Two Things under Control

Getting two things under control in one day is sort of miraculous for me. I’m on one of my rare “get things done” kicks, and wow, I’m doing great. In addition to the big things I have taken care of, I’ve also scheduled the movers to take my stuff from the Bobcat Lair to its storage location, made a plan for dealing with all that stuff once it’s in Cameron, filled out my timesheet on time like a good employee, updated all my kanban board cards, and drafted two new job aids for work. Go me.

Two weeks old!

The biggest thing I remembered to do today has been to get my flu shot and COVID booster scheduled. I figured if I was scheduling, I might as well just get it over with today. I might feel sorta icky over the weekend, but I think I’ll be able to power through like I did last time. And since I’m going out of town next week (why yes, I am going to Colorado to hide out in a condo and continue to work hourly, but with better scenery and food), I wanted to be as safe as possible while traveling.

Ready for my jabs

The other thing I did isn’t quite as big in the health department, but I have two little chirpers who are very happy with me, and one big squawker as well.

It’s good to see the floor.

Yesterday, I watched Star once more knock over all the food and water dishes in the baby chick cage and I just had enough of her. She didn’t seem happy, and she wasn’t actively caring for the chicks anyway. So I shooed her out. At first I had her in with Babette, but I noticed Babette would not leave the top of the cage, even to lay an egg, so this morning Star went back to the big flock.

Not Babette, but I was happy to see Blondie using the chicken swing!

Let’s see how long she goes laying eggs until she gets broody again. I hate to tell her, but she doesn’t get to raise chicks when it gets really cold outside. She was really happy to get out, as she was molting away in the little cage and desperately wanted to take a dust bath. I’m glad I made her happy.

Now that the Black Chick and the Brown chick have reached the mighty age of two weeks, they have their own quarters. I took the opportunity at lunch to clean Star’s mess up, so they could actually see the floor of the cage, and get to their food and water. I have them both hanging, which means it is a lot harder to knock them over. The only thing is, I believe I have the world’s cheapest hanging chicken feeder and waterer, in the most flimsy plastic ever. I figure it will last long enough to get these guys into the bigger area (i.e., soon as they are too big to squeeze out of the fencing).

We can now get to all the perches!

It was pretty unpleasant doing the cleaning, since I had to scrape it up. I couldn’t just slide the bottom out and wash it, because the chicks would escape. Next time I will put them in a box or something, if I have a helper.

Look at me! I’m up high!

I feel a lot better about the chickens, and there is a lot less stink now that Star is out. And I am all sure I’ll get all my other annoying chores done, like changing my driver’s license address and registering to vote in Milam County, where, alas, my vote will rarely count.

Well, darn it. The internet went down hard over here in Milam County for a few hours. That meant I couldn’t work, even after I got my shots. I assume someday this post will upload.

Chicken Wrangling Success

Good news for me! I think I have the situation with Star and her week-old babies under more control now. Lee went out and got me the same feeder and waterer I had for the previous chicks that had gotten thrown out accidentally. I got those set up, and no matter how hard the dang mama hen tries to scratch at the water, she can’t get into it, and at least when it’s pretty full, she can’t turn it over and ruin everything in the cage.

This place is a mess (I have cleaned up).

The chick food also has stayed nice and dry and pristine since I got the feeder set up. Star’s food is still in a dish, and it seems okay now. She just likes to scratch. So, I gave her some scratch today. The chicks seem to like it first, unaware that they should only be eating medicated chick food.

The Brown Chick shows their new feathers coming in and their pretty eyes.

They seem fine and dandy, however, bright eyed and flapping their wings like they already want to take off and fly. Luckily, their wing feathers have not grown in very much. I guess they’ll be taking off sooner rather than later, though.

The Black Chick is probably a gray chick, but the wing feathers are pretty dark.

Ha! They can fly all they want, but they can’t get out! Hooray! They will have a little platform to stand on, a perch, and such. They already seem to like the little tree branch I put in there for them.

The rain has been pretty persistent, but the chicken cage has just gotten a little damp, which is not bad at all.

Rain damaged fire ant nest looks like it could be in the Grand Canyon area.

The rain has led to some interesting things outside the chicken world, like fire ants building interesting looking nests (yes, I’ll get rid of them, but sometimes they are fun to look at).

And the pool guys are back today. I guess yesterday was too rainy. In any case, I’m glad the chickens are okay and the horses have shelter. I’ve ordered even better feeding and watering stuff that should come in soo, so maybe the chickens will be fine for a while.

Lunch hour is over. Time to go make some documents.

Chickens Sure Are Good Mothers

More stories of chickens, coming up. I was getting concerned about keeping Star, my mama hen, literally cooped up with the chicks in such a small space. I came up with the idea of blocking off the exit from the original Tractor Supply coop into the larger chicken run, which would give them a lot more space to run around, plus room for Star to poop that isn’t in the middle of their eating area.

You can’t really tell, but Bronzer is standing ON star. Good mom!

I looked around for something easy and temporary, but couldn’t find anything that was both large enough and liftable by me. At last I spotted a fine roll of chicken wire just sitting in the garage, looking at me. It could be cut to the right size and used to cover the hole!

I recruited my spouse to help me, since I didn’t know where wire cutters were, and it’s fun to make him go outside and do things every so often. It’s a bonding activity. He measured the space and cut a piece of chicken wire, which we then managed to attach fairly securely to the entry. It will most assuredly keep the chicks IN, but I don’t know if it will keep varmints OUT.

All secure-ish.

When and if the nephew gets back, I’ll see if he has ideas for reinforcing it. Once the chicks are a month old and fully feathered, I’ll probably let them out, anyway.

The big moment arrived and I opened the door to the space. I thought the chicks would rush right over, see the opening, and dash down the ramp to see all the delicious plants and dirt.

Hmm, I can do downstairs.

Instead, Star came over, looked out the door, and went down the ramp, where she promptly took a dust bath. I knew she wanted one! Meanwhile, she kept making interesting clucks, which seemed to be aimed at the chicks any time they came near the door.

They ran around peeping, but did not exit. She went back up the ramp, and promptly blocked the exit. I realized right then that I could not keep the food and water “downstairs” like I’d hoped. She was not going to let them out!

Can we come out? NO!

I came back a few times yesterday to check, and sure enough, Star had pooped, eaten a bunch of grass that had started to grow in there since the other chickens abandoned it, and taken more dust baths, but there was no sign of chick exit. I decided to put HER food on the ground, since the chicks seem to like it a lot and I’d prefer they eat their medicated rations.

Can I come out? NO!

I do believe Star is in charge of chick activities, not me. And she is one smart Mama. It got so windy yesterday that it would probably have blown the chicks around. Plus, a late cool front came in, and it got chilly outside! The babies needed to roost under their mom, where it’s nice and warm.

Star’s mothering instincts are quite impressive to me! I’m a bit bummed that I had to go to Austin for a couple days, so I may miss their big moments of freedom. Or, when I get back they may be right where they were, enjoying their chick food and grit, and gurgling their water.

One nice thing about getting up early is sunrises!

Let’s hope things keep moving along in a positive fashion. There actually has been good news both in my little circle and in the world this week. It’s good to have a bit of balance back!