Friday, June 21, 2013

Orchard chickens

We integrated the chickens-- small with big-- last week. It's one of those less-than-idyllic homestead happenings. It sounds sweet, right, like now they can all be one happy chicken family? Well, not really. The big ones try to kill the little ones, the little ones can't find the food, or water, or coop for a few weeks... it takes some time for them to jell as a flock. The biggest surprise, for me, is that Patsy, the sweet semi-lame hen who got mauled this winter, has turned out to be the most aggressive bird towards the newcomers.

Of course, it's Patsy who has the most to gain by subordinating the chicks. Of course.

So most evenings I let the big chickens out by themselves for a few hours, to give the little ones a reprieve from military rule (that's a pretty good analogy) and to let the big ones fill up on grass, which keeps our eggs awesome. They love the orchard and the back fence area at twilight, when the snails begin to emerge and the dew falls. Each tree (and its attendant clump of companion plants) is like a circular salad bar for the chickens, who love eating the loaded grass seed heads this time of year. And, to my delight, the snails. 

Oh, chickens.

In other news, Delmer took a flying leap over his invisible fence last night, and into the mud on the other side of the back fence. Like he'd been planning it for weeks. Just wheeee! and splat, and roll, and wallow, and shake, and wallow. And get dragged to the brook to wash off by disgruntled me. He looked so pleased. Le sigh.

Patrick and I (and Delmer!) are heading north this weekend for a short little camping getaway. Del's first camping trip. Any Strain dog must be properly vetted for canoe travel, and tent sleeping, and mountain climbing, you see. And so he shall be. Back Monday.

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born ambitious. born imaginative. said...

That's what happened with us too-our most docile bird became the boss. Hmm.

Happy weekend! :)

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