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!
Yes. Yes we do.
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.
All the things I didn’t take pictures of today:
Moving the piggies into some lush new jungle land. I paid for it in bug bites, but they’re piggy pleased.
Chris and Cream Puff canoodling. They really are always together.
Two new chicks, little Silkie chicks.
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?!
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!!
Perchick is very watchful. She mostly trusts me around her chicks, though. She has chicks poking out. Cream Puff does not trust me, and wow, a full size hen peck is more meaningful than a Silkie peck. No chicks poking out here.The one “old chick” looks much like a tiny, brown bald eagle. Like a yellow chick wearing a brown cape. And this brood, well, they’re not grown up enough to be above a good wingpit warming.
18 chicks: I’m going to need a lot of names. Now open for suggestions.
So it begins, with the guineas.
What have we here? A pile of chicks trying to perch like grownups on the coop, next to mom.
But look closer. Who’s that IN the greenhouse? I don’t know how the F they got in there, maybe the gap above the screendoor?, but there were three little guineas on the door header on the wrong side. Frantic!
I get involved, scare them off the door, thinking they’ll come out the open door after they’re on the ground. Nyoooo! Mom is on the ground now too, so they run towards her and out of my sight behind the cucumbers.
Mom can see them running back and forth through the plastic and starts pecking at them. Naughty! Get out of there! Chicks: We can’t, we can’t!
The plastic is like the skin of a drum, and her pecking it is frightening the daylights out of the chicks. Boom! Boom! It’s frightening me too.
HW swings around outside to get Mom to cease and desist, I undo the wiggle wire on that corner, and after rattling the cucumber vines, the chicks come popping out the hole and it’s all over but the storytelling.
The wild Oreos and their fluffy stepmom no longer slip under the fence into Pigland but are content in the partially desertified former Pigland. They tower over mom now. One is coming into slate shingle colouring, and the other has developed coppery neck feathers.
The light is shortening, and it’s that glorious time of year when when the chickens feel like going to bed lines up with when I want to go to bed. Midsummer is awful. The chickens outlast me every day. I’ll be so tired I’m struggling to stay awake long enough to close them up, because they’re out there hopping around! Not a care in the world! SO not ready for bed. Today, I’m like, What? Are you guys seriously all in bed at 8:20!? I could weep with joy.
Inside the greenhouse Brown Bonnet is proudly bringing up 7 chicks.
These chicks have a different start because instead of chickery time, when they first emerged I lifted her box out of the fence because she was sharing, and trusted mama not to lose any chicks in the jungle.
Funny, the first three days, she barely went two feet from the box. Now she’s using half of the tomato aisle as the chicks increase in ability. Soon they will be anywhere, and I’ll think twice about slinging buckets of water.
At night they all go back in the box to sleep, which is adorable. They are going to be so wild, never getting the daily airlift touching.
Someone’s always got to peek out.
Or two someones.
We got piglets again. They look just like the last ones.
Spots and A.P. are now pork and delivered to customers. We went out on a limb a little bit getting these piglets before having customers arranged to buy the meat, but we had the chance to get Black Berkshires again, which went so well the last time, and we just like having pigs.
These little girls have 1/4 Tamworth in them, but you wouldn’t know. Enormous ears, black with white patches, one bigger and bolder than the other. It’s Spots and A.P. all over again, except for the great escape on arrival. We did better with that.
They were jammed in a dog crate together – too small for them but better than separating them. They seemed pretty relaxed in the crate, but they had a fair drive to get here. I think transport day must be the worst day of their lives. Hot, cramped, apprehensive, and unfamiliar.
Instead of carrying them across our land to Pigland, HW wheeled the crate over in the wheelbarrow, and set it down inside the electric fence.
I opened the door, and they froze, deciding they were very shy.
One pig is possibly twice the size of the other, although they are the same litter. They have lovely eyes, like dog eyes.
They stuck just their noses out into the grass, sniffing around a bit without leaving the crate. This may be their first contact with the outdoors.
We left them to come out on their own time, and I came back to check on them in half an hour. They were in the exact same place. Snouts outside resting in the grass, settled down and fast asleep. We need a nap after that last experience. No new experiences yet, thank you very much!By dusk they had come out and were hiding in their woods, but came out for a late snack.