A nice day for a spot of painting

I have been picking away at recaulking the house’s exterior.  A little here, a little there, then I paint over it the next day.  Today I was painting both with both the house blue and the trim almond colors and since I was already out and had brushes going and the paint cans open . . .

I finally painted the trim on the chicken coop.  Actually, even compared to the photo below, from December, it looks quite spiffy.

I have still not made the little curtains I keep threatening to put up at the frosted window, but it’s not because I’m ever going to admit that it’s a silly idea.  Rather, it is because A) the frosted window will not allow me admire the curtains from outside and B) I am afraid the chickens will freak the f*ck out.

Be that as it may, it will probably still happen one of these days.

 Amanda

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Bathtub peeps are getting huuuuuuuge

Lookit ’em!  And they’re almost completely feathered, too.  Someday soon they will be on their way to their “real” mom, Sam.

For comparison purposes, I again present a picture of the chicks as day-old fluffballs:

And one as half-feathered awkward teens:

Boy, am I glad that phase is over.  I think they’re going to be big, beautiful birds.

— Amanda

P.S.  I have to confess that I may have accidentally named the chicks.  You are under absolutely no obligation to keep these names, Sam — and it won’t matter to them if you call them something else because they don’t know their own names.  But you have to admit they are clever names: the Ameraucana is Connie, the Buff Orpington is Buffy, and the Barred Rock is Barbie.

Egg oddities

We have five chickens.  Usually there are 2-3 eggs in the coop when I feed them in the morning.  This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find five!  Every one of the girls pitched in.  You can see that each egg is a little different: one is almost goose-sized and pink, three are almost brown (one fairly normal, one small, and one pointy on both ends).  And then there’s the round one.  One of the girls only lays about twice a month, and her eggs are always . . . well, interesting.  More often than not they don’t have a shell at all.  (Think about that for a second.  Yech.)  But when they do, they are almost white and usually translucent.  They are generally huge and often are double-yolkers.  Today’s, however, looks like it was donated by a turtle.  It’s almost perfectly round, not much bigger than a normal egg, wrinkled, and only see-through in a few spots.

Since we have three Barred Rocks (which we call The Hickory Shirt chickens) and two Rhode Island Reds I have ass-u-med that the three brownish eggs come from the Hickory Shirt gang and the faintly pink ones come from the Rhodies.  Given that, I am going to further ass-u-me that the Rhody with the bad attitude, grossly enlarged crop, and bizarre swagger is the layer of the oddball eggs.  Despite her myriad foibles and what appear to be medical issues she remains perky, active and bossy.

Chickens: you never really know what you’re going to get.

— Amanda

Bathtub peep update

The peeps are now three weeks old.  In another three weeks or so they should have enough feathers to live outside.  Right now they are about 50% feathers and 50% fluff.

The Buff Orpington, Ameraucana, and Barred Rock are happy and healthy and running madly about, but, sadly, the Rhode Island Red passed away unexpectedly and quickly this morning.

— Amanda

Bathtub peep update

“Hide from the monster!”
“It has a camera!”
“PEEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEP!!!”
*poop*
The chicks this morning, coming up on two weeks old.

For reference, this is how big they were on day one.

They’re huge!  They’re at least three times the size they were when I picked them up at the co-op. And they have little wingtip and butt-tip feathers. And they’re significantly noisier.  And they shovel shavings into their water three or four times a day so that they can’t drink and they shriek in horror at their impending doom until I come rescue them (by scooping the shavings out).

They were once curious about me but ever since I removed and replaced their litter a few days ago (which meant leaning my freakishly huge body into their home while brandishing a giant hitherto-known scoop (there’s nothing chickens fear like the unknown) and briefly exposing them to the true (and slippery) nature of their floor) they have been terrified of me.

Ah, chickens.  Such drama.  Such tiny brains.  Such amusement.

So much poop . . . .

 Amanda

Sam’s peeps

What the heck is going on in my spare bathroom?

Chickens!

The black one is a Barred Rock, the yellow one is a Buff Orpington, the two-tone chick is an Ameraucana, and the red one is a Rhode Island Red.

When I got them at the co-op on Saturday they were so tiny that I picked up all four with one hand to put them in their temporary home in the bathtub. This is Tuesday and I think they’ve grown already. In 6-8 weeks they should be fully feathered and ready to go home to their real mom, our niece Samanntha.

— Amanda

Spiffing up the coop

The chicken coop, now with what my brother Lars calls a “wall weed”.  The chickens haven’t noticed it yet.  They are busy plowing through a whole bale of straw.  Note frosted bathroom window for chicken privacy.

Backyard chickens carry a virulent disease: silliness.  People who keep few enough chickens to name them and recognize their personalities become infected with silliness and do things like this.

I have tried planting all sorts of things in the ridiculous little window box I insisted on adding to the chicken coop: nasturtiums, Johnny jump-ups, lobelia.  Nothing toxic, thank goodness, because the chickens ate every last scrap!  Let’s see how they like the taste of plastic and polyester ivy, shall we?

I don’t feel too bad about this frivolity because it was $1.00 at the Goodwill.  Also, it will look nice in the snow.

One of these days I’m going to get really silly and make good on my long-standing threat to install little gingham curtains inside the coop window.

— Amanda