The Chickens – Close-Up

  
My Austrolop chicks are now just over two months old and when I see them together in the yard they all look very much the same – little bundles of black feathers.  Except two are just beginning to hint that they might be roosters, (let’s hope there are only two males in this flock) and of those two, one has little sprinkles of copper on his wings.  They are barely distinguishable ….. Unless you get Close Up (WPC).  Then you can see that the feathers are not all black after all, but a shimmer of teal, mauve and copper. He’s gonna be handsome dude!

  
This little one is a Silkie chick.  I have two of them (also about two months old) and there is absolutely no way I can tell them apart – no distinguishing marks at all. I’m assuming they are both hens, but who knows?  One thing is for certain, though: they are sooooo cute and fluffy – right down to their toes! 

Garden Share – July

Oh July!  Full-on summer time!! Thanks, again, to Julie of Frog Pond Farm for introducing me the Garden Share Collective.

Here in Nova Scotia, it seems that we have gone from winter to summer in a week!  A week ago on Sunday I reached for a heavy coat to go out and run some errands.  Today it is 25C and sunny!  It’s a bit of a shock.  We have also been getting healthy dose of rain about every three days (and usually in the nighttime, which is nice).  So, the grapes,  the herbs, the veg and the roses are all catching up after a slow start.  And the weeds?  Well!  They are loving this!!

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Here is a little taste of the strawberries, which are in full production:

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Besides the weeds, it is my little flock of chickens who are my main concern.  On May 1, we had a visit from a fox.  Yup!  You know how that turned out.  She (I suspect it was a mama fox with a family to feed) took out the entire flock except for one sweet Silver Phoenix hen.  It didn’t help that it was the very day we were leaving to go on holiday.  There was nothing we could do, but leave her here alone in the coop under the care of my father who dropped in twice a day to check on her. Immediately upon our return I set about sourcing some chicks.

 Introducing…..our new flock:  6 Austrolops, 2 white bantam Silkies, and 2 Houdan. Here they are on day one:

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The Houdan were about a month older than the others, so I kept them separate for a couple weeks before introducing them the our one remaining hen.  They were very skittish.  One kept hiding under the other and seemed to be in constant panic mode.  I’ve been worried for weeks about how to best introduce the chicks to these three.  I placed them in a self contained dog kennel inside the coop for 4 days.  This way everyone could meet each other without contact.  They are growing as fast as the weeds in the garden and their small space was getting crowded fast! Last night I took them from the kennel and placed them on the roosting bar.  They settled immediately. All that worry!!  This morning I went out to open the coop up to the run and watch these babies explore their new surroundings.  Here they come!

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So far, so good. They are about 7 weeks old now.  My poor Phoenix girl doesn’t seem to know how she got herself into this mess.  It must feel like an invasion every few weeks.

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Mademoiselle Houdan is just in a constant state of confusion, anyway.  But she’s certainly a looker!!

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But my real concern is her sister.  The second Houdan chick, who is now about 11 weeks old is unable to stand up properly.  Her legs just don’t seem to support her and spread out in opposite directions.  We first noticed a problem about 10 days ago, and the issue has continued to get worse.  I separated her from the coop before introducing the chicks as I just didn’t want to add to her stress.  I also wanted her to be in a small space with easy access to food and water.

I don’t know what has caused this leg issue, and I don’t know if there is anything I can do to help her.  If she can’t support herself, she may not be able to stay clean and access the necessary food & water. So I’m really at a loss. If anyone has had a similar experience, or have heard of such a thing, I’d be very interested in learning more.

 In the meantime, I’ll keep her quiet and safe, while I enjoy watching those little chicks grow and explore.