Chooks and Barters

The chick family ended up with only 6 of the 10 chicks hatched, but they are adorable little yellow fluff balls and Momma Hen is taking good care of them.  Tonight I am a bit worried as it is going down to 40 f, but she had them tucked firmly under her fluffed body.

We had been letting the Buffys and the Americauna middles free range hoping that the pecking order would be established without incident.  Each evening, the middles were always reluctant to enter the coop.  If I rounded them all up during the day to allow the dogs outside time, I would usually find the middles and 1 or 2 Buffys outside the pen within an hour or so.  To try to keep the Buffys from escaping, I clipped the wings on the two that could get out.  I was considering clipping the wings on the Americaunas too until yesterday evening when I found one of the clipped wing Buffys had been caught outside of the pen by one of the dogs and she couldn’t get away.  Unfortunately, she didn’t survive the attack and I am now down two hens this spring.  Today, I left them penned up all day and by this afternoon, a Buffy and all 4 Americaunas were out.  I got them penned up about an hour before dark and by the time I went out to close up the coop, one of the middles was out again.  I’m in a quandry as to how to deal with it.  The run is 4′ welded wire fence.  I can’t put a top on it and still be able to move about in the run if necessary.  I can’t let them free range as long as the Golden is going to chase and catch them.  I am trying to figure the least expensive solution that might also provide some shade as they killed the peach tree that was in their run by destroying the bark last summer.  A hoop house or a 6 foot topped run of dog panels.  I have seen plans for hoop houses made of bull panels, and others made of bent pipe.  Decisions to be made.

Today was spinning day with the group.  One of my friends in the group has a little rescued terrier dog that participates in Flyball and as a fund raiser, they put together baskets.  I provided some of my soaps and lotion bars to a couple of their baskets and she, being a very talented seamstress with nice machines offered to make me a needle case for one of my sets of interchangeable knitting needles.  I had purchased one from an Etsy shop that I liked, but saw some flaws in it that she and I discussed when we were sharing a room at the spinning retreat in February.  I bought a couple of batik fat quarters and she engineered the case to correct the flaws.  I love it.

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When I got home to put my needles in the case, I found the cutest little sheep attached to the end of the zipper.

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That was the best barter that I have ever done.  Thank you Lawre.

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