Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hello Spring!

The first daffodils are blooming, and buds are swelling on the lilacs and plum trees. The first apricot blooms opened today, just in time to get snowed on tonight.

Nights have still been chilly, but the days the past week have been sunny and warm. I've been able to get out in the yard, cleaning up some of the landscaping and moving a few perennials around while they're still dormant. To me, gardening is the slowest art form, so if something isn't quite working where it is I'll move it. I also use a part of the garden edging as a tree nursery, moving little self-seeded trees around the property to where they'll get plenty of water and protection from the wildlife for a year or two, and then transplant them back out once they're bigger.

The new chicks are now almost seven weeks old. They've been spending their days out in the dog run, running and flapping about; and then back inside every night. I was talking to my neighbor over the back fence today, and he told me a couple of days ago he'd found a nest with a dozen eggs in it, hidden by one of our guinea hens. He cleaned it out and threw the eggs away. I wouldn't mind not having any keets this year, but I figure they'll probably both bring in a clutch sooner or later this summer - they're pretty good at sneaking and hiding, and the reproduction urge is quite compelling.

The clouds moved in today, the temperatures dropped, and it started to rain at nightfall. It's expected to turn to snow tonight, and be cold for the next few days. As soon as the nice days come back, I think it will be time for the chicks to go outside full-time, time to plant some peas and lettuces out in the garden. In the meantime, it's about time for me to start my tomato, peppers and eggplants inside. C'mon Springtime!


Carol said...

I love guineas! Wish I could get them to stay around here. But, we have too many coyotes, bobcats and a couple of mountain lions that grab anything that does not take shelter at night. And, I have yet to be able to get guineas to go inside at night as chickens do. Any advise?

Sadge said...

To make a long story short, Carol, I'd say either hand-raise the keets and put them in with the chickens as soon as they're big enough, or live in an area where the weather gets too miserable for them to stay outside.

They like to be on the highest roost in the coop. They like to be able to fly in and out of the pen at will, so having some kind of landing board across the top of part of your fence helps. They also love to look at reflections of themselves - try putting a mirror near the floor of your coop.

Our first guinea, the male, was a feral neighborhood guinea - a renter across the street just tore down his chicken coop and turned everybody loose when he moved. The coyotes had a field day! One male guinea had enough sense to fly up into the tree to sleep. By the time we realized what had happened over there, a couple of days later, he was the only one left. He roamed the neighborhood the rest of the summer and into fall, occasionally flying into our chicken pen for a bite to eat. Then, one October night when the weather started turning cold, he was inside the coop when I went down to close it up. He's been in there every night since. The girls go where he goes until they start setting, and once the keets are gone they're back inside with him.

Nancy M. said...

Beautiful flowers! I wish my guineas would bring me home some babies. I am down to only 4, I think I'm going to have to buy some more keets and raise them myself.