Friday, June 29, 2012

Coop coup update

This is so curious to me.  The striped hens changed boxes!  That's Maria on the left now, and the old Cuckoo Marans girl on the right.

Have they no pride?  No attachment to their own nests?  Are they actually going to hatch any eggs, or just take them all out of sales circulation this summer???  I've lost trust in the status of the eggs I find -- has a chick begun to develop in that shell?  I'm certainly not going to sell eggs I'm unsure of -- it's bad enough when I find a rogue chick fetus, imagine my egg customers!!!

So we're all taking a few weeks off.  I just wish these girls would finish up their job soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why Does Ulani Sing in the Night?

Why does Ulani sing in the night?

Could it be the whirling scent
of a raccoon, tippy-toeing across the grass
Nearer and nearer the barn?  Its toes
dig into the dry sod, its whiskers quiver.

Perhaps the bunny is again making the trip
from the prairie mound to the brush --
racing over the crunchy, brown grass,
leaving behind bunny bites for eager dogs
to eat come morning.

Do the dogs across the acres call her?
Are they crying out, "I'm bored I'm bored,"
or maybe they're harwoofing "I'm the best!
You are the rest!"  Appalling, must be answered.

Or maybe it's the sun itself
that brings out her song.  The nightly descent
calls Ulani to the west-facing window.  Her song
calls me to her side, to hug her tightly and
bury my face in her coat.  Until her song is silent.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Coop Coup!

There's a twist to the broody hen story.  Just a few days ago, I posted that I had to get the babies used to the big coop, because I was going to need the isolation pen for the yellow hen and her pending chicks.  She'd taken up residence over five eggs and was not budging.  I expected babies this coming weekend (June 23 or 24).

There's been a coup in the coop!

Since yesterday, two striped hens have moved in to the nest boxes, pushing the yellow broody hen out.  She's mad as an old wet...well, she's upset.

She tried pacing in front of the boxes, hoping one of the hens would shift just so, and yellow broody could slip in.  No good.

She tried stomping on the roof -- maybe that would drive one out!  But it wasn't happening.

Now I am very curious what will happen when those eggs in the center box hatch?  I assume the babies will imprint on the striped hen, leaving the uber-hormonal yellow broody out in the cold.  Will she move right back into the box when the little peeps and their striped mom relocate?

Any chance she'll cool down and return to normal chicken behavior?

I think that's a "no!"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Baby update

Today I let the babies come out into the general population of the coop for the day.  After some initial interaction with a couple of pecky hens, everyone settled down with the babies in one corner and the adults elsewhere.  The adults really enjoy the first day of "babies out," because that gives the adults access to the super rich baby food.  It was nearly empty by the end of the day.

Now that their feathers are coming in, I can tell the chicks apart.  The two blonds on either side of this photo are the Lakenvelders -- my first white egg layers ever!  The chick on the right with some white feathering is a Speckled Sussex.  And the grayer blond to the duck's left is an Ameraucana.  She'll lay green eggs.  I also have Welsummers, but I don't think they showed up in these photos.

When I went to round the babies back up into their pen this evening, I caught Mr. Duck harassing the female baby.  She's only six weeks old!  I chased him outside to give her a rest.

I do feel bad for him that he's without a mate.  He's a handsome guy, but a bit awkward with the girls.  He doesn't know when to back off.

As the feather on his bill demonstrates.  Honestly!

It was important to get the babies out for some exercise, since they're growing so fast that they now stretch the limits of the isolation pen.  But there's another reason that I need to get them incorporated with the rest of the flock.

This hen has been broody for about ten days.  I forgot to write down the actual date she stuck to the nest.  And now that I look at the calendar, it may be two full weeks already.  In any event, she has five eggs under her and she is stuck like glue.  So in a week or so she will need the isolation pen with her new babies.  Which I hope will not all be roosters!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stinky Emilio Takes a Walk

This evening I put the leash on Ulani, but it turned out to be her alter-ego, Stinky Emilio, who joined me on our walk.  I decided we ought to write about our adventure together.  Here is our conversation.

ME:  Stinky, what should we tell our readers about our walk?

SE:  Dead raccoon!  Dead raccoon!  Don't forget about the dead raccoon!  Boy it smelled great!  It was a dead raccoon!

ME:  Yes, it wasn't very big was it, but I'm sure when you put your big nose right on top of it, it must have smelled quite a bit.  Is that what you've been smelling in the ditch the past few days?

SE:  There's poop in there!  Cat poop!  And raccoon poop!  From a dead raccoon!  Let's go again!  And don't pull my neck off this time!  It smelled great!

ME:  I think we might walk a different route tomorrow.  Maybe we'll go to the park.  Would you like to go to the park?

SE:  Go!  Park!  Go!  Park!

ME:  We'll see how the weather is, ok?  In the meantime, is there anything else you would like to share about our walk?

SE:  Bunny!  I chased a bunny!  A white bunny butt!  It was a bunny!  Then it was humongous!  It was a humongous bunny running through the cornfield!  Huge!  I made it grow!

ME:  Well, Stinky, you know what really happened, don't you?

SE:  Really?  It was real!  It was a bunny!  I chased it!  Then it was humongous!  Oh, it was a terrific time!

ME:  Stinky, the bunny ran into the undergrowth and it was just coincidence that a deer was on the other side.  That wasn't a bunny tail running across the field, it was a deer.

SE:  Bunny!  Huge, humongous, it smelled great!  I smelled bunny!  It smelled great!

[This exchange continued along similar lines for a few minutes.  No need to transcribe her entire, misinformed discourse.]

ME:  Stinky Emilio, I noticed that your chest and legs are full of sticky-plant.  (Ed. note, Stickiass plantias.)  Where did you pick up all those sticky little green balls?

SE:  It was the bunny!

ME:  Never a dull moment.