Tag Archives: winter

unseasonal chicks

Who has chicks in winter?  Ursa Minor does.

Ursa’s got four little chicks (living).  Two were already dead.  The future is not bright for chicks hatched at the beginning of winter.  But I’ll do my best to help her.

One piece of cardboard and she’s got a student apartment now.  That’ll be enough space for a few days, as they’ll spend most of their time under her.

I moved her back from the kitchen so the chicks would tumble out so I could get some pictures.

Turns out the chicks were super into some more food.

The other four crazy broody hens (down from six crazies – turns out it IS contagious) are busy playing egg burgle bingo, trying to steal eggs from each other.  We’ll see if any of them also successfully hatch.

Chill and chilly

Melting ice for water.  It’s so pretty.  It looks like thick glass.

It’s a goldfinch convention.  They are usually here with the grosbeaks, but the grosbeaks are late today and the goldfinches have the place to themselves, for a bit.

Cheeks is having a good day.  It’s warm in a sunbeam on a lap and her head is high.  She’s wearing a festive holiday scarf.

She can see herself (and me) in the mirror of my computer screen, which is hilarious.  Do the think the scarf is “me”?

Best day ever

The girls have found their dirt bath.  It’s bean awfully quiet in the GH.

I came in and everywhere, filthy chickens.  Chickens walking around with dirt all over their backs, that had clearly just got out of the pool, and of course, a half dozen chickens in the pool.

The Silkies have already emptied out one of their baths (seats four). 

Even Chris is in there, the big rooster.

There’s Jacket girl, pecking snow off my boots.  She’s got her jacket perfectly in place, but she’s also full of dirt.  I think it’s interesting that she grooms her jacket as though it’s a part of her.

The guineas have also found their new long perches.  No problem.

New things! New things! – Greenhouse Rearrangement

 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.

Yep, that’s four Silkies going to town in there.

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.

Ketchup’s elbowing in there

Everyone wants into that dust bath.  So much so that there was an invasion from outside:

Ahhhh, finally got that coat off!

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:

It’s garnering mild interest
Nosey, of course.

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.

I’m gonna stand on that.

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. 

Whoa – whoa!   (It swings)

  What are you gonna do now, little bird? 

That should keep them entertained for a couple days.

magical christmassy snow

There was an unexpected veil of snow settled on everything yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it).

It was warm, too, and that kind of snow that falls in huge, feathery flakes gets heavy.  Awful to drive in.  It’s very hard on my bird protection

Surprise, no birds are outside!  I have to untether the netting when it snows like this and drop it down inside the fence.  I’ve learned to tie quick release knots, so it’s not much slower than walking around the garden.  Then I hoist it back up when it melts.

A very small rabbit has been passing the deck. Recently; the snow is already filling its tracks.   That’s nice.  There’s one large rabbit around, but it’s nice to know there’s a new generation.

The blue jays have resorted to the suet.  I can tell they don’t like it that it spins around when they get on.  The birds have a bit of a harder time in the “deep” (deep for them) snow.  The grosbeaks are still here in huge numbers, in the morning. 

Havoc in the henhouse.

Ok, it’s officially December now.  It’s not time to be broody.  But I’ve been having a battle of wills with four broody hens, the most determined of which is Ursa Minor, and the peckiest is Fiesty, predictably.

Then I open the coop to this.  This.  And this.Not ok!

That’s seven.  Seven.  Seven broody, growly feather pancakes sitting on eggs.  I didn’t have seven broody at once all summer.  This is bad.  Maybe it’s contagious.

They win.  They are sitting on eggs, and since they’re not going to give up, they can keep them.  Likely, chicks will die right and left, because it’s not the right time or place to reproduce right now!

Jeez.  I can’t put them in nurseries in this weather.  It’s super cozy in the coop full of fur chickens all night, but if I isolated the broodies the way I normally do, for the safety of the chicks, the hens would be at risk of exposure.  They can die trying to heat their eggs in cold temperature.  They’re going to hatch in the coop, and then the moms will go right down the ramp for a meal and a dirt bath, and the chicks will die unattended.  That won’t be fun.  Only the bright, lucky or strong will survive.  (Ursa says: If you’d just let me keep the first eggs, they’d be hatched by now!)

I’ve got quite a number of eggs from them from taking them away, but I can’t sell them, because someone might have started baking them.  Therefore, I resigned to the will of the broodies, and went through and carefully marked every single egg, and now if I go through twice daily and pull out the unmarked eggs, then I can get the freshly laid ones out.  What a bunch.This little guy just hopped up to watch the proceedings.

Now all the hens are on edge when I lift the lid, because they know I’m going to lift them up and rummage through their eggs, and they hate that.  They all bristle and growl, and most peck, and then they indignantly readjust their eggs after I’ve been through.  Grumble grumble.

Winter Storm

Times like this I love that we don’t have power to go out, because it surely would.  We’re getting a storm more appropriate to January, not March.  After a month of no snow, lots of sun, and temps so warm I was able to feed my bees (so glad of that now), wham! Dumping snow, howling winds.

Sticky snow, that looks so cool stuck on the windward side of everything. The house is being battered by wind, but really, sound is dampened by the think blanket of snow on all the trees.
And in the peaceful woods, there’s a chickadee bopping around.  It popped out of one of the laden spruces, which strikes me as an excellent choice of hideout:And in the middle of it, some birds still avidly feeding.  From bed we watch the horizontal snow, and birds riding it out on the waving branches, beaks into the wind.

The Pufftail stage

Three little chicks.  See how they drink. This is the pufftail stage. They’re still in the chickery with Mom (now in the slightly larger chickery), and they’ve graduated from the cardboard box and the nightly flight in to the house.

The other chicks, the two dwarves, have graduated up to the girls only fort.  The sisters are not as accepting of the two dwarves (they soon need better names).  Perhaps they are roosters.  But their mother, Snow White, decisively declared she was done with child care by flying out of the chickery.  I thought it might be a fluke and put her back in.  She let me know it was not an accident, she was moving on to the next phase of her life and chicks weren’t a part of it.

I love it when they tuck head under wing. Real birds.

I tried putting her in the fort too but she just paced the fence.  She had a boyfriend on the outside.   Straight back in the nesting box. In other news, Lucky Stewie is a reformed rooster.  He’s been on his best behaviour.

Snow White and the two dwarves.

Snow White and her two dwarves ave been reincarcerated in the Chickery I all month.After being integrated into chicken society at large, and even going to bed in the coop, HW put them back in the chickery while I was gone because they weren’t doing well.  He deemed them still too small.

They sure aren’t to big to be above cuddling with Mom at night.  They get closed into the covered wagon at night, while Brown Bonnet and her three, weeks younger, still get an airlift into the house on cold nights.I love the pompom tail stage.  Following pants.

Garden Plan

The garden looks a little bit like a graveyard, one total blanket of white with all the beds smooth bumps.  There are perennials, and enduring kale, under that blanket, and a million organisms living and waiting for reemergence.

It’s time to plan!  Very soon comes seed starting.   Garden planning is a big day’s work, because I’m new at it, still working out the timing and quantities and integrating conclusions made from learning experiences.

This year I’ll have a much bigger area to plant too.  Moving the greenhouse one step to the side means that 720 sq ft of premium, weed free, amended soil must be covered deliberately, by me, or else Mother Nature will cover it with maybe not my first choice of plants, just as deliberately.