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Archives for : May2015

{Photo of the Day} 31.05.2015

I finished the inside! Well, for now. I’m thinking of painting some kind of kraken themed lineage map on that blank wall by the nesting boxes. But for now, it’s done & I feel really good about accomplishing something. I have been feeling incredibly useless since the accident, especially at work, so finishing this in the timeframe I gave myself was nice. You know, dehydration aside & being incredibly sore, it feels good to do something. I did a lot of work & finished it. I would have never left the painting as sloppy as I did pre-accident, but that’s kinda the beauty of post-accident brain: no more OCD about things needing to be perfect.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get anyone to go into the coop & stay there. Maybe it still smelled of paint fumes? We had a good wind blowing through & everything dried super fast in the 80degF weather. Maybe it was because it’s new & they still have the dog house in the pen. I feel bad that I’m going to make them learn to go into the new coop right after they started putting themselves up in the dog house at night. I don’t think it will take them long to get used to it since they manage the ramp & skyway just fine. Maybe when I get the roosts in they’ll feel more inclined to check the inside out.

In between finishing the main colour & the trim/doors/windows, we caught the very edge of this wicked storm. It seriously rolled right by our property. We got the wind, a few raindrops, while just maybe a mile east of us got drenched. Mom was sure it was going to hit us, so I moved the flock into the barn & closed up the coop to wait it out. We sat & watched it blow by us.

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While we were watching the storm, the hawk showed back up circling right over the chicken pen. This dude (& the second one, they’re probably mates because they hunt together) shows up every time I start letting the Ithakē Flock free range. They’re really good about going back into the pen on their own & recognise it as a safe place, but from what I’ve read light coloured chickens are easier for the hawks to pick off from above. So, I don’t feel comfortable with Odysseus out there. This hawk was circling low while I was moving the chickens by hand to the barn, so it doesn’t seem to be deterred much by my presence. The good thing is that it seems they have a large hunting area, so if I wait long enough they’ll move to a different area & I can let the flock out again.

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While I did get the painting finished, I didn’t get the grow out coop put up. The chicks are probably going to stay in their brooders & the garage for at least another week. I know that dog house is super heavy, but I don’t know if I’m strong enough to help Dad get it out of the pen & moved over to the north side of the pen so I can built the grow out pen extension around it. Something to accomplish next weekend.

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{Photo of the Day} 30.05.2015

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My pay check was short for June, so I was only able to afford the interior paint for the coop. This is okay since that’s the part that needs to be painted first so I can move the flock in by Sunday night. We also bought some fencing to build the grow out coop extension to the main coop. I’m hoping I can still get that made tomorrow after the setback I had today. I ended up having pretty bad dehydration symptoms & had to stop painting after only getting the nesting boxes done. I’m still not feel great & I think at this point it’s a combination of the dehydration & cognitive fatigue. The CF has been wrecking me for the past 2 months.

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I’ll have a more detailed post about the coop build later.

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{Photo of the Day} 29.05.2015

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First, this evening after work, I noticed that Memnoch’s face is getting a little fatter because his waddle is really starting to come in now! The skin is getting all bumpy & red & almost swollen looking. I couldn’t get a really close look because he didn’t want me messing around with his face (I imagine it probably has some growing pains going on there). He did let me check out his comb & the back is split in two, but also has a single tiny point in between them. It also seems like the comb will permanently fold over the way it does. I tried to straighten it out or fold it to the other side of his head & it was like the cowlick curl in the middle of my forehead – not moving or changing. I guess maybe they just grow in like that sometimes? I’m not sure. I guess we’ll find out as he matures.

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Second, integrating the chicks is going to have to wait a little longer. I should have put them all together sooner because now the M&M Twins are a lot bigger than Lila, Nyx & Sparta. Especially Sparta. My poor little bit was the subject of Memnoch’s rage when I put them all in the jungle gym together. I read that if the chicks have a huge size difference, this can happen. It also happens with the adult chickens & the chicks. So, I think for right now, I’ll work on getting the Twins used to being outside next to their parents & when the other 3 are 2 months old, I’ll start putting them in the grow out pen with the Twins (sepearate at first, just in case). It’s just going to take a little longer than I thought it would. Not a bad thing or a major change in plans. Just a little slower to the goal.

{Photo of the Day} 28.05.2015

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Today was an extremely bad day in a line of about 2 months’ worth of extremely bad days, so it was nice to come home & have my parents tell me they got the ramp to the skyway up & a couple hens even tried it & got a look at the inside of their new home. With that done, I just have to get paid & start painting & hopefully move the Ithakē Flock in & get the chicks a grow out pen set up so they can be outside during the day this weekend.

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{Photo of the Day} 27.05.2015

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The week days seem to drag on forever lately & I know it’s because of the cognitive fatigue & depression my job induces. It makes taking care of the animals that much more difficult when I get home in the evening. Cognitive fatigue is basically what happens when my brain has had enough. Enough input, enough processing, enough stress. When it’s reached that point, I don’t just get tired; I get exhausted, mentally & physically. I get to that kind of exhaustion where explosive anger is imminent over anything. I flip flop between completely spaced out & Toddler Rage when I get to this point. I also end up being in massive physical pain radiating from my ankles.

By the time I get home, & it’s a miracle I can drive myself home the hour it takes on the highway my car accident happened on in this state, I just want to pass out. This is not an option with 5 baby chickens. This is not an option with 5 baby chickens, 5 adult chickens & 2 adult dogs. They have needs that I have to take care of no matter how badly I just want to sleep for the rest of my life.

So, when I got home this evening, I found my dad had built the Ithakē Flock a skyway between the coop & the pen! It is so fun & cracks me up. I can’t wait until we get the ramp put in, the old dog house moved out, the coop painted & the flock moved in. It’s gonna be fun.

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I actually got home a bit earlier than I have been the past month, so I decided that I needed to put this extra time to good use while I had it. I’m pretty determined not to let myself sink further into this depression like I would have prior to the car accident, so even though I felt like I needed to face plant my pillow, I got to work.

I took the M&M Twins out of the jungle gym & out into the barn. This had a slight detour when Mercury flew off my hand & proceeded to run around the outside of the pen while I hobbled after her holding Memnoch. I eventually put him into the barn & that made it less of a struggle to wrangle Mercury. I’m surprised Memnoch doesn’t take off like Mercury. He’s very much like his father & feels I’m best used as a perch. Even when I brought them back up to the garage when it started to get dark, he just sat on my forearm & enjoyed the ride.

With the twins moved, I put Lila, Nyx & Sparta into the jungle gym. I’m hoping once we get that old dog house out of the pen I can use it for the grow out pen for the chicks. I’m also thinking that a second pen might need to happen if Odysseus & Memnoch don’t get along. Easy enough to make a penthouse of sorts for the 2 males & keep all the females together. If it hadn’t taken my dad almost every weekend this month to finish the coop, I might entertain just splitting them into 2 flocks (Odysseus & his girls, Memnoch & the chicks). It’s more feasible to separate the males from the females since they can use the old dog house without my worrying about collecting eggs from it.

After everyone was moved outside, I cleaned the brooder boxes again. It’s getting to be a twice a week thing now that the chicks are getting bigger & I ran out of the deodorise/composting component I had been using for 2 months. That stuff did amazing things for the quality of those brooders.

By the time all that was done, it was getting dark & all the babies needed to be moved back inside. Out in the barn, I found Memnoch & Mercury outside the pen in the barn but already getting drowsy enough that they didn’t put up too much of a fight when I caught them up. Lila, Nyx & Sparta still aren’t fully feathered, so they were happy to come in & warm up. The Ithakē Flock put themselves up for the night, which tickles me to death. They just started doing that this month. Before, I would need to put them in the dog house 1 at a time. I’m sad that they just decided to put themselves up for the night right before I start making them use a different house to sleep in. I have faith they’ll figure it out again.

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Widowmaker’s eye is clearing up a lot. Now that the swelling & gunk are clearing up, it almost looks like he scratched his eye on something & that may have caused the swelling, leaking mess. His lower lid has a section that looks like a cut. So far, he still seems to be on the mend & isn’t showing signs of sight loss in that eye & those are both good things.

{Photo of the Day} 26.05.2015

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That tiny d’Anvers is going to be a handful, I can tell already. Every time she flies up onto my head, I imagine her screaming “This is SPARTAAAAAAAA!” You know, since I named her Sparta. Anyhow. Good news from the “experts” over at BYC, the 3 1 month olds all seem to be pullets! I want 1-3 male Phoenixes to be able to breed them, but I’m not ready for that so I hope Lila is Lila & not Nova. Once I have more strength back in me & I get a few full pay checks, I’m going to build a few breeding pens & a rooster penthouse. That all probably won’t happen until next spring.

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{Photo of the Day} 25.05.2015

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I feel like I ran nonstop this weekend & did nothing but chores when I needed to rest. On the plus side, I did get everything I needed to get done done. Well, as done as my current supply level would get me.

Today, the M&M Twins were set up inside the pen with their parents. Woo, that turned out to be more intense than I thought it would be. Memnoch & Odysseus were very animated & vocal with each other, at one point mimicking each other, but never outright fighting with each other through the hardware cloth. That, I was thankful for. The only hen interested in them was Penelope & that’s because she’s the one who puts herself between Odysseus & whatever it is at the time that he has a beef with (that’s usually my wellies). The others didn’t seem to really care. If all I have to worry about is having 2 males in the same flock, that’d be enough for me.

The posturing & curiosity is to be expected, from what I’ve been able to read. They are 2 strange birds invading his pen, so of course Odysseus would be extra interested in what was up with them. It didn’t last long & they were unsupervised long enough for me to eat lunch without incident. I will need to make it a little more secure before I start putting Memnoch & Mercury out there all day. Thankfully, I get paid on Friday.

When the twins & the month old chicks got together in the jungle gym, things, again, went in an unexpected way. This wasn’t the first time all 5 chicks were together, but Memnoch went ahead & acted like these weren’t the same 3 chicks he & Mercury get as close as they can to each night. He gave them all a good wallop & gave Sparta a little too much extra attention. This, too, was something I had read could/would happen. It was just a surprise since they had gotten along just fine the last time all of them were together.

The biggest surprise was how Nyx wasn’t going to let Memnoch peck on Sparta with no response. She walked right up to him & gave him a good hard peck in the face & then promptly ran away so he couldn’t get her. It was hilarious.

Much like with integrating into the Ithakē Flock, it’ll just take time & patience to get them to live together without pecking.

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The only other minor incident was when I packed the twins into the travel crate to take them to the jungle gym. I got Memnoch out first, but while trying to get decent pictures of his growing waddle, Mercury decided she didn’t want to wait & escaped. She did run into Odysseus on her way out & he gave her a bit of a scare, but then she was straight out the door & into the backyard. And that gave me the scare! She is much faster & less trusting than the hens or Odysseus & there was no way I was going to be able to chase her down even if I wasn’t slightly disabled physically.

Good thing the twins start to freak out when they’re separated. I just used Memnoch as bait & got her to corner herself for me. I’m glad they’re so attached to each other because there would have been no way I was going to get her round up any other way.

These 2. I am just so thrilled with them & am so thankful that my path hit that detour & made it so I ended up with them in my life. Even if they are demon chickens. They’re my demon chickens & hatching & raising them has really helped me to not completely lose it or just sink further into this depression I’m currently dealing with.

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In non-chicken news, Widowmaker’s eye is starting to heal up finally. Now that it’s cleared up, I think it might have been gunky because of trauma. To me, it kind of looks like he has a cut on the lower lid going in a downwards angle – from the eyeball down. He doesn’t seem to have sight problems with it now that he can open it, which is good. A blind horse is pretty much a dead horse, even if it’s a mini. I love my ornery little stallions. I’m not ready for them not to be around trying to eat the chicken’s seed/mealworms mix.

{Photo of the Day} 24.05.2015

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This weekend, I’ve been working on letting the flock wander around the backyard since they’ve been cooped up in the barn from all the rain. I have to be honest: there are now 2 hawks hanging around the neighborhood & that makes me nervous about having the flock wandering around. So, they’ve only been out free ranging while I’ve been out there with them (although, my not being very mobile or fast really doesn’t help with anything). Anyhow, it was hilarious watching the ponies come over to check out the chickens. The flock would squawk in freight & scatter & the ponies would look like they were laughing with each other & then do it all over again when the flock had re-gathered. Eventually, the flock did make it to their pen.

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My mom bought me a windmill. Originally, she was going to get the 6ft tall version but I guess it was all sold out when she got to the store. She must have been pretty determined to buy a windmill because she ended up buying the 10ft version. It was kind of a project because it didn’t fit together as well as the instructions would have us believe. It got put together & now we just need to decide where to set it up! I guess I’m really going to have to build a tiny house now.

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To my surprise, the coral cactus I bought on a whim has started to sprout stuff out of it! I decided to look up info on it & found out that it’s not actually a cactus. If the Internet is telling the truth, it’s 2 plants grafted together & is closer to an Aferican succulent than a cactus. I also found out they’re poisonous! So. Thankfully neither Toki or Arya had tried checking it out during the night when I take it & the orchid out of the windowsill. I think I’ll leave it in the windowsill from now on. Still, having a poisonous Frankenstein plant is kinda cool.

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{Photo of the Day} 23.05.2015

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It was difficult to get myself out of bed & outside to muck out the chicken pen. I did wake up around 6AM to move the M&M Twins outside for the day, but them I went right back to bed for another handful of hours. It just felt like 2 dogs & 10 chickens were too much for me to manage today.

They have never felt like too much for me to handle. I think it’s just the fact that I’ve been extremely depressed for the past 2 weeks about my job. Then, this weekend, the Denver Comic Con is happening & one of my favourite writers is there, but I can’t go meet him because of my TBI (traumatic brain injury). I still can’t deal with lots of stimulation/information & that’s definitely what comic conventions have. That depressed me a lot, too.

I finally got out there while there was a break in the rain & let the Ithakē Flock free range while I worked on their pen. It wore me out quickly & a thunderstorm with potential tornadoes rolled in after about 2 hours of my trying to get the moldy straw hat out of the pen. I’m glad I live in the middle of nowhere so no one saw me chasing Odysseus around the backyard with my flannel shirt to try & get him in the barn without picking him up (I wasn’t wearing any gloves & didn’t want to get pecked without them on by him).

During the thunderstorm, I let the younger chicks fly-hop back & forth between their brooder & the M&M Twins’ brooder. Arya watched them very intently before they all fell asleep. I’m continually surprised that she doesn’t ignore my commands & just try to eat them. They love her & Toki.

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After the rain & before the sunset, I went back out to finish the job. I let the Ithakē Flock back out to explore & got busy trying to get as much grossness out of their pen as I could before he next thunderstorm blew in. And I did it! I had some help at the end, but they mostly looked for bugs in the freshly uncovered dirt.

I liked watching them adventure around the yard & discovered that Odysseus is definitely the head of the flock. The hens followed him all over the backyard, the pony corral & the barn, but they always ended up in their pen with me. It’s nice to know that he’s figured out the pen is a safe zone & also that he watches out for his hens. He wouldn’t let any of them stray too far from the main group. I also noticed what a complex vocal communication system they have with each other. I hope the 5 chicks integrate smoothly & the flock continues to function as well as it has been so far.

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{Photo of the Day} 22.05.2015

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I know we need the rain. Colorado has been in drought conditions for a very long time & while it’s nowhere near as bad as California, it’s not good. Our winters haven’t been as snowy as they used to be, just bitter cold. Obviously, drought conditions aren’t good for anything. I just wish we weren’t getting a year’s worth of moisture in 2 weeks. I’m done with the flooding. And the tornado weather, which that’s just getting started here.

The chicken pen is just a mess because it has been flooded out for the majority of the past 2 weeks. The 3 bales of straw hay in there are just a moldy mess now that I need to muck out. That’ll be interesting. I don’t have a lot of strength or stamina after the accident. I guess it’s a mix of being bedridden/in a wheelchair for 2.5-3 months & then not eating regularly since the accident because I don’t have the “I’m hungry” feeling anymore (I also don’t have the “I’m full” feeling anymore either). Just walking a 50lbs bag of chicken feed from the house to the barn left me dripping with sweat (not an exaggeration at all) & gasping for air like I just ran a marathon. I’m going to have to really buckle down & get that pen cleaned this weekend.

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