Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chickens in the sun, eggs, and a patient dog.

The Chickens in a further sign of spring have found an open patch of ground that I didn't even clear off to do their thing on. Their thing right now seems to mostly be wandering around, pecking anything the wind moves, and sunning themselves which is a nice thing they've clearly missed. Right now the Chickens are all sorts of good news which is nice given how worried I was about them making it through the winter.

The biggest piece of good news is that the chickens have started laying eggs again which is a great boon to us as we are about to come to the Month of the Hungry Moon, April. Right now we're getting ~ 3 eggs a day instead of a full load of 5 - 6 eggs a day, but that's still plenty of eggs for the needs of the Lady of the House and me. We even had scrambled eggs this morning which was delightful as a wake up and go for breakfast since it was a night of very poor sleep thanks to the difficulty Critter had sleeping for the past few days.
The other thing that's really nice is that their combs seem to have recovered from the mites that we had problems with over the winter. I'm not sure exactly what we did that helped, or if it was just them preparing to molt. Given that we didn't do the entire process we'd meant to do of cleaning and everything else, I'm inclined to believe that it was their recovery process or the preparation for molt rather than our actions which is ok. That said, we are definitely going to need to re white wash the inside of the coop when things warm up, and use proper agricultural lime this time since that'll help keep the bugs down. Having them out of the coop more often is also going to help their state quite a bit I suspect given that sun does a lot of good for chickens, it does a lot of good for people too, even beyond the obvious Vitamin D benefits. 

As you can see, the chickens have also been spending a Lot of time under the rabbit hutches. I'm very glad to see that, and as I mentioned recently I think that should help reduce the fly problems we've had in the past before chickens. I'm very glad that having the chickens under the hutches hasn't bothered the rabbits at all, though when they're giving birth I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye out to make sure that no blood is dangling through the wire because I don't want to get the chickens started pecking at the bottom of the hutches. I've heard horror stories of chickens going after the feet of rabbits, though I have yet to see it. 

Speaking of the rabbits, they're right now in breeding process. The list of those who have accepted breeding so far.
Twilight - Remington Steel: March 22    2 fall offs. Due April 22
Splash - Dorado: March 22    2 fall offs. Due April 22
Streak - Remington Steel: March 24 1 fall off second try this evening. Due April 24

Dawn I will breed when I kill off her current kits that are still with her, which seems to have helped her warmth over the winter. Twilights daughter is just flat out refusing bucks right now, and I'm going to try again for the next couple days. I think she may continue to refuse until she's in her own hutch. Twilight is very aggressive, I can imagine her daughter not being willing to breed while living with her despite being a relative.

Last but not least is the neglected of our "children." Rico hasn't gotten nearly enough time from us, or outside this winter since we've been so focused on the Critter. Yesterday he enjoyed the first mud of the season, and clearly had a good time. He also ran off deep into the woods now that the snow is less than dog depth. I think he either barely avoided being sprayed by a skunk, or located the dead body of a skunk or weasel of some kind because he came back smelling awful. Fortunately he definitely didn't get a full hit or he'd have been having a bad night since he hates baths, and the smell faded fast.

As the ground is accessible, and with the sun being up when I'm home he is going to be getting more time to run around. I'm also going to be working more on his obedience since he deserves the work he hasn't been getting over the winter between the dark and the Critter. Even with the lack of attention though, he's been way more obedient than we could expect which is greatly appreciated.

Thursday we will most likely have information about some of what has been happening to use all of our rabbits.

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