Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The pecking order

I have come to fully understand and experienced what the pecking order really is! 
Over the last year, I have had my first flock of 4 chickens and never really saw one taking over the others and claiming her place.  This was until I introduced 4 additional lovely chicks!
My beautiful big brahma named Rosie has now claimed her place on top of the pecking order!  She will ensure that no chick whatsoever is in her way.  She can’t stand the charming clucking of chicks becoming pullets around her, she can’t stand when they eat…She runs from one side to the other to ensure they get out of her way.  She is the boss.  She walks around the run like a dangerous shark keeping an eye on her surroundings.  It is not only the chicks she can’t stand but also Paulette, my broody Partridge Rock.  As soon as I get Paulette out of the nesting box to get her to eat and drink, Rosie has the uncontrollable need to pecking her and running after her.
The once peaceful coop has become very active.  I find myself standing in the run chasing Rosie to allow the little ones to eat some.  The good thing going for the younger girls is they can fly and fly they do!  Great way to escape from Rosie and Sweeney (Speckled Sussex) who is the next one pecking the chicks!  As I mentioned, Paulette is broody so for the most part she leaves the chicks alone (otherwise, she also would peck them).  The only one who could care less is my fantastic black sex link, Gossie, not only she is one of my best layers but she is friendly and gentle.  She even bunks with the chicks, kind of saying to the others “they are not that bad!”
It is going to be very interesting once the young girls are fully grown.  I am not sure if they will continue to allow the pecking order that way or if one of them would take over…
In the meantime, we get endless entertainment watching the young chicks running from one side of the coop to the other, Rosie roaming the coop and the run like she is queen of the castle and Sweeney right behind her.  There is little squawk and squeak every once in a while, a little feather being pulled but in the end, they somehow all seem to co-habit just fine.  Everyone has a place in the pecking order.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Little Bunny Foo Foo, hopping through my garden...

It started on Mother’s day when one of my neighbors told me I had a little bunny under my gigantic shed.  A bunny? I said, what?  She explained that other neighbors had a rabbit that had babies, for a total of 12 rabbits!  Yes, I guess the saying about rabbits is true.
Yesterday I came home, to find a larger rabbit just wandering in my back yard.  Of course they are cute and all fuzzy which makes it that much harder to hate them.  As long as it keeps eating the dandelions, we are ok.  My husband could not resist reminding me that before long it would be attacking my garden.  The garden I worked so hard to get all set up (not to mention the money I spent on it too!).  I now declare war on bunnies, not so cute after all (ok, still very cute but…).  Do you realize how fast rabbits run and how sneaky they are too?  Needless to say, I did not catch it.  Every time I got close, it would run back underneath the shed. 
I eventually decided to inform the neighbors (the rabbits’ owners) just so they were aware about their rabbits running around the neighborhood…Now, we are two backyards away…They sent the 8-year old boy to the rescue.  Result, the rabbit isn’t caught and it was time to retire for the night.
This morning I woke up and saw the rabbit still around my yard, still eating weeds and dandelions until it moved on to a kale plant, that was it, this put me over the edge, do not get between me and my kale!  I tried to spook it but of course, it ran super-duper fast and kept on hiding.  Well, it was time to leave for work and no time to play catch the rabbit quite yet. 
Now, my husband and I have a strategy: tonight we are getting the butterfly net and a large box and we are planning on catching that rabbit.
Did I mention that she is apparently pregnant…
More to follow…Stay tune.

UPDATE: The bunny ate most of my garden!  I have estimated I lost about 45 to 50 veggie starters plus she ate all the leaves of my four apples trees planted this year and being trained on espalier.  We did not catch the bunny, we were only able to chase it back towards her "home".  Hopefully we are done now.  This week-end, I will be busy buying new starters and replanting everything!  This was the first year I experiemented and started most of my veggies indoor...What a waste!  Argh!