Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fruit trees, and brave chicks.

The chicks are doing well, and are very brave for such small things. They definitely seem to have quite the learning curve with life, but at least it's going well because they have a hen to teach them everything about being a chicken. I certainly would have trouble doing so! I need to get more rabbit pictures, but we're still enchanted with the chicks right now so, more chick pictures along with the fruit tree information I promised last time.

Yesterday I kept all of the chickens in to keep the chicks from going out with them because it was raining and in the 40s - 50s, and I didn't want wet and dead chicks. Because of that, everyone stayed in much to their frustration. They didn't have to stay in during the winter, and they didn't see why they had to yesterday. The other consequences is the coop needs cleaning sooner than it usually would because of that, ahh well. I definitely need to get a new coop made in my copious free time.  At least this is going to be a long weekend ahead of us. I won't have all of it available, but hopefully I'll be able to get a solid start on things at least.

One of my concerns with the chicks was that Mr. Bond would be rough with them, and that seems to not be a concern. All of the chickens seem to miss the presence of the chicks from time to time, and tumble them on the way by. It seems to be no more of a problem than an adult dog tumbling a puppy on the way by, and tends to be followed with a solicitous check to make sure the little one is ok. The chicks do seem to be very resilient at this point, they just jump off the ramp up at the 3' tall level, and flutter (fall) down, bounce, and keep going without any problems. I won't say they're fearless because they do get nervous of me if I move towards them quickly when wearing dark clothes as I usually do. If I get down on their level they do come investigate me though, and are fine being held gently. The chicks right now are eating what ever they're pointed at, which does include the medicated chick starter that we're using to prevent coccidiosis as well as anything else their mom or other chickens peck. She's been bringing them to bugs and teaching them what to eat. I do wonder how different the eating habits of brooded and chicken raised chicks are as compared to hatched and human raised chicks. I am glad I have someone who knows what they're doing taking care of them for me to learn from in the form of the hen.
The other thing is fruit trees. Thanks to a wedding gift from Kathy Harrison of the Just in Case Book (and Blog) we were able to get a fruit tree. But thanks to having waited beyond what is normally ideal for planting fruit trees, we were able to get three fruit trees! A Kieffer Pear, a Jonathan Apple, and Golden Delicious Apple.  We put all three of them up in the area Above. Right next to the porch a little to the right of it, a second one is between the unfinished hutch, and the hutches in the woods, and the third one is in the foreground to the bottom right of the photo.
As you can see Left they start off looking like sticks. Right now I have the markers still on the trees until I can make a map showing what is where, or I remember. One of the things that's interesting to me is just how far apart 15 feet or 20 feet is. I was thinking of planting all three on the ridge between the porch and the hutches in the woods, but that would be too close. I hope I'm not setting the tree up too close to other trees, but this is all a learning process, and they will have plenty of sun where they are. I figure by using the ridge line we'll be able to insure at the very least that even as other trees grow the fruit trees will have sun. The future fruit trees are going to be mostly going into the area along the drainage ditch where they will get plenty of sun. One of the reasons I'm so glad we found trees in discount is that apple trees need to have others to pollinate. We were going to be doing just the two apple trees, but the pear tree was just right there, and we do love pears. I'm not sure exactly how long it will be before these fruit, but I'm guessing in the 3 year range which is fine. Better to start now than later with that kind of wait time. When we have more money for trees I want to get another apple tree or two, another pair of pear trees, peach, plum, late cherry, and some sort of nut trees that I have yet to decide. I had worked up a document with the perfect set up for what I wanted to do that would have in theory with the right weather had harvest-able fruits or nuts from March to October, but I don't know what I did with that. I'm going to have to make a new one, but all of what we got is within what I remember, so this should be a good start.

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