A Mess of Greens

The girls will be five weeks old tomorrow.  There have been lots of changes for them these past two weeks.  For one, they have grown leaps and bounds, looking more like teenagers than toddlers now.

Their world expanded a little with this growth and they gained access to all of the brooder/ orange crate.   The morning I removed the paneling reminded me of kids being let out for recess as they raced across the new divide to explore the extra few inches of space.

Along with the expanded territory, I added roosts, initially just one but it was so popular, I had to add another.  Lucy, the Silver Laced Wyandotte, did not waste any time investigating this new perch opportunity, literally spreading her little wings and landing on it as I watched that morning.

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Lucy, the Silver Laced Wyandotte, hopped up on the roost moments after I removed the cardboard to expand the brooder.

 

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Our Rhode Island Red was also immediately intrigued by the new addition to the brooder.

 

Since then, I’ve added another roost, longer and further from the wall to accommodate growing birds and interest levels.  It is not uncommon to find three or four birds on a roost when I come out to check on them.

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Even little Lulu, the Columbian Wyandotte, has gotten in on the roost action, seen here with the Buff Orpington on the newer roost.

 

Their culinary interests have grown as well.  Worms are highly prized and with all of the rain we’ve had, they’ve enjoyed more than their fair share.  It is high drama when worms are offered and I never get good pictures because they race around at top speed to keep their sisters from stealing their treat.

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Big girl feeder (Lulu the Columbian Wyandotte and Lucy the silver laced Wyandotte investigate)

 

Slugs have been savored as well, along with roly poly bugs, a few young crickets and random insects I find while searching for treats for them.  Mealworms remain the favored treat and I’ve resorted to buying the big bags now because they go through them so quickly.

I introduced yogurt mixed with oatmeal and after accepting the texture of the yogurt, the dishes were cleaned out.  Bread is a big deal with lots of squabbling and squawking as they race about with their little piece of whole wheat goodness.

Greens remain a favorite and I’m so happy I sowed a lot of kale seeds despite my family’s lackluster response to it because the girls love baby kale leaves (as do I).  I’ve been generous with my lettuce, spinach and arugula as well and they like it all.  Thyme, oregano, tarragon and parsley have also garnished their meals.  My chives are blooming so they received some of those blooms and that was worthy of a lunch room brawl today.

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Feeding frenzy:  arugula, spinach, romaine lettuce, thyme, dandelions, buttercups, and tarragon.

 

Clovers, grasses, buttercups, wild violets and of course, dandelions which I have no shortage of in our bee friendly lawn, have delighted them.  I’m not sure if the color attracts them or if they truly taste better but these go first each time.  The yellow dandelion tops are favorites and if one comes attached to a long stem, a race ensues with yanking of the stems and attempts to snatch away, often resulting in the stem breaking and the girls going in opposite directions.  It’s fun to watch.

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Sharing the roost and waiting in line for a turn.

 

The one caveat my husband had when we decided on chickens was that if we found ourselves to be owners of a rooster, it would go.  I knew this going in and so did the children.  While we have nothing against a rooster, our backyard is in relatively close proximity to some neighbors and crowing at all hours will likely not be appreciated.

That being said, our silver laced Wyandotte is concerning.  Lucy is substantially larger than the other girls and in particular, larger than her kin, the golden laced Wyandotte.  As well she spends a lot of time on the roost away from the others.  When we take field trips out back, she seems to not settle as well as the others who enjoy a nap in the sunshine but rather likes to stay alert to her surroundings.  I don’t see her as bossy so much as just a little more mindful and certainly larger.  I sure hope Lucy is just a big girl because I’d hate to lose her.  She doesn’t mind me picking her up and lazily eats offerings out of my hand while still roosting on the branch which always makes me laugh.

No doubt, she’s a brave girl as well, literally flying the coop last week.  I had the screen covering open and when I turned my back, I was surprised by the sound of flapping wings, turning in time to see her land on the edge of the brooder/ orange crate and then immediately onto a nearby box.  She seemed pleased with herself, but I didn’t let her revel in her maiden flight, quickly putting her back into the crate and covering it again with the screen.

We are all still enamored with the girls, enjoying the peeping that greets us each time we open the garage door , surely wondering if we’ve brought treats.  Their feathers are coming in beautifully and they are exhibiting traits of the lovely birds they will become.

Soon they will be able to transition outside as the temperatures continue to rise, or so I trust despite our cool, rainy May.  I’ve sown some Crimson clover in their future run and it has sprouted.  It should grow quickly and I’m sure they’ll savor it (likely as they ward off honey bees who also love Crimson clover).

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Coop status

 

We are in the midst of the nectar flow here in Maryland and my large hive is booming.  My little hive has finally taken off and I was delighted to find several frames of brood yesterday putting them back on the map and reminding me that they know what’s best.  I had hoped they’d make a new queen when I last provided them with a boost of brood from the strong hive, but they knew this queen was still good and just needed numbers to support her efforts.

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It’s a sunny, windy and cool day here but the colors of spring feel good on the eyes.   Herbaceous perennials are pushing up and making sure they’re known.  Herbs and vegetables are gaining traction.  Grass is still very green and blooms are beginning in earnest.  The coop is coming along and moving day will be here before we know it!  Good times!

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Allium, Columbine and Salvia

 

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First Bearded iris bloom

 

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Garden getting its footing.

 

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Blooming chives were a big hit for the girls.  Here, chives, tarragon, sage, and strawberries.

 

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Lovely strawberry bloom

 

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Raspberries beginning

 

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Blueberries blooming

 

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Bleeding heart and Allium

 

 

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