Now that our future egg factories are getting bigger, Chareva and I decided we should expand the size of the fenced-in area around the chicken coop. The chickens will have a larger bug-hunting area, and it’s certainly more sanitary if they’re not making little chicken-poops in the same yard all the time. The eventual plan is to fence off more area behind the coop and then use temporary fences to create four distinct chicken-yards, moving the birds from to another.
So on Saturday afternoon, we got busy and pounded in more t-posts (which is a great deltoids-triceps workout, by the way) and strung up more fencing. You can see the before-and-after below.
Since it was a reasonably comfortable and sunny day, I decided to go all paleo-like and stuff and work without a shirt on, hoping to soak up some natural vitamin D. I probably did, but as you can see from the picture below, I also picked up quite a few chiggers as I was working close the ground, attaching fencing to the t-posts. Bad move. In addition to the bites you can see on my arms, I picked up a few on my belly and one on my chest. Some non-paleo Deep Woods Off probably would have saved me a bit of misery.
Calamine lotion didn’t do much for the constant itching, and neither did an anti-itch cream with hydrocortisone. I went scouring the internet looking for alternative treatments and found a post by a woman who recalled that when her father was working as a doctor in the 1930s, he treated chigger bites by pricking them with a needle and dabbing iodine into the wound. So I gave that a shot … and it worked. Well, I didn’t have to stick myself with a needle since I’d already scratched the bites bloody, but the iodine definitely reduced the itch factor by 90%. Some of them don’t itch at all anymore. Apparently, as in many other areas of medicine, the old treatments are still the best treatments.
Our first little flock of guinea fowl ran off some months ago, so we’re trying again with a new flock. This time the plan is to put up a fence they can’t easily escape and keep them penned in for a few months. From what Chareva has read, that’s what it takes to get them thinking of the area as their home. Then we can let them out to go on bug-patrol. We’ll see if it works. If not, we’ll end up providing another tasty guinea-fowl meal for the local predators.
On a completely unrelated note, the girls made me a giant card for Father’s Day. As you can see, they chose their favorite picture of me for the front.