Finally some rain! The pigs, who are usually muddy to the eyes, are today muddy to the ears. They look funny, with their eyes cleanish in the full muddy cones of their faces.By afternoon they had gleefully mudded the whole rest of their bodies until they had single cleanish strips only along their spines.One of the pigs has a predilection for bringing one or more of their rubber bowls into their house. Sometimes all three are in there, sometimes stacked. I’ve read that pigs use their bowls as toys if you leave them in their pen after dinner, but these are the first pigs to have played with their bowls. Here one pig has just dragged one bowl out from under the other pig, and dumped some of it. Every morning they play food bowl duck duck goose. They start all with their own bowl, then one inevitably goes to the next pig. You got something better in there? The first pig exits, and instead of going to the vacant bowl, goes to the next pig’s bowl. What are you eating? Same thing? I think I’ll try yours. That pig goes to the empty bowl and…they do it all over again, every few mouthfuls.
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!!
(David Attenborough voice)
After the new enclosure has been prepared for these lucky piglets, the fence is parted, allowing access to the abundant unspoiled greenery this species thrives upon.But how long will it take them to discover their new freedom?
Their attendant retrieves the food bowls they are familiar with and places them in plain view just beyond the fence opening, filling them with fresh food.The young pigs observe these proceedings with interest, but from a distance. They are agitated by the presence of the human, and grunt with suspicion.
As the human withdraws, curiosity and hunger overcome their trepidation, and one pig tentatively leads the way over the threshold! Its sibling, still visibly anxious, follows soon after. To the boldest pig goes the spoils!
What’s happening here? I know it might be hard to tell. That would be the notoriously mom-surfing chick, the yellow one, sitting on her mom. Not only that, mom is perching on the swing. With other chickens. The swing is swingy. I rarely see them use it at all.Obviously, she is far too large for mom-sitting at the best of times, but like one of those huge dogs that still thinks it’s a lap sized puppy, she doesn’t realize she’s outgrown it. And while perching on a swing might not be the best of times. Mom put up with it for awhile, too, but dumped her off when she’d had enough. Next, it will be chicken pyramids.
Almost bedtime. The mama hens got a box today, so that I can move them around soon. They got very excited. Did you know your mom was hatched in a box? They like boxes.
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.
Apples was out with me for enrichment time, while I was building stuff by the house. I take her with me outside when I’m working in one area, so she can act like a real chicken for awhile. She doesn’t much act like a real chicken though.Oh! A wild chicken encounter! Ohohohhh. Nervous:)
Then I thought I should try and get a pic of our transportation arrangement. I pick her up and she squirms until she’s happy with her grip, and then she rides. Will this work? Selfies: not so easy with an SLR. Worked, though! She’s turned around on my arm. Did you see that? I did a 180. I’m practically ready for the circus.When she goes back in to her box, every time, she eats ravenously and quickly and then takes a big nap. Wow, the stimulation! I need to sleep it off. This time she hardly made it all the way back into her box, and zzzz. The little princess.
Another guinea down. This morning she was sitting in the greenhouse like she wasn’t ready to leave yet, and I looked at her twice, and had a feeling, from her posture. When she let me pick her up I knew it was bad. I tucked her in this corner, gave her food and water, which I’m sure she didn’t touch, and the other two stayed by her, doting. She just seemed to be breathing a bit hard. An hour later, gone. Such a pretty bird. The feathers around her neck are lilac coloured. If this is some weird bird illness going through the “flock” (2 of 4 in a week), then I’m going to be out of guineas just like that. That would be so strange, they spend all day out in the wild buffet, how could they be healthier? All hope rides on the remaining hen. In the chickery, the yellow chick is part duckling. She spends all her free time on Mom. Every couple minutes she’s jumping up there. Usually a chick barely stays up on Mom long enough to get a picture. Mom shrugs her off by bringing her head down low and tipping up her wings, so the chick falls off. It’s funny, obviously a deliberate dump off. That’s enough. It’s time for a grass recognition lesson.They are all bouncing around, and they have little wingtip feathers already, but I caught them back in the box hiding from the sun.Thinking about jumping up again. Very attentive students. Back up! It’s time for a little doze.It’s out of focus, but it’s just too cute!
And otherwise being funny:I’d like to call this meeting to order…. They sure love their pine tree.
Yesterday was rainy. A good soaking, the kind where the water table seems to rise to the surface of the earth. My GH eavestrough is working (first rain test), and the tank was filling faster than the tap was running inside. The Silkies had hairdos, the way they get when their heads get wet. Most were huddled grumpily under their rain tents, but there were a few brave ones wandering about. The wet chicken gets the worm.
Back on track. I survived my alarming and exhausting 5 days of wretchedness.It started out a big rain day. Only Cleopatra is out there wading for worms. The barred rocks say Nah, too wet for us.
The first broody hen of the year has her own box, finally. She’s been determinedly trying to warm eggs in the prime nest box of the big coop for a week, but I haven’t been able to manage getting her her own box. That means that the big hens have been laying eggs right on top of her some of the time. Some of the others have clearly been put off by the little witch always in their box and started piling eggs in another corner. She settled in to the box well, considering the risky daytime move. Often hens will flip out at the move, certain that their eggs are really where they last left them. She’s inside the tomato safe in a private box, and I’ll build her a kennel asap. This will be much more peaceful now.
Inside, I potted up a pile of various melons, cukes, and peppers, and I had a little helper.I expected her interest; she’s come trotting out of her zone for potting up occasions before. She likes picking around at the dirt, or maybe just something different. Just like a cat. Whatcha doin’?
We’d peacefully “worked together” like this for about an hour, and she’d perched up on the edge of the box for a better view, when suddenly:
I’d almost met my goals of the day, so it was fine. I finished up around her, and there was a little potting soil left.
All in all, we made a right glorious mess, but all the little starts are very happy in larger homes. My start factory has turned the corner now, from still having seeds to begin or divide, to the starts heading out the door. Cell blocks are being retired. We’ve passed peak start, in other words.
I’m very pleased this year with my experiments in fabric potting bags, from China, and also homemade, but that’s another post. All cleaned up. I left her in the tub (she seemed happy).Two hours later.
I was watching for signs that she was hungry, needed a hand out? But no, wriggle wriggle. At three hours she started looking over the edge and I lifted her out. She’s going to have some sleep tonight. What a big day.
She’s all grown up now. Any day she’s going to lay an egg.
HW called from downstairs. “Hey. Come look.” I knew from the tone of his voice exactly what I would find.
“Are you poaching my chicken?” I asked.
I went down, and sure enough, HW had put Apples on his shoulder.No sooner did I arrive, then Apples pecked, right at his eye!
HW took over narration:
“I’m not with him! I don’t even like him. I’ve been abducted. If I want to get on a shoulder, I’ll do it myself!” and
“Did you see that? She tried to peck my eye out! You’d better put that in your blog! There’s mandatory PPE required when you’re playing with chickens!” (We both agree that she hadn’t been going for his eye, or she probably would have hit it, and he wasn’t hurt. She probably saw something on his eyelashes.)