Tag Archives: funny

Shoulder chicken 2.0

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.)

Shoulder chicken

I was sitting on the rocking chair with my laptop on my lap, doing ‘net stuff in the morning.  HW had just left for work.  My chair was right beside Apples’ box (the house chicken).

Suddenly, she leapt up onto my knee with a big flap.  Very startling, and extremely uncharacteristic.  Wow!  Ok, you’re in the mood for a little cuddle?  I made room for her on my lap.

Shocked and delighted, of course I was nowhere near my camera, or phone.  But I did have my laptop on my lap.  I opened Siri and asked her to take a picture of me, and she obliged.  Siri has never come in handy before (“Siri, open Art folder” – “Alright, opening Google Earth”), but this time – clutch.Lap chicken!

I barely got a pic of that before she started climbing me, like a kitten (What the!?), scrabbling up, up, until she summited my shoulder.

Siri, are you getting this?Whereupon, she settled right down like A: she planned to stay awhile, and B: this was totally normal, like we do this every day. WHAT?  THE?

Sure, she’s lived in the house for a while, HW sings and talks to her (pretty often), we occasionally try to pet her (and get growled at for it), and she really came out of her shell when Lily visited.  But day after day, she spends all her time in her box or on her sheet of paper.  We have NOT made any active attempts to change her behaviour or “train” her.  Certainly not to play parrot.

She has never before shown any inclination to reach out to us.Now, she was all cuddles.

Since it seemed like she was staying, I put her on my other shoulder, got a towel in position, and put her back.This made me more comfortable.  I didn’t trust she’d also suddenly got house trained.What are you thinking?  It’s really something to look her in the eye, at about 3 inches, and she’s looking back with that little black eye.

Long neck. Longer neck.

She got real relaxed, dozing, doing a little grooming, leaning on my ear (oh, I’m on your shoulder? So what? Can’t stop grooming) .Then, she got really, really cuddly.  And she’s so soft and warm.  HW had a theory, when I called him later (“You’re not going to believe this…).  Just before he left in the morning, he’d asked me when I was going to put Apples back out in the world.  He figures she heard that, and wanted to put a stop to that line of thinking.You’re not going to let him come between us, are you?

She stayed for a very long time.  Like almost two hours.  Ultimately I got too hungry to sit any longer, and got up and started walking around, with her still there.  She didn’t seem to enjoy surfing,  though, so I set her back down, and she ate, drank, and settled in for a big nap.  She had a really big day.

Did you ever?   A CHICKEN!

Apples is feeling very relaxed.  It’s funny when she stretches out for a suntan, but even better when she cuddles with a snack.She’s got a scrap of meat in the box with her.  In case she gets hungry from all that stretching. Now the wing’s stretched out. Now for some wriggling around. And reclining on the other side, nearly upside down really.  She’s soooo happy and content.   Eyes closed.   What a funny little bird.  Perfectly happy to stretch out and nap in a box.

Chickens love snow.  They go at it like kids on ice cream.  I always have to throw in some snowballs. Cheeks’ egg laying face. Aw, taking a little wing nap. Chilling in the girl’s fort, hay bale style.

Rabbit Chase

(Us, at the window)

Hey, there’s a big rabbit out here.

Oh, there’s two rabbits!

It’s a chase!  Come look, there’s a rabbit chase!

There they go into the woods.  Oh, they’re coming out again. They’re chasing each other around in circles!

You know, they don’t seem to be too serious about it.  It’s kind of a half-hearted chase.  A bit slow.

They’re just going in little circles.

Oh, he caught him!

Oh.  They’re humping.

 

Well, they’re ready for spring.

Thinking out of the box

I heard some scuffling, then HW blandly said “I think she’s ready to be out of the box.”He’d taken the netting off of her so she could stretch her neck up without restriction.  I thought this very promising, a signal that I could return her to the flock, if she was feeling spunky.She perched on the side of the box for a good twenty minutes.  Not too terribly spunky.I resumed my business.  I heard another scuffle, then silence, and I forgot about it.

She had jumped down, and was standing on the floor.  I gave her a local newspaper.We visited. I kept doing my thing.  She walked around a little bit, then settled in  on her newspaper.  I felt she didn’t need any monitoring, and left her to it. Not long later, I heard a third scuffle and checked.  She’d just hopped back into her box (where she settled down for a little nap and stayed, without confinement or supervision, the rest of the day).

Funny bird.  Her whole foray out of the  box was about a half hour long. 

Ever have one of those days?

Cream Puff is just giving up on life.

Really, it’s just a bright sunny day, so it got tropical in the greenhouse.It was the first time I put the screen door on.  The birds will be outside very soon.

Some of the birds were relaxing in the shade of the coops or behind hay bales. Others were making hay while the sun shines. The girl’s fort was mixed between shade and sun basking.Chickenland is a very relaxed place on a sunny afternoon.  Everyone is restful, chill, quiet, in a sort of dreamy zone.  Moving slow, and ready to sink down into a doze at any moment.

And then there’s Cream Puff, who either got so relaxed she just tipped over, or is tinkering with her rubber chicken impression.  I about died laughing.

Chicken spa!

Today I gave the hens a warm dirt bath, and it was the biggest event of the new year.

So if your page takes a while to load, it’s because there’s 30 pictures, but they’re funny!I had the metal fridge drawer, aka dirt bathtub, on the woodstove for a few days, yes, full of mud.  The dirt wasn’t completely dried out to dust, but it was warm.  Dirt holds heat well.I delivered it, turned around to minister to some other chickens, and turned around to see the first hen standing in the earth with a look coming over her face.  Neck disappearing, head sinking, eyes closing, and then lowering herself into the dirt.

I’m so getting in there.

It was jean jacket, actually, first in, with the hot bath expression coming over her face.

Comin’ in there!

Then it was a riot of interest, with all the hens cycling by, test pecking, and trying to take a turn. A faint mist of steam rose from the dirt bath, and the hens – it was like they were melting, eyes closed, faces down in the pan.  Flopping around and self- agitating like a washing machine drum. Jean jacket is still in there, fiercely protecting her end of the tub.

Cream Puff on the left is determined to get in there

And she’s in! This tub holds four!

 

Oh yeah. There’s the hot bath face.

Later on, I saw a Brahma in there alone, so presumably Jean Jacket eventually had her toes wrinkle up, or something, and got out so more birds could get a turn.

So bath day was a huge hit.

They can, and do, dig divots in the floor anytime and writhe around in them, but I guess the warm and drier earth was especially exciting.

Bad chicken pick up lines

Jack, the former Oreo, is not popular with the ladies.  I was hopeful he’d be the next boss rooster, but he’s not turning out well.  First he mounted the hens backwards (cue hen eye-rolling).  Once he figured  out his directions, the hens indulged him for a while.  I hoped the daily rampage around the greenhouse first thing in the morning was a hormonal phase he’d grow out of.

Well, that’s over.  Most of the hens have cut him off.  I think this is hilarious.  Since it’s all done with body language, it’s strongly reminiscent of the pick-up scene in a bar.

The Brahmas are having none of him.  They meet his aggression with a solid un-intimidated square off.    Think again, punk!!!

Think you’re hot stuff?  I got a neck ruff too.  I can take you.  Peck me again, I dare ya!

They’re a tough audience.  How you doin!? 

I knew you when you were an egg.  Keep it moving.

Then he usually tries some conciliatory dancing. Dancing before mating is a desirable behaviour of roosters.  It signals to the hen his intentions and gives them time to decide, and respond.  It’s not a very impressive performance, objectively.  It entails fanning one wing, sort of dragging it and doing a quick pattering sidestep around or toward the intended.

Hey baby, I just think you’re hot, ya know, we got off on the wrong foot there, can we start over? 

And boy do they respond:

Too little too late, buckaroo.  Take your sweet moves elsewhere, you’re getting the laser glare!

(These are actually different hens, which makes it even funnier).  Now cowed, he’s going for the meek approach, the sidestep.  Hey Sugar.  You know I used to be really something. I was even twice voted Cock of the Walk, eh, eh?

Do I look impressed?  This is my impressed face.

Hey, if you’re not busy later, I thought maybe you and me could….

Talk to the beak.

….ok, ok, I get the picture, I’ll just…go get some corn.

The Brahmas just stare him down, hold their ground, flare ruffs or peck back, if it comes to that.  He never wins a glare down.

With the smaller, springier and quicker layer hens, I don’t get to capture the action, but it’s no less funny.  They jump in the air at him, stretch their necks tall and flash neck ruffs like lizards, and the rage just shoots from their eyes.  How DARE you!

Sometimes he’ll use his weight and sneak attack a layer hen, jumping on her while she’s busy eating, and then (hell hath no fury), she’ll bounce up and peck him, and squawk! and then chase HIM around the room shrieking in a froth of indignation.  Hilarious!  Like He just grabbed my butt!  Did you see that!?  The nerve!  And don’t show your comb here again, creep!

They also get increasingly irritated, like women who start with a polite no thanks, and it quickly escalates to F off and die, a-hole!  when the guy can’t take a hint and keeps following them around, grabbing.  The rooster’s lurking around Maybe now she’ll be in the mood, I’ll surprise her on the other side of this hay bale… and the hen is all You again?  Not if you were the last rooster in the coop, jerk!

Unwanted mating rarely goes unretaliated.  Either the hen delivers furious payback, or the deputy (Silkie roo) will come in, flying dropkick style, to hit the offending rooster, and knock him off, and then he does the chasing.

The Colonel and the Deputy are still the wingmen for the entire layer hen flock, although the Colonel only mates his own.  The deputy mounts the red hens, which is a bit weird, considering the size differential.  The Brahmas recognize no male authority, and the other young hens are still deciding and/or developing their self-esteem.  Sometimes they refuse applicants, sometimes not.

The great escape

When the chickens still had the use of their yards, before winter set in proper, there would be escapes.

Then the other chickens would stand at the fence.  HEY!  How’d SHE get out there?  She’s got all the grass! Once I was working on the deck and a chicken came strolling by.  Once HW hollered up “Hey, there’s a chicken out here!” Prancing by the house.

So serene. The Colonel has both eyes on her though.

Chickens like eating ice.

They’re so pleased with themselves when they’re out by themselves (Excuse me, I’m free-range I’m ranging!), it’s a shame to chase them back in, but necessary.  They’re confined for their protection in the shoulder season.  Hawks and owls are hard at work.

The grass is always greener. The grass gets evenly trimmed exactly six inches on the outside of the fence.

Chickens in trees

Now the snow and ice has socked the birds into the greenhouse, but in the salad days of the shoulder season when they were confined but had a yard, there were adventures.They really loved the pine tree. The Silkies loved the pine tree. And this one loved the pine tree.  She was always going a branch higher, or creeping out along the branch.And got really clever about walking along the branch out of the needles of the pine tree, to a viewpoint.I came out and found this, I’m like “What are you doing out there!?”

Oh, am I in trouble? When I made noises and gestures at her she demonstrated her side stepping skills and scuttled back down the branch to the trunk.  I was just here all along!  She’s going to grow up to be an interesting hen.  She’s clever, and not a joiner.

That explained the mystery of how hens were sometimes escaping from their yard, though.  They were getting out where the mesh didn’t enclose the tree.

Greenhouse peace

I hope it means the guineas are happy to be in the GH, that they don’t spend half the day yelling anymore.  They are much quieter.

The GH is a chaotic scene littered with debris- just the way the birds like it.

The hens and guineas pretty much completely ignore each others’ existence.  They hop through the door right next to each other, graze, and show no sign of noticing each other.  All the chickens notice each other, all the time, though.

It’s colder now, so the layer hens, who still have their coop outside, drift inside, to where it’s warmer, while all the teenagers like to hang outside.

Four little chicks are alive and well.  Two guineas and two Silkies.  So cute.The two hens who were broody are sort of co-parenting the chicks. The one who seemed to stay broody changed her mind and is now the main Mom (after the other being the main Mom for at least a week).  Now they tend to hang out together with the chicks. 

Oh, just hanging out!
I don’t think I’m going to get my clothes rack back
What’s that, a box!? We love a good box.

 

Chicken Disneyland

Finally moved the layer hens into the fold, and surrounded them with fence, and draped them with bird netting, so the birds are all confined now, and all safe!  Ahhhhhhhhhh…hhhh….In the morning before opening we moved their coop (that’s a heavy coop full of birds) to the end of the greenhouse, made a yard with snow fence, and then let them out.  These birds have spent the whole summer, if not their whole lives, unconfined, so the first order of business was to keep them entertained and convince them that the party is inside the fence.  I need them to not be fixed on jailbreak, until I can get the bird netting in place too.  Pretty II and III were right away up on the coop, longnecking for a way out.Here you go!  Hay bales, kale, eggs, pumpkins!   They were entertained.  They didn’t know what to focus on.  Then I got the bird netting up, a string from the GH peak to the pine tree anchoring the bird yard, and the sides tied out to the fence. I got a “helper” wading around in the big clump of netting.  Not helping!  Bird netting requires the patience of a saint and is no fun at the best of times, without helpers with talons.Once we had full enclosure, then I could open the GH door and allow contact between the tribes.  The guineas and all the teens were already living in there.

Out come the guineas, right away up on the coop.  They can see the netting though, they know they can’t fly up in it.  No interest in “escape” though, just investigating.  They quickly made a game of running outside and jumping on the coop, and then running back inside the GH.  Last one on the coop’s a rotten egg!

The total peace was remarkable!  I was expecting some squabbling, some frantic fence running, but there was nothing.  The layers took a tour inside the GH and came back out, settling under the pine tree.  The teens came hopping out in their own time and milled around, the guineas found a pile of hay they liked… The great integration was notable for its complete lack of drama.  The layers decided they really like the pine tree, piling up under it in a lazy grooming and sunning bird pile. Inside, the birds are flaking out in their hay piles.  The teen Chantis are just impossibly cute. Both pairs of chicks are alive and well, phew!

Meanwhile, at the other end of the GH, there’s the other yard, but I don’t have netting for that yet.  These birds will be temporarily put inside the GH and this yard blocked off, until I get my netting.  Then there will be a three part chicken world- two covered yards and the GH between, until the snow limits them to only the GH.  That should give them plenty of space to organize themselves in.

The point of all this is to protect them from aerial predators, as I’ve learned the hard way that my chickens start getting struck in daylight in November.  So I have to have them “in” Nov 1, or else.  At night they are in their safe boxes, but the daytime threat has to be managed come November.

The guineas have been suffering already from night attacks, and that’s because they are half wild and roost outside, sometimes in ill advised locations.  I haven’t been able to help them without the GH.

Finally, I’ve got them all safe; I can sleep!It’s really funny how chickens can’t resist a hay bale.

They get so excited.  Stand on it, peck at it, lean on it.   The possibilities seem limited, but put a hay bale in with some birds, and immediately they’ll have it surrounded.

 

 

Livin’ in the greenhouse

Spent the day redoing the emergency windstorm work to rights (baseboard, bolts, adjusting all plastic- no small job), and installing everyone in the greenhouse.  Alas, one tiny guinea chick was found dead in the morning, possibly of exposure.  It was cold, but still – odd to keel over in the GH, mom right there.

The two broody Silkie hens co-hatched two chicks.  What with all the competition and apartment swapping, there is no apparent parentage of the two new chicks.  Even the hens don’t seem to be clear.  I installed both of them in the chickery with a broody box and new eggs.  This is for their comfort, for protection from the amorous roosters (How I have longed for you!), and the teenagers who pile in at night.  No one wants teenagers around, even your own.

Broody hens are so funny, they act like it’s Christmas when you give them eggs.  Eggs?!  You shouldn’t have!  Cluck cluck cluck, and they settle right on, like they’re slipping into a warm bath.She’s been sitting on eggs more than a month, and she’s still thrilled about it.

The cohabitation seems to be great for the chicks.  One mom seems pretty into mothering, but the chicks can go in the box anytime to second mom for a warming, which they do.   I think I’ll have a nap with you now.Especially when Mom A is getting down in the dirt bath.  We’ll leave you to it.  We’ll be in here.They all pile in the box at night.  TOO cute!

Before I took their box away, the teens were playing house in it:

A box? Let’s all get in!

The guinea chicks are so tiny, smaller than the Silkie chicks, perfectly camouflaged, and slippery.  After the morning death, I was keeping a close eye and an ear open for their car alarm cheeping, and sure enough, one slipped under the baseboard.  There it is outside on the wrong side of the plastic.  Mom tried to give me a good thumping through the plastic.

The greenhouse is chaotic and messy.  I strew hay bales around for them to distribute, make it less of a mud hole.  They love a good hay bale.

Here we have a guinea perching on the chickery, all the teens, Silkies and Chantis, chilling on the hay bales, and the Oreos, now big grown birds, visiting.
From the other direction. One teen perching, and the guineas, Hey, that’s OUR clothesrack.

It was a stressful day, because it was beautiful outside, and all the teens were determined to get outside in it, and were sneaky and extremely clever about slipping out behind me.  I’d herd two back in and three would come shooting out.  But there were no attacks, and I got everyone back in the GH eventually.

Late in the day, Mama got out with her chicks!  I didn’t see how.  The guineas all seemed to be fixing to roost at large, so it was time for another chicknapping.

Now with only two:(
Mom’s stopping for a snack on her way back in

Then all the other guineas trooped in.

Mama found a real nice spot in the corner of the bales to bed down.She has a very interested observer.

Almost all safe now.

Training coop subdivision

Guinea update:  they did all survive the night, and again skipped dinner (thus not giving me the opportunity to attempt to trap them again) and went to roost where they did night before last, which they also survived.  So I’m just moving the GH as fast as I can to put them in it.

It will still take awhile.  I’m interested to see whether it will take longer to take it down and then put it up again than it did for me to put it up in the first place.  If it were a house, then it’s always faster to just build a new one.  I’m thinking the GH could be faster to move than it was to build new, but we shall see.  I’m also weaker and less healthy than I was the first time.

I was in there half the day ripping it out, which meant a party of epic magnitude for the young chickens that live in there, the kegger that will not be forgot.

They were always underfoot, interested in the volume of green mass I was dropping to the ground, and the climbing and rummaging and scratching was such as had never been seen before.  So good the room was mostly silent, with all the chicks individually occupied throughout.  They know every inch of the GH, it is their whole world, so change must be very interesting to them.

Come dusk, I was still working, so I got to see the goings in.   I’ve been stuffing the chicks in the coop every night, and although there’s plenty of room, they squabble all night.  What the?

So I tried something new.  I tacked up cardboard, dividing the coop into apartment A and B, and I put a hen in each one.  One (mud head) is legitimately broody, I can’t tell if the other one is for real, but she’s acting as if.

Apartment A
Apartment B (true broody)

As it got dark, the Chanticleer chicks went to bed first, and they all came along one at a time, long-necking and then hopping up in with Mom.

Is that Mom in there?

Or two at a time.

Is it A or B?

This one chose wrong. And tentatively settled in.

And then, RRTROWWR!  She came bursting out, having been forcibly ejected by the resident hen.  So she‘s been the nighttime rabblerouser; she doesn’t like the chicks of another colour.

Let me try this again.  Is it door #2?
Don’t make the same mistake I did.

The Chanticleers eventually all loaded in, to the right apartment.It’s very cozy in there.  I don’t know how they do it.

That left the Silkies out, who much later started to think about bed, and went trouping around, looking like they might consider the possibility that they might sleep somewhere other than a pile in the corner.

I spent some time trying to marshal them towards the coop, and grabbed a couple and tossed them into Apt A, but they kept missing it, and going around it, then going under it, and a few hopped in on their own, yay!  Definite progress.

But I could’ve almost sworn I saw a white one dart into Apt B, which is already suffering overcrowding.  I groped around but couldn’t find her, until I took a picture.Aha!  Lower right, the couchsurfer.

I have some confidence that they will all go to bed tomorrow, or definitely the next night.  Unless the hens decide to switch apartments.

Everyone loves a good hay bale

I brought a hay bale for the pigs, now the nights are getting colder.  I’m confident that they’ll make their own bed out of it.  They were quite excited with the novelty, and as usual What are you doing in our house?Pancakes getting high centered on the bale was especially funny.

Oh, there, she’s off.

On the way to Pigland…

I thought I’d get a quick pic of the barrow and bale, fall leaves everywhere, maybe it might turn out the way it actually looked, but there was a sudden ambush:

Action shot

Longnecking- What’s it like up there?
Let’s all try it!

The chickens, as usual, are all up in your business, no matter what it is.

 

HW busted three of them in the house!  Which I really wish I’d seen.  The screen door was snapped ajar, and two chickens were (reportedly), inside rummaging in the pile of beans I have out on newspaper on the floor drying, the third was posted lookout in the bootka.  Oh shit, there he is!  Quick, grab all the beans you can!

The last blueberry, and the vibrant red the bushes turn.

Hot pig slops, yum!

These pigs are going to be spoiled (well, in a way-they’ll be sleeping outside), but they’re going to get hot meals.  Cooked potatoes kept warm on the woodstove all night with hard feed, or some hot water and milk over meal.

After all, who wants to dig into a cold bowl of cereal on a sub-zero morning?  Not me.

This is the best time to have a pig, there’s so much food.  Potatoes and squash and apples and greens, loads of waste veggies.  Between the pigs and the birds, nothing gets wasted.  The pigs get the chicken food fines, the chickens pre-graze the pig lunches:

The pig lunch buckets get lined up a few days ahead. I pick up a wheelbarrow load of apples at a time, and the garden greens day before usually, so the chickens get first crack at the buffet.  They don’t hold back.  Sometimes they’re in a mood and clean up on the kale, sometimes not.  They also choose a few apples and pull them out of the bucket to eat. 

And a little of that too…
Or leave them in the bucket
Note chicken behind the pumpkin

Pig pranks

I went out to feed the pigs lunch, and it was quiet.

Suspiciously quiet.

They are usually oinking with impatience; they have loudly ticking and highly accurate food clocks. I walked over to shut off the fencer, and I didn’t see pigs anywhere.

Oh no.

I just moved them yesterday, the fence was sound, did they seriously make a jail break? F#$%!

I started walking again and Oink! I heard a little grunt.

I stared into their enclosure. Wait, is that? What? No way! There’s a pig in there?

No, there was two pigs in there. They had burrowed under a pile of branches, and were barely, barely discernible in the pile of brush. Totally concealed.

Any reason for this gilly-suit behaviour? Unknown.

When I started walking away, they came snorting out, shaking off the branches, scampering out oinking joyously. I suspect it was purely a game.  I doubt it was comfortable. I’ve never seen pigs dig their way under a brush pile.  I think I just got pig-pranked.

Let’s see if she can find us here. Bet she can’t! Hold still!  She doesn’t see us! You’d better oink! No, you oink! She’s walking away, doesn’t see us, hahaha! Oink! She still can’t see us and I oinked,  hahaha, she’s looking right at us! Haha, oh, we got you good!

Sunbathing and pig lunch

It´s a nice hot day, so the chickens decided to flake out in the path.These are the Famous Five, the house moochers.  They just kind of tip over like beached boats, and stick out a wing.

Even Jean Jacket‘s in there.

Or they´ll find some shade where they can get it.

Even a Brahma is lounging.I wanted to not get these pigs stuck on a 3x/day feeding schedule so it was possible to leave for the day, so they get their piggy rations morning and night, but to tide them over, they also get a 5 gal bucket of apples every day, or whatever fruit/scraps/vegetables (It’s a good time of year to be a pig).

Usually, there are several apples left over come supper time.  If there are no apples, then I know they had a big day, and they’re legitimately hungry for dinner.Today they got turnips and kale too, and happily, they loved the kale, eating it first.  I wasn’t sure after the cucumbers. They stand on it to rip a piece off with their mouths, like they’ve done it before.

These pigs have the craziest eyebrows! They’re wild Grandpa Wizard eyebrows, like visors.

So cute!

 

Summer’s turn

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.

Or three.

Bats back

So many exciting things today!

Mama Silkie I completed hatching out her eggs for a grand total of seven little Silkie chicks, three white and four brown.  They are at liberty in the greenhouse but haven’t gone more than a couple feet from the box.

A restorative friend visit and blueberry pick- 10# of fat blueberries that the piglets and chickens will be ecstatic to have a little taste of.

The promise of rain!  The smell is light relief in the air.

Then the guineas decided to level up.

We win. We’re up higher!

While I was taking pictures of these clowns, a BAT! came flapping around.  100% bat!  It was flying right over my head to hoover up the bugs that I was attracting and I saw the whole bat silhouette against the sky (much clearer than my camera saw it).  It seems like the bats might be on their way back from the brink!

When they were small…

Now they are scampering around outside with the big flock wearing proper wings and tails and surely thinking they are all grown up, but when they were merely days old…

I was working in the greenhouse, the Chickery was in there with me because the chicks were brand new (they have a few chickery days in the greenhouse before going outside), and the Blondies and their mom were rummaging around in it, as they do.

I noticed she seemed to be digging with unusually single-minded determination in one corner.

I looked in on them once and she had dug a hole.  I thought, any minute, a chick is going to be able to slip out of there.

Before I turned away, one did.

Then another. 

 

When she would pause her digging efforts, a chick would dive in to see if there was anything interesting in the hole, and retreat when dirt started flying again.

Once all the chicks were popping in and out like electrons, I decided it was time for them to go outside. 

I popped a box over top of Mom (highly offended noises), lifted the chickery off and wrestled it outside while the chicks cheeped in the corner.

Then I grabbed the chicks and introduced them to grass.  Then I went back to the grumbling, rattling box, and returned mom to the chicks. 

Outdoors time!

Chicken trap

I can explain.

I caught a chicken!

I had the raccoon trap set up for a couple of days (two raccoons down-no damage incurred-different story).  The chickens ignored the trap.

Then HW came in from closing the coops last night and asked “So do you want the trap set again?  Should I bait it with an egg?”

Me: “Isn´t it set?  What do you mean? It was set an hour ago!”

You see, somebody left a snack in here.

HW:  “Oh yeah?  It was set an hour ago?”

Then he showed me the picture.

And I laughed, and laughed.  When he let her out she “took off” for the coop.

But there had been a cracked egg in the trap – the bait.

No trace remained of the egg.  I bet she thoroughly enjoyed that, eating it all to herself with no competition.  It was probably worth it.

What, were you born in a box?

A chicken in a box in the greenhouse? Nothing new there!

That’s where all the chicks and moms get put, at night, when they are put to bed from the chickery.

Thing is, I didn´t put her in there! 

I think, maybe once, this mom and the Blondies  got put to bed in the box.  As soon as I put the chickery outside, it started raining, so I turned them loose in the greenhouse, which they love, for the rain days.

But here they are, as dusk falls, all in the box.   This is where we sleep.

I wish I could have seen how that went down.  OK, kids, time to get in the box! That´s quite a jump.

And then, in the morning, they´re all out of the box and back to work!

To the tomato forest!

They love the tomato forest. So much mulch to kick around.

I turfed them all out into the big world, though, because it was too hot in the greenhouse.  Even though they were all hiding under a squash leaf.

They got readmitted late afternoon, and tonight, they´re all back in the box!

The sprinting chicken

Chickens are funny and eccentric when they are left to “organize themselves”.

Every morning when we open the layer coop, one hen is waiting in the blocks.  There´s some jostling for pole position. If she´s on form, she´ll be the first down the ramp.

Then the human coop-opener heads for the Silkie coop at the other end of the greenhouse.  Inevitably, this hen passes us on the way, legging it in the same direction at a flat out run.  Racetrack chicken. 

Get to the other coop and she´s pacing anxiously underneath it, looking up and twitching her tail.  I´m holding in an egg here!  Open up.

The second we drop that ramp, she´s up it, barging through the Silkies inside that were planning to come down, leaving a clamour of miffed squawks in her wake.

I´ve got an egg to lay!  Coming through.    Make way!

Every day.  She´s decided that she lays eggs in the other coop, first thing in the morning.  Don´t get in her way.