If you are a regular reader of our blog, you already know we’ve had a lot going on around here on our little farm this spring and summer! Back in May we added 8 new chicks to our flock, and just last week we hatched our own 6 guinea hen keets. It’s a lot of work increasing the flock. The newbies start out in a brooder (we use a dog crate with a heater), then move to the coop when they’re old enough and it’s warm enough out, and they stay inside another dog crate in there.
You can’t just add birds to a flock. It’s kind of like adding a new dog or cat to your household – it’s a process to get the current flock used to the new arrivals. Once the new chickens (pullets) get settled in to their new location in the coop, we start letting them out into the coop, with the older chickens outside in their run. Normally we’d have let them into the run sooner as well, while the older girls were free ranging but because of our fox problems, that hasn’t been an option. We think – hope, pray – that our fox problem might be over, so we’ve been letting the big girls out a little bit when we can be around to keep an eye on them. That gave the pullets their first chance to get out into the run and see the big outdoors!
They were timid at first about coming out, but once we encouraged a couple to go out, the rest eventually followed. We probably won’t be able to integrate the flock fully until the pullets are the same size as the full grown hens. The older girls can sometimes be what I call “mean girls” and pick on the young ones! We had one trial run but could tell it wasn’t quite time yet. We’ll get there. At least everyone is enjoying a bit more freedom.
One glitch in the plan is that now we’ve had a hawk hanging around, so we’ve got to make sure the girls are safe from that. We’re working on putting some deterrents around and the Dadz has an air gun he can shoot which helps to scare it away. Once that is hopefully settled and we’ve continued to be fox-free, everyone should be able to get even more freedom!
Speaking of freedom, the only one-week old guinea keets decided they needed more, and started escaping their cage. I told the Dadz the cardboard wasn’t high enough in there, and I got to say “I told you so!”.
Of course this happened right as I was getting ready to leave for work in the morning. I heard the baby guinea’s alarm call and knew something was wrong. All I could do was close the room and leave it out some food and water. You wouldn’t believe how fast those little things are (hubby calls them “road runners”) and I didn’t have time to chase it around! I called hubby at work to let him know what was going on since he would get home before me. When he got home, the little one was back in the cage, but when he tried to put some more cardboard barriers in, three escaped! They are tiny little things and the dog crate is so easy for them to get out of. They are also very skittish, and run away from us whenever we go near them. It’s hard to believe when they first hatched inside of the incubator, they would come right over to the glass to see us! So, the 6 “mini guineas”, as I call them, got moved to a plastic tote while their cage was remodeled and is now all clean again.
By the way? This all happened as the Dadz woke me up before leaving for work and told me that there was a skunk inside the chicken run (all birds were safely inside the coop)! So my day started with going outside and trying to get the door open without upsetting Mr. (or Mrs.) skunk (it had dug it’s way in, but apparently couldn’t dig it’s way back out). Luckily I accomplished that, and it went on it’s merry way after finding it’s way out. There is never a dull moment here on the farm, that’s for sure!
In the next photo, Mama cat Sam, keeper of the birds, gets to enjoy some freedom herself. I’m so happy we put in these windows for her and she can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while taking a break from her bird-sitting duties.
Now, onto the Flower and Favorites part of our post. I’ve mostly been sharing flowers recently that are perennials planted by the previous owners of our home. I still like to add some of my own favorites, mostly annuals, in pots around the yard. When I was growing up, my mother always loved her Johnny Jump-Ups (violas) and pansies, and I still love them too.
Both flowers can bloom in early spring, but I planted mine a bit late. They will hopefully bloom most of the summer. Tying it all together, I bought this beautiful hanging plant for the 4th of July, from the farm stand I’m working at. I loved the red, white, and blue theme, and petunias have always been a favorite of mine as well. I think it looks gorgeous hanging on our barn.
Thank you to our friends at Living Laughing Barking in Our Backyard for hosting the Flower Friday blog hop! Please visit other blogs through the links below.