Christmas 2016

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We had Christmas here, which meant we didn’t have to travel. The dogs aren’t used to having lots of company and while they thought it was fun to have lots of people to fuss over them, Whiskey at least was ready to have his house back by the end of the night. He curled up on the couch and took a nap to recover from all the excitement. Rhythm was her usual ebullient self and handled the whole thing a little more gracefully. Not that they weren’t both really well-behaved, but she seemed not to mind the company as much.
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While Tony’s parents were here, he showed off his favorite chicks – the blue splash Marans. They really are friendly birds and practically beg to be handled. It’s kind of amazing. They’re all quite a bit less skittish than they were a couple of weeks ago. They all pick at the paint on my boots to see if it’s worth eating now, where they huddled at the other side of the shed not too long ago. The cockerel still is flighty, which is something we’re working on now.
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I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was having trouble figuring out how to wean the babies off their light. It looks like they might be doing it themselves. Admittedly, this was in the middle of the afternoon, but they seem to be spending less time huddled under the light and more time spread out around the chicken side of the shed. Usually, they’re nested up in some hay they scoop around themselves, but occasionally, they’ll hop up on one of the unused nest box frames (mentioned in the linked post) or even the nest boxes themselves. They haven’t really explored the roost bars yet, but they’re still pretty little, so there’s plenty of time.

Last week, I mentioned needing a new drain plug – turns out, the hole was stripped out. Dad came over and helped me make new threads for the oversized plug I bought, so that should be holding now. I haven’t had time to really check it out yet to see how it’s doing though.

As amazing as it to think about, next week will be 2017, so I’m posting the November/December 2016 album for your perusal. Happy new year!

How About the Right Parts?

We got a four-wheeler not too long ago. We were sharing it for hunting, but the people who were borrowing it kept getting stuck with a dead battery. We figured it was about time to replace the battery anyway. I did some looking online (without knowing what kind of battery we already had) and figured we probably had the wrong one. When the lady brought the new battery, it was pretty clear to me that, even if the battery were still in good condition, it wasn’t the right battery for the machine.

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Then, I went to change the oil. I drained the oil out of the machine and went to put the plug back in. It’s not actually big enough to seal the hole…it slides in and out, rather than screwing in. I’m hoping that someone replaced the bolt with the wrong thing, rather than drilling the hole to be larger. We’ll see when the bolt comes in…

The chicks have gotten even bigger and have enjoyed having the window open on warm days. They’re down to one light, even on the really cold nights. They’re getting pretty big. The blue splash Marans are the friendliest/easiest to catch, which is kind of surprising to me, since the Australorps and the Orpingtons are supposed to be really friendly birds. They’re all a little less skittish when they think I have food, though, which is encouraging.

Chick Update

The chicks are growing quickly. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of them in their awkward, half fuzz-half feathers stage. They were really ugly, in a funny-looking way.

When I built the nest boxes, I made frames and then tacked plywood to them. I miscalculated and built two more than I needed. Since the chicks are so little, I put one of them down in the chicken house for the babies to hop up on when they decided they were ready. There hasn’t really been a lot of interest in it yet, but I did catch this pair sunning themselves in front of the window.

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Yesterday was really cold for us (about 15ºF last night), so I had both heat lamps turned on. When I went down to check on them this afternoon, they were sprawled out like it was the middle of summer. I turned the second lamp off, since the outside temperature isn’t really supposed to drop tonight. I think the toughest thing for me with the fall babies is to figure out how much heat they actually need and how much is just making them rely on the lamp instead of them generating their own heat. Around here, with a fully grown bird, they generally don’t need supplemental heat, but the babies are different. I suppose I need to move the lights up and see how they do.