Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Flower Girls

Well, we did it again. I couldn't resist the siren peep of baby chicks and just like that, we doubled our flock. Hello, sweet girls. Welcome to the family.

Okay, so it wasn't quite that spontaneous. We actually discussed whether or not this was a good time to get more chickens, and came to the conclusion that yes, it most definitely is. (Hey, I didn't say it was a long discussion...) Here are the facts: I just started a new job and have no vacation time for  the first three months, so we're not taking any big trips. Our coop is very large and can easily hold up to 15 chickens, and we only have six in there right now (RIP, Alice and Georgia). And it's time to add some spring chickens to the mix, as our existing chickens are two-three years old, and egg production will eventually begin to slow. Plus: CUTE BABY CHICKS!

I consider my chickens pets (though not on the same level as the dogs, whom I consider family members) so naturally they all have names. I can tell the chickens apart, but Nathan can't, which is fine with me. It means I get to name them whatever I want. Previously, I'd been giving my chicken old-fashioned names - Hattie, Ruby, Louise, Olga, and Polly are scratching in their run as I type this. To differentiate between the two groups of chickens, the older hens will henceforth be known as the Old Ladies (due to their names, and because they are old). The new chicks will henceforth be known as the Flower Girls, and each one will be named after a bloom. I already picked out the names but I haven't yet figured out who's who - the chicks will have to let me know as they develop their personalities. (So far, only Violet has claimed her name - Daisy, Lilly, Clover, Poppy, and Iris have yet to be determined.)

Since the chicks are still brand new and all haven't grown their feathers yet, they have to live inside, under a lamp, in my office. We've also rolled the space heater in here, so it's nice and toasty. While I don't mind sharing my office, I will be excited to move them into the coop. Since the weather is getting pretty warm in Wilmington, I'm hoping they'll be able to go into a cordoned off section of the run by the first week of May. (We can't fully integrate the flock until they're full grown - chickens are pretty vicious and the Old Ladies will likely attack the Flower Girls, so I easing them into a shared space will be a slow and necessary process - more on that later!) 

All in all, this has been a pretty exciting spring, and it's only just begun! Next month we're beginning a new adventure in top bar beekeeping, our garden is beginning to gain some ground, and the weather is warming up. I hate winter so desperately and love summer so much that sometimes I forget the sweet, albeit short, spring season. This year we seem to be lingering in it, and for that I am grateful.