Chilly hens and New Jersey

The ladies seem to be doing well even though it has been getting below freezing at night. Last night the temp was down to 29 F and I had to crack ice in their water bowl. This isn't the first time that there has been ice on top, but it was much harder to break this AM. Tonight I took a suggestion from Mark and emptied the container while locking up for the night.

I have a thermometer in the Eglu now and it showed a temp of 38 F this morning. The girls didn't seem uncomfortable at all, though. They hunker down at night and sleep close together.

I took a business trip this week and poor Mark had to get up several mornings to take care of the hens. He was quite happy when I returned a day early. But, while I was gone the ladies seem to have learned that they can get through my rigged-up barrier to the landscaped yard behind the house. The dog walker left a note that the chickens were in the main yard last Tuesday, so he wisely chose not to let the dogs run around. Luckily the hens didn't destroy any plants. They did scratch around a lot of mulch and eat the dill to nubbins, but the dill was popping up in places I really didn't want it, so they sort of did me a favor.

Today and yesterday I worked from home instead of going into the office. So, I followed the normal routine yesterday and opened up the run and coop in the morning when I fed them. By late morning, I saw them in the main yard scratching away and eating more dill. I lured them back towards the barrier with mealworms, then crossed over (I can step over the makeshift trellis barrier) and waited to see how they came into the side yard. Mark and I were thinking they were flying over the trellis barrier since we know Betty and Selma are capable of scaling a 32-inch fence. But it wasn't that complicated, at all. The trellis has wide openings. They just hopped through them. Duh. Good thing for them that the dogs weren't out!

Once I had lured them back, I locked them in the run with some dill I pulled up for them. (Who knew they liked dill?) This morning, I did not open up the run, but I found some time to get out before dark and let them roam for a while. I unrolled some of that icky plastic mesh fencing (we have tons of it) and sandwiched it between the trellis barrier layers. Then I positioned another trellis on top just in case they do try to fly over the barrier. Now that they know there is more green stuff over there, they may be determined to get at it. I'll have to see if this works.

I was in Princeton, New Jersey on my business trip. I was inside all day, but the conference room had a wall of glass that looked onto the woods. The colors were great and it was nice to look out the window for a break. One morning I saw some sort of woodpecker.

We didn't get out during the day, of course, but one evening we went into town and walked around Princeton University campus and the old town square. I couldn't resist this lone bicycle. So, can I now say I've been at an Ivy League school, even if it was just for one night?

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