Gettin’ Busy

Thousands of tadpoles have appeared in a nearby spring.

I’m sorry for such a long delay in writing.  Like everything else in nature, we have been incredibly busy with the emergence of spring.  Our main task has been shopping for our own mini-farm, a process which  has been a real emotional roller coaster.  We’ve seen a few promising places, though, so I hope to have more to report on that soon.

Meanwhile, I’m very proud to report that all of our chicks survived the first month – much of which was still very winter-like – in the cardboard box that served as their brooder on our back porch.  They have now moved into the big coop, and are “imprinting” there for 5 days before we allow them to start ranging in the yard.

 

Our chicks explore their new home. Look at how the rooster is checking me out with his chest all puffed out.

It has been really fun and interesting to watch them grow and change, both in appearance and behavior.  They are pretty much bonafide chickens now, only in miniature – fighting, scratching, flying, and roosting.  Watching their adult plumage fill in has been a treat – they are going to be really beautiful birds.

We were mistakenly given two roosters, and were a little concerned about one for the first several days.  He just seemed so puny and lethargic compared to the others.  But we’ve since learned that when there are two roosters with a small flock of hens, one becomes dominant and releases hormonal signals that actually suppresses the development of the lower ranking male.  The difference in appearance and behavior was evident even at 1 week, and has become more prominent as they have aged.

 

The runty rooster is smaller and still quite downy, and less assertive. He is usually crouching low.

 

The dominant rooster is bigger and bolder, with more adult wing and tail feathers. He is often socializing with the others and sticking out his neck.

The foster chickens have gone home.  We do miss John Henry and the girls, and their delicious eggs (we won’t be getting eggs from our girls for another 3-5 months).  But we are relieved to have our bird responsibilities reduced a bit.

 

Chinny, the orphaned guinnea hen, liked to spend time around our foster flock.

Since I last wrote, S & S’s ewe’s have birthed another set of twin lambs, and TWO sets of triplets!  One of the ewes is a black sheep, and she had one white baby, one black baby, and a BLEND!

The calico lamb.

The first set of twins is growing up fast! They look HUGE compared to the new triplets.

Around sunset the lambs get very frisky. Watching them play is one of my favorite things about my day.

The newest triplets are all white, and for some reason much more talkative than all the rest of the lambs.  Check out the video to get a sense of the noise we’ve been hearing daily ever since they were born:

S & S also hatched 24 ducklings.  Their little flat beaks and webbed feet are so cute I can hardly stand it.

ducklings

Our chicks hide in the nesting box of their new coop, afraid at first to explore. Look at how their feathers are changing!

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One Response to Gettin’ Busy

  1. marnie says:

    As you are looking for land don’t forget to keep looking out our way. xo

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