Monday, May 02, 2005

A New Development Every Day

It's an unusually warm, sunny, and still day, so I've had the birds outside in their run for an hour or so. The climate outside is actually better than it would be inside (that's rare in Eureka!), so I figured I'd let them enjoy it. Because the run is fenced in quite securely, I can even go inside for short visits and just come out and check on them.

I'm leaving the door open between the run and the henhouse where they will be sleeping by the end of the month, figuring that they would gradually get used to the concept. I went outside a few minutes ago and could only see three chicks, which caused me immediate panic until I realized that brave Eleanor had marched right up the ramp into the henhouse, where she was checking out her new digs. I even set her on the roost she'd be sleeping on, and she didn't object to it in the least.

Yesterday I fed them a little yogurt (by "little" I mean less than a spoonful for all four.) It's supposed to help beneficial bacteria flourish in their guts and cut down the risk of any kind of intestinal disorder. I had noticed (warning: there's a little turd talk coming) very watery droppings from Dolley, so that made me think it wouldn't be a bad time to start with the yogurt. I'd also read that too much salt can cause this problem, and there is a little salt in the powdered vitamin solution we add to their water. So they're getting a much more diluted version of that, too. One of those two strategies seems to have cleared up the problem.

From my attic window, I can hear them screeching outside from time to time. I run to the window in a panic, only to see that one of them has a blade of grass in its mouth and the other three have given chase, as if it is the last blade of grass on earth and they all need it for their survival. Chickens, I have learned, are real drama queens.

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