Cloudy with a Chance of Clouds

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The sun has been a rare commodity around here for the past few weeks. There has been plenty of snow, rain, wind, and just plain gloominess – but little sunshine. This means the chickens and guineas either spend their time in the coop or under it. The only place to put their food to keep it dry is under the coop itself.

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No sun means no eggs. Everyone still looks healthy but a bit of sunshine and some waste hay from the goats would really make everyone feel a whole lot better. One of the goals for next year will to either put in a new coop or a covered area. We shall see, in the mean time lets hope this streak of cloudiness comes to an end soon.

Happy White Friday!

 It snowed last night, hard!  It is still snowing.  The snow blower got its first run of the season and we had to salt the driveway as well, yuck.  Happy White Friday!

It was also moving day as the sheep breeding groups were established.  Kia and Avalon were not very excited to see Killarney.

 Killarney on the other hand was very excited to see them!  He was all tongue wagging this and lip curling that – I guess that is supposed to be attractive for sheep.

 The chickens were less than impressed.  So unimpressed were they that most of them refused to leave the coop at all today.  I’m sure the 21* F temperature and -1* F windchill didn’t have anything to do with it.  I had the Commander put some extra food and water inside the coop tonight to make sure they get an opportunity to eat something.

 Juliette and Diablo spent the day outside picking through all the food the chickens didn’t eat.  This will be Juliette’s third Winter so she knows what to expect at least.

 With the rams joining the girls little Bablo needed a place to stay so he is moving in with the goat boys.  I’m sure the smell won’t have any impact the quality of his wool.  I saw Bablo trying to itch his belly on a few of the girls so it definitely time for him to find other quarters. 

 I hate going into the pens when the rams are mingled with the girls, I just don’t trust them.  The girls don’t seem very trusting either as of yet.  The Commander had to bribe everyone with grain to get them into their barns for the evening.

 Laura is used to being the boss so the move to the ram pen to join Hoss has her very agitated.  She is still bigger than him so this will be an interesting situation to monitor.

Poor little Azalia has to be in with Hoss as well because Killarney is her father.  She has never been away from her mother Gardenia so I’m going to have to watch her closely for signs of excessive stress.

More Fall Foul

Juliette has somehow managed to survive a second year of trying to hatch out a clutch of eggs.  She failed on two attempts this year and was almost killed at least three times that I know of.  Her last nest was destroyed by who knows what and Molly got really sick from eating at least a few abandoned eggs.  I am very greatful that she has begun sleeping in the coop again at night.

Momma chicken has done a great job of raising her five keets and two chickens.  I will need the keets this year because I only have three adult guineas left (eight killed by various predators this year).

Momma takes her younglings everywhere, including the goat barn.  Can you spot the perching animal that doesn’t belong?

Momma like to use the goat barn as a doorway to get from the backyard area into the woods.  I think it is hilarious to see goats run screaming from their barn having been scared by little chicks.

Momma’s babies are getting too big for their mini-coop so we have been moving it slowly, a few feet every day, towards the main coop area. 

Here is a shot of the coop half way there!  The mini-coop is actually in the main coop area tonight.  After a few days I plan on closing up the mini-coop to see if momma will bring them into the main coop.  I hope so because the mini-coop won’t make it this Winter.

Fall Foul

The chickens have kicked into high egg production as of late.  I don’t know what has changed but maybe the temperature dropping a bit has made egg laying easier?

Leopold’s tail feathers seem to be growing back after the guineas had pulled them all out this Spring.  Good thing they are coming back in as it will be cold this Winter.

Lucy the lone Rhode Island Red is an egg laying machine.  She is far and away the best layer here.  If you want great egg production the Rhode Island Reds seem to be the way to go.

Mamma hen is doing a great job raising her two hatchlings and the guinea keets.  I will be moving them in with the rest of the flock sometime this week.

We have had almost no ticks this year, the guineas have done a terrific job.  If you have a tick problem guineas are your solution!

Back to School

Mamma chicken has been doing a great job of taking care of the five guinea keets since they were slipped under her one evening a few weeks ago.  She only had two chicks of her own so I figured she could handle it. 

They all started out in the mini-coop and just this past week we have been letting them free range.  It is funny to see the keets flying and mamma chasing after them; “Who taught you to do that?  You all had better stay closer to me ya hear!”

She tucks everyone away nicely every evening when I go out to milk and all I have to do is shut their door for the evening.  I figure I will give her a few more weeks in the mini-coop and then move her and her clan to the main coop so they can get adjusted before Winter sets in.  The guineas have to learn that the coop means safety or else I will lose them to predators over the Winter.

Are you my Mother?

Six of the seven guinea hen eggs in the in incubator hatched so instead of moving them to the garage I gave to mamma chicken.  I moved mamma chicken, her two chicks and the six guineas all out to the new chicken brooder house to give them some privacy away from the other birds – safety for the little ones.

Unfortunately one of the keets didn’t survive the first day but everyone else is doing great.

Last year one of the chickens raised a batch of keets and it turned out great.  The predators surrounding this place have taken four guineas so far this year (three females) so I may need to keep some of these, hopefully a few are female.

Fowl Murders

The Tall, Dark Stranger paid the price last night for not sleeping in the coop.  I don’t think he escaped this encounter.

Last week one of the eagle looking chicks came up missing, looks like they were eaten by a fox or a lynx.  We have seen both lingering about, not good.  I wonder if the lynx is big enough to try and grab one of the goat kids?

The Commander and I finished putting together the new brooder/rehab coop.

Its two current occupants are Americauna chicks that the Commander picked up a few weeks ago.  In another week or so they will get moved in with the rest of the chickens.

They need to move because two of the hens have been broody for several weeks.  If they hatch out any chicks I will move them to the new mini coop to give them some time to grow.  The egg production around here has dropped off dramatically with two hens sitting and some of the others laying their eggs on top of them!

The second hen is currently sitting on five eggs, but she has not been sitting them consistently.  I don’t think she will hatch any.  That is OK because I have seven guinea eggs in the incubator due to hatch in less than two weeks.  Things will be easier around here if I can get her to raise them.

I’m not sure what to do about the fox or the lynx, I’m going to have to keep the gun ready.