I got some more work done in the greenhouse. Specifically, I untied all the strings crossing the top third, that suspend tomatoes in the summer.
You can just see the strings in this pic. So I’m taking them down and crochet looping them up to decommission them until next year. The guineas will be able to fly around in the upper third of the GH again.
This festooning makes sense to me.
Then the irrigation came out, and the pool went in, and coops were shifted – oh my! When HW was yanking out the irrigation tape, he exposed a nestful of a family of shrews or voles that ran scurrying, and the chickens leapt into the air and screamed like little girls! Which made the whole room erupt, and they talked about it for quite a while.
The Silkies noticed immediately that their dust bath was refilled:) by immediately I mean seconds. About ten.
Cleopatra wants in there SO bad. So bad that I was able to catch her, the notorious escape artist, and take her jacket off- she’s all regrown.
Everyone wants into that dust bath. So much so that there was an invasion from outside:
A half dozen chickens that don’t belong hopped into Silkieland to use their fridge-drawer baths (how rude), all the while ignoring that they have a new grand bath of their own:
There was so much upheaval – wood chips and hay and coop movement and the addition of baths and overturning of turf, that the roosters were bleating about “New things! New things!” for about 20 minutes straight. Other than that it was very, very quiet. All must be investigated.
This little adventure chicken got in on the action when I went to hang some long poles for perches at the opposite end of the GH from where the guineas now roost. First, I rested it on the coop.
Whitey got aboard. More impressively, stayed on and rode the pole as I tied up the opposite end at 6’ish, then came to the coop, raised that end and tied that up.
What are you gonna do now, little bird?
That should keep them entertained for a couple days.
The guineas decided to take a bath in the sand pile outside the window. Puffcheeks and Perchick are all up in there with them.Ok, those hens are leaving. Galahad is checking the sky.Here comes some more. Then Cheeks busted in and broke it up.
It was a warm and humid day. Almost the whole family was piled in the dirt bath by the house, making chicken angels. The family is growing. Except for Speckles, who’s having a party of one in a private dust bowl out by the pigs. Yeah, and you’re interrupting it right now.Got snacks?! Oops, I roused them. The pitter patter of chicken feet behind me on the path is quite a stampede these days. I didn’t even have a bucket.
Chocolate’s out of the chickery now too.This is great. All the small chicks with moms are at large, meaning I don’t have to constantly monitor do they have shade, do they have water? Their moms take care of that now (lots of water options). Soon enough there will be another round of chicks hatching.She’s diving right into the dirt bath. There’s two popular spots at the moment, an old pig wallow, and this one under the corner of the hen rain tent, which is a bit of a sauna in the sunshine. The dirt she’s spraying is sticking to the condensation on the roof.Guineas when they’re not aware they’re being watched.
Oh, last night! I went to open the door for guinea bedtime, and I didn’t see them so I hollered Galahad’s name. I saw him pop out of the woods by the pig fence, quite far away, periscoping. I’m like “Hello! Over here! Yoohoo, I’m here to open the door”, waving, like over a crowd at an airport.
In the moment, this sort of thing – waving at and calling a bird – feels rather silly.
Galahad launched into the air, as did all the keets behind him, and flew in to me. A little cloud of keets inbound. They fluttered down to land at the coop and I stood back for them to scamper through the door of the greenhouse for bedtime. Thanks, human. This bird is incredible. Cotton’s chicks exploring out of the box.Big pathway pileup.
Perchick became the most recent “wildlife” to hop in the open door of the house, casually jumping up on the doorstep and poking through the screen door to look at me. Hey. So, yeah. Got any snacks? I was peeling peaches and didn’t get up. She rummaged through a basket by the door, ignoring my remonstrations, and then casually left. No snacks. Chickens haven’t strolled into the house that I know of since the episode with the dried beans last year (maybe they do it all the time when I’m not here).The young teens (the Famous Five/Pufflings) and the tweens have formed an alliance to mount an assault on the bird feeder (there’s nothing in it). Recon complete, moving in.. . ckkk… ground support in place … ckkk… on final approach. .. ckk ….
For people, we want to be cleaner when we get out of a bath than when we went in. For chickens….it’s pretty much the opposite.
The smallest chicks in the house are cute, and scraggly, with their sparsely feathered necks.They are growing independent of mom, or else she is tiring of them, I’m not sure which comes first. I think she’s about to leave the chickery, like Snow White did. You kids don’t need me any more, peace out. I said so just before HW said he found an egg in the covered wagon, so that confirms that. She’s done with this batch, on to the next. The chicks are going to be transferred to the fort any day. The kids are hangin’ out, in the shade. Mom is out of sight in the corner flirting with her suitors on the outside. This is the key sign. She loses interest in her chicks, and suddenly becomes fascinated with the boys she has had absolutely NO interest in for months (the roosters never lose interest in them).
Hens are interesting. They are extremely devoted mothers, until they’re not (coincidentally, this happens when the offspring look most like punks). Then they revert to being single girls, until they’re ready to be moms again, and repeat the cycle. Over and over. While they are caring for chicks, they don’t lay eggs, similar to lactating mammals (which makes me curious about what’s going on hormonally for chickens, since they aren’t lactating).
For women, you don’t raise a brood of kids and then go back to being a good-time girl. Not without amnesia and child protective services. Let alone do it repeatedly. Once you’re a mom, you’re never not-a-mom again.
Knock knock. Housekeeping!I came to clean the coop a little late in the afternoon. There were a number of hens retiring early. They reluctantly cleared out for me to pull out the thick mat of old hay and start a fresh layer.
Then, as usual, I got some assistance and supervision. You put this here for me to stand in, right?
I’ll just have a look at your work here before you go. The hens all grouped up on the roof of the chickeries.Meanwhile the guineas are inspecting the bath house. They love a good dirt bath. And the new girls don’t mind a dip either. Cheeks coming through.
It’s wet, and warm, when it’s not cold, and muddy. Not much to see around here but the dust bath these days, which really, doesn’t get old. You’d be forgiven for thinking I have a kiddie pool full of dead chickens in the greenhouse. Toffee the rooster is doing his own thing on the outside, having a hay bath. They get all goth eyeliner from the dirt in their eyes.
Yay, the little girls are using their private dust bath, and enthusiastically. I saw at least three poofy heads in there from the outside, but I didn’t interrupt. This, incredibly, is Yin. So big already. Another sunny day, and even if it’s cold outside (it wasn’t, very), it’s balmy inside. The dust pool is keeping everyone out of trouble. I brought lunch in today and the air was filled with a fine mist like humidity, but it wasn’t mist, it was dust. Everyone must be thoroughly dusted by now. This one just had her feet vaselined, and she is not ready to forgive and forget that I totally messed up her leg feathers.
Here we go.They’re over the privacy stage. They don’t even get out for food sometimes. Even the guineas.I can walk the perimeter and shake out my neck. (She’s got pool-edge walking skills)
They get SO dirty.Why? Why is this a thing? They clearly experience great pleasure at it, and I fail to see the appeal.There’s King David having a looksee.Jack appears to still have a little modesty.How many chickens are here? (Three)
What do they say about jacuzzis? Seats X? This tub “seats eight”, so far. I think once they finish off the bale, it could “seat” 14. That’s a lot of happy chickens.