I suspect "empty nest syndrome" is probably a lot harder for people who've spent a lot more time parenting. Considering #1 is 12 years older than #5, by the time all five kids are old enough to move out and start college or get an apartment and a job, I'll have been parenting for over 30 years.
We've only had one more bird death since the bad run earlier this week. This one was just a fluke accident. Mazikeen (our Saint Bernard puppy) is the biggest klutz. She trips over her own feet, walks into things, and randomly falls over sometimes when she turns too fast. We suspect she managed to knock the gate over going into the barn while out for a potty break. The kids found one of the black sex link cockerels dead under the knocked over gate this afternoon. The gate has only fallen over three times I can remember in the past year, and one of those times it only got knocked cockeyed. Either way, I'm not sure what else I can do to secure the gate when it's open to prevent it from happening again.
Today #5 and I made bread in the bread machine. I modified the recipe to include vegan butter instead of normal, and almond milk instead of regular so I could eat it without taking dairy pills and risking getting sick. Then we added in several individual packets of sunflower seeds that we had in the cupboard, the honey that was in the bottom of the container, a dash of onion powder, and a cup of finely chopped yellow squash (I'm not sure if it is zucchini or some other kind of summer squash). Then I decreased the water to 1/2 cup (it calls for just shy of 1-1/2 cups, but the honey and squash add moisture). I looked at it as it was mixing and added a splash more, but it looked good in the machine. I hope it turns out good. The loaf looks good, albeit slightly lop sided and a little dark around the edges. It's too hot to eat this evening. I'll cut it up tomorrow.
Today I also managed to snap a good photo of Happy Feet. She is gorgeous! Her mom (Dashi) is a purebred Rouen and her dad (Helvegan) is supposed to be a rouen cross (I suspect with Khaki Campbell). She didn't get any of Helvegan's silver coloring, but she's not nearly as drab and plain brown as Dashi either. Her feathers are each outlined and she is just pretty to look at. She also has cute feet. Her legs and toes are pale orange but her webbing between her toes is black.
At first glance this photo looks like a dirty mud puddle in the yard. I had dumped the pool out on the cement there to refill it with clean water, and it was raining before and right after this photo was taken, so the rest of the yard is also wet and muddy. The birds, of course, are drawn to any water source I put in the yard, including dumping the dirty pool water.
A closer look reveals some interesting tidbits.
At the top left is a group of three birds. In the center of that group is Ralphie, our Golden Duckwing Phoenix rooster. I adore him. Beside him is one of the Golden Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben birds (I believe the hen). On the other side is another bird (a Rhode Island Red hen perhaps?).
At the top right of the pool is a Light Brahma hen, looking at her own reflection in the pool. Standing beside her is a Rhode Island Red hen wondering what in the world the Light Brahma hen is so interested in.
The three ducks at the bottom of the pool are some of the last ducklings to hatch from the incubator. The two closer to the pool are nearly feathered out, but still have the baby feathers around the backs of their heads, making them oddly resemble the stereotypical monk in a Robin Hood film. The third duck, closer to the puddle is a strange color. Considering the two drakes that could be the father are a Khaki Campbell/Rouen and a purebred Fawn and White Indian Runner, and the three hens that could be the mother are a purebred Indian Runner (brown and white), a purebred rouen, or a rouen cross. How in the world did this duck get such an interesting muted silver and grey color? I'll be interested to see how this one grows out.
The black chicken right in the center of everything, I'm not sure if she is a Black Jersey Giant or a Black Australorp, but she has striking white toenails for such an otherwise solidly black bird.
On the bottom right of the photo you will see a brown duck (Happy Feet) and a white and brown duck (Indian Runner - possibly a cross - one of the younger ducklings). But in the far bottom right corner is a striped bird. This one hatched from the eggs we bought from #1's friend. This bird looks like a Black Sex Link cockerel, but it has a tuft on the top of it's head because it's a Polish cross of some kind. It also has a weird comb and I'm left waiting to see if saddle feathers come in since comb-sexing isn't an option.
A lot going on, but it's all captured in one photo.