Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, April 10, 2015

New chicks lighten up the old chick

It never gets old, bringing home some new chicks. It's been awhile since I've mothered baby chicks in the bathtub, and I forgot how fun it can be...and messy....and loud.

I had the Nursery all ready for them in the main coop-but then my heat bulb broke on me, so I brought them into the small guest bath. One day led to another-it is easy to start being too human, telling yourself,

"Oh it is too cold out there, they might catch a draft. Better give them another day in the tub."

Besides, it's nice to go in and use the facilities and while you're at it, chat with the chicks.

I much prefer having Mama Hens sitting on chicks, but our flock is getting old. We are down to 11 hens and I'm guessing about 5 are retired from egg laying. I know I am suppose to cull hens, but, nope, not going to do it. Just like my sheep, they provided a service to us by giving us food, and they retire here. I really wanted some more Buff Orpingtons, so got two and I also ordered a couple of Golden Sex-Links, which I've never had but are supposed to be good layers. Since we eat 75% or more non-meat diet, we love eggs and use them for fritatas and all sorts of things.

So I went to the feed store to pick up my chicks, but only the two sex links were in, and the Buff Orps wouldn't be there for another few weeks. Not ideal, since now I'll have two crops of babies, and hoping here won't be issues with pecking.

So why are there four chicks in the photos? I really was minding my own business, and the girl says,

"You wouldn't want some Silver Laced Wyandottes, would you? We over ordered."

Why not. Bringing home only two chicks didn't seem right.

Yesterday was very warm, and the I moved the chicks to the super nursery area. It is part of the main coop, which is about 12' high and 15 foot room, cement floors and built in nesting boxes. Pretty nice. Martyn put up a frame wall and we hung landscaping material that allows the chicks to have viewing of the hens, but they are in their own private room. It even has it's own ramp and dutch door going outside when they are ready for it. I checked on them this morning and they made it through their first night of real life chickeness, versus human involved living in the tub chickness. Chicks can break a heart, they can just die. It happens. SO I am always glad when they get a bit bigger.

I'm excited to see them grow. I was thinking of our first hatchlings years ago, which led me to think of our first lambs, and first piglets, and first everything in the last eleven years. The joy of watching these little creatures grow each day before your eyes and develop feathers and wings by leaps and bounds-the joy of having new life, or trying new experiences is something I hope to never lose.

I posted something on Facebook today-noting that my goal is to bring activities into my life that expand my soul, not retract it. Working with the animals, growing them, helping them, breeding some or hospicing others- it expands my soul. I was noting that being on Facebook has begun to feel the opposite-like it is puts my soul in a retracting mode. Having the chicks reminded me that my life in the barnyard expands my perspectives and soul.