Tag Archives: flocks

Lesson 1392 – Leaving the nest

For the last 13 days I have had the most incredible experience of watching robins hatch from their brilliant blue eggs to then seeing them become little, but perfect birds in their own right.

Late yesterday afternoon I noticed that the chicks were starting to stretch out and sit on the top of the nest. That’s it, I thought, it’s like when you unfold a map, once opened there’s no putting it back.

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And then this morning, I went out on the porch to find this. Continue reading

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Lesson 1390 – Eyes wide open

I can’t get enough of these baby robins. The mom and dad are very tolerant of me  – I coo to them and they no longer fly across the street when I come outside and instead just move to the end of the porch. As long as I bribe them with blueberries they don’t seem to mind me getting near the nest (and then leaving quickly.)

It looks like one of the chicks didn’t make it (four eggs hatched) but honestly with how these little guys are growing so quickly I’m not sure the nest would have supported 4 chicks. All chicks have opened their eyes and the feather growth is nothing short of amazing. It’s such a pleasure and honor to be able to see all this.

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Lesson 1389 – The Prodigal Chicken Has Returned

 

Last night when I went to close up the coop, I realized that Charlie, one of my Black Copper Marans, was missing. It wasn’t *that* unusual because Charlie tended to try roosting in some odd places at night, sometimes she’d be on our front porch, sometimes on our back door, and even on one ironic occasion I found her roosting on top gas grill. Like a tiny tot, I secretly thought that Charlie enjoyed being carried off to bed when it was time for all to sleep.

But she wasn’t in any of the places I knew to look.

Put that on top of the text I had received from a neighbor who said that she had seen a fox near our house and the sense of dread threatened to buckle my knees.

No. Not Charlie. Please anyone but Charlie. Not beautiful, beautiful Charlie. Continue reading

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Lesson 1388 – Blue eggs countdown – they’re here

A lot has happened in our neck of the woods. Because our Robin has nested so close to our front door and because (I hope anyway) I continue to leave blueberries out for her each morning, she has tolerated me taking quick snapshots of her little family. Just take a look at what I am so lucky to be able to see.
Lots of pipping on that top right egg.

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Oh, look, here she is giving her siblings some emotional support. Continue reading

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Lesson 1386 – Blue eggs countdown

May 19th, 2016 – getting closer and closer.

I thought I saw some pipping yesterday, but now I think it was just some scratches on the egg.

The mama is *loving* the blueberries I leave out for her.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1383 – Medicated mash or not?

 

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It’s chick season! My Facebook page is filled with all sorts of adorable chick photos (not that I’m complaining.)

I recently gave a chick workshop to some people who are interested in perhaps “trying chickens” (my advice? just bite the bullet and go for it.)

One way in which my workshops differ from others is that I suggest that all chicks receive medicated mash (baby food) until they are fully feathered and ready to live in the coop. Even if you want to grow “organic birds” I suggest medicated feed for those first few weeks.

Sorry, but it’s the microbiologist in me. I know what bacteria can do. Think about it. If you get chicks from a feed store they are typically housed in low tubs. Moms’ bring their young (sneezing) kids over to look at them. People pick them up (because they are so cute) and then return them to the tub (because they are not cute enough to keep.) Not only that but chicks are typically kept with many, many other chicks some of which may be weak and it’s the weaker ones that get sick. When one chick in a tub with hundreds gets sick, chances are many others will as well.

So I see medicated feed as a sort of insurance policy. Eat this for a few weeks just to make sure. Continue reading

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Lesson 1382 – Blue eggs countdown

I’ve been using this week to catch up on a lot of work that had been put aside for the past few months. I still have an article to write and a trip to the college for administration purposes before I can close up shop for the weekend.

Regardless of whether I’m ready or not, life goes on. Two days before my mother’s funeral, I got a call that our ordered chicks had arrived. I briefly thought about bringing them with us for the weekend to Connecticut but then figured the hotel probably wouldn’t be too excited about that. So I set them up in a trusty Tupperware box and found a chick sitter, who through the wonder that is Facebook, kept us connected to the newest members of our flock all weekend. Continue reading

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Lesson 1379 – Pasty Butt Problems

 

 

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Chicks don’t need a lot of care – basically they need water, food, and heat. The littlest guys though, who are just learning how to eat food and drink enough water need to be watched for something called Pasty Butt. Because birds eliminate urine and poop in one package, if they don’t know how to drink enough water, or if they are eating some of the absorbent bedding they can get concentrated waste and that can cause a problem.

Concentrated waste sometimes doesn’t drop off and then that bird poop dries into a hard little blob. If the poop is stuck on the bum (technically it’s a cloacae) then it can form a plug preventing any more poop from being passed. If you try to “rip” the poop off, you can tear delicate tissue. This is serious and can lead to death. Pasty Butt is a situation that needs to be addressed immediately Continue reading

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Boy, am I learning a lot

 

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As you might know, for the better part of the last 2 weeks, I’ve been with my mother while she is in hospice. Last week was my “spring break” from college and so I was able to be at the hospice for the entire week – couldn’t have planned that one any better if I had tried. My plan going forward is to come back to New Hampshire for Monday – Wednesday to teach my classes and then return to Connecticut for Thursday to Sunday for as long as it takes.

Fortunately I have a flexible schedule where I can swing this. My kids are older and can take care of themselves – although they have wondered what happened to the leprechaun who normally visits our house to leave treats on St. Patrick’s day and now they are *really* getting worried about the Easter Bunny missing our house this year.

(Between you and me, I’m not sure anyone has to worry about a thing for Easter.)

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Lesson 1373 – Sure signs of Spring in New Hampshire

 

Even though there are patches of ice and snow on the ground and even though there’s still an occasional forecast for snow, spring is trying its hardest to arrive. If you pay attention, there are certain telltale signs that can’t be ignored:

You can hear birds in the morning – as a kid when I walked to the bus stop in the morning, birds singing was the definitive sign that winter was behind us. It’s one of those things that all of the sudden hits you, you’re walking along, minding your own business and then you realize – hey, I hear birds! (the coo of a mourning dove always brings me back to early spring mornings)

It’s maple syrup season in New Hampshire – in a few weeks we have an unofficial  state holiday called Maple Sugaring weekend. The state publishes a map of participating sugar houses and you crawl all over the state to each sugar house tasting various samples of freshly boiled syrup and things like maple popcorn, cotton candy and maple-infused hot dogs (which are surprisingly good.) Sure you get a sugar high (I learned early on to pack protein and non-sweet snacks for the kids) but my goodness, it is so worth it. On that weekend we end up buying enough syrup to last until the following year’s Maple Sugaring weekend.

Haywards has opened – We have some outstanding ice cream stands in New Hampshire – Haywards in Nashua being one of them. The magnificent example of their craft  below is called the “Appalachian Trail.” It’s espresso ice cream with Heath Bar bits and a fudge swirl throughout. Believe it or not, the one pictured (which I ate for lunch) is a size “small.”

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Yes, I know, because of Lyme Disease I’m supposed to stay away from dairy and yes, because I have lactose intolerance I knew I was going to be paying a price (and I did) but sometimes a person has to do what a person has to do and in this case, it was the best way I knew to celebrate that after a long, cold winter – spring is finally on its way to New Hampshire.

 

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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