August 2009 The Coop Newsletter The heat continues this month minus most of the rain, but the girls dont seem to mind now that they have the pools. The new silkies are doing great and now each type of bird has their own group to talk to when not clucking to the whole gang. Gerty and Hilda are becoming fast friends as I had hoped. They often have dust baths together (like she used to do with Henrietta) and stroll side by side through the backyard scanning for bugs or seeds. Life is again good for Gerty. I am glad that Hilda was able to win her over. She so badly wanted to be friends. They sometimes sit beside each other in Gertys house, but I put Hilda in her own apartment for the night. This winter, Im sure theyll be big buddies. Twinkle and Tazzle have become part of Gertys posse but seem content to gossip with each other while following behind Gerty and Hilda. The Mille Fleurs roam elsewhere, with Millie being the leader. One of our little girls, Margot or Camille, has given us a first egg! They often fly to the tops of the chickey houses to wait for me to put them in their house. There was a little egg waiting there with them one night. I gave each of them great hugs and congratulations. I have since made a patio outside their house and they fly up to that (just a couple of wing flaps) and from their hop inside their shared house. Since then, they (either or both) lay a tiny egg in the doghouse. My attempt at making a nest box on the ground they would like better has failed. They have a very nice basket and the former feed pail (see incident below) in which to lay an egg, but none of them seem inclined and instead use their cage. I suppose thats nice, as I then know who has gifted me that day. A friend gave me a big plastic pail with lid (kitty litter comes in it. It is washed before I use it.) we both thought would make a great squirrel-proof feed container. Well, it did until Mr. Squirrel gnawed a hole in the top and in he went! We are back to the big terra cotta flowerpot with the plant tray for a lid. Mr. Squirrel cannot budge the heavy terra cotta lid and sure enough cant gnaw a hole in that pot! Ha! After the hens are let out of the morning pen for afternoon backyard play, Mr. Squirrel and his pals sneak inside to eat the last bits of seed the hens did not want. No use in those seeds going to waste, right?! They are eating a heaping cup of wild birdseed each morning and at night have been polishing off 10-lbs of layer mash every 2 weeks. They all eat like theres no tomorrow every time I feed them. Ive begun putting their evening food in their houses early so they can have an afternoon snack, and some do. All the food containers get topped off to full in the evening before they have lights out. Fight! Fight! Twinkle laid an egg and Tazzle wanted in on the sitting. She just took her beak and raked the egg out from under (a shocked) Twinkle and then tried to stare down Twinkles indignation at such an act! Really! Twinkle let out a chickey growl and raked the egg back under her and fluffed her feathers to move Tazzle back. Tazzle then looked at me, like help! I took Tazzle out and set her (? Were still not completely sure) next to Hilda to tell her tale. When I checked back later, the egg was abandoned and Twinkle was out playing with the girls, evidently feeling like shed won. The Drama! OK, were finally sure. To help with egg identification in the Twinkle/Tazzle question, I got another old rabbit cage, spruced it up and gave it to Twinkle. That evening, she went right in to Tazzles shock and surprise! It only took a couple of days until I found an egg from each of the girls waiting for me when it was time for the pen an breakfast! Since then, Twinkle has hopped into her cage to lay her egg in the afternoon. Our thanks to everyone who sent expressions of sympathy at the loss of our dear Henrietta. They went into my chickey binder folded between a page with Henriettas picture on the front. The hens wish everyone a happy upcoming Labor Day and Im sure theyll all take a rest in the Coop! We will too.