Friday, April 20, 2012

The Tale of Katniss, Our Survivor Chick

 This is the tale of Katniss, our survivor chick.  Like the character in The Hunger Games, Katniss just keeps on going! She started off her young life as the dominant chick in our new batch of three spring babes.  She had a knack for posing for the camera, too.

 "Girl On Fire!"

 At age 2 weeks, Katniss got her foot caught in a perch in the middle of the night.  Who knows how long she dangled upside down by her small leg.  When we found her (on our way out the door for school) she was lifeless.  But once we held her for a while, she perked up!

 The vet told us she had nerve damage (she was lucky not to have any broken or misplaced bones) and would take time to heal. She needed to be quarantined for her own safety, since a chick who can't stand up is bound to be at the bottom of the pecking order.  Chicks are very social and need to see and hear each other, but at night, they also need to snuggle together. So we placed a fish tank inside the chicks' playpen and put a stuffed ducky in the tank to keep her company while she sleeps.

One of the sweetest things I have ever seen, though, was the next morning: Katniss was sleeping in the corner and her sister chicks were sleeping on the outside of the corner. (In the pictures above and below, Katniss hobbled out of the corner before I got the camera, but you can see her sisters waiting for her return.)  So, even though they couldn't all huddle in a cozy pile of downy feathers, they still managed to be together.  So sweet!

Katniss has made a fantastic recovery and is now out of the fish tank and back in the huddle with the other two chicks.  She is now using her foot again almost completely normally and we couldn't be happier for our Chick on Fire.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Life

Spring means new life. And we have plenty of it around here!

Our butterfly house is full of Painted Ladies.  We plan to release them on Easter when the family is here to celebrate with us.  We've had unusually warm weather around here, so the butterflies should do well outside.

In the shot above, you can see the inside of the butterfly house, with two Painted Ladies clinging to the wall.  The red dye on the wall and floor of the house is leftover after their transformation from rather homely caterpillars to colorful butterflies.  We never before wondered where all that color comes from.  They make it themselves; how cool is that?

Another addition to our menagerie is a second Queen Bee.  Hers is the smaller hive.  The taller hive has two honey-supers on top.  We've been so unseasonably warm this year that we expect to harvest honey well before summer.

And finally, nothing says spring like NEW CHICKS!!!  Three Golden Buffs (aka Red Stars) joined us this week.  Their names are Katniss, Ginny, and Churchill.  You may or may not be able to tell what my children are each reading based on these names.

Happy Spring!