growing pullets – 10 weeks old

Gloria and Cleo are doing great and adjusting well to life outside. No more predator incidents to report, thank goodness. It’s amazing how aware they are of anything flying overhead, and they can tell the difference between airplanes, harmless birds, and birds of prey. The other day there were a couple of hawks flying overhead and they became very still, and inched toward the bushes. There are also little birds that come looking for their food, and they get chased away by Gloria. Cleo is getting quite red around her face, but Gloria’s red seems to be coming in slower. There is still a Fluffy shaped hole in out hearts, and I imagine there always will be, but we are still very much enjoying the other two sweet chicks.

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chillin’ chicks

Today was the hottest day yet since the chicks have been outside, so in order to cool down, they scratched up some dirt until they reached a cooler level, then started rolling in it and pressing their bodies against it. This must be typical, but I had never seen it before, and it looks so funny! Luckily a cool breeze came up soon after this and then they were ready to go up to bed to roost.

Independence Day – 8 weeks old

Our 2 little pullets have successfully made it through 3 nights outside now. We brought them inside last night because of all of the fireworks, so they wouldn’t get too freaked out. By the 3rd night they were actually going up the ramp by themselves at the end of the day, so they are starting to think of it as a safe home again. We still haven’t caught a rat yet. We’ve tried with peanut butter and sausages, and tonight we’re trying bananas. Maybe they are just too smart for the trap. Or maybe something else killed them. Mae suggested that it was Fluffy. Wouldn’t that be justice? Maybe they choked on her? Yesterday was so gorgeous, we brought the guinea pigs outside too and we all played in the backyard for quite awhile. Gloria and Cleo have started flying to the top of their coop to roost. Here’s some footage and photos:

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Predator Proofing

We are still in mourning for our beautiful Fluffy, but I suppose every adventure has it’s conflict, tragedy, or villain (damn rats raccoons) and the heroes must persevere to become stronger and wiser, so that is what we are trying to do. We went to the hardware store to purchase 2x2s, chicken wire, a staple gun, and braces to build a screen to put under the coop at night. That took most of yesterday. We also stapled chicken wire over the ventilation holes, and we’ll make sure to pull the ladder up at night as well. And we’re going to try trapping the rats with live traps and then use a humane asphyxiation method I researched online. Jonah insists that Fluffy must be avenged. We’ll see how it goes. (Update: we caught nothing, probably because we now believe it was raccoons instead of rats) Gloria and Cleo are fine, maybe a bit more skittish and inseparable. It seems to make them extra nervous to be separated from each other. We set the coop back up for them this morning and they really didn’t want to go up the ladder, or get anywhere near where Fluffy was killed, at the top of the ladder by the vent holes. So we broke out some canned corn (their favorite treat) and sprinkled it on the ladder stairs and all over that spot and inside the vent holes, now screened. It took them awhile, but eventually they ate it, and settled into the hay for a bit of a rest. So I think they’ll be OK. Tonight may be tough, but we’re doing everything we can to make it a safe one, so hopefully they’ll feel secure in their coop again soon.

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