Yeah, I’ve been a bad blogger lately. Mea culpa and all that usual blah-biddy-blah-blah.
This past month has been BUSY, and although I have my energy back for the most part, I sort of turn into a pumpkin by 10:30 PM these days. If I’m not in bed and asleep by then, I am pretty wiped out the next day. So, no big party nights for me.
The busy-ness that’s been keeping me away hasn’t all been about my job, though. I’ve been to the Michigan Fiber Festival with Adrienne and other members of the Windy City Knitting Guild. I also visited City Farm (a 1.5 acre working farm smack dab in the center of Chicago) during an Urban Farm Field day trip organized through Angelic Organics. And, we completed the new chicken palace.
Now, we didn’t actually build the thing. I hired a fencing company to do the building because otherwise it would never have been accomplished. Notice how there are two Eglus inside. The happy hens are in the Eglu to the left and the new chicks are in the Eglu to the right. The hens aren’t so happy with the chicks, though. Integrating these two groups has been a bit stressful for me, as the hens have turned into big thugs whenever I open the Eglu run to let the chicks out. I guess it will take a bit of time to make everyone comfortable together.
The chicks continue their amazing rate of growth. They are nearly the same size as the hens, although their sex characteristics (combs and wattles) are not yet developing. Those won’t start to fill out until they are nearly ready to lay, about 3-4 months from now. Although, I think at least one of the chicks won’t ever lay.
From left to right across the front row the “chicklets” are: Speedy, Chickie Lou, and Missy. In the back row is Martha. Martha and Chickie Lou are both Easter Eggers (mutt Ameraucana chickens). This breed has pea combs, so I don’t expect their combs to develop into big, red, crowns like the ones on the happy hens or on the white Delawares.
Chickie Lou and Martha both seem to be developing at about the same rate and are noticeably larger than Speedy and Missy. However, Chickie Lou (the brown one in the center) has taken to crowing lately. Yes, that’s right CROWING. There’s no mistaking the sound. Chickie Lou started making these suspicious crowing-like noises a couple weeks ago (at about 7 weeks old), and now the sounds have become definite crowing. I’m still waiting to see what happens here, though. Considering how closely the development of Martha and Chickie Lou match, it’s possible I have 2 roosters on my hands here. Or, I may just have a hen that makes rooster-like noises. (Yes, that does happen.)
Either way, I’m not going to make any rash decisions and will see how the flock develops. I’m not adverse to keeping a rooster, as long as it is not mean and not really, really noisy. I understand that not all roosters are extremely loud and obnoxious.
As for the chicken palace itself, I’m pleased with how it turned out. It’s a bit tighter in there than I’d like with both Eglus inside, but it does the job: the chickens and dogs are safely separated; it provides an additional barrier against the typical predators in this area; and, it allows the chickens a bit more room to stretch their wings while keeping them out of the garden.
The garden has been doing very well this year, and I’ve been challenged to keep up with it. The harvests of eggplants, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, summer squash, and chard have been amazing. I had to rip out the summer squash early due to squash vine borer, and the cucumbers seemed to get a bit bothered by cucumber beetles or the virus they spread. At least the hens REALLY liked the squash vine borer larvae. See, there’s a silver lining after all: no more squash, but lots of tasty eggs.