Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fewer goats :) Fewer chickens :(

HRH Sir David Bowie

Lucille, Bowie, and Jack, the only poser
We sold 9 goats this past week leaving us with 5 adults, 4 yearlings, and 2 kids. It is much calmer in the goat pen now. We still have David Bowie up for sale, but are asking a high price for his royal purebred highness, so we don't actually expect to sell him. Mr. Handsome will probably be the big man on campus for at least another year.

Little ones getting big feathers
The one remaining doeling and the 2 Saanen yearlings belong to Joseph, our steady egg-buying customer and lover of all things goat, so we cannot sell them. The other kid still here is the amazing Roger Ramjet who survived a very rough beginning of his short life. He spent some quality time in our bathtub, made a couple expensive trips to the vet, and then stayed for a few months with our friend the goat lady who did an excellent job of nursing him back to health. He is a trooper, and a keeper, but tough to catch in a photo because he stays right by my side.

We were not so lucky with our chickens this past week. Something broke through our not-too-sturdy wire fence and reached through the very sturdy wire dog crate to kill 3 of the 10 teenage chickens we raised here. The remaining 7 were trapped in the crate with the carnage of their siblings until morning when The Husband came out to find them. He took pictures. I won't share them.

The good news is that the 2 little chicks that Buffy Mama hatched are still alive and well and thriving. They are already getting their big chick feathers. Looks like neither actually came from a Buffy Mama egg.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

More square chick pics

Hangin' in the shade with Mama

Watching me, watching them

One tiny chickie butt!

Mama, where's your head?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flowers and bugs, no chicks

Buffy hen hatched the 2 chicks last week, and had 19 eggs left. After 21 days of just sitting there, she is either bored, or maybe she knows the rest are not fertilized. Either way she seems to have given up the egg-sitting. Now there are only 8 eggs. She broke the rest and ate them (from what I could see it was just egg). Today I put the crate on the floor and let her and chicks out to wander. It has been warm enough that if there are still any upcoming chicks, they might hatch without her help.

My irises are blooming like crazy this year! Last year I lost a few stalks to the painter who was doing the trim on the porch. This year I have 4 good stalks all blooming at the same time. Yellowy green flowers in the front are Lady's Mantle, an heirloom plant from The Farmer's Museum.

Next is some pretty purple dame's rocket. It looks like tall phlox but with only 4 petals. It is an invasive weed in the mustard family that still looks awfully nice in the back 40.

And some really adorable violas the church ladies gave me for Mother's Day. My favorite color combination!

Last but not least, the biggest moth I have ever seen was fluttering around the front porch lamp on Monday night. Google tells me it is a Polyphemous Silk Moth. I can tell you it was YUGE!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Still only two

I guess we missed on the 21-day hatch date, our fault not hers. Two of the chicks hatched yesterday. One looks totally blonde like mom (which doesn't mean anything) the other is mixed. It is possible that she, our only Buff Orpington hen, was bred by Big Roo, also a Buff. It is probable that some of the eggs she is sitting on are hers, so we will get some more Buffys. There is definitely a mixed bunch of eggs in there—17 hens, 2 different roos—so we will get a mixed breed bunch of chicks if any of the rest hatch.

The 2 chicks were out and about this morning, and mom had a hard time trying to keep an eye on them while still sitting on the remaining eggs (19 to be exact). I had to move the eggs, and then coax the chicks and momma into the dog crate which will be their home until most of the remaining eggs hatch, or don't.

It is still too cold at night to have chicks and/or eggs not under mom for warmth. Where they are now, at least they are all in one place, and no other hens can lay additional eggs in there. That's how we ended up with 21 total. Every time Momma left the nest box with the eggs, another hen would jump in there and lay some more.

A mother's work is never done...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Coyote or wolf?

There have been mentions of a wolf sighted up here, but I am not sure I believe it. We did just see what was probably a coyote bouncing through the weeds on our property this Sunday morning. Since he was coming from the direction of the chicken coop, I was worried, but at least he took off and crossed the creek going to the back. (The Husband checked. The chickens are fine.)

He (or she) was staring right at us with a big round face and red ears, looking more like a fox except easily the size of my dogs. I always thought of coyotes being skinny with long skinny noses, but I have never seen one staring me down like that before. This close-up coyote pic I found online looks just like the face I saw, but the body was much lighter in color, not much grey or black.

He came back about a half hour later, but the barking dogs sent him back to the creek again. At least I hope so.

Free-ranging chickens are always an experiment in danger, but I really didn't think a coyote would be hungry enough to come for Sunday breakfast.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Waiting on Buffy Hen

I didn't note when our buff hen started sitting on these eggs, but we are thinking the 21 days are probably ending soon and we should start to see some chicks. Today I can see there is a broken shell, but she would not let me look around to see if there was a chick that came out of it. Could just be a broken shell.

And this is a roast pork dinner I made last week that The Husband thought was worthy of a picture. It is a little messy, not my best "plating", but it was pretty darn tasty!