It’s just over 52°F right now, according to Weather Underground. Cold. I’ve yet to break down and turn the heat on inside, but I do feel sorry for the poor nekkid chickens out back.
Turken started out with a naked neck, but now…she’s pretty ridiculous looking. In fact, Houdini and Sprinkles went through awkward molts this year as well. Not-Henery just magically changed from old feathers to new, gradually. No sign of molt yet for Henery or Buttercup. In fact, Buttercup is the only one still laying eggs. It’s really too bad, since bartering with eggs is how I get my front yard leaves taken care of…
Oh well. Guess I’ll go rake, and treat the ladies to some leftover lasagna. That should warm them up a bit. Myself? Maybe after raking, a nice hot Ovaltine. With a dash of vodka.
The pigeon we brought home recovered nicely, as previously noted. He’s integrating nicely with the six lovely ladies in my back yard.
Ok, he’s actually kind of annoying them, but he’s trying and they’ve stopped being actively aggressive towards him. He started molting around the same time as Sprinkles, and looks pretty goofy (as does Sprinkles, as you can see – she’s the one in the front right there).
Cool thing though – today, I heard him do that funky gurgly-coo that adult pigeons do. Up til now, it’s been nothing but awkward “eeeep”ing. It was pretty cool. He came flying over when I went out to give the ladies their evening scratch, and sat on his ledge cooing.
As you can also see in the picture, he’s terrified of the pug. Ok, no. He actually likes to tease the hell out of the pug. He flies from low perch to low perch, just out of reach of poor Oscar, just enough to keep him running and barking.
I’m sad that winter is coming, if only because my time with the ladies (and gentleman) is going to be so limited from now on, and more so as the season progresses. I’ll be lucky to see them three days a week, come November.
Oh well. The cats are in more now that the wet weather is here, and they’ll keep me company.
(and for those who don’t know Goodfeathers, click.)
The pigeon has decided that it doesn’t care for being shut up in an enclosure. It would prefer to be flying free – if not far. So we decided to let him (I’m guessing “him” because of the coloration) try staying out one night – and he did just fine. He went to the top of the hen house, about a foot away from Henery, and went to sleep. It’s been two nights now, and so far so good.
I’m not sure what he’ll do when it starts getting colder, since Henery will eventually start sleeping inside. I may try making a nesting type arrangement for him over there. Something like this, maybe. I’ve got the supplies, so I may as well try it.
In other news, I’ve been collecting pieces and parts to make a new hen house, or at least upgrade this one. It’s very sturdy, structurally, but not very pretty. I got some vinyl shutters for ventilation, a glass pane window that I think will replace the nesting box door, and lots of Ideas.
It probably won’t start coming together until mid-September, so I’m hoping the weather cooperates with me somewhat. I don’t seem to be very awesome at making things like this look pretty, unfortunately. I find myself really wishing that my more artsy friends lived nearer, so I could bribe them with fresh eggs and baked goods in exchange for their skills.
I mean, I could barter. That’s what it’s called, right? Non-monetary exchange of goods and services.
I’m not sure if you realized this, but chickens are actually very intellectual. This point was driven home to me this week as I sat on the lounge chair in the yard, trying to decide which book to read.
On the one hand, I hand Creepers. It’s a nice schlocky horror novel, complete with boarded up buildings, bad foreshadowing and “intrepid” young’ns feeling the need to investigate.
On the other hand, there was Kon-Tiki. A non-fiction adventure/sciency kind of book. You got your crew of 6, your flying fish, your ancient legends being proven/disproven. I’ve loved all of his other books, but it’s not fluff.
In any case, I lay out both books and asked the ladies, “Ladies, which book shall we read today?” And the response was clear:
I took this into consideration, but then realized that the screaming children next door would actually add more to the atmosphere of the horror novel. Minki agreed.
In the end, I chose Creepers. I’m sure the ladies are thoroughly disgusted with me, but it didn’t stop them from stealing the cheese from my sandwich.
To Boris and Natasha. They’re so damnably cute, I hate to give them up…but the crowing is likely to get me into trouble since I do live in town. It’s hard to keep the chicken secret, when he himself is blabbing it all over town.
Yeah…and we did rename them. Their original names just didn’t really suit them. Boris and Natasha…that suits them perfectly. So for the one day we have left with them, that is what they are.
Today, I sat out in the yard and read with the ladies (and gentleman) for a while. I did learn that eating toffee popcorn with chickens isn’t conducive to reading at all, but they got a treat and had a good time. I hope their new people give them treats.
At least, they’re stupid when they were supposed to be girls.
Little Hermes has decided to be a rooster. Not just physically male, but he’s already getting the mentality. He’s started to try crowing in the morning, just a little “rr-rrrrrrr” but you know it’s just a matter of time before his voice changes. And he’s challenging us – this little half-grown banty. He’s pecking at our hands and feet if we get too close.
Sucky thing is, this means that the pair of them have got to go. They’ve been at close quarters since they were days old, so I don’t want to separate them. That means losing the hen as well, but it just wouldn’t seem right.
So, if you know anyone in the Eugene/Springfield area who wants a pair of young chicks, lemme know.
The new chicks finally have names – the larger (black sex-linked) has been named Inkblot, the bantam non-frizzled frizzle is Hermes, named for her winged feet.
I decided that they were getting too big for their small cage, even though they use it for sleeping. I set up the dog house I’d used for the older ladies when I first brought them home, and put the exercise yard around it. As soon as I took the cover off of the smaller cage, the ladies threw a hissy fit. Guess I won’t be integrating the flock any time soon.
Twinks, on the other hand, thinks that the new setup for the chicks is fantastic. She has a much better view now, and a more comfy spot to watch from.
I was able to let the new chicks outside for a while today, even though the weather didn’t cooperate. I put them in a large dog exercise yard, then scattered corn and egg for them to share with the older ladies. They seemed to enjoy it, after they realized the ground wasn’t going to eat them or something.
When it was time to come in, they weren’t ready. They didn’t show any sign of distress at all…until the rain started. Then they seemed quite happy to go back under their heat lamp.
Chickens and Chicks
Twinkles watching the new chicks.
Today marks the first 6-egg day of the season! That means that all 6 of my ladies gave up an egg today! Good job, Turka, Princess Buttercup, Houdini, Sprinkles, Henery and Not-Henery.
I went to the local Wilco the other day…shouldna. Chick Days are DANGER. I came home with not only cat food and foxglove seeds, but two more chicks.
Cute, huh? I’m not even sure what kind the larger one is. He had “Pecked Hieny Syndrome”. It’s sadly common in the big stock tanks they keep the chicks in, and they are careful to keep an eye out for it so they can separate the wounded. I happened to be there on a day, at a time, when there was a little black chick with a red, bleeding butt. I pointed it out to the lovely lady working that area, and seeing as we know each other, struck up a deal. Something like, “You want it?”, “Sure!”. Of course, she knows that I can’t get just one, and she knows that I already get my feed and everything there…so her $2.50 loss will probably end up making her a bundle off of me. Starting with a frizzle bantam as a buddy, and a bag of baby chicken feed.
She had me spray the wounded area of the chick with Blu-Kote, and off I went. I think the roommate was a bit miffed, and I haven’t exactly told the landlord…but since I don’t even know if I can keep them yet, I’ll worry about that later. Since I don’t remember which bin I plucked the hurt one from, I don’t know if that batch was straight-run or what. If it’s a boy, I’ll end up finding new homes for them both. I’m pretty sure, judging by wing shape, that the banty is female, but not the larger one there. It was already getting “real” feathers in when I got it, so…no telling.
Until next time…