Pooped tonight, I have cut almost the entire yard... pasture tomorrow...and done errands, worked a short time in the garden, regular daily chores.... my friends at work laugh at all this. They don't understand that by doing these things, we ward off old age and stay active.
So here we are back at the start of the year again, and look what's peeping tonight in the big henhouse...
Here is the current setup for baby chicks. It's a Rubbermaid tub...with a snake guard on the top. It's up on two cement blocks to make it a little easier to get into... as last year they were flat on the floor of the shop, and I did a lot of bending. I don't expect these babies to spend the whole six weeks in this tub... last year I had to separate them at about 4 weeks... but there is just room to put the other tub next to it if I move the feed barrels. The snake guard is to keep rats and mice out, too... and just as we put the light on, the big snake who has been hanging out in the henhouse slithered under the white cabinet to the right. I especially don't want to come out in the morning and find him full of my babies.
There are six Porcelain D'uccle chicks (straight run, of course) and an assortment of Red Sex Links, Black Sex Links and Cinnamon Queen pullets. Yes, I went for the egg layers. The nurseryman threw in three extras, I went for fifteen and came home with eighteen. He had some very nice Ameracaunas, but was selling them straight run, and I just have too many roosters as it is.
I'm hoping the eggs from the incubator in our bedroom (!) hatch in 4 days as they are programmed to, and we'll move them to this tub, too.
Here's a sad note...This morning I found this old girl laying in the straw inside the big henhouse. I watched her as I did morning chores, and realized she is likely not going to be alive tomorrow. I noticed during the day that she did go out in the pasture with the others... I was very surprised at that....but tonight, as I did the waterers...I saw her out of the corner of my eye in the dim light of the little hutch I used for the juveniles last year.
I left her in there... she chose that spot, and I figured she knew best. The hens like to hang out in this little hutch during the day when the sun is high, and some lay under it on the cool earth. The turkeys will even crowd in here. I put the food fortex in there in case of rain (there is a tarp over this pen) and shut the gate so she wouldn't be bothered after the last of her sisters went in.
You can see from her faded face she is pretty old... and I suspect older than the four or five years I was told after I bought this group... and MUCH older than the 18 months I was told initially. This is the third of the sixteen hens to die.
Here are Sherman and Grant tonight...as you see, their poor feathers are still very tattered, they came to us in this condition. They can get to the top of the doghouse in the henyard, but they cannot get to the top of the little henhouse, where Jackson roosts at night, though they would like to. I'm hoping their feathers will grow back in, and they will be able to join their "brother". They remain very gentle birds, and big gallumping "tweens" when they see me in the pasture and think I have a treat... it's the Charge of the Turkey Brigade!
Yes, we still have llamas! Here's Tony on the dirt hill, watching Kathy in her back yard where she was planting flowers around a bench she put by the pond last weekend.
Here are farmdogs Gertie and Bessie, on fence patrol.
I took Bess to the vet this morning, and a guest vet was standing in for our good Dr. Tom. He took a good look at Bess's eyes, and unfortunately, she has extremely little vision, as we thought. We are about to start another round of eye drops, as we did with Hannah Jean for so long... in hopes that we can give Bessie a few more months of happiness on the farm. Right now she can just see to go out in the yard, and wander around, but we watch her walk into things regularly.. and know the vision is going. Hannah only rarely felt grass under her feet, as she was frightened of leaving her "world"... the house, porch and deck. We want Bessie to enjoy things while she can. She has a mammary tumor, as well... and we have never seen her come into heat, but we suspect that the eyes were the cause of her being dumped.
And on the good news front... Keith is out of the hospital and home, thank heavens. He has a new regimen of medicine to take, and must change his eating habits, but I can help him do that... and we'll take it one step at a time. He is still very, very sore from the fall... and unable to do much around here for the time being, but at least is on the mend, thank goodness!