Saturday, July 12, 2014

Chicken compulsion?

I could not help myself. Ruby (my only chicken old enough to lay) went on a laying strike. Maybe she is molting, maybe it's the heat. But I found some pallets.. and scrap wood.. and missed using my circular saw and drill....

Next thing you know I've built a chicken run ("for when we go on vacation..") and have brought home two more bantams... After all, Ruby is the only mini amidst three amazonian teenagers, and I'm sure she wants company..

This is Blondie.. She's a bantam Catalana, a fairly obscure breed in the US that is apparently popular in Latin America. They do well in the heat and while the breed isn't apparently docile, this girl seems pretty mellow when I pick her up (though she likes to talk!)..

This girl is Iggy Pop- named because of her jutting chest and striking eyes (and swagger!). She's an Old English game bantam, (they used to be bred for fighting but now are bred to be pretty) and is teeny. The breed is apparently very fun and can be docile but I think I'll need to bribe this lady a bunch since she wiggles like crazy when I pick her up..

On their roost in the new aerie (and in quarantine for 10 days before I let them mingle with the other girls). Next crafty project is to decorate the run.. (after I hammer in all the staples holding the hardware cloth in..)

Not to be outdone, Ruby finally laid another egg today- it'd been three weeks! The big girls (due to lay soon!) clustered around her interestedly- maybe I'll be getting some eggs from them soon?

Happy weekend!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A trip to the Wildlife Rescue Center

I found my cat with a teeny white winged dove fledgeling in his mouth the other day. It hopped around and hid behind a tree stump when Toby dropped it, so I picked it up and took it to the Wildlife rescue Center on MLK. I think the fact that it couldn't fly saved it- it just wasn't that interesting to my feline.. It was pretty cute curled up in a crate in the car..

Unfortunately now I have Stevie Nick's song "White Winged Dove" in my head.. 

While at the Rescue Center I saw this interesting guy in a crate getting ready to be reintroduced to the wild..

He's a porcupine! I thought they lived in cooler climates, but there are some native to Texas- The yellow-haired porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is found from the western half of the state east to Bosque County. It is adapted to a variety of habitats and, in recent years, has expanded into South Texas. Porcupines are expert at climbing trees but are as much at home in rocks as on the ground or in trees. The position of the quills can be a good indicator of the porcupine's mood. When the animal is relaxed and unafraid, the quills lie flat, hidden under a layer of long guard hairs. If the animal is disturbed or threatened in any way, the quills stand erect and the porcupine is ready for battle. The slightest touch on a single quill or guard hair also brings them erect, turning the creature into a living pincushion. This guy looked a bit wary, so I kept my distance!

Finally,  I found a fun late-bloomer in my native wildflower patch:

Chamaecrista fasciculata - Partridge pea is an annual wildflower that fixes nitrogen like other plants in the pea family. It’s flowers attract bees and butterflies. Seed pods are eaten by gamebirds and songbirds, and the plant provides excellent cover for gamebirds and browse for deer. Leaves collapse when touched, giving rise to the common name Sensitive-plant.

Happy gardening!