Last week, we had well over a foot of snow here in SE Michigan. Yet it's already disappearing; with two days of above-freezing weather, the sump pump cycles on and off several times a minute, and we can hear the constant gurgle of snowmelt not flooding our basement.
Still, the grey skies, bare trees, and slushy snow outside would have me second guessing that spring is around the corner, but for the stirrings of our animals. We already have one hen sitting on a nest of 10 eggs -- we expect them to hatch on February 28th, our first farm babies! And it looks like we have a second hen going broody. I love our Icelandic chickens, and we look forward to having more of them to grow our flock.
My favorite member of our 19-bird flock is Arya. (All of our chickens have names from Game of Thrones; it works well, since they spend so much time negotiating social hierarchies.) She has some sort of mutation(s) resulting in strange feathers that won't lie smooth and in slow, stunted growth. As a result, she's always been at the bottom of the pecking order; however, her frequent displacement from the good food made her much braver about learning to take food from my hand. Now, several months after the other hens her age, she is finally starting to catch up! Her comb has finally grown, she's almost as big, and this morning I found her sitting in a nest box! She hopped off to get her share of the morning chicken scratch, and spent some time afterwards perched on the roosting bars, clucking like a full grown hen.