I still haven’t made strawberry preserves; yesterday’s schedule was packed with a trip into town for some shopping, and before I knew it, it was 4:00 pm and that’s no time to start canning, when you need to have dinner ready by 6:00! So those are on today’s agenda, and I need to get out and pick some rhubarb soon, so that I can make some of that variety.
I’m pleased to report that all of the chickens are now in the new coop – we have closed up the old little coop completely. You may remember that we built a half-wall in the new coop, to provide us a a storage area for their feed, litter, and the diatomaceous earth (DE) that we use in their litter and feed for insect and worm control. Well, the other morning, I opened the door, only to be greeted by some ISA Brown pullets who had roosted there on the ledge.
I had a Dr. Seuss moment: “‘This is not good. This is not right.The chickens cannot sleep here all night!” More importantly, I didn’t want them to get any bright ideas about jumping/flying down to explore the storage area. So, we added some chicken wire last night – we may add a second upper layer extending to the ceiling brace, depending upon how adventurous our fine-feathered friends decide to get.
These birds have a definite routine, and one of their funny little quirks is that they know when it starts to get dark, and they see us headed down from the house, it means they’ll be having their feeders refilled for the evening. So, we have become quite popular, and are usually met by a mass of birds marching toward us enthusiastically. They’ll run up the hill toward the house when they see us coming, and persistently follow us around until they hear their crumbles and corn rattling in the feeders.
There’s a pullet in our flock who was part of our original batch of chicks from January that’s quite the little character. She’s supposed to be a Buff Orpington, but her feathers are darker, sleeker, and her legs are yellow. Our other Buff Orps have lighter, fluffier feathers, and pale white legs. As a baby in the brooder cage, she enjoyed hopping into my hand and letting me hold her, or jumping onto my arm, where she’d perch contentedly for as long as I could hold my arm still. (You can see here at the bottom of this post.)
Actually, I wasn’t sure if we had lost her back in April, when we had a cannibalistic rooster that killed a couple of our hens, but she’s made it known that she’s my little buddy. (Hannibal the rooster was promptly dispatched once we realized his homicidal tendencies.) She follows me quite a bit, and if I’m not paying attention, she will peck lightly at my leg – she is not a cuddler, by any means, but she does enjoy being held and petted for a few minutes. I am not sure if she’s just a Buff Orp with some recessive traits, or another type of chicken altogether. She’s quite nice, though, and I’m glad to have her. You can see her here, with another Buff Orp behind her.
I’ve also noticed that our Welsummer rooster has become quite the ladies man. We’ve definitely got some fertile eggs – if any of these hens decides to go broody, there could be more babies around the farm!
Well, I could go on and on about these birds, but I’ve got preserves to tend to, before my afternoon gets away from me completely!