May Day and beyond
Another two weeks have flown by. It’s been an extra productive two weeks, with another to follow this week. First of all, the fence is completely in, and it’s wonderful! They did a great job especially considering some of the terrain and conditions and it’s a work of beauty; it is so nice to let Farley out the door at night and in the mornings before work without having to leash walk him. The clearing alone was a job, never mind planting all the fence posts and putting up 1400 feet of field fence with two gates. I still haven’t figured out how much this adds up to, with regard to how much is left unfenced, but will get out and do the math at some point. I need to know how much of this is pasture, too, so when I get the critters I plan to get I’ll have an idea what it can support. I’ll buy hay as needed, but the plan is to have the goats/sheep keep the property cleared and thrive on what grows here rather than import fodder grown elsewhere.
I moved the hens into the coop last weekend, and they’ve bonded nicely with their new home. I put up a small (tiny) makeshift pen until I can get to making a nice sized run. As ridiculously small as the pen is, it’s still larger than their tractor’s space. I didn’t let them out of their coop/pen for the first five days, then opened up the door one evening and kept my fingers crossed. Normally they’ll return to their home at dusk – I just wasn’t sure if they’d see the tractor and think they needed to get in that! Nope, they returned to their castle and egg laying, such as it is, has continued without a hitch. Right now I’m using a cardboard box for a nest box, mainly because I haven’t figured out where I want to put the next boxes permanently, though the hens are also improvising and making nests in various places. The straw bedding is several inches thick, so they’ve picked a few quiet corners and done their own thing, which is so nice for them. They love their roosts, and most nights all but a couple are perched on the top roost, about four feet off the ground. Life is good.
The chicks continue to grow and are now outgrowing their box in the garage. They’re nearly ready to move outside – there are four of them that still haven’t feathered out sufficiently to go outside full time (nights), but they’re enjoying the days in the sunshine.
We’ve had four days of fantastic weather after a week of subnormal temps. It dipped into the 30s several nights at the end of April and into May and set a few low temperature records. Combined with the rain coming down in buckets, I was glad I hadn’t switched out of my winter parka yet. It’s sunny and warm now though, and the nights have been clear and cool-ish, just like May is supposed to be. And unlike last May’s July heat. I’m glad it’s back to normal.