This blog is brought to you by a rare moment of stillness.
My week off has been so hectic that I don't really feel like I've had a week off. I don't ever remember being so busy. How does this happen? It seems that there is a never-ending list of things that need to be done around here.
The ducks are so big now it's hard to believe that they were ever small. I keep meaning to get an updated picture of them but it's very low on my list of priorities. We put them out in the shade of the spruce trees by the pond each morning and let them spend the day doing what ducks do...eat, poop, sleep. That's about it. Oh yes, they also are very cute and very sweet.
Derek started 8th grade football practice this week and his position is left tackle. Now, the only thing I know about football is that the ball is brown and pointed on both ends, so it's a little awkward being a "football mom" without any prior experience. Derek is very tired and sore this week but he's sticking to it. I gave him until Friday to change his mind but he's not backing out. He's made two new friends and feels that he's earned some respect amongst his peers. I'm glad to hear he's got some new friends; he was the new kid last year and I was worried because he didn't mention friends very often. He had to leave his buddies behind when we moved back home last August, so it's good to know that things are improving for him in the social department.
A bit of Derek trivia: at 5' 10" he's the 2nd tallest on his team. Somewhere between 12 and 13 boys experience a growth spurt that actually makes them skip a clothing size. Derek went from a boys 18 to a mens small within the span of 3 months. He went from a size 7 shoe to a size 12! The kid I could look in the eye in April is now taller than me and I have to look up at him! Only ducks grow faster than that!
The chickens are 19 weeks old and I am trying to be patient waiting for eggs. I check the nests (and beneath them) mid-morning and again after dinner. The girls are showing signs that they are maturing and at the point-of-lay. I'm wondering who will get an egg first...Susan, Ron, Don or me? Perhaps we should have a prize for the first egg!
Derek told me about a scary incident with the chooks this morning. He said he heard them clucking loudly and went out to investigate. A large female Cooper's hawk (perhaps a juvenile) was sitting on a support beam for the chicken run fence. All the girls but two were inside the coop clucking loudly. Silver, who is turning out to be worth his weight in gold, had flown out of the run and was clucking loudly below the hawk, wings a-flappin' and hackle feathers raised as high as they would go. I guess that hawk decided she didn't want to tangle with the likes of Silver. She could have easily taken him but she didn't know he's nothing but fluff and attitude. His body is only the size of a Nerf football! Thanks to Silver's protective actions and the girls' quick thinking, no birds were killed or injured. I noticed that they were very vigilant for the rest of the day, sounding the alarm for birds as small as doves.
Silver has begun calling the girls to any food he finds. Out of the six roosters I've had this year, only two have exhibited this behavior. It's very interesting to see a rooster do this. He picks up the tiniest tidbit and just when you think he's going to eat it he drops it and with an up-and-down head bobbing motion he points to the food with his beak all the while making a sharp clucking sound. The girls come running and when they see what he's pointing at they gobble it up. What a good boy! Now I've got to make sure that nothing bad ever happens to this wonderful Hamburg rooster. After dinner tonight the boys helped me staple some bird netting over the far end of the run. Hopefully Miss Cooper will think twice about landing on the fence again.
I think that chickens that are given the chance to free range near the cover of evergreen trees are safer than they would be fenced in. They can quickly run for cover and escape danger in a thick tree. My friend Susan experienced a similar scare with her chickens recently and she said her birds took cover under a spruce tree in her yard. Not only are free-range birds happier but it would appear that they are also safer.
Have a great weekend!