Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chickens and More

Goldie and Cleo inspect dust bathing pan
What is it with chickens?  They act so weird sometimes.  OK, maybe more than sometimes.  Actually, they probably know why they are doing whatever it is, they just chose not to tell me.  Last night I was saying goodnight to them as I closed up the coop and noticed on the roost that the little Golden Comet I call Goldie (real original, don't ya think!) was being picked on (literally) by the hens on either side of her.  On closer examination I found that they had pecked to bleeding which is always a Bad Thing.  This is because chickens are wild about things red, so that when they see blood they will peck away at it and chickens have been known to die, being pecked to death.  Grabbing Goldie, I got my bottle of Blu-Kote and sprayed her wound with it.  Then I put the Hen Saver coat on her, the one with shoulder protectors, and thought we were all set.
Goldie backing up into corner

Ha!  What do I know.  First of all, Goldie was So Not Happy with this coat--backing up and trying to get out from it--that finally I just picked her up and put her on the roost, where she sulked, and the other hens pecked at the coat!  This morning, the two gals who have been laying steady, laid their eggs on the floor instead of in the nest box.  Why??  Goldie still is not happy---backing up and trying to get out of the coat.  I know from the makers of this apron that this is a normal reaction, so I wasn't surprised. But this hen has had a coat on all summer when she had a bare back, however this one has the shoulder pads with a very loose, Very Loose, elastic around the neck.  I have cut the elastic off, to see if that will help her get used to the thing.  It is so wild that the other hens are pecking her, even now.  What gives?  Why all of a sudden?  Even loser hen Baby is pecking her! I don't know why they started--maybe they are doing it now because her coat is so not what the others are wearing.  Definitely have to keep an eye on things out there.
Meanwhile had fun up at Glo's yesterday.  This coming Saturday I am doing a fiber demo at the Orwell Public Library. I am really looking forward to it.  I rashly promised to let people try a drop spindle if they want to, so needed to borrow a couple spindles from Gloria.  Perfect opportunity to do a little dyeing with her.  I brought up some fleece to dye in canning jars plus a few skeins I had laying around.   I was pretty happy with all the results.  The small skeins I did in the yellow/orange tones are of mohair that I took from the sweater I unraveled last year, plus I had a small one of alpaca.  These will be used in weaving.
Alpaca dyed for blending

Now on to more projects.  First on the list is a replacement scarf for someone who lost the one they bought from me.  They liked it so much they want another.  Not normally one to replicate, I will in this case as they really are sad they lost it.  So much so that they want to buy another!  That is OK with me. And I still toil on the cable sweater for myself.  It will get done!  Pretty soon it will be seed starting time again with all that goes with it.  Hard to believe.  The days are getting longer, the cold is less harsh---we move on towards Spring with a smile and a song!

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