Baby Update

Not that one, that’s just a food baby, remember!

 It’s been two action-packed weeks since we discovered we had baby chicks, and not just a handful. There were 10 babies and then an 11th wandered out to join them. And then one fell by the wayside, somewhere – the vicious cycle that is cutthroat Mother Nature, and then I made the mistake of naming the runt Little Joe, sad emoji.

Little Joe had me reminiscent of Baby Minnie – small, eyes still not quite open, and not always with the family. Little Joe must have been the 11th baby, and since he was younger than the rest, he was smaller and usually sleeping on the job, so he would get left behind when Princess Fiona shuffled everyone else off to greener pastures or away from those pesky fucking roosters. No one needs to see their antics at 3 days old. And trying to sleep or catch up to Mum means probably not getting all the tasty snacks or getting a drink when the babies sneak over to the water dish while King Cock – AKA Isabella, watches imperiously from nearby. Little Joe did not come back out of the coop the next day, sad sad emoji.

I made a chunnel for my birds – a chicken tunnel. The idea was to link up the chicken yard with the horrendously overgrown garden, which is fenced to keep out the everloving deer. We have a good swathe of backyard with no trees, which apparently acts as a landing strip for predatory fucking birds, so the chicken yard has an enormous net over the top, hence they can’t just wander willynilly to the garden. 

Anyhoo, the chunnnel was working great, and Princess Fiona got into the habit of taking the babies for their morning nap out there, away from the rest of the assholes, in the dappled shade and relative quiet of the orchard in between. But owls, motherfucking owls. Owls are not all nocturnal, contrary to what I had “learned” my whole damn life, and “owls” eat birds, other birds, nasty fuckers.

An owl came swooping out of the daytime sky and clawed a baby bird through the fucking wire, grasping the chunnel and pulling and pushing it until it managed to cut off the head of a baby. I know the wire isn’t bullet-proof but cheese and rice, people, I thought it might have been cannibal-proof. Apparently not. 

So now we’re down to 8 babies and I count them as often as I see them, because chicken babies, like their human counterparts, find ways to try to kill themselves. I’ve  had to cover the fence with more fencing so they can’t wander around the yard chirping about snack time to all and sundry predators, and frankly, ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat because my own babies still sort of try and kill themselves or each other. The only saving graces they have in common is their general cuteness so I, at least, won’t kill them.

Peekaboo baby!

Mother’s Loads

Mothering is a tough gig, and I say that as only a mother can whilst saying nothing at all of people who may or may not be fathering, parenting or child-rearing in any other form. I am merely speaking from my own experience and blah blah blah.
My kombucha mother has been fading away into despair and desolation for a few months and I have cast mine eye upon her only occasionally when rooting around the pantry, but only today did I act on my thoughts to rehydrate the poor thing. And not half an hour later, she started to revive. We’ll see if she produces anything worth drinking any time soon, or if she punishes me for a few weeks first with piss and literal vinegar.
I experienced the same forlorn malady this afternoon after a long day with my excitable children and my first cup of wine, so revived!
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The only one bigger is the novel by Stephen King and a big tent in middle earth.
My parents are flying back to Australia tomorrow and they did us a solid amount of babysitting – grandparenting, if you will – and so tomorrow we bid them adieu.
Someone else who is gearing up for babysitting/parenting/stealing the younguns is Mabel, our resident grandmotherly chicken. Princess Fiona has been nurturing her eggs for about two weeks I think, so soon enough, the boys and I will be listening at the doors
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for the pitter patter of tiny feet and adorably small chirping, whilst simultaneously trying to keep Mabel occupied in the yard so the littles can get acquainted with their mother rather than the mother being edged out by a clucky Mabel, even though she won’t sit on any clutch of eggs of her own. Anyways, we’re all very excited at the probability of babies, except for Husband because he’s all about mouths to feed and other whatevs economies and etc. 5yo was telling me today all about where the eggs come from and where they go and how they grow, and when he was a baby and I brought him out to see the baby chicks. If for no other reason than that, I am excited for the babies. Lifecycles, that’s what my peeps are talking ’bout!
Here’s to the mothers!

All Cooped Up

We now have 4 baby chicks, who really aren’t babies anymore, but 3 are part of the flock and 1 is the outsider, the sassanach, if you will. Haha

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I have put baby Minnie outside in a small house, complete with fenced and wired-roof yard, and a heat lamp right next to the big chicken yard. Everyone can see each other all of the time, so I’m hopeful of a mostly peaceful inclusion eventually.
There is always work to be done to the chicken yard because I haven’t spent time or loads of cash building one of those pretty pinteresting yards and vintage sheds, complete with reclaimed chandelier and needlework decorations. To my shame. And apparently, to Husband’s shame as well. Part of the problem is that I don’t want to be in there with the birds, because birds are a bit scary, and also 2 roosters might fight over who gets to fight me. So I try and do bits of work after the birds are in bed but Husband is tired or whatever and doesn’t make it easy for me to get shit done in the twilight hours outside. Combine that with an upcoming birthday party at home, and I need to get some work done.
Enter – bamboo. The stalks are slowly being woven through the wire to make a fence, and the branches are torn off and put over the ground inside the yard. I saw an article on composting the chicken yard and so that’s what I’m doing. The dirt is not fertile anymore; there’s poo everywhere. So the bamboo leaves and any other yard trimmings make a nice curiosity for the birds to peck and scratch through, and hopefully there will be bugs and seeds. And it also covers the dirt and will eventually break down. Yesterday I trimmed some of the shrubs and the clippings went straight on. Today I will try and get to the front yard. Also, it’s great not to have a burn pile sitting in the yard for 18 months, and it’s easier to mske time for trimming when I don’t have to precariously balance a wheelbarrow over the edge of our greenwaste dump.

Update: Baby Minnie has disappeared, presumed eaten. Nature is not always cool.