Monday, April 30, 2012

Some New Additions to Our Menagerie

So from previous post you probably know that we are getting quite the collection of animals around here.  I was looking at coop ideas on the other day and a lady wrote something I could completely agree with. She was saying that they got chickens because, "I like animals, and he likes to be self-sufficient. Isn't that just the story of our lives? " I can completely agree because I like animals alot, and Gary is totally self-sufficient, as he often says, he doesn't need animals in his life to be complete, or anything like that.  We work on two different wavelengths.  I love animals, and want to give them the best quality of life possible.  After all, we get to go to heaven after this, they just die.  This is there one shot at life, shouldn't I try to make it good for them?  Anyway, if Gary wasn't in the picture I'd be that crazy lady.  I want two Siberian Huskies in the house, and I never meet a stray cat that I don't think should come home with us.

We already have 18 chickens (if you count the chicks too), we are about to get three more from a friend who is getting rid of a few, and of course we already have a mix-Siamese cat.  So the last thing we need is another cat.    On Friday, I thought I heard baby birds crying from a nearby tree.  We have a couple of bluebirds nesting in two bluebird boxes, a couple of cardinals in the bushes to one side of the house, and a bluejay who's made a home in our dead oak tree.  I didn't have time to check then, I was trying to mop when Gary had the short ones out of the house.  When Gary got home, he heard the crying and he walked over to a tree to find a black kitten not more than 6 weeks old, alone and stuck.  He picked it up and brought it to me.  I promptly decided to feed it and take care of it.  After all it's just a baby, and I don't think it will make it on it's on.  Gary agreed I could take a couple of days and try to find her a home.  She's had some soft cat treats, and some cat food softened up with water.  I hoping we find a home for her, because I know Gary HATES cats, and doesn't want any more.  As sweet as she is and as much as I would like to keep her, I won't do that to him again.  She was pretty nervous at first, but she has warmed up considerably.  She likes to play with the kids, and has even let Ruth hold her.  She's playful and snugly, and since I firmly believe all animals need names, I'm calling her Darcy till we find her a home.  After all she's a black cat, Darcy means dark, and I like the name.  Do you want a kitten, do you know someone who does?  Leave me a comment let me know.

Our newest chick is the only one to hatch out of our last.  It came from our blue maran hen and rooster.  We had a 25% chance of getting a black chick (which I would prefer for a rooster), a 50% chance of a blue chick (like what we have, and what I would prefer for a hen), and 25% chance of getting a splash.  Chicken genetics are fun.  I always thought genetics were interesting.  Anyway, you can guess what we ended up with-  yup, a splash.  I think it's a rooster too.  We are holding off on naming it until we know that it is going to make it and what it is.  I will confess I'm already looking for general names just in case - I considered Marquis de Lafayette, the French general that helped during the American Revolution.  Think about it, Marquis fills my M requirement because it's a Maran, Lafayette was French just like the Marans are a french breed.  (I know, I know, I'm a total history nerd).  And if you think that sounds like a mouthful for a chicken just remember that Lafayette was his title not his name, his actual name was Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette.  Anyway, the new chick is doing really well considering that it has no nest mates.  I think it has decided that I'm it's mother.  It likes to sit nestled up on my shoulder, and surprisingly enough hug out there for over an hour on Wed while I sat reading a book while the kids played outside.

In other news, we rearranged our chickens Saturday night.  Most of our last hatch wasn't fertile, or at least didn't develop (truth be told Gary took care of the dud eggs this time, and he didn't check all that closely).  The "chicks" Aurora and Blanche are actually adolescent pullets now, about 9 1/2 weeks old.  The recommended time to reintroduce them to the rest of the flock is between 2 and 3 months.  They are big enough to stand the pecking order and are fully feathered with their adult feathers, but they aren't so big as to get into fights with the older hens. Since that would have put us up to 17 birds in a coop built for 16 and a run built for 13.  They are a bit crowded (we do plan to build a bigger run soon).  To fix both problems we've moved the rooster and his three ladies into the smaller pen.  This way I can guarantee fertile eggs for the hens we want chicks from.  And the younger birds went into the big coop.

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