Monday, December 21, 2009


Just so this doesn't turn into a chicken blog, I'm going to post about something that's not a chicken.

I'm making a headboard for my bed. It is a silhouette of a flock of crows (it felt too nerdy to write "murder of crows"). It should look like this:

I'm cutting it out of a piece of 3/4" MDF. I printed the design on paper and then cut it out to make the pattern.

Then I started cutting with my jigsaw. It took about two hours just to cut the outside edge. I have a feeling this is going to be a long project. I drilled holes for the inside edges using a couple different size spade bits.

Still a long way to go.

Chicks Move to Big Coop

I cordoned off a section of the big coop so that I could move the chicks up and they would be protected while everyone got used to each other. I moved them at night and when I got to the coop the next morning the chicks had broken out and were running around with the big chickens. I was concerned that the big roosters would mess with the Silver Laced Wyandotte cockerels but it was the hens that seemed the most pissed off at the interlopers.

This Silver Penciled Rock hen has the SLW pullet cornered under the nest boxes.

One of the SLW cockerels tries to take on Brian Feathers an Old English Game Bantam. The SLW is about 3 times bigger than Brian.

Brian has a big heart though and quickly sends all of the SLWs back into hiding.

Things have calmed down a little now but it's going to take a while before a new hierarchy is sorted out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Foxtail Agaves Bloom

There is a nice bed of Agave attenuata in my front yard and two of the largest are starting to bloom. It's all happening very quickly. This was about tw0 months ago:

This was four weeks later:

Another 4 weeks:

The bloom spikes are about 7 feet high now and the front one is starting to compete with a Magnolia tree that I planted a few months ago.

I've read different accounts of how long it takes A. attenuata to bloom and it could be anywhere between ten and twenty years. They can also be shocked into blooming from stress or a drastic change in condition. My house was vacant for a year before I moved in and the whole property had clearly been neglected. I've been watering the last couple Summers so maybe the plants are taking this opportunity to reproduce in case another dry spell is on the way. I'm not sure if that explains the upheaval but I can't help wondering.

Here is a close up showing the flower buds:

When they open it will make the bloom spike look like a bushy foxtail, hence the common name foxtail agave. You can also see the leaves of the plant starting to shrivel and turn red. These blooms are a bittersweet thing. They are spectacular to see but it also means that this plant will die. The good news is that new plants could grow out of the trunk and baby plantlets called bulbils could form on the bloom spike once it is done blooming. The bulbils can be removed and planted.

I'll post more progress photos later

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chick Progress Check

So the chicks are a couple months older and they look almost full grown. They are about 4 1/2 months now. The big cockerel has been crowing and causing a fuss so I think I'm going to have to move them up to the big coop on the hill.

I think the pullet is very pretty. The chicks are Silver Lace Wyandottes, which means that they have white feathers with a black edge.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Release the hounds!

I set up this blog a while ago but I'm just adding something now for the first time. I wanted to upload these videos of my chicks digging in the dirt and eating grubs. They are so gluttonous that by the last video you can see their crops in the front of their chest distended from all the bugs they ate. I now it sounds gross but it's actually cute.

I also am still impressed that the mother hen does her job so well. She digs around until she finds something and then calls the chicks over. I don't think she kept anything for herself.

If you make it to the last video you can see each of the chicks eat at least one big fat grub.