled wing and hear him cooing. I can’t be sure if he was sitting on them, but he was settling in on the ground with them.
I figured he would assume parenting the little birds, but this exceeds my expectations. I planned to keep them in the chickery a couple days, then let them stay in the GH with Galahad until they learned they lived there, but this is great!
He’s such a treasure, and since his habits are going to be reproduced 10 times now, it’s a good thing he’s got such great qualities. He’s unconcerned about me; he lets me get quite close, and doesn’t screech when I show up (my husband is sure to get the treatment though). He comes in every night, which is keeping him alive. He’s quiet, not too much of a yeller. He’s down with the chickens. When he doesn’t have his own kind, he makes friends. But he’s sure happy to have his own kind! Finally, someone who can run just as fast.
I figured they couldn’t do too much damage in the GH now the plants are all too big to kill, seeing as guineas are only moderately destructive. Chickens are very destructive with all that scratching. But I did mean to harvest all the low tomatoes and eggplants before letting them out of the chickery, because I imagined eleven taste tests. As it was, they only broke one young tomatillo (it’s not dead), trampled the lemon balm (so what, it’s a mint) and perhaps have damaged some watermelon vines (we’ll see).
Now that I don’t have a shadow of a doubt that he’ll bring them back in every night, I can let them go outside soon, if they don’t handle that liberation themselves too, like one already did.
Two new broodies, and wooo Nelly, one of them is vicious! This one was broody without eggs. I wasn’t sure she was broody because she was sitting, but not on eggs, and she didn’t know what to do with herself because she didn’t have eggs, so she was moving around. But I experimentally put her in a covered wagon with eggs, and she is definitely broody, and taking no chances at losing her big chance, now she has eggs! She attacks! She’s a biter, not a pecker, and it really pinches.
Cleaning out the box of death (probably best not pictured) and revamping it. Now there are no holes in the lid – that was a design flaw. Flies in ≥ grubs out.
Preventing a mass red wiggler escape. I had to extract some castings, because WOW I have a thriving population of worms, and I think they may have been feeling crowded. Amazing! I’m going to sell some next. Who needs a worm compost starter worm pack? But sifting through castings and wet shredded paper compost doesn’t jive well with using a camera.
The little barred rock/Silkie (“Barred Rock with a hairdo”) getting trapped inside the greenhouse adjunct garden.
The four little chicks who got stranded under the wrong pine tree when they followed a couple teenagers too far from their Mom. They needed assistance to find their way back. Them: There she is! Mom! Here we are! Mom: Ah crap. I was enjoying that break.
Sounds like a big day, and it was, bigger than my usual lately, but not what I’m still optimistically calling my “normal”, even as that normal retreats into the past. I’m still “battling” Lyme disease (First world lucky, I pop a pill twice daily – that’s not even a skirmish), and the Lyme, or the prolonged use of Lyme meds, is currently manifesting like a mild flu with narcolepsy, and I am at half productivity, at best. Any day I don’t slip further behind is a BIG win.
I did get some pictures just before bedtime. These little rascals all crowded up in the chicken door-within-a-door. They like to pose in the doorway every evening, just not usually all at once. There are a couple leghorn blends! Awesome! Sometimes they look a bit leggy, with the super erect tails.I put rings around the peppers. What I should have done is put tomato cages around them before they grew up, but now it’s too late, and I had sticker shock at buying 35 tomato cages in one go (now I wish I had). Otherwise, the weight of the developing peppers makes the branches fall outward and snap off, because the stems aren’t terribly strong without a breeze in the GH. In lieu of tomato cages, I put a circlet of baling wire around each plant, strung up to the tomato suspension guylines. Better than nothing.Galahad is like Excuse me, you haven’t noticed, she’s not supposed to be in here! Apples and Sprout, being their adorable selves. Sprout spends more time with her siblings now, but remains very loyal to stepmommy.Chris atop the honeymoon coop. Needs reroofing. Oh, and today there was a walnut in this coop. What the heck? A stand-in egg? Did a chipmunk move it in? The walnuts are starting to drop.What the heck is Cleopatra doing way up in the walnut tree at bedtime?!