I came back from a short trip to Iowa yesterday and found that things had changed here. Ian had come back a couple days early to take the big chickens to the processor, so they were gone, and in their place out in the field were the little chicks from the brooder. I feel like Rip van Winkle. An entire generation has passed while I was away for what I thought was a long weekend.
The new chicks seem quite merry in their new home. We are keeping them inside the floorless shelter for a few days so they are more likely to think of it as an inviting place to go when the rain comes. Today the chicks burst out of their shelter by pushing under some chicken wire when they saw it Ian coming towards them with a family who was visiting the farm. They suspected he was going to give them feed, and they did not want to waste a moment of time.
The ducks are so huge that they dwarf the sleds we have filled with water for them, although they use them faithfully for their morning cleaning, patiently taking turns. If they were chickens, the most prestigious birds would go first, and the downtrodden would be pecked and have to wait. Because the sleds seem inadequate, we have tried several ways of making ramps up to the lip of a small plastic swimming pool, but the ducks are still wary of going in it. Today, during the heat, several climbed up our makeshift stairway of sandbags and splashed jubilantly in the water.