The chicks are rapidly outgrowing their space, and moving them outside to the dog kennel so that I can clean their indoor home is becoming more of adventure with every passing day. The baby can now fly out of the cattle trough, and the bigger girls can fly out of the plastic crate I use for transport. Moving them is no longer a one-man job! Luckily Maggie is just fascinated with them and wants to herd them like she herds everything else and she’s smart enough to realize they are not new dog toys! The chicks are becoming accustomed to being handled and one is eager to be picked up when she hears dried meals worms in a Dixie cup. That’s a trick I learned from my sister-in-law; she has her chickens trained to follow the sound of worms in a plastic Dixie cup, which they love even more than my gifts of chickweed and tender dandelion leaves.
Wax moths had moved into one of our swarm capture hives, so the chicks got a treat of larvae in a bowl followed by a couple of bee frames to clean up. They enjoyed chasing small hive beetles and I enjoyed watching! I kept an eye on them to make sure they weren’t eating anything besides the wiggly invaders. After three minutes, I had clean frames to put in the freezer and maybe reuse later this week.
This week is spring break, so Hubby has been able to make good progress on the coop and chicken run. We’ll move the girls into the coop once we have the door on and then we’ll finish up the run. It started raining today while Hubby was adding rafters to the run and I was painting the screen door, so we ended up with a non-construction day. We both have indoor chores to catch up on, and it’s probably good to give our bodies a break too.
While we currently plan to have a maximum of five chickens, Hubby is building the coop large enough to house more because we’ve learned that our plans are always changing here on the farm. We may eventually have enough honey and wax products for sale that we’d have a market for eggs too. I made my first batch of glycerin-honey soap last week and plan to attempt my first batch of soap using lye later this week. When we harvest honey this year, I need to weigh the wax we refine from cappings to get an idea of how much beeswax soap etc. I can make. So far, I’ve been using wax from previous years for my experiments, and I don’t plan to make any products with purchased wax.
Hubby just arrived home and announced that the only self-rising flour he could find came in a 25 pound bag, so I guess that I’ll be spending more time than usual baking over the next few weeks! Even if I bake a cake every day until it’s safe to socialize again, we’ll be eating healthier than we have been doing. It’s amazing how far we’ve slipped back into our “city” eating habits since the start of the school year. It takes very little time to make a pitcher of red rooibos tea, but we’ve been drinking sodas for the past few months. Likewise, I used to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast and they take no longer that Toaster Strudels, but we slipped into a Toaster Strudel routine. I didn’t realize how many convenience meals we were eating until I noticed how often I was running the dishwasher now that I’m cooking from scratch again! I hate that it took a pandemic to get us to rethink our eating habits, but that’s also a very small piece of silver lining in the huge cloud that is hanging across the world right now.
Life remains good here on the farm, and our thoughts and prayers are with all our friends, family, and blog-readers in this scary time.