Flock Friday for November 15

For this week’s Flock Friday update, we have some chicken egg news… but first, the ducks (who still aren’t laying, at least as far as I can see).

That’s a rather dirty bill you have there, Bert:

Ducks

That’s better. And a funny expression on Gert’s face:

Ducks

Got a drooling problem, Bert?

Ducks

Going after mealworms:

Ducks going after mealworms

Ducks going after mealworms

Beads of water glowing in the sun:

Ducks

On to the chickens; here’s looking at the new ones through the remaining weed stalks:

Chickens

The older chickens in veggie garden, wanting me to open the gate into the new run (which I will do in about a week, probably):

Older chickens in veggie garden

The new chickens again:

Chickens

Lavender in a nesting box; yep, she’s laying now:

Chicken in nesting box

The older chickens are still on their winter vacation, with only one egg every few days, but the new girls are picking up the slack. When chickens first start laying, they often have smaller eggs, like this one:

Eggs

Lavender accidentally laid an egg on the ramp:

Laying egg on ramp

Egg on ramp

But now all four of the new girls are laying; check out that dark brown one!

Eggs

(The ramp egg and these three in the nesting box were the same day.)

Cat update for week ending November 9

Welcome to a Caturday uploaded from the road. A bit more difficult than on my Mac, but a good way to occupy myself as a passenger, and avoid missing a day or being late.

A couple of cats on the deck:

Poppy:

In the cabin:

Pumpkin peeking:

On the front garden:

Happy in the cabin:

Jumping off the camera housing:

Comfy Pumpkin in the house:

He’s such a pretty cat:

Three cats:

Pumpkin arriving at the feeder:

Snuggles:

Arrival at the cabin:

Pumpkin peeking at a possum in the feeder:

Big yawn:

Stretch:

Poppy:

Night Pumpkin:

Arrival at the cabin:

Three cats:

Flock Friday for November 8

It was an exciting week for the older chickens: once Jenn removed the potatoes and onions from the veggie garden, I was able to let the chickens in to help us clear out the remaining plants.

The newer chickens don’t get to participate yet, as I’m waiting for them all to start laying (so far only one is). But they have a large run for the four of them, and get daily treat deliveries, so I don’t feel too bad.

Here’s me opening the hole in fence:

David opening hole in fence

Here’s the hole, and chickens heading into the veggie garden:

Chickens heading into veggie garden

Chickens heading into veggie garden

Molting Merida — she is looking rather scruffy at present, as are several others. But don’t worry, it’s a normal part of their yearly cycle, discarding old feathers and growing new ones. The worst part is they stop laying while going through that; we’re only getting zero or one egg per day from all of the old chickens at present:

Molting Merida

Looking from the veggie garden back to the chicken run, and chickens heading into the garden:

Chickens heading into veggie garden

The chickens headed straight for the salad bar:

Chickens at the salad bar

Chickens at the salad bar

Chickens at the salad bar

A wide angle view of the veggie garden:

Wide angle of veggie garden

An empty chicken run; everyone’s in the veggie garden:

Empty chicken run

Every day when I do my morning rounds, the chickens come to the corner of the veggie garden to greet me:

Chickens coming to see me on morning rounds

Let’s take a look at the ducks:

Ducks

Gert shaking her head:

Ducks

The ducks again:

Ducks

On the bank by the duck house:

Ducks

I mentioned in my previous post that I waded in the pond to clean and start the fountain pump. Here are a few more pictures of the ducks from inside the pond:

Ducks

Ducks

Duck butts!

Ducks

Ducks

This picture was in that previous post, but I thought I’d include it here too:

Duck house

This morning, a heron landed on the duck house:

Heron landing on duck house

(I happened to be looking at that camera at the time, and headed out to the pond to get a better picture, but it saw me coming and flew off.)

Wading in the pond to clean the fountain pump

Yesterday I received replacement chest waders (my old ones had a hole), and used them to clean and start the fountain pump in our pond.

I had previously had the waterfall running, but it tends to lose water, dropping the level of the pond. Normally I offset that with a hose topping up the pond, but the garden water is off for the winter, so I can’t do that.

So we also have a fountain pump in the pond. We typically use the fountain when the waterfall is off, to provide some aeration, and help prevent the pond from freezing in winter.

Here’s me wearing the waders by the edge of the pond (with the chicken coop in the background):

David wearing waders

Me in the pond, cleaning the pump:

Cleaning pump

The pump, lifted partially out of the pots it normally sits within (to prevent it from falling over):

The pump

The pump started, and repositioned a bit closer to the duck house:

Pump started

The pump operating; someday I may add a nozzle for a more decorative fountain, but for now it is just a bubbler for aeration:

The pump operating

Looking at the duck house from inside the pond. You can see that the water level has dropped so much that the end of the ramp is out of the water. I wish I had made it a bit longer, though the ducks don’t have too much difficulty in climbing onto it:

Duck house

Just for fun, I waded out to the deeper end of the pond. It’s hard to tell from this camera angle, but here I’m about 20 feet from the far edge:

David near the deep end

This shows the depth at that point, about 2.5 feet. The bottom is fairly steep; it gets deeper further back. It was very cold, too!

David near the deep end

Walking in the pond; the ducks were rather confused by my strange behavior:

David walking in the pond

The pump and ducks:

The pump and ducks

Stay tuned for more pictures of the ducks taken from the pond on Flock Friday!

Cat update for week ending November 2

Some interesting developments in this week’s Caturday summary.  

Once again, it was tough narrowing down the 162 photos to just 27 in this post. I’ve omitted a lot of pics similar to ones seen many times before, but here’s an entertaining example, of a cat in the cat house, another in the feeder, and a third stretching on the tree:

Three cats

Porcini in the middle of the mostly empty fountain:

Porcini on the fountain

A couple of cats on the bench by the field:

Cats on bench

The twins by the small pond:

Cats by small pond

Cats by the bench again:

Cats by bench

Pumpkin inside the cat house, and two others by the feeder:

Three cats

Since Pumpkin has been hogging the cat house most nights, I felt bad for our ferals, with the temperatures below freezing overnight. So I decided to put the old shelter back in the garden below our deck. Similar to the cat house, it includes a heating pad to keep it toasty:

Old shelter

Here’s a closer view; I also moved the Mobile cam from the pond to watch this shelter; you can see it in the bottom-left corner:

Old shelter

While I spent all that time and money building the cat house, with room for all of the cats, they are ferals; the great outdoors is their home. And especially with Pumpkin moving in, having a second heated shelter available is a good thing.

This old shelter is a “multi-kitty A-frame”, which I think of as the cat cabin, to distinguish it from the cat house — a smaller second home for them.  Check out my old post from when I first got it, or for more of the history, see the summary of the cat house project.

It didn’t take them long to investicat it. Here’s a cat approaching the back of the cabin:

Cat approaching back of shelter

Pommie inside the cabin shelter, Porcini outside:

Two cats

Another two:

Two cats

Two cats snuggling in the cabin:

Two cats in the shelter

Two cats in the cabin, one outside:

Two cats in the shelter, one outside

Screenshot of cat cams, showing two cats in the cabin, and Pumpkin in the house:

Screenshot of cat cams

As mentioned on the Dejus blog, since it’s below freezing at night, I added heated water dishes for the cats and other animals, to provide non-frozen water. The dish only comes on when the temperature is in the freezing range, and only warms it enough to keep it liquid:

Heated water dish

Spud on the front steps:

Spud on front steps

Porcini in the cat cabin:

Porcini in cabin

Two snuggled in the cabin:

Two snuggled in cabin

Pumpkin investigating the cabin with Pommie inside:

Pumpkin investigating cabin

He was not welcome:

Pumpkin investigating cabin

And quickly departed:

Pumpkin investigating cabin

Pumpkin and Paladout had an encounter in the feeder; Pumpkin just wanted to eat, but Paladout didn’t want to share. So it went the same as usual: Pumpkin eventually gave up and went into the house, Paladout was able to finish and leave, then Pumpkin came back to eat:

Pumpkin and Paladout in feeder

An alien invader! No, just Pumpkin; he’s practically family at this point:

Alien!

Fuzzy paws:

Fuzzy paws

Porcini having a good stretch on the way out of the cabin:

Porcini stretching

One of the twins drinking from the heated bowl, when Pumpkin arrived; he waited for the twin to depart. They’re slowly getting used to each other:

Twin and Pumpkin

Finally, Pansy eating from the food dispenser in the front of shop. She lives in the back, and rarely visits the front, but has figured out that she can get more food there:

Pansy in front of shop

Flock Friday for November 1

For this Flock Friday, I’m going to include the photos in chronological order, rather than grouping by ducks, new chickens, old chickens, and birds, like I usually do.

But as it happens, we start with the ducks anyway, exploring the northwest bank of the pond and the grass beyond:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Next is a sequence of shots from inside the old chicken coop, as the pop door opens. No, it isn’t snowing inside, that’s just the bedding dust getting stirred up by their wings:

Chicken pop door opening

Chicken pop door opening

Chicken pop door opening

Chicken pop door opening

Chicken pop door opening

One of the new chickens has started laying! Here’s the first new egg, laid outside (as I expected; there are only a few places private enough to lay, and this is one of them):

First new chicken egg

So that was what I was waiting for to open up the nesting boxes, previously covered with plywood to prevent them sleeping in there:

Nesting boxes open for business

The new chickens investigating the nesting boxes:

Investigating nesting boxes

The second egg, laid in a box:

Second egg

A chicken coming out of a nesting box; now we know who is laying:

Chcken coming out of nesting box

Since we had a chicken escape through the hole in the run roof, I decided to repair it, with welded wire instead of netting as before. Eventually I want to replace all of the roof netting with welded wire, though no point in doing that just before snow is likely:

Run roof repair

Back to the ducks, on the edge of pond next to the overflow channel:

Ducks on edge of pond

The ducks with their heads together:

Ducks

As mentioned on my Dejus blog, it’s below freezing at night now, so I put out water heaters, including a heating pad under the hummingbird feeder to keep it from freezing. It hangs off paperclips to prevent the heating pad from touching the plastic base of the feeder, to avoid it melting:

Hummingbird feeder with heater

A chicken in a nesting box, working on laying an egg (as seen from the outside access door):

Chicken in nesting box

The older chickens are still molting; there are feathers everywhere in their run:

Chicken feathers

Chicken feathers

I’m looking forward to them finishing that process, since they’ve pretty much stopped laying eggs at present. But having a rest is good for them.

The temperature is cold enough to partially freeze the pond overnight, though it is thawing during the day (for now):

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in partially frozen pond

That’s it for this week!

Added Greenhouse and Trees project summaries

I’ve added a couple more project summaries to the Yellow Cottage Homestead site, for my project of summarizing homestead projects. Still a few left to go, but I’m getting there.

Visit the summary post to see an overview of all of the projects, or the Projects page to scroll through all of the projects, or pick individual ones below. Click or tap on the photo to visit that summary:

Greenhouse

Assembling and updating our greenhouse.

Trees

Planting trees around the property, and measuring the heights of select trees.

Cat update for week ending October 26

For today’s Caturday, I had 359 photos to wade through… though it wasn’t as bad as that sounds, since most of them were shots for the three animated GIFs I made this week. If you didn’t see them (or want to enjoy them again), check them out:

  1. A night in the cat shelter
  2. Afternoon meal in cat feeder
  3. Four cats outside

Anyway, on with the regular photos from this week. There are a bit more than usual, due to some interesting events, plus a series of photos of the cat house with fall foliage. Hopefully not too many!

Pumpkin surrounded:

Pumpkin surrounded

Poppy on the deck, another cat eating, and a third stretching:

Three cats

A new alien cat turned up; at first glance could be mistaken for one of our ferals, but the markings are different, no cropped ear, and looks a bit younger:

A new alien cat

A new alien cat

Three cats:

Three cats

Two cats by the front steps:

Two cats by the front steps

Enjoying the heating pad:

Enjoying the heating pad

Enjoying upstairs:

Enjoying upstairs

Pumpkin vs Paladout:

Pumpkin vs Paladout

The twins on the deck, and Porcini on the awning:

Three cats

Three cats

I was enjoying the fall foliage, so thought I’d take some photos of the cat house and its leafy environs:

The cat house and fall foliage

The cat house and fall foliage

The cat house and fall foliage

A couple shots using the new wide-angle lens in the iPhone 11 Pro Max:

The cat house and fall foliage

The cat house and fall foliage

You can see why I have a cover over the small pond! (I brushed away the leaves from the cover after taking this picture).

Back to the cats… four of them:

Four cats

Two cats on the bench by the field:

Two cats on the bench by the field

A cat walking from the bench to the stream for a drink:

Cat walking from the bench to the stream

Back to the bench:

Back to the bench

A cat on the bench by the fountain; I should put those cushions away for the winter, but they are enjoying them so:

Cat on bench by fountain

Poppy and Pumpkin inside:

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Pumpkin in the feeder:

Pumpkin in the feeder

A screenshot of my iPad cam viewer app, showing Pumpkin on the deck, Poppy in the shelter, and one of the twins in the feeder:

Screenshot of Pumpkin and two others

Three cats:

Three cats

Three cats inside:

Three cats inside

Poppy and Pumpkin happily sharing the shelter again:

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Poppy and Bill the Cat, I mean Pumpkin:

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Poppy and Pumpkin inside

Bella peeking around the corner at Poppy on the deck (and another eating):

Three cats

Flock Friday for October 25

It’s Flock Friday again!

Here are the ducks, in a very leafy pond (before I scooped out a bunch):

Ducks

The ducks going after mealworm treats:

Ducks with treats

A couple of closeups of the female buff duck, Gert:

Female buff duck

Female buff duck

The male buff duck, Bert:

Male buff duck

Male buff duck

The female cayuga duck, Gill, with water droplets on her head:

Female cayuga duck

A night swim:

Night swim

The ducks on the lawn, rooting for bugs:

Ducks on grass

Ducks on grass

Ducks on grass

I had fun taking zoomed photos of the ducks. Here’s Bert:

Male buff duck

Gert:

Female buff duck

Bert from above:

Male buff duck

Gert front-on:

Female buff duck

A couple of nice shots of Gill, showing the green iridescence:

Female cayuga duck

Female cayuga duck

On to the chickens.

Unfortunately we lost another of the new chickens; Moana flew up to the top of the run fence, into the old run, and couldn’t figure out how to get back. She flew into the tree above the old run, and hasn’t been seen since. So she is officially missing, presumed dead. But maybe she’s off on some adventure somewhere. We haven’t had much luck with these new ones; we started with 8, and are now down to 4.

Here you can see Moana on the coop roof:

Escape chicken

Here she’s in the foreground of the old run:

Escape chicken

A pity; she was the most friendly of the new chickens.

Some shots of the remaining new chickens slurping up spaghetti:

Chickens with spaghetti

Chickens with spaghetti

Chickens with spaghetti

The old chickens with treats:

Chickens with treats

Finally, hovering room only on one of the hummingbird feeders:

Hummingbirds