Signs of spring

In the depths of winter our chickens stop laying and we go without homegrown eggs. Some time in March when daylight increases enough and we start to see hints of spring, we’re delighted to find eggs once more. The red sex link hens are the first to lay, but this year the Americaunas started contributing their smaller, pretty green-blue eggs shortly after. This is surely the earliest sign of spring for us, and in many ways the most welcome.

Basket of chicken ggs

First snow

First snow of the year

Just last weekend we were outside doing a final clean up of a felled tree and the attendant firewood before the snow flew. And fly it did, a proper snow on Monday, November 17th. A full two weeks ahead of last year, which was already early for where we live. Last year’s snow was heavy and never left; this year’s start to winter has been pretty fierce, but it looks as though it was a little too early. We’re promised a melt and warmer temperatures at least one more time before winter truly settles in.

Boy walking in first snow

That first snow is so special to children and I loved watching my youngest son through the window as he gingerly made his way outside for a first play before school on Monday. Making the year’s first snowprints.

First snowprints in November

That first day was pretty, almost magical, every branch in sight feathered with the stuff, the air only just cold enough for a snowfall. By the next day, the temperature had dropped and the wind was biting, but blue skies returned. Along with shoveling routines.

Boy shovelling snow

Snow does have a way of transforming ordinary objects into something otherworldly. It makes you look at everything afresh, even an old, much-patched aluminum canoe.

Silver canoe in snow

Meanwhile, our chickens are tucked up for the long months ahead, just getting on with business as usual.

Rooster crowing

P.S. I can’t even begin to imagine what the residents of Buffalo, New York are doing with the epic snowfall they’ve just been walloped by.

November

Chickens at feeding rock

November is here. Frosts are more frequent, the cold is creeping in. We lost some of our flock to a turkey vulture or buzzard.

First one of the young roosters on Hallowe’en. Esme, the original mother of the flock, and our family favourite, went missing. We had to assume the worst. And after several days of keeping the flock cooped up, we lost one of our older roosters.

We won’t let the remaining ten chickens out until we’ve had a good hard look at how we can keep our free ranging flock a little safer. We had it safe for a little too long and it’s hard getting used to this new reality.
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Baby chicks at the feeding rock

Our week-old Ameraucauna chicks have been venturing out with the flock and visiting the feeding rock. In order to keep the adult birds from eating the chicks’ feed, my husband used an old plastic cake dome and base for a makeshift feeder. Today was all about exploring it and figuring it out.