This time it was Tasha, not Ada, looking me in the face, and making me feel all kinds of affection and amusement. Goats! If you say "goats" in just such a tone, you can convey anything from adoration to vexation, and sometimes both at once. Goats.
Not big girls, not yet, but they've grown so much they're off the porch and in the run with the real big girls. They are in a dog crate, and have a separate area fenced off for little chicas only. The introductions between our established flock and these newbies is going well, but the new chicks are much too small to fend for themselves. In the early evening, I sit with them all and play referee, mediator, mama hen.
This evening, I came with a special treat. Our friend Lani came with enough chard to feed a farm... for goats, chickens, and soup for us, too! She says she has as much at home for her family... that is a happy garden bed she has going. Mako was the first to sample the beautiful greens.
Tasha and Ada don't peck and rip, like the chickens do. The goats inhale their fresh greens... I am reminded of feeding a paper shredder, everything is drawn in, devoured systematically, hardly pausing. Thank you, Lani. From all of us.
From left to right: Two Ameracaunas, Fiona the Buff, and two Laced Wyandottes, Pepper and Pippi.
Our oldest hen, Kamen, visiting the new girls. Kamen could tell them a thing or two about the world.
Pepper? Pippi? We just don't know! I am amazed by the gradual shift in the feather patterns and colors. More and more white is appearing in those black feathers. And I am so relieved to see that at least one of them is developing a distinctly hen-like tail. The blunt feather tips, and upright direction of her tail feathers is all hen.
Here's a comparison of sizes... about two months vs. three years. A big difference.
Pepper, Pippi and Fiona peering into the nest box. They are curious about everything, especially if it looks good to eat. They've learned to stay clear of the grown hens, and they'll have to learn to dodge the goats' heavy steps. The goats seem to regard everyone else as other goats. Mostly, they are polite, but the size difference can make them formidable when they are in a hurry, clumsy, or eager to establish boundaries. When goats see food they are in a hurry, clumsy, and eager to establish boundaries, all at once!
Chickens, too, like to establish boundaries. There will be a pecking order, and none of my mediating or refereeing will negate that! Being hen-pecked is all part of the chicken life.
You can tell she means business, can't you?
Birds of a feather... roost together! These are the Ameracauna hens, all ready to call it a night.
They've come home to roost: Pele, Koa, and Mako.
Now Kamen will have to figure where she lines up in the pecking order.
Even the little ones have figured out that when dusk calls, it's time to go to their mini-coop, to roost for the night. I put their food away, cover the shelter. The goats get a hay refresher, and last scratches. Good night chicas. Good night goats.