Tag Archives: Silkie hen

An extra puffy tail

The little (lone) Silkie chick has just had one extra puffy tail sprout out today, along with a tiny head crest and tiny feet feathers on those little black legs.  Looks especially good with evening back-lighting.  It’s funny what a transformative difference a day makes – chicks grow so fast.  Feathers just pop out here and there, and they go through some pretty funny stages.

This poor little chick is now only one third the size of its nestmates, which are bigger than some of the other chicks get before their Moms move on.  Mom is very patient.You know you’re too big to get sat on when…

This is the body attached to this head.  Hey, my neck is warm.  It’s stretched right out, and still trying to get some baby chick cuddles, meanwhile it’s almost as bulky as Mom.  Like a dog who thinks it’s still a puppy.  I can totally fit on your lap, I’ve done it 100x…hmmm.  Not working like it used to. 

This is the box princess and clan.  She now goes in the coop (well, I’ve moved the box inside the coop, and they still use it- and that’s its own story),  but they still settle down together pre-bedtime outside the coop.

I thought now that the little  keets had been introduced into society, they would belong and stick around, and that they would start sleeping with the others (in the greenhouse).  No.  Mom makes herself really scarce, staying on the weedy sidelines during the day and disappearing at night, so I get to worry.  Galahad comes whisking into the greenhouse late and in a hurry now.  I know he knows where they’re spending the night, but I can’t find them.

box princess

There are three sets of chick/s running around at the moment, that I see have yet to be introduced, my bad…

The other White Chocolate hen, sister to the loaner, has three chicks; the shirt chick was adopted; and this little Silkie hen has three- two Cheeklings and a Silkie chick (got rescued into the greenhouse on rain day).

  This particular hen’s quirk (they all have at least one), is that she does not, ever, want to go to bed in the coop.  Instead, she hunkers down in the grass, in the exact same place, every night.

Normally I train them to go in a box, say, in their chickery days, and then I transfer the box after dark to a lock box.

Not this one.  I have to bring the box to her.  She hunkers down; I set the box near her.Well my word, a box!  Look at that, kids!  How ideal for our purposes!They move right in.  Then I pick up the box and shuttle it into the coop.

The evening box ritual.  Every night.  Well I never!  A box, how nice.Today, because it was raining and the new chips were probably exciting, she settled down under the pine tree – daring!

Close call and a happy ending

I had a rough-ish day, and came home wanting to just eat and go to bed, but then had unexpected visitors that disrupted my usually smooth bird closing procedures.  With the delay and tumult, Galahad and his keet fleet failed to get back into the greenhouse!

That they spend nights in the greenhouse is the only thing that allows me to sleep – it’s a hard won habit, as guineas usually want to roost outside, and inside is what keeps them safe from owls and foxes.

Galahad is my golden bird.  Not only is he quiet, relaxed around me, and habituated to going inside at night, he’s an incredible step-parent, raising ten adopted keets, and I’m not even sure how rare that is for a cock to devotedly parent baby birds.

Therefore, without question, I had to find him.

I did.  It didn’t take too long, but it was solid dark.  He was in a decent spot (guineas tend to pick better places on the ground than in the trees), but still, on the ground, they’re not safe, period.

Their really weak suit is how they behave at night.  They don’t do dark.  Once flushed, they flop and stumble around, and make noise when disturbed.   I had planned to herd him and entourage back to safety, but he wasn’t capable of it, so I scooped him (violent reaction to being removed from keets) and plopped him in the greenhouse, promising to bring the keets.

Finding all the keets took much, much longer.  They peep, and also stumble around in the dark, but can be quick darters.  I scooped them in warm cuddly pairs and shuttled them to Daddy in the greenhouse.

His volume went down with every pair delivered, although he seemed satisfied after the delivery of six.  Six is enough, really.  Who can keep track after that?

Seven and Eight took a long time, and Nine, wow.  Half an hour at least.   The tenth was not to be found.  I needed one peep, but wasn’t getting it.  I was hungry and tired before this, and after two hours of low sweeping with a flashlight, I was stumbling.  I started to think I was beating bushes for a ghost, that maybe Ten was lost earlier in the day, or that he was somehow already in the greenhouse.  I went to look at Galahad and see if I could count keet heads.  Nine.

I tried a bit longer, but eventually gave up.  This bird got all the quiet guinea genes, may they serve him well.  If he could evade me so well, I figured he had a decent chance of making the night, although I hated the risk and settling for 90%.  I was VERY cranky, mad at myself, and did not sleep well, listening for a cry that I wouldn’t be able to make it out to intervene in.

Early up, it had been a chilly night, an October night, in August!, and that would be hard for a guinea keet alone.  All the cozy guinea keets were in no hurry to get up.  I walked around in the field some more.  No peeps.  Proceeding with chicken opening, I saw a lone keet streak across the yard!  It made it!  I tried to head him off in the woods, but he was elusive (skills).  Seemed fine.

Then Galahad et al exited the greenhouse, and his head shot up, listening.  I couldn’t hear the keet, but he could!  He started running back and forth, then zoomed out for the woods with a tail of keets following. All together again!  What a relief!  They found where I left the feed bucket for me.G was up on the coop.One by one, the keets flew up. Except for two, who looked up at the roof, and then went up the ramp.  Good inference, but flawed.  Hmm, that doesn’t go where we thought it did.They’re clamoring for a warming.  Hey, it’s cold!Time to go down now.

I can tell today is a big teaching day.  Before leaving the greenhouse, Galahad demonstrated the use of the perching rail, which he hasn’t done before.  Flew up, flew down – an obvious show-and-tell.  This is what we’re working up to.   I don’t think the keets can fly that high yet, some had difficulty getting on the coop, but I expect they’ll be on the rail in a few days.Then there was ridgepole walking.  I can tell today will be packed with practice.  Perhaps he’s extra motivated after the night they had, although he’s not holding anything against me.

They are really all there.  It’s hard to get them in one picture, as there are always one or two a little apart, doing something different, or lagging behind.Often eating.


In other news, Feisty, the little demon, has hatched three chicks.  Nothing’s changed.  She doesn’t care she’s in the 0-1 pound weight class and I’m a LightweightI’ll take you!  When I transferred her and chicks out of the dirty, cramped broody kennel into a chickery yesterday, I got her by her feet for everyone’s safety and held her upside down,  maximum 2 seconds, while I whisked out the chicks.  She produced an eruptive, liquid poop in those two seconds so toxic I almost threw up, proving she can attack from both ends.

Do not mess with Feisty.  Those chicks are safe.Arrrrr.