22 July 2011

First contact

This morning the baby dinosaurs chicks had their first look at the rest of the world. They've been living in a cardboard enclosure in a corner of the coop for the last three weeks but today their universe got a whole lot bigger. I opened the hatch which leads to an outdoor run and so far they've ventured as far as to stand in front of the opening to stare with one eye.

I built the run from parts of a greenhouse in a box kit, which was a complete flop as a greenhouse, but did allow me to build a neat little frame that I wrapped some leftover garden fencing around and topped with an old tarp. I've added some bungee cords to secure the tarp a bit better, and I've pinned the whole thing down with garden staples. If we have another wind like Sunday's, it will end up in the neighbours' yard.

This is the first step in Operation Flock Blend. I hope the big chickens will get used to the little ones so that I can eventually let everyone free range together and ultimately share the same coop for the winter. 

Update: they're in!
Update 2: This post has been totally hacked (I'll let you guess which picture was added). It's kind of funny, though, so I'm leaving it.

18 July 2011

Monday forest photo: July 18, 2011

1:30pm 29C cloudy 
A wicked wind storm blew through last night, but there wasn't much damage in the forest this time. I thought for sure there would be trees down, but I guess the trees are pruned of their weak branches by previous storms. It's warm and sticky today, but nothing like yesterday.

A beetle, a bee and an inchworm walk into a bar...

There are some naturalized brown-eyed susans around our property, which are apparently host to all sorts of creatures. 

10 July 2011

The chicks are alright

These charming creatures are the latest additions to our tiny flock of chickens. They are 12 days old and just on the verge of dinosaur-ness. By next week, we'll have a bunch of pterodactyls in the coop, but for now they're still pretty darn cute. We ordered them from Frey's through the feed store again and they are a mix of hybrid dual-purpose brown egg layers plus one Barred Plymouth Rock.

They are living in a corner of the winter coop for now, while the big chickens spend the summer camping in their chicken tractor. The tractor isn't big enough for 9 chickens, so the plan is to turn the winter coop into full-time housing for the birds come winter. Which gives me 4 months or so to blend the flocks. The plan, so far, is once the little birds are a little bigger, to give them access to the outdoors in a pen while allowing the big birds to free range as usual. If all goes well, I will allow the little ones to free range once they are a bit bigger yet. My hope is that everyone will get along outdoors before they need to be confined together. I may be crazy or just plain dumb, especially after the chicken adventures I had this winter. I suppose I have a few options if things don't work out, one of which is finding a freezer retirement home for the older birds. 

Madeleine has named the new chicks after some of her favourite Star Trek/ Dr. Who/ Big Bang Theory characters. I'm not quite sure who is who yet, but they are: Luxana, Uhura, Dax, Martha and Penny.

04 July 2011

Monday forest photo: July 4, 2011

7:30am 19C scattered clouds
I normally walk in the woods a little later in the day, to let the mosquitoes settle down a bit, but today promises to be very warm again, and I felt like taking advantage of the cooler morning. It turned out to be a brisk walk - I've found if you keep moving at a good pace the mosquitoes don't bother you as much.  As much as if you stand still, that is. If you stand still you will quickly find yourself so anemic from blood loss that you will require a transfusion if you can make it out of the bush. A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but I didn't spend much time on the picture-taking part of the walk.


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