Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Dogs, Cats and Chickens Everywhere
So Mr. Wilson is unbearably cute. He is much fun, and it hasn't escaped me that it's been just like having a toddler in the house again. I am forever fishing odd things out of his mouth, he LOVES to be held and carted around, and house training is taking way too long. He does sleep way more (and through the night!) than any of my kids ever did though. Heh.
He has folded nicely into our household however, and the other pets tolerate him quite well. He tries desperately to play with the cats, but they just stare at him like he is deranged. Once in awhile if he pesters them enough, one of them will turn and bat at him with a (declawed) paw, their version of playing and he completely overreacts by yelping and whimpering. I call him a drama queen. My kids correct me and say he is a drama king, since he is a male. They don't understand certain subtleties yet.
Anyway, as you can see in the photo, Mr. Wilson is in dire need of a haircut. There aren't any pet groomers in our town, but a friend of mine was able to get Mr. Wilson in with her dog next week. Some groomers in the area aren't even taking new customers. Good grief, who knew?
Penny is coming around. At first she completely ignored him, but now they interact and I think she enjoys his constant adulation. He follows her everywhere and when we go on our walk Mr. Wilson finally has a good shot at keeping up, because they are both on leashes. Sometimes the constant licking and pawing at her face is too much and Penny very politely stands up, ensuring that there's no chance that Mr. Wilson can continue bothering her. He keeps trying though!
Our new chickens will soon be laying eggs, I think. There are eight-three Buff Orpingtons and five Araucunas, which are the ones that lay blue or green eggs. I have been keeping them in a dog kennel, separate from the other hens until they were big enough to go into the other hen house. Before we left on our vacation I put them in with the other hens and things did not go well. The older hens harassed them so badly that they huddled in the hen house and wouldn't go outside, but we had to leave them there because we needed the kennel for Penny while we were gone. When we got back the new hens had managed to crawl under the screen under the roosts (where the poop falls through) and were all crammed in there, totally terrified. We got them out and put them back into the kennel. A couple of them actually had chunks of skin missing from their backs and one had a terrible gash on the back of her head. I was very disappointed in my older hens and told them so. Now I am trying to figure out another solution. I have a few things that I can try and if all else fails then we will just set up a more permanent, separate hen house. The good thing after all of that is that the new hens like me better now (I saved their lives, after all!) and now approach me and let me hold them. We are patiently waiting to see our first blue eggs.
The older hens clearly have their pecking order established and the new rooster in charge is much nicer than the previous one (Penny killed him) was. He never attacks me, which is a definite plus, and with the exception of rough sex, he is kind yet firm with the ladies. Ok, the rough sex is bad, all of the hens have bare spots on their backs from where he um, holds them down. BUT, I have been recently letting them free range in the late afternoons and I have noticed that many of the hens have feathers growing back in. I guess he has other distractions now. We didn't let them free range before because of Penny, but we spent a few days working with her, making it clear that the chickens are off limits (she is very smart) and now she just sleeps on the front porch while the chickens are just across the road running free. We don't entirely trust her though, everyone knows to keep an eye on Penny and/or the chickens while they are out. I love seeing the chickens wandering around the property though. It seems right.
Oh, and the cats are exactly the same, fat, lazy and shedding everywhere. Once in awhile they get all worked up, chasing each other around the house and knocking things off the tables and shelves. Then they collapse and nap until feeding time. Typical cats.