Friday, April 11, 2014

Coming of Age

 This Saturday will mark the fourth week that we have been graced with the presence of Flock 4. So far we still have 12 healthy birds, who are "coming of age". They are no longer full of soft fluffiness...instead they are sprouting their big girl feathers in sporadic patches all over their bodies. Sometimes when I look at them it makes me start to itch...I have no idea why. I guess if I were a baby chick who was entering its teen years, the big feathers coming out of my body would make me want to scratch all the time.

 Dan thinks they look ugly. To him they might as well have acne and braces and be wearing shirts with sleeves that are too short and high water pants. Flashbacks to middle school anyone?? I think they look cute, but you know what they say, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I suppose you can classify them as being in middle school. In just a few weeks we can begin to open the brooder and put the ramps in so they can venture out during the day. That day will be middle school graduation and the beginning of high school. By June, they will be ready for the "real world" and start their "jobs" as egg laying hens.

 Now that the chickies are a bit older, we were able to remove the newspaper bedding and put sawdust inside. This is so much nicer! It smells better and someone doesn't have to bed the pen everyday with old news...literally! I learned with Flock 2 the importance of using newspaper until chicks become a few weeks old. Their feed will fall onto the newspaper and can be easily picked up and eaten with journalism bedding, whereas the feed can fall into the sawdust flakes and you risk the chick eating the sawdust over the feed. Then you will have an emotional day trying to remove the hardened poop off your chicks' butts! (At least that is what happened to me... and I really don't want to have to go through that again!)

The rest of the Shawhan farm is coming of age as well. We are in springtime limbo, where the weather is so nice (finally!!) that we want to do things, but it's not quite that time yet. The trees and bushes have buds on them, I do see some asparagus sticking their heads up out of the asparagus bed, and my spring time flower bed is filled with purple, white and pink Hyacinths. Dan even mowed for the first time last night. My fingers are itching to get dirty and plant something! A couple of weeks ago, Dan did some cleaning up around here and spread manure on the garden. Jimmy and Charlie don't know it yet, but we are scheduled to plow on Sunday morning!!! I can't wait!

 Someone else is changing a lot too. Carl can now crawl, sit on his own and stand up on his own!

He keeps me super busy since he gets into everything! As you can see bread pans are more fun than musical toys that spit out balls. I'd be lying if I said I'm not just a bit nervous about the next few months with everything there will be to do around here and a little man to take care of. Soon I'll be losing my right-hand man to a John Deere tractor and a Kinze corn planter.

 It will be worth it. I can't wait for summer and to grow things and to teach Carl how to do them all too!

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