We brought in a new batch of laying hens recently. The old ones became very snooty and refused to mingle with the new recruits. One hen got sick and when chickens get sick, they stand still with a scowl on their faces (if chickens can scowl) and sort of tuck their head in towards their bodies (sort of like when a thin person tries to make a double chin). We put it into a separate area, and began nursing. We gave her olive oil drops and water diluted with apple cider vinegar a couple of times a day. Eventually the head started sticking out again and she looked more relaxed and so we put her back in with the rest. It's a good feeling when you see an animal rehabilitated, especially when it doesn't require major interventions.
We have another small batch of heritage birds (Barred Ply Rock for those of you who know the varieties). They are a beautiful, ash-colour and white striped pattern when they are grown. For now, they are a fuzzy dark brown with some white spots. We just taught them how to drink water, which will come in handy.
This is a very busy week: not only do we have these to add to our roster, we will have another batch of meat birds by the week's end, as well as a dozen Asian chestnut and date trees, and a big bag each of Shiitake and Oyster mushroom spawn. Seedlings are quickly wanting to be real planted plants, and we are doing our best to get beds ready for them, while keeping up with the continued demand of our planting schedule to keep succession batches of seedlings coming. At this point the work day is long and one thing weaves into another, but thankfully the chickens and seedlings are able to do most of the work for themselves. As Eliot Coleman said: "Drop a seed in the ground and it wants to grow."