Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day is for painting things red

I believe that when you have done the same thing on the same weekend for three years, it officially becomes a tradition. Right?

We seem to traditionally paint things red over Memorial Day weekend. Our first year here, it was the barn. The following year, with the help of Bill's parents, it was the chicken coop.

This year...Coop Mk. II. Our "chicken tractor" for the meat flock. It was built last summer, but never painted. We initially thought it might house ducks this year. But (apparently) we had so much fun raising Dark Cornish last year, that we're doing it again this year.

What's that? You didn't know that we received 30 baby chickens in the mail last month because I forgot to tell you? Yes, this is true. It seems that getting poultry from the mailman is no longer news-worthy.

The coop:

Bill picked out the brown trim and the quilt block. We were inspired by a barn we saw in Kentucky last week (more on that later). Bill - who retains far more knowledge about my hobbies than I do about his - picked a flying geese block... geese being birds and such. He rejected the "hovering hawks" block, given the raptors tendency to eat our pullets. And, though they aren't a worry here in Indy, "bear paw" was also rejected (bears like chicken!).

The birds were a little skittish when we moved them from their brooder box to the coop. They soon settled down and got right to eating bugs.

In other baby bird news...our good mama turkey hatched 6 healthy turkey babies, who are growing well. There was a lot more mortality with our baby turks than the chickens, and our three other turkey hens are rather flakey when it comes to setting on eggs. They are still young - just barely a year old - so we hope they'll do better next year.

PS - I say "chicken tractor" because the intent was to make an easily movable coop that could be relocated every few days, giving the chickens new areas to scratch around (and not deplete), but the Coop Mk. II is a beast and isn't going anywhere unless under the force of an elephant.

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