Saturday, June 15, 2019

There's Always That One

The pullet flock was happy to go outside this week.

The 8-week-old pullets are too big to confine in their pullet house, and too small to free range with the six adult hens.

So, my solution was, as it frequently is, to add more fencing.

Knowing they will be adult size in a few months, I went for the quick method, building a temporary fence around their pullet house. It allowed them to go outside, but kept the adult hens out.

Experience has taught me that not all my solutions are brilliant, and not all work. Erring on the side of caution, I kept the adult hens confined to the hen house on Wednesday and then let the pullets outside.

By day's end, three pullets were too chicken to go outside; five were enjoying their new digs; and five had proven that they were like mice, and able to squeeze through my fence.

I spent the evening catching pullets, and the following day planning for a grander temporary fence.

On Friday, I made a second attempt at pullet confinement. After completing the fence, I let the pullets outside. Within minutes all were outside, scratching for bugs and plucking weeds. At day's end, 12 pullets returned to their house and roosted.

And then there was this one, a Cuckoo Maran, who was in the sheep pasture, cooing, "Don't fence me in."

I wasn't going to argue with her.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Why it Pays to Look Down

The first time I spotted a killdeer's nest in the driveway. I noted its location, went to get my camera and could not find the nest again.

This spring, I've spent a considerably time looking down. In early spring, with hay supplies running low, I looked for signs of green grass. Now, that the sheep and horses are grazing pastures, I'm still looking down.

A wet spring means that many alfalfa stands were damaged, and I've yet to see a hay field cut in our area. I'm evaluating pastures, adjusting forage plans and looking down.

I still don't know how I spotted it among the clover, grass and weeds. Maybe it was the bit of brown among the lush green. But I stopped and looked closer.

And, I found a red-winged blackbird's nest and recently hatched chicks.

I crouched down for closer inspection and a photograph.

The mama flew overhead, squawking her disapproval.

Standing up and looking across the acres of grass, I told her, "Don't worry. I'll never find it again."