Ducks too!

Ok, so let's back up a bit......actually we originally just wanted ducks. For eggs, you know? Apparently they're not all that hard to keep, and are fairly winter hardy (supposedly). But well, I 'spose the lure of chickens had won us over...(have you ever visited a feed store when they get their chicks and duckling in? I mean, do you have a heart of steel?) Anyway. So we actually had some free ducklings coming all along from a friend of S. And today we picked them up. 4 instead of 3 (bonus duck) :-)


Apparently they're mallard mixes, Possibly with Runner Ducks, and approximately 3 weeks old (picked them up on the 30th). They drink a lot. But well, they're ducks. Go figure, right? And they really liked the little bath we gave them---apparently they need gradual exposure to water to build up their waterproofing. Of course, we had to make them a brooder too....we rigged one up with a kiddie pool and some plastic fencing--they're more skittish and taller than the chickens, so it kind of suits them to have an open ceiling. They're in the garage too, of course...

The chickens are getting big. We need to switch to the next step-up of feed next weekend for them. They were trying to take dust baths in the driveway...and, one was trying to "yodel". Hmmmm could a rooster be in our midst?
Today we planted most of our garden. Ten tomatoes (one Patio, two Early Girl, one Cherokee Purple, one Mortgage Lifter, two Viva Italia, one Park's Whopper and one Sungold). Phew. Also planted: 3 bell peppers, 6 eggplants, 4 hills scalloped summer squash, 4 hills zucchini, 2 hills acorn squash, one row National Pickling cucumber, one row General Lee cucumber (a slicing type), and 2 rows of Clemson Spineless Okra. Did I already say "phew"?


We also did some work on the chicken coop. (Did I mention that we're building a chicken coop? Well, we're building a chicken coop!) We had already finished the floor, and were working on the joists and studs--we ended up taking those down and redoing it (Note above picture...before redoing....Very structurally sound....not.)--turns out you're actually supposed to frame them before you put them up. Sure enough, they are much sturdier walls now. (Thanks free online plans which shall remain unnamed....hmph) Two of the sides are now done. **update: May 30---Finished framing last two walls of chicken coop and purchased wood for nest box.

The chickens are getting bigger......


Oh and does anyone hate Carpenter Bees as much as I do? They are everywhere! Our deck, our picnic table....everywhere!

The sun is out for the first time in almost two weeks. In the garden, the beans, corn and potatoes are all finally coming up---same for the radishes and carrots. The rhododendron in front of the house is blooming like crazy, with huge flowers.


The chicks are growing quickly. They eat a lot--we're refilling their quart jar feeder twice a day. We even had to get them a larger waterer---a 1 gallon one--when the 1 qrt was empty by afternoon the other day. The new, larger, waterer was empty this morning and all of their litter was soaked--they must have tipped it over. We put it on top of a piece of cardboard to keep it flat and that's helping, though. (We got a larger container for their brooder too, since we needed more space for the larger waterer. We framed a top ith hardware cloth rather than chicken wire and this one seems much sturdier.)

We got chickens!

So in lieu of a creative post and title, today instead I bring you an excerpt from our garden notebook:

Raining. Bought chick feeder, waterer, and made chicken-wire top for large plastic bin (with Aspen shaving bottom). Bought chick starter/grower feed.


Bought 6 "assorted pullets" from local feed store. Put them in our make-shift brooder in the garage and dunked their beaks in their water. (3 light yellow ones, and 3 red-brown ones). They're 10 days old according to the guy at the store. **3-4 hours later they are settling in well, and are both eating and drinking.

(Garden update: Peas are coming up well. Lettuce is ok, arugula is bolting. Broccoli is starting to form heads. The salad green seeds aren't sprouting yet, and neither are the corn and beans. No leaves yet on potatoes. The herbs (basil, rosemary, sage, lemon balm, mint, and oregano are doing very well. We got a second basil plant too
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