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{Flock Updates} Cotton Puffs

My mom bought 15 White Polish chicks a few weeks ago. They hatched on Monday & arrived this morning from Murray McMurray Hatchery (along with a Mystery Chick – the brown little cinnamon roll in the middle of all the cotton puffs). I was beyond surprised that all 16 chicks were alive & active because I was honestly expecting some to die. 

The chicken side of the Flock just doubled. Mom wanted more Polish & I also missed having that breed in the Flock, but my main hope is that more females will chill all my dudes out some so they stop fighting with each other as much as they have started to. 

Arya is beside herself with excitement about the new editions. Toki is beside himself with exasperation about not getting his room back for another month. 

I’ve never had to raise this many chicks yet. It’ll be an adventure, that’s for sure. I’ve already decided that each one will get a nail polish dedicated to them so I can tell who’s who as they grow. Except for the Mystery Chick, obviously, since that one is definitely unique. It was listed as a “rare & exotic” mystery chick, but I have no idea what breed it is. Time to round up 16 names!

{Flock Updates} You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on animals

All the babies are growing at the usual quick pace, and I am continuing to fall in love with Syrax, Fin Fang Foom, and Mad Mim so much. Last night, Fin and Mim fell asleep on the back of my neck, in my hair, and Sy fell asleep in my hands (Arya planted herself on my legs so she wasn’t left out and Toki was just irritated that no one was adhering to his ridged schedule and sleeping in their designated areas). I’m pretty sure all three of the baby dragons are male; however, I still can’t tell 100% with Sy. We’ll have to wait for the shoulder feathers to grow out some more.

Damien seems to be slowing down on his need to breed and we haven’t had to separate him from the rest of the flock for a good string of days. I’m very thankful for this. All the info on peafowl that says they can stress themselves to death had me super worried that’s what was going to happen here. Maybe the hormones are weening back since breeding season is almost over or maybe it’s not worth it since the temps have been up in the 90s lately. It’s been hot enough that none of the birds came out to free range the other day because it wasn’t worth leaving the shade. Summertime in Colorado – a dry heat!

The good thing about the heat is that the birds eat less & I don’t have to buy food as often as I do in the winter. Which is good because I still haven’t gotten a solid job offer. I definitely feel like the minute I drop that I’m disabled, anyone interviewing me automatically DQ’s me for the job even though I’m only applying to jobs I know I can manage. It’s pretty disheartening. I have been adding more merch to the shops, but there’s been no activity since that fist month of having the Redbubble shop open. If I don’t hear anything by the end of the month as far as a job offer, I’m going to pull all the money I can from my retirement savings. It’s not ideal since that would automatically make me not qualify for the disability insurance PERA offers, but I’ve got bills to pay and animals to care for.

{Flock Updates} Name Changes and Expansions

Had some name changes and shuffles with the chicks and peas. Sometimes I’m pretty good at guessing personalities with the animals, and sometimes they prove me wrong and adjustments need to be made so they have a name that fits them. I wish it were that easy to do as a human.

Douma and Irving have had their names changed to Mumbles and One-Two (respectively) because watching them rough house with each other reminded me of Idris Elba and Gerard Butler in the movie RocknRolla. Yes, two more males for sure with these ones. One-Two, in the tradition of his lineage, has really amped up the attempted crowing in the mornings. He still sounds like a mechanical murder dinosaur and it cracks me up.

Mina is still Mina and definitely the only female to hatch from the chicken eggs. She isn’t very much like Sparta, personality wise. She’s very quiet and reserved. She doesn’t have the mohawk that seems to be a strong trait from Memnoch (both One-Two and Mumbles have one), so I’m thinking her sire might be Ronan.

The peachicks just had a slight name shuffle. Mim is now Fin and Fin is now Mim. I am so in love with these three. I think I mentioned this previously, but I didn’t expect them to be so different from the chicken chicks. With the chicks, you basically show them where the food and water is, how to dip there beaks in and eat and drink, and that’s pretty much all they want from you as long as they have other chicks in the brooder with them. Peachicks, on the other hand, imprint on you fast and heavy. They want you to hold them and cuddle them and it is just the most adorable thing on the planet. Fin was really complainy last night, so I took him out and put him on my chest while I rested my legs, and he just went right to sleep. Their wings are getting huge, for the most part. Mim still has some rumbled looking feathers from being in the egg so long and not being able to get out on her own. Syrax is getting some purple/black looking feathers coming in on her shoulders and wings. This was some validation that was almost 2 years in the making. The reason I stopped going to the peafowl section of the Backyardchickens.com boards was because a few of the users were trying to accuse the breeder I got Dalton and Richmond from of lying to me about what kind of peahens they were. The said there was no way Dalton could be a black shoulder (which she isn’t, she’s a spaulding purple black shoulder) and that there was no way Richmond could be a cameo (again, which she isn’t, she’s a spaulding cameo split pied). Anyhow, black shoulders start out looking like they’ll be all white as chicks until the darker feathers start coming in. Always someone that wants to be a know-it-all and try to shit on people they don’t even know.

Personality wise, they’re all very curious but hesitant when you take them out of the brooder. I got them outside in a rabbit cage that has a poop tray under it so they can’t touch the ground – apparently, they can’t touch the ground for the first few months. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with how susceptible they are to catching diseases and parasites. The temps are getting up to the 90s, so it was warm enough for them to be away from the brooder for a half an hour while I worked on the a-frames for the aviary expansion. The Hellblazers came up to check them out, but there’s something about them that all the animals seem to sense distinguishes them from chickens. I’m not sure if they smell different or what it is, but even the dogs seem to know they’re different from the chicks they’ve been watching grow for the past 2 years.

They’ve also already started to try flying around before they were even a week old. They’ve been making really amazing progress at it so far and it just amazes me how they just know how to do things like that and don’t need to be taught it. Having them hatch when they did, I’m glad I wasn’t still working for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and having to put up with their disability discrimination and harassment. If I were still having to put up with that and having a constant concussion migraine and cognitive fatigue and all the other symptoms my coworkers and manager made worse with their behavior, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them as much as I am right now. After this month, if I don’t find a job, I’ll be out of health insurance, bills will be difficult to cover, but I’m so glad I get to spend all day with them and my dogs and the other birds.

There has also been a boom in baby buns from the feral rabbits this spring. Charles Bronson (the rabbit that had been digging in and out of the main aviary) turned out to be a female and had a litter in a hole between the fence of the aviary and the peafowl’s greenhouse. They are the most diverse looking babies I’ve seen come out of all the feral rabbits so far. I wanted to keep the one I’m holding in that picture so much, but I put it back in the den with its siblings. There’s been at least 2 litters up near the house. One of the litters is a group of these rollie pollie rabbits that I’ve named Butterball, The Great Hambino, Chunk, and Albert. They are the most adorable bunnies.

{Flock Updates} Hope Springs Eternal

It’s been awhile since my last update here. 2016 was not a great or kind year for the animals and, unfortunately, the beginning of 2017 hasn’t been a great or kind year for me and things are about to get tougher.

While we haven’t had any deaths since Igor and his grandmothers, tensions between Mercury and Memnoch and everyone else have been getting high as the weather has been getting warmer. I was lucky enough to find 2 “rooster coops” on CL for free that I’m going to retrofit into a coop for the Demon Twins and a possible breeding coop or grow out coop. Another non-success was trying to integrate Ronan, Lucien, Epiphany, and Mazikeen with the rest of the flock. For some unknown reason, Richmond and Dalton refused to let them into the aviary/main pen and to make things less stressful on everyone (including me) I’ve kept them in the old rabbit pen for now. My eventual plan is to move that pen into the aviary so that everyone is in the same area and can see each other throughout the day when they aren’t out free ranging. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I’m hoping to get the poles up for the heavier aviary netting soon. This will raise the clearance a few feet, allowing me to stand up straight and give the birds more headroom as well. After that, I’m going to rearrange the extra coops and covered pens so everyone is in one compound area.

The bad news for me, and by extension the animals, is the fact that I have finally gotten tired of silently putting up with the harassment/discrimination I’ve been dealing with at my Day Job since going back to it after the car wreck that left me with lifelong disabilities. Last month, I submitted my official grievance against my manager and most of my coworkers. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, HR is not taking their investigation of my claims seriously (they okay’d my manager to give me a year end job review while the investigation is still going on). While I still have to meet with HR tomorrow, I’ve already decided that I’m quitting because of the harassment, discrimination, and HR’s flippant response to it.

This means finances are going to get tight. I have been applying to jobs for the past 4-5 months, but the job market isn’t great and most people aren’t chomping at the bit to hire someone with disabilities. I’ll most likely have to apply for unemployment, try to apply for SSI, empty my retirement, and put my plans to finish my degree and build my house on hold indefinitely. Again. I just feel very defeated by all this and it’s left me wondering why I survived that car wreck if this was going to be my life after it.

The only thing that’s been keeping my spirits up have been the animals – Toki and Arya are constant mood boosters, watching the birds thrive (Damien has gotten a massive train and Richmond let him breed with her at least once!). I had started incubating chicken eggs and had agreed to take in a straight run of Olandsk Dwarfs prior to my Day Job environment degrading as badly as it has, so baby chicks and possible baby PEAchicks are something to look forward to.

I’ve also been creating art of the animals to sell. Right now, there are various different products available on the Redbubble store (more on that in the next update) that are specific to the animals. I haven’t gotten everyone on a product, yet. I am working on it as much as I can between my school work. Speaking of school work, one of the classes I’m taking is a bookmaking class and I’m hoping to make a number of books about the animals in the near future.

Right now, the animals are still thriving and I’m doing my best to keep it that way.

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{Photo of the Day} 16.09.2016

{Photo of the Day} 11.09.2016

{Photo of the Day} 10.09.2016

{Photo of the Day} 08.09.2016

We’ve had some preying mantis living in the pampas grass and I finally got a picture of one of them (they’re my favourite).

{Photo of the Day} 22.08.2016

{Photo of the Day} 15.08.2016