While the writer in me wants to take the time to tell the story, the utilitarian in me would like bullet points to get through it all.
In my last report, Goldie was sharing a nest with the duck, and I had plans to separate them. We moved Fluffy and her chick, Bailey, out to the stable, along with Goldie and her chicken eggs. Everyone settled in nicely. The duck was happy to have her nest all to herself, and Goldie barely blinked at being moved. Bailey took to snuggling up with Goldie and her eggs at times. On chillier night, all three would snuggle up together in Goldie's nest.
When Goldie's eggs started hatching, the two baby chicks took to Fluffy right away, while Goldie stayed on the nest, waiting for the rest to hatch. It became apparent they never would, so I removed them before the stink got bad. Soon, they were a tight knit little group of two mamas looking out for three chicks, regardless of who had sat on the egg.
Meanwhile, the duck still had a week to go on her eggs, and her pile kept growing as she incorporated any egg laid on the floor of the coop.
Then we acquired some bees. I waited a little too long to check on them after installation, and was confronted with some large drawn-out combs attached to the bottom of the feeder.
The good news was that I could tell the queen was laying. The bad new was, I didn't know what damage I did when removing the comb, if any. A week later showed spottily-capped brood and perhaps some attempts by the bees to make a new queen. I will check soon to see what happened.
Back in the chicken coop, the duck hatched out five, cute, little ducklings.
Soon after, we moved Goldie, Fluffy, and the three chicks back out to the coop.
That was a mistake.
A few days later, Goldie went missing. Aside from a few downy feathers scattered about, there was no sign of her. We checked everywhere: in Jane's hutch, underneath the coop, behind the feed bins, everywhere. I couldn't understand it. There was no way I saw that she could have escaped the aviary and wandered off. Maybe, I hoped irrationally, she was so loved, God whisked her away like he did Elijah.
The next day, I checked the coop, and -horror of horrors- found a mangled, half-eaten Bailey in the back corner of the coop. Something was getting in.
Now, I know there are these little articles floating around the internets about opossums and how great they are because they eat ticks. But chicken keepers don't care. Chickens eat ticks, and opossums eat chickens. Opossums are not welcome here on the farm.
The next morning saw a possum in the trap outside the coop, and we will have to be a little more careful with the hole (aka. possum access) we have in the gate that lets us chain it shut.
In other news, we finally put up the bat houses I received last year for my birthday. I stood outside at dusk a few nights ago, and was delighted to see two or three little bats swooping through the air above the farm. We have no idea if they are making use of the new accommodations, but at least the bats will know they are welcome here.