The family is headed south for a little vacation tonight. We're meeting family and friends for a wedding/family reunion and then relaxing with the relatives for a full week on a tropical island off Southwest Florida. So I'll be a bit M.I.A. on the blog until May when we return. I've got a couple of scheduled posts that might just pop up and I've been toying with the idea of mobile blogging, so you might see a thing or two from me over the next 10 days...or you might not. I'm playing it all by ear right now.
We have house-sitters who'll be taking care of the house, the cats and the chickens, so I haven't blogged much this week as I've been in a mad rush to get the house cleaned for them and pack up the family for our trip. We're taking the dog with us, but the cats and the chickens will be sadly left behind.
The chickens have been moved to the coop and will be living out there full-time while we're gone. I won't have our chicken-sitters worry about moving them out to the newly-built chicken tractor everyday like we do, so they'll be cooped up for a full week. I feel bad for them, but I know they're chickens and they'll adjust.
And it turns out that our chickens are afraid of the dark. When the sun sets, the chicks peep like mad and scramble around trying to get out of the coop. I read on the Backyard Chickens Forum that many young chicks are afraid of the dark, but will often adjust after a couple of days. Farmer B came up with a temporary fix, followed by a genius idea. The temporary fix was to hang a glo-stick sphere in the top of the coop to give off a faint light on the first night. It was like a chicken rave all night in the coop and it gave off enough light that the chickens finally calmed down.
Farmer B's genius idea has solved the nighttime lighting problem at the coop. We have some boxes of solar driveway lights that we keep in the garage as part of our emergency kit for hurricane season. When you lose power in a hurricane, you put the lights outside to charge all day, then bring them in the house at night and plant them in buckets filled with sand. You have free solar-powered lights all night that aren't a fire hazard - it's one of our most important hurricane kit items. Farmer B figured this would be perfect for the chicks so we've planted some driveway lights around the coop next and they'll charge all day and glow all night - problem solved. Safe solar chicken lighting.
So wish our chickens, our house, our garden, and our cats good luck while we're gone!