Flock Friday for September 25

A big Flock Friday today, with 33 photos of ducks and chickens, plus a GIF with those and 31 more at the end, as if 33 weren’t enough. But I took lots of nice shots of the ducks, so wanted to share them.

Firstly, via the pond cam from while we were evacuated, a wild duck visitor:

Wild duck visitor

Our ducks with the wild duck visitor (left); much smaller than ours:

Ducks with wild duck visitor

The ducks discovered the other upturned pot islands in the pond:

Ducks on islands

Ducks eating:

Ducks eating

When we got home from our evacuation, I collected eggs. Several under broody Martha:

Broody chicken with eggs

And a bunch in another box:

Eggs

That would be about one day’s worth in the peak of summer, but they are slowing down for fall, so are from several days. Currently they’re down to about 5 eggs per day.

Chickens waiting for treats:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Yay, rice treats:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

We let them into the veggie garden while evacuated (after our mid-evac visit), and they denuded the kale, except for the high leaves out of their reach, though left most of the pumpkins and tomatoes:

Veggie garden

I’ve continued to have issues with the ChickenGuard pop door opener on the new chicken coop:

ChickenGuard opener

So have had to go out to the coop each night to manually close the door. Here are the four chickens that prefer the new coop at night:

Chickens at night

From outside (on another night):

Chickens at night

Back to the ducks, with a bunch of pictures; the males are putting on their colorful feathers now, so they’ve changed a bit since you last saw them:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

GIF of ducks during a rainy night:

GIF of night ducks

Betty has been hanging out in the grasses, maybe thinking of nesting, though a bit young for that:

Betty in the grasses

Here’s a GIF summary of 64 photos from this week, including the above and a bunch more:

GIF summary

Flock Friday for September 18

We’re still at Mom’s place (current thought is maybe heading home tomorrow; continuing to evaluate the smoke). But I still have some chicken and duck pictures for you.

Here’s another picture of the chickens from when we visited on Monday:

Chickens

And a couple of previously-unpublished duck pictures from that visit:

Ducks

Ducks

One of the things I did while there was turn on the UPS for my Camect camera server, so I can now see several of the cams. Here is a capture from the pond cam from yesterday:

Ducks

And from this morning; everyone still there:

Ducks

Also from inside the new chicken coop. There’s an issue here — the pop door opener is stuck partially open, so at risk of raccoon invasion. Hopefully they won’t notice the opportunity:

Chickens

The old chicken coop; still lots of food:

Chickens

Evacuation update: homestead visit and level 2

Today we took a day-trip down to our homestead (three hours each way) to check on and feed the animals, and collect a few things we regretted not bringing north.

It was very smoky down there, unsurprisingly, being a couple of miles from the nearest fire. I put on a heavy-duty filter mask while outdoors:

David with mask

I started in the workshop, refilling the food and water dispensers at the front and back of the shop, for feral cats Pepper and Pansy there. They weren’t out of food or water yet, so hadn’t suffered. I also ripped open and left half a bag of food as a backup.

Then I went into the veggie garden, and on to the chickens; they were very vocal, and happy to see me:

Chickens

Here’s a wide-angle shot; you can see the smoke. I left the door to the veggie garden open, so they can go in and help themselves to treats. A bit early; normally we’d do that once we’re done harvesting the veggies, but it may have come to your attention that this is not a normal year:

Chickens

They didn’t waste much time in heading in there:

Chickens

The food dispenser in the new coop was empty, as expected, but the flock block was still there, so they weren’t starving. I refilled the feeder and waterer, and dumped the rest of the bag on the floor of the coop:

Chicken coop

I did the same in the old coop, too:

Chicken coop

There were lots of eggs, unsurprisingly; here is one of the nesting boxes:

Eggs

We brought about three dozen eggs back up north.

I then headed over to the pond. The fenceline trees are barely visible in the smoke:

Smoky

The ducks were happy to see me; they’ve all surived:

Ducks

I dumped the remainder of the bag of food from the duck house onto their food bowl, which hopefully will take them a few days to eat. They were very hungry:

Ducks

Ducks

I also opened the pop door on the duck house, so they can go in there; there’s a bit more food in the feeder tube.

Then I went over to the cat house, and refilled their feeder; it wasn’t empty, so they’ve had small meals each day. I powered up the Camect server, so I can now watch the cat feeder (and other cams) remotely, and will feed them more if the cats turn up.

Looking over the flowerbeds from by the cat house; rather smoky, and that fallen tree will be a project for another day:

Smoky

I also refilled the bird feeders, and the hummingbird feeders.

We noticed a circle marking painted on our driveway; presumably from fire or police officials surveying that we had evacuated. A convenient indicator for the looters some locals are worried about (hey, that’s what insurance is for, though we’re not too worried about that):

Driveway marking

After we finished at the homestead, we headed to Costco to pick up a prescription for Rory and other supplies. Just as we parked, we got an official notification of a change in the evacuation boundaries. Our house is now in level 2, though only barely. Here’s a screenshot of the new evacuation and fire boundaries:

Evacuation and fire boundaries

So we could go home, though level 2 is still risky — it could increase to level 3 at a moment’s notice. We left in level 2, so it doesn’t make any more sense to go back at that level. Plus it’s very smoky down there, much better up here.

We will continue to stay at Mom’s place for a bit longer, preferably until it is reduced to level 1 or all restrictions lifted. Some rain in the forecast later in the week, so hopefully that’ll help.

Flock Friday for September 11 (plus evacuation update)

As you may have seen, we had to evacuate our homestead due to some nearby wildfires. We are safe at Mom’s place, three hours north, along with our dog Rory and pet cats Pippin and Paladin, and the six ducklings.

The rest of the animals are still back at the homestead. The older ducks have their pond, so plenty of water of course, and can root around for bugs, though they may get a bit hungry. I’m more worried about the chickens.

I’m kicking myself that in our rush to evacuate, I didn’t take a few minutes to top up their food dispensers, or at least toss a bag of food in the coop. So they will likely run out of food from the dispensers sometime around now or the next day or two. They also have a couple of partial flock blocks (compressed blocks of supplemental food), which should keep them going another day or two. After that, hopefully they’ll subsist on the eggs they’re laying. If we’re away too long, they’ll probably start eating each other — chickens are vicious little dinosaurs.

They should have enough water for a while. The power is still off; if it comes on, the outdoor waterers would refill, but the water supply requires power, as it’s a well. I suspect the power will remain off until after the evacuation order is lifted.

Depending on how long that takes, we may go home to dead chickens, which would be unfortunate. But not as unfortunate as if the fire reaches our homestead. So far, it’s a couple of miles away, so hopefully won’t get closer. Here’s a map of the fires in the county. And a state-wide one; the “Riverside” fire is the main threat for our homestead. (I don’t publicly post exactly where our homestead is for privacy reasons.)

As of now, that fire has burned over 130,000 acres (of mostly trees), destroyed 33 houses and 20 other structures, and is 0% contained. Not great. But at least there haven’t been any fatalities from it so far.

So, that’s where things are at currently. The main thing is that we’re safe; much appreciation to Mom and her partner for providing a refuge for us, our pets, and the ducklings. Read the duckling posts for more on them.

Let’s enjoy some pictures from before all this went down. Here are the chickens:

Chickens

I feel like they’re looking at me in an accusing way, as if they could foretell the future… but that’s just how they normally look:

Chickens

Two ducks on an upturned pot island:

Two ducks on island

Ducks in the shallow end of the pond:

Ducks

Sleeping in the shade under a shrub:

Ducks under shrub

Ducks and ducklings:

Ducks and ducklings

We were visited by some quail recently:

Quail

Yes, the bird feeders will run out too… but they can fend for themselves.

A scrub jay getting some of the last peanuts:

Scrub jay getting peanuts

Scrub jay getting peanuts

GIF of scrub jay getting peanuts:

GIF of scrub jay getting peanuts

Bert flapping his wings:

Bert flapping wings

Ducks on the pond:

Ducks on the pond

Two ducks on the island again:

Two ducks on island

Betty in the grasses, others at the edge of the pond:

Ducks

Betty on the rock:

Ducks

I hope the ducks and chickens all survive this trying time.

Flock Friday for September 4

Time has no meaning at present, but the all-powerful overlord CAL-N-DAR informs me it is Friday… so time for pictures of chickens and adult ducks.

(“CAL-N-DAR is a reference from the Six Colors member podcast that I’m sure none of my readers will get… but it amuses me.)

Chickens waiting for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens with rice and strawberry treats:

Chickens with rice and strawberry treats

Chickens with rice and strawberry treats

Chickens with rice and strawberry treats

Koi in the pond, with some floating duck feathers and straw from the duck house:

Koi

Ducks with leafy treats:

Ducks with leafy treats

Duck butts:

Duck butts

Aerial views of the pond and ducks (did you see my post of aerial photos?):

Aerial view of pond and ducks

Aerial view of pond and ducks

The first time I’ve seen one of the new ducks on an inverted pot island (I think it’s Cora):

Duck on island

Night ducks:

Night ducks

Chickens waiting for treats again:

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens waiting for treats

Betty by the ducklings:

Betty and ducklings

Betty and ducklings

Flock Friday for August 28

Welcome to another Flock Friday!

Let’s begin with an animated GIF of ducks and fish at night:

GIF of ducks and fish at night

Ducks on the pond bank from different angles:

Ducks on the bank

Ducks on the bank

Ducks on the bank

Some ducks headed up the ramp to the duck house, even though the pop door is closed:

Ducks on the ramp

You can just make them out from the other cam too:

Ducks on the ramp

Ducks on the pond:

Ducks on the pond

Night ducks:

Night ducks

Chickens waiting for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens with treats:

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Finally, the ducks on the opposite side of the duck house from normal:

Ducks

Flock Friday for August 21

For Flock Friday this week, more sad news, I’m afraid. One of the two Rouen ducks went missing on Sunday night. I don’t know what happened to him — I saw him on Sunday, and haven’t seen him since, not even a body or signs of a struggle. So if a raccoon or something grabbed him, it must have dragged him somewhere else.

Anyway, on with the pictures. Here are the ducks messily eating, with one of the Rouens in the foreground:

Ducks eating

Ducks eating

Ducks by the duck house, and (not really visible) ducklings inside:

Ducks by duck house

A GIF of one of the Rouens exiting the pond:

GIF of exiting pond

Splashing to cool off on a hot day:

Splashing to cool off

It was very hot (mid-90’s) over the weekend, so we gave the chickens a frozen treat of corn and peas to help them cool off:

Chickens with frozen treats

Chickens with frozen treats

Chickens with frozen treats

Chickens with frozen treats

Ducks eating again:

Ducks eating

Camilla snuck into the veggie garden when I opened the gate:

Chicken in the veggie garden

Chicken in the veggie garden

Ducks with treats; the last photo of both Rouens:

Ducks with treats

On Sunday, the chickens with another frozen treat:

Chickens with frozen treats

Chickens with frozen treats

Looking at the pond cam, 8 ducks visible on Sunday evening:

8 ducks

The next morning, only 7 ducks; I couldn’t see any evidence of what happened to the second Rouen:

7 ducks

We had two names for the Rouens, Rémy and Raoul, but hadn’t decided on which was which. But now that we only have one, his name is Rémy. RIP Raoul.

Seven ducks eating:

Ducks eating

I went to the feed store for more duckling food. I’m well stocked now; a couple of spare bags of duckling food (the red ones at the back), plus many bags of chicken food, fish food, and mealworms, in the storage area of the new chicken coop (I might need to add another shelf):

Duck and chicken food

Sleepy ducks:

Sleepy ducks

Night ducks:

Night ducks

Ducks on the bank:

Ducks on the bank

This morning, a visit by a blue heron:

Heron and ducks

Heron and ducks

Flock Friday for August 14

As with the previous batch, I will post separately about the newest ducklings. These Flock Friday posts will include the older ducks and chickens.

Before I closed up the duck house for the new ducklings, the older ducks had only been going in their house to eat:

Ducks in their house

Down the ramp:

Down the ramp

They are now being fed in this temporary food dish; they’ll have access to the house feeder again once the new ducklings are grown:

Duck food dish

Ducks on the pond:

Ducks on the pond

Chickens heading to bed:

Chickens heading to bed

Chickens heading to bed

Ducks on the pond again:

Ducks on the pond

And on the pond bank:

Ducks on the pond bank

GIF of a Rouen flapping his wings:

GIF of duck flapping wings

Sleeping on the pond:

Sleeping on the pond

And sleeping on the pond bank:

Ducks on the pond bank

Chickens with treats:

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens

Chicken

Stealing lettuce I’m holding for the ducks, while I’m crouched to take pictures:

Stealing treats from me

Duck treats:

Duck treats

Under the shade:

Ducks

Ducks eating from the temporary food dish:

Ducks eating

Ducks eating

And some food scattered on the ground:

Ducks eating

GIF of ducks eating:

GIF of ducks eating

Submarine duck:

Submarine duck

Flock Friday for August 7

Welcome to the first Flock Friday with the new ducks. Plus chicken pictures, of course.

As you probably saw in the previous post, we have ordered seven more ducklings, all female this time, to address the gender imbalance of the ducks. They will probably arrive around Thursday next week, so I will resume the daily duckling posts with them at that time, and will feature the older ducks in the Flock Friday posts going forward.

Again, you can read all of the previous duckling posts from the beginning via the “ducklings 2020” tag on this blog. And the second batch of ducklings will be tagged “ducklings 2020 again”.

On with the show; here are the chickens waiting for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens with rice treats:

Chickens with rice treats

Chickens with rice treats

An animated GIF of Sven and Betty on the ramp from the duck house, Bert flying into the pond to chase Sven, then Betty emulating and distracting him:

GIF of ducks

Some still images from that:

Ducks on the ramp

Bert flying into pond

Betty flying from ramp to pond

Duck treats:

Duck treats

Bert, Betty, Raoul, Rémy, and Sven:

Ducks

Sonja, Sven, and Clyde:

Ducks

Ducks eating in the duck house:

Ducks in duck house

Ducks in duck house

The non-Buffs hanging out on the pond edge:

Ducks

A GIF of Sven hesitantly sliding down the rock slide:

Duck slide GIF

Duck slide

Duck slide

On morning rounds today, Flo snuck through the gate from the chicken run into the veggie garden; she quickly realized the error of her ways, and I got her back through the gate after a minute:

Chicken in veggie garden

Ducks eating in the duck house again:

Ducks in duck house

Ducks in duck house

Enjoy that while you can, ducks — I’ll be closing up the duck house this weekend, in preparation for new ducklings. I’ll feed the older ducks from a dish next to the pond. More on that another day. Stay tuned for the exciting bonus season of duck TV!

Flock Friday for July 31

Some sad news this Flock Friday: a raccoon got into one of our chicken coops, and killed two of our chickens. (Don’t worry, there are no graphic pictures in this post.)

I’ve had some issues with a couple of the pop door openers recently, where they sometimes don’t open or close. I wasn’t too concerned about the one on the new chicken coop, as the run is fully enclosed, even with netting on the roof; just a small opening into the old run. I’m not sure if the raccoon got in via that hole, or over the fence and through some small gap in the roof netting, but it did.

When I did my morning rounds on Monday, I saw a dead chicken in the run: Lola, the introverted chicken (a Blue Cochin). Looking around, I saw a second dead chicken elsewhere in the run: Tilly (a Double-Laced Barnevelder).

Reviewing the cam footage, I saw the raccoon in the coop shortly after midnight on Monday:

Raccoon in chicken coop

The raccoon looked at the seven chickens roosting on top of the nesting boxes:

Raccoon in chicken coop

But went after the easy target, Lola, alone on the main roosts:

Raccoon in chicken coop

Not a nice way to go at all. I don’t know what happened with Tilly, though; I only saw the raccoon in the coop once. Perhaps she was on the outside roosts, which attracted the attention of the raccoon? Unfortunately, the run camera doesn’t record, so I couldn’t see what happened there.

I feel really bad that I hadn’t manually closed the pop door. I have been checking it each night ever since, and working with the manufacturer to diagnose its issues.

Still, it could have been much worse, if the raccoon had gone back for more.

Sorry if this sad news brings you down; it’s all part of life on the homestead, but not a pleasant aspect.

For the other chickens, life goes on. Here they are with leafy treats:

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Buffy in a nesting box:

Buffy in a nesting box

As for the ducks, I’m continuing my daily duck posts for another few days, while there are frequent changes, though will probably stop sometime in the coming week, and roll the duck pictures into the Flock Friday posts from next week. Though I’m tempted to do a “daily duck” post, restricted to one picture per day, or something like that. Let me know what you think.

So for now, let’s suffice with one last picture of Bert before the new ducks joined him, stealing the koi food:

Bert with koi

More duck pictures tonight.