I've been busy getting ready for winter. September and October have been beautiful with lots of blue skies. The past week, though, the temperatures have been lower and it's really feeling like fall.
Our chick count has reached 58 with the appearance just last week of a hen with ten golden balls of fluff. I don't know how we're going to cope with such huge numbers of birds as they grow. The eldest are ready to lay. In fact, they're probably laying already--but where? The areas adjacent to my garden grow wild and there are uncountable hiding places for a young hen to stash her eggs.
My vegetable plants were big enough by the time of the hen and chick invasion that I didn't lose much to them, other than strawberries. However, it may be chaos next spring if we don't take some drastic action. Every time I go out to the garden, I see North American Jungle Fowl everywhere. They're scratching through the manure I've spread, darting into the tall grass, playing hide-and-seek under bushes. It shouldn't be any trouble keeping them in the barn when the ground is covered with three feet of snow, but come spring, I foresee all 58 will be back raiding the garden and raising hundreds of new babies.
I might have to give up gardening altogether and trade chicks for produce from my neighbours.