Thursday, June 16, 2011

Play dates!

Now that the 4-week quarantine period for the babies is through, over the last several days, we've staged play dates between them and their aunties.  We've had some pretty predictable reactions with the older ladies feeling jealous that there are other beings that get our attention, and they've made sure to let the babies know who's boss.  They usually do this by chasing them and pecking at them, to which we've reacted with some pecking back at them.  (Only when they bite the babies particularly hard.) 

Abby and Frannie's reactions when they first met the babies was pretty funny.  We were wondering whether they would know that they were smaller versions of them and not just some other birds in the yard that they don't usually pay attention to.  However, they immediately took notice of the other chickens in their territory by standing up really tall and really still.  They also started making these really low throaty sounds, almost like a growl.  I know it wasn't a growl but it was definitely a sound that they don't normally make and it just made them sound unhappy.

The babies were just oblivious to all this and were happily exploring their surroundings bravely.  Of course, Abby was much more aggressive than Frannie and made sure to chase the babies a few times and give them a few good pecks.  Frannie did some of that, but she usually just stood tall in the background making her unhappy noises while Abby did all the dirty work. 

"Maybe we can be friends..."

"eff this, we're out!"

"How can you hate us when we're so cute?"
Today's play date didn't involve too much action between the two parties, the angry noises by the older ladies is pretty much gone, and the babies just love being outside.  Abby did make sure to take some time to bully them.

Their coop is officially underway, and I have sawdust in my hair to prove it.  I've had to change the design a bit, but I think it's going to look good and be practical.  All of the cutting is finished, now I just gotta assemble all the parts.  Pictures to come, I promise.

Today was also the official day to do the annual cleaning out of the chicken run.  The floor of the run is directly on the ground, so the crap gets composted pretty quickly.  I always layer the top of it with the old straw that I clean out of the coop and over time, as the ladies kick and scratch in it, all their poop gets mixed in and taken care of.  But, I still like to clean it out once in a while and give them a nice clean layer of dirt and straw to start with.  The stuff I pulled out went straight into the compost pile, (even though it was mostly composted already,) and the top weedy layer of soil from my garden bed when in, weeds in all, with a little diatomaceous earth mixed in.  To top it all off, I also washed off all the caked-on chicken crap that was on their roosting pole, so the ladies are now fast asleep in a squeaky clean (as clean as a chicken coop can be) home. 

I took advantage of the mostly sunny day to dry two loads of laundry and only used 25 minutes of dryer time.  Feels good to be productive and efficient!

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