Chick Pic, Larry, and Belly Rubs

Here is a picture of the chicks from today.  They have been here 3 days now and are 5 days old.  
They are doing a lot of sleeping, running, flexing their wings (which aren’t feathered yet) and stretching their legs, bumping chests (probably the males), eating and drinking, and chasing the red laser dot from the laser thermometer when we’re checking the temp under the heat lamps.  Bright-eyed and perky, they are fast-moving little boogers and so cute to watch. Today they saw their first fly and it was funny to watch them try to catch it.  (It flew over their heads and out through the wire.  Maybe next time.)  Their foraging instincts are definitely good and will serve them well.

  Larry is fascinated by the chicks, in his calm, laid-back kind of way.  He seems to like checking on them, and when I was inside the tractor picking up one of the chicks to hold it and it was giving its “I’m scared” cheep, he came over to the side of the tractor to check on it from the outside.  Awwww!!  In this picture Larry was waiting outside the chicken tractor door, watching me check temps under the heat lamps.  

The laying ladies are continuing to enjoy the life of a free-ranging, scratching, pecking, and laying chicken.  Lately they have been enjoying a particularly large patch of white clover mixed in with the grass; Mr. Sweet Gum is moving them to another large patch of it tomorrow since they seemed to enjoy the clover so much.  This picture is of them enjoying a tasty treat of organic carrots yesterday.    They prefer them already chopped into pieces but will take them whole, not leaving a single orange speck uneaten.  Pecking at the whole carrot gives them something different to do as well.  For variety’s sake the next time I give them the organic carrots as a treat I might chop them up into small pieces and then throw them all over the area, letting the ladies hunt for them.  The Colonel does not take part in the feast, interestingly enough; he merely observes. I’ve thrown carrot chunks in his direction to encourage him to try one but he remains suspicious or gallant, take your pick.
There is lots of work going on here behind the scenes and keeping us busy:  working the hives is a constant effort, especially spring until summer, as is doing the prep work to be able to put out more boxes for the bees; Mr. Sweet Gum is working on the second chicken tractor for the broilers and figuring out how best to install waterers for the broilers when they’re ready to go on pasture; I’m making as many batches of soap as I can in preparation for farmers market season; and there are always plenty of weeds to pull and grass to cut.  Oh–and dog bellies to scratch, as Larry reminds me, we musn’t forget that important task.  🙂

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