Early

I think we consider too much the luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Welcome to the action this afternoon on what we call the ‘Chicken Highway’. I’ve discovered these guys are crazy for zucchini. They will clean these right down to the skins. The seeds act as a natural dewormer and they are full of vitamins and contain a lot of water. Good news on these sweltering humid days!

Paddy’s group have now integrated themselves with Norman’s hens. That makes fifteen hens and one rooster spread out on these perches. That transition went well. I did need to boost the Brahma hens daily diet. They were just too timid at first to spend enough time near the feeders. They are doing quite well now.

The Wellies (Welsummers) declared themselves ready to free range with the rest. How did they do that? By leading me on a ‘wild hen chase’ through the Virginia Creeper vines and fallen tangled poplars in the woods to the west of us. After two face plants I shook myself off and told them they’d have to find their OWN way out. Seems that was quite easy once I got out of their way! Ha! They needed more excitement than the back fence line – on the yard side. So I’ve now closed the garden door to their run and opened the paddock door. It is a lot of fun to look up and see all the chickens, the goats and the jennies hanging out in one place. It’s a little earlier than I thought I’d combine them. But hey – I’m still working on thinking like a chicken.

When I’m not working on that … I’m working on thinking like a duck. 😉 I DO know the ducks LOVE a clean cold pool of water. That’s my job first thing each day. And I love the system I’ve come to for that job. This little pump takes about three minutes to clean one kiddie pool out.

When I show up with it the flock starts to cheer me on. They know what’s coming. I save a little water from each pool to make a dabbling puddle. Above you can see Baxter patiently waiting for that treat. He has also learned that if he stands by he might be the first to grab any worms hanging out under the pool.

I feed the far end of the pump hose through the back fence line. They would be much happier if I would just let the water flow into their run. These little gaffers end up digging pretty deep holes if you let them! To protect the tree roots – and to battle back the bot flies – most of the water needs to drain AWAY. Adding the pump to the pool upkeep routine means I can change their water every day if need be. In this heat – it needs to be!

I’ve kept the duck ponds cool – fed the chickens lots of zucchini – and kept the goats in their quarters near their fan for the height of this heat wave. That means the jennies can have their dark barn undisturbed as well.

I thought they’d be kicking up a fuss about staying ‘in’. Not so. They’ve got it figured out. Stay still – stay by a fan.

And say ‘cheese’!

The skies are starting to get rather black … I think I had better get back outside and convince all that it is time to call it a day.

Fresh air is rolling in this evening. It will be wonderful to get a break from the humidity! I don’t think I have ever sweated this much!