Flock Friday for March 27

This week was a busy one for the flock, with a possible first duck egg, me wading in the pond, broody chickens, and the heron and a flock of geese visiting.

An egg?!  Maybe!  We found this large broken white egg on the edge of the pond; it sure looks like it could be a duck egg, and I am expecting Gert to start laying about now. I have been looking most days for more, but haven’t found any yet:

Duck egg?

Duck egg?

On Sunday I waded into the pond with a large ceramic pot, to make a small island for the ducks:

Adding a pot to the pond

Adding a pot to the pond

The pot island:

The pot island

The main reason for doing that was that the ducks often perch on the pot that encloses the pump, but I also wanted to clean and turn on the pump, which would prevent that:

Cleaning the pump

Here’s the pump going:

Pump and ducks

A bunch of pictures of the ducks while I was standing in the pond:

Ducks

Pump and ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks going into their house:

Ducks going into their house

I’ve seen the ducks sitting below the pond deck on several occasions; I’m wondering if that’s a possible nest location (nothing there yet, though):

Ducks below the pond deck

Let’s not forget the chickens. Here are some having dust baths in the veggie garden:

Chickens having dust baths

Enjoy it while you can, girls! Once the weather warms up enough for us to start planting, they’ll be evicted.

Refilling one of the outdoor waterers; it’s easier to do that in summer, when the garden water is on, but at present I have to turn on an underground valve for one of the pipes, which leads to this tap in the back lawn, plus the pond tap:

Refilling waterer

Domino laying an egg in a nesting box:

Domino in nesting box

You can see the leftmost egg still glistening, moments after being laid:

Domino in nesting box

The heron stopped by briefly:

Heron

An animated GIF of topping up the pond; you can see the water from the hose on the right, and the water level rising slowly (watch the pond edge):

GIF of topping up pond

Ducks following me down the path:

Ducks following me down path

Did you see my YouTube video of eleven geese taking a pitstop in our pond?

Here are some photos of that, starting with the geese landing (look in the upper-left corner):

Geese landing

Geese

Geese

Geese

Geese

The geese taking off:

Geese taking off

Finally, Martha is being broody again, hanging out in a nesting box; here she’s sitting on 15 eggs:

Martha in box

Cat update for week ending March 21

This week, a new alien cat, a jay landing, and assorted cute cats.

I mentioned this yesterday, but for anyone who didn’t see that: because everyone could use a bit more joy at present, I’m posting a moment of cuteness every day on my personal blog. Which will include additional feral cat pictures not posted here, plus our pet cats, our dog Rory, ducks and chickens, and other cute things from around the homestead. So you might enjoy following the Dejus blog, or its RSS feed, or cross-posts on Micro.blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Also, a plug for one of my Dejal apps: to help people new to working from home, I am giving away the fully unlocked features of my Time Out break reminder app for macOS.  It’s important to take regular breaks.  Learn more on the Dejal blog.

On with the pics. Here’s Porcini peeking:

Porcini

Pommie and Porcini in the cabins:

Pommie and Porcini

Pommie and Porcini

In the breezeway during the day:

Breezeway

I encountered Pepper in the front of the shop; she is used to me, so doesn’t run away unless I get within a few feet of her. The feral cats have been practicing social distancing before it was cool:

Pepper

Porcini on the driveway:

Porcini

Bella in the cat house:

Bella

And by the cabins:

Bella

Bella and Porcini:

Bella and Porcini

A new alien cat turned up this week; similar to Pumpkin, but a lighter color:

New alien cat

I haven’t seen Pumpkin for a while; I had to significantly reduce the food dispenser quantity, to avoid leaving food overnight.

A good stretch:

Stretch

Bella, Poppy, and a twin by the cat house:

Three cats

Three cats

A twin on the front steps (sorry about the reflections in the window):

Twin

A fight between two cats; I assume one of our twins and the new alien, but could be two aliens; I can’t see them clear enough to be sure:

Face off

Cat fight

Cat fight

The new alien cat again; an un-neutered male:

New alien cat

New alien cat

A Steller’s Jay coming in for a landing; such a pretty bird:

Steller's Jay

Steller's Jay

A twin with their tongue out in the cat house:

Twin

I hope you enjoyed this cat update. Be like feral cats, and practice good social distancing!

Flock Friday for March 20

This week, the ducks walked across the back lawn to meet me a few times, the chickens got their favorite treat, the heron visited again, and more.

Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t follow my personal blog, Dejus: because everyone could use a bit more joy at present, I’m posting a moment of cuteness every day. Which will include additional duck and chicken pictures not posted here, plus feral and pet cats, our dog Rory, and other cute things from around the homestead. So you might enjoy following the Dejus blog, or its RSS feed, or cross-posts on Micro.blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Anyway, on with today’s Flock Friday. Here are the ducks in their house:

Duck in duck house

Duck in duck house

The ducks on a frosty back lawn:

Ducks

Eating mealworms next to the duck house:

Ducks by duck house

Ducks by duck house

Chickens having a dust bath in the veggie garden:

Chickens having a dust bath

The ducks on the back lawn again:

Ducks

Quacking and walking back to their house:

Ducks

Ducks on path

A couple animated GIFs of the ducks on the path to the duck house (different than the one posted on my personal blog):

GIF of ducks on path

GIF of ducks on path

Chickens staring at me, waiting for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens waiting for treats

It was worth the wait; rice is their all-time favorite treat, after mealworms:

Chickens enjoying rice

Chickens enjoying rice

Chickens enjoying rice

Chickens enjoying rice

Another frosty morning, and again the ducks running over the lawn to see me:

Ducks running over the lawn to see me

Ducks on back lawn

Quacking at me by the chicken runs:

Ducks by chicken runs

Ducks by chicken runs

Did you see the YouTube video of them following me to the duck house and getting treats?

A heron coming in for a landing:

Heron landing

Heron landing

Heron in the pond, watched by the ducks:

Heron in pond

Finally, since Jenn hasn’t been going to work due to COVID-19, and the chickens are laying about a dozen eggs per day at present, we’re accumulating lots of eggs. Here are four dozen, washed and ready to make into a heap of breakfast burritos this morning:

Four dozen eggs

We’ll work on thinking of other meals to eat up the eggs. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Stay safe, stay home, everyone!

Cat update for week ending March 14

While you could all use cute pictures of ducks and chickens this week, everyone knows that cats rule the internet for cuteness. On to Caturday!

Three cats in front of the cat house:

Three cats

Poppy face:

Poppy

Three cats in the breezeway:

Three cats

Porcini and Pumpkin in the cabins:

Porcini and Pumpkin

An animated GIF of a bird landing:

GIF of bird landing

A new alien cat visited a few times, and menaced Pumpkin (giving him a taste of his own medicine):

Alien cat and Pumpkin

Alien cat and Pumpkin

He looks like one of our ferals, though larger, but doesn’t have the ear tip:

Alien cat and Pumpkin

Alien cat and Pumpkin

He went after Pumpkin in the shelter; Pumpkin stood his ground:

Alien cat and Pumpkin

Pumpkin was none the worse from that encounter:

Pumpkin

Porcini:

Porcini

A GIF of Pumpkin arriving, and pausing while another cat departed:

GIF of Pumpkin and another cat

GIF of Poppy slowly walking towards the feeder, only to be overtaken by two of her kits:

GIF of Poppy with two other cats

GIF of cats playing:

GIF of cats playing

Four cats outside; two in front of the bench, one only visible as a shadow behind the bench, and one by a rock:

Four cats

At the same instant as that photo, another cat in the feeder. I always enjoy seeing all five cats at the same time; a rather rare occurrence:

Cat in feeder

Pepper on her perch in the shop, watching me collapsing cardboard boxes:

Pepper in the shop

Porcini:

Porcini

Porcini under the deck, looking startled when I was refilling the bird feeders:

Porcini

Snow on a cat in the feeder:

Snow on cat

Two cats inside their house, taking advantage of the heating pads:

Two cats inside

Flock Friday for February 21

This week, the heron returns, a super-exciting stack of food bags and fun egg math, and assorted duck and chicken pics.

The heron landing:

Heron

The ducks swam over to investigate:

Heron

A while later, taking off again:

Heron

Heron

The ducks by their frosty-roofed house:

Ducks

Ducks from below the pond deck, while I was wiping off the pond cam:

Ducks

Ducks

A peek of some chickens through the fence:

Chickens

The aforementioned exciting pile of bags of chicken food, and a flock block:

Chicken food

Let’s do some fun math.  The chickens go through about a bag per week between the two coops — I typically get about six bags of feed every six weeks or so. (The ducks eat it too, but there are only a couple of them, so negligible difference.)  Each bag costs $29.95.

We’re currently averaging about 6 eggs per day, ramping up as the weather warms up.  At their peak production it’s more like 10.  So that’s 42 to 70 eggs per week, or 3.5 to 5.8 dozen per week.

So in terms of food, each egg costs $0.71 to $0.43, or $8.52 to $5.16 per dozen (they eat at a fairly constant rate, so the more eggs they lay, the cheaper each is).  And we give away the majority of those.  Certainly not a cheap way to get eggs, but we enjoy the chickens, and you can’t beat the taste of farm-fresh eggs!

Sometimes it’s best not to look too closely at the numbers.

Anyway, back to the pics. The chickens in the new coop, waiting for their mealworm treats (let’s not factor those into the math too!):

Chickens

They are still mostly roosting above the nesting boxes in the new coop:

Chickens roosting

For completeness, the old coop too:

Chickens roosting

Finally, some pictures in the old coop just after I gave them the new flock block:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Cat update for week ending January 18

This week, the trials and successes of Bella, birds making poor life choices, and cold wet stuff.

Portabella and Pumpkin continue to not get along; Pumpkin seems to feel he has to chase her off whenever he sees her:

Bella and Pumpkin

Bella and Pumpkin

She came back, and again was chased off:

Bella and Pumpkin

Bella and Pumpkin

Bella and Pumpkin

In that encounter, Pumpkin kicked the decorative barrel off.  It was glued to the deck with the smaller ones; apart from helping the old west vibe, the barrels help hold the shelter’s maintenance door closed:

Barrel

A Steller’s Jay grabbing some cat food:

Steller's Jay

Two cats arriving, with Pumpkin in the house; he’s fine with the other cats, just not Bella:

Two cats arriving

Graupel:

Graupel

Pumpkin watching me from under the main deck:

Pumpkin

A bunch of small birds drinking from the heated water dish:

Birds

Pumpkin and Pommie hanging out on the cat deck:

Pumpkin and Pommie

A bird tried to have a drink when cats were nearby, and Pumpkin suggested that might not be wise:

Pumpkin and a bird

Pumpkin and Paladout seem to be getting used to each other; the latter saw Pumpkin peeking, but kept on eating instead of getting upset like in the past:

Pumpkin and Paladout

Pumpkin and Paladout

Pumpkin in the garden:

Pumpkin

Snowy cats:

Snowy cats

A Steller’s Jay arrives for more food:

Steller's Jay

Steller's Jay

This time, not so lucky: Pommie was in the cat house, and heard the bird:

Cat and Steller's Jay

Cat and Steller's Jay

Cat and Steller's Jay

Though I guess the bird was actually very lucky: it got the food, and narrowly escaped becoming food.

You may have seen that I added a new heated shelter in the breezeway next to our workshop. Subsequent to that, I modified it a little to make it more sheltered, by putting some old hanging baskets next to it:

Modified breezeway cabin

Bella found the cabin, and tried it out. She has spent most of the past two nights in there, which makes me very happy:

Bella in cabin

Pommie and Pumpkin:

Pommie and Pumpkin

A cat in the breezeway:

Cat in breezeway

Pommie has spent a fair bit of time in the cat house, too:

Pommie in cat house

Pommie in cat house

Bella in the breezeway again, from another angle (this camera is only there temporarily):

Bella in breezeway

Bella inside the breezeway cabin last night:

Bella in breezeway cabin

Bella having a stretch in the morning:

Bella by breezeway cabin

I’m glad that she has a comfy shelter away from Pumpkin’s usual haunts.

Flock Friday for January 17

This week, the ducks get to practice walking on the ice again, and more snow.

Let’s start with a couple pictures of most of the chickens in the new coop:

Chickens

Chickens

The ducks carefully walking on the frozen pond:

Ducks on frozen pond

On the ramp into the duck house:

Ducks on ramp by frozen pond

Inside:

Ducks in their house

Mealworm treats on the frozen pond:

Ducks on frozen pond

A bunch of crows in the field, making quite a racket; there were many more elsewhere on the field, too:

Crows in field

Crows in field

Ducks slogging through the thin ice on the frozen pond:

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Chickens with some snow:

Chickens

Ducks in the partially frozen pond:

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in partially frozen pond

An early morning shot of snow pooling in the middle of the frozen pond:

Pond

The snowy path to the duck house:

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in the slushy ice:

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

That’s probably going to be it for snow for this season, though it could snow again. It’s melting now, and will probably turn to rain over the coming week. Looks like the temperatures won’t be cold enough to freeze the pond either. It was fun while it lasted.

Cat update for week ending January 11

This week: using the cat house a bit more, Paladout becoming accepted, Pumpkin and Bella not so much, a little snow, and more.

But first, a Steller’s Jay on the cat house deck:

Steller's Jay

Pommie (I think) and Bella:

Pommie and Bella

One of the twins inside the cat house; not sure if Pommie or Spud, though probably Pommie. They have spent several nights in the cat house, since Pumpkin has mostly vacated it in favor of the cabins:

Cat inside

Poppy entering the feeder via the back door:

Poppy going in feeder back door

Poppy and Bella:

Poppy and Bella

Porcini and Paladout seem to be getting quite comfortable with each other. Here Paladout approaches Porcini fairly closely:

Porcini and Paladout

When she turns around, he backs off a bit, but they seems happy enough; not even a warning hiss:

Porcini and Paladout

Pumpkin arrival:

Pumpkin arrival

Using the back door:

Pumpkin arrival and exit

The twins on the deck:

Twins

Pumpkin is still using the cat house a bit, typically just before breakfast, while waiting for it to dispense:

Pumpkin inside

Our dog Rory inside, watching Pumpkin by the gate (look closely… and a hummingbird visible too). She can react to seeing cats on the deck by jumping up on the window, which is strongly discouraged; we’re worried that one day she’ll break it:

Rory watching Pumpkin

The cabins with their typical occupants, Pommie and Pumpkin:

Cabins

A twin on top of the camera housing, watching Paladout:

Watching Paladout

The cat house façade and signs:

Cat house signs

A fun detail; a cactus ornament in the feeder cupboard window:

Cactus ornament in window

When I do my morning rounds, and refill the bird feeders, Pumpkin often retreats, but sometimes he stays in the cabin and watches me warily; here he was slowly blinking (cat smile) while I reassured him he was safe there:

Pumpkin in cabin

Bella and Pumpkin really don’t get along.  Here she is entering the feeder, and Pumpkin is way over by the bird feeders:

Bella by feeder, Pumpkin by birds

As soon as Pumpkin saw her, he came running up:

Pumpkin running up

And they had a bit of an encounter in the feeder:

Bella and Pumpkin

Followed by a rapid exit out the back door:

Bella and Pumpkin

Bella and Pumpkin

A tail sticking out the back door:

Tail sticking out door

Two cats watching a bird:

Watching a bird

Paladout, with Porcini peeking around the corner:

Paladout and Porcini

Paladout eating, Porcini watching from the back door:

Paladout and Porcini

More Porcini peeking, this time on our main deck, watching me inside our house:

Porcini on deck

My first hint that it was snowing the other day was seeing some white flecks on a cat in the feeder:

Snowy cat

As mentioned, a twin has been spending the night in the cat house, but Pumpkin likes to turn up in the morning to wait for breakfast. That of course led to them having a face-off, with Pumpkin outside and the twin growling and hissing to defend the house:

Pumpkin and a twin

After a few minutes, Pumpkin decided to wait in the feeder instead:

Pumpkin and a twin

A sneak peek of snow:

Snow

Cat footprints in the snow on the bird box:

Snow

We’re expecting much more snow next week, so you can look forward to more snowy pictures if that eventuates.

Cat update for week ending January 4

Some more feeder back door tweaks this week, among other things.

The cats seem to be accepting Paladout; he has been hanging around pretty much every day, and they’ve walked by without seeming concerned by him:

Paladout

A different configuration of three cats:

Three cats

Porcini closeup:

Porcini

Pommie and Pumpkin at the cabins:

Pommie and Pumpkin

Pommie and Pumpkin

Poppy closeup. She always looks grumpy:

Poppy

Some birds making poor life choices:

Birds

Porcini not at all bothered by Paladout:

Porcini and Paladout

Graceful Pumpkin:

Graceful Pumpkin

A long-distance zoomed shot of Pumpkin in the house and two others on a rock:

Pumpkin in the house, two others on a rock

Me refilling the feeder; you can see the feeder drawer out, and I’m dumping excess food into plastic bins that get stored on the top shelf:

Refilling feeder

Pumpkin looking handsome:

Pumpkin

Puzzle time; there are four cats here; can you see all of them?

Four cats

A cat peeking out from under the house, while another cat scratched the tree:

Cat under house, cat scratching tree

The cat under the house reached out and tagged the tail of the other one:

Cat under house, cat scratching tree

The latter then jumped a bit:

Cat under house, cat scratching tree

Paladout eating in the feeder, and is blocked from leaving by another cat. He considered using the new back door, but wasn’t sure about it (which is strange, since he’s clearly a pet cat, since he has a collar; perhaps his humans let him out instead of having a cat door?):

Paladout blocked in feeder

He tried to get past, but couldn’t:

Paladout blocked in feeder

Paladout peeking from behind one of the twins, who was ignoring him; the twin eventually wandered off, so Paladout could leave:

Paladout blocked in feeder

So based on that, I decided to help them further, and attached a bungee to hold the feeder door open:

Feeder door held open

Didn’t take them long to investicat the opened door:

Investicating door

Peeking in the door:

Peeking in door

They seem to like it open; they can now freely exit and enter through the door:

Entering door

Pumpkin:

Pumpkin

Going out the door:

Going out door

The original reason for installing the door: escaping Pumpkin:

Escaping Pumpkin

It was still a big step, a bit awkward, so I then added a cinderblock to make it more comfortable to use:

Step

Two cats investicating the step:

Investicating step

Investicating step

Investicating step

Finally, a harder puzzle; again there are four cats; can you see all of them?

Four cats