Today we took all four outside and let them free range for half an hour or so. It had been raining all day so this was their only opportunity to get out. They immediately set about eating dandelions (good birds!) and fertilizing the soil in their own special way. I am terrified of a hawk swooping down and grabbing one of them (not that I’ve necessarily seen a hawk over the house, or would know how to identify one from a distance, and the presence of a large flock of pigeons next door not withstanding…), but we keep a close vigil when they’re outside.
Stopped off at the feed store today to get grown-up chicken food–over the next week they will transition from medicated chick feed (they can get ill from coming in contact with their own feces, which contain many protozoa that they must gradually build up immunity to–don’t ask me why they’re not already immune to them if they live in their own feces, but any way, they need this medication) to “all purpose poultry crumbles.” When they get ready to start laying later this summer, we will switch to a layer ration that includes oyster shell calcium for strong eggshells.
At the feed store, they had their last shipment of baby chicks and they were eager to get rid of them. “I’ll make you a deal on those chicks,” the woman said, as if three bucks a chick isn’t already a deal. She even offered to throw in a baby duck for free with our bag of poultry crumbles. And let me tell you, if there’s anything cuter than a baby chicken, it’s a baby duck. Those beaks, those webbed feet…but I was strong, and I said no.
On the way home, Scott said that he wouldn’t mind having a duck. When he first said he wanted chickens, I said, “OK, honey. Just as soon as you build a chicken coop, we can have chickens.” So this time I said, “OK. Just as soon as you put in a water feature, we can get a duck.”