Flock Friday for September 13

Welcome to a wet Flock Friday!

As hinted on my personal blog, we had a heron visit our pond this week. Twice.

Here’s the heron sliding off the edge of the pond (which slopes steeply) and taking a header in the pond:

Heron in pond

After it got out, it fluffed up most impressively:

Heron in pond

Heron next to the pond:

Heron next to pond

It flew over to below the pond deck, and one of the large koi swam up and startled it, causing it to jump back:

Heron startled by koi

Heron eat fish (and frogs and such), but I think the big koi are way too big for it to tackle. I didn’t see it catch anything; the smaller fish were wise enough to stay hidden.

Here it is flying above the pond:

Heron flying

The following night, a rat or similar rodent was spotted near the duck house, with the ducks warily eyeing it:

Rat

Here’s a shot of the ducks that kinda shows the delightful green iridescence of the cayuga duck:

Ducks

Ducks on the ramp:

Ducks on ramp

A few days later, hey look, the heron is back:

Heron again

In the pond:

Heron in pond

Heron startled by a koi again:

Heron startled by a koi again

Heron flying to the duck house:

Heron flying

Like an ornament on the duck house roof:

Heron on duck house

Those big koi are bullies; here’s one chasing the ducks, while another eats their mealworm treats:

Koi chasing ducks

Ducks from inside house:

Ducks from inside house

Ducks

On to the chickens. Here’s Buffy, one of the older girls:

Buffy chicken

Camilla:

Camilla chicken

Kiwi:

Kiwi chicken

Mo, starting to molt:

Mo chicken

And some pics of the young chickens:

Young chickens

Chickens

Chicken

Chickens

Did you see the YouTube video of our young chickens curiously clucking?

Flock Friday for September 6

Fantastic Flock Friday, Friends and Family!

Zoomy ducks:

Zoomy ducks

Ducks flapping:

Ducks flapping

More zoomy ducks:

Zoomy ducks

Duck at the bottom of the waterfall:

Duck at the bottom of the waterfall

Fish and ducks:

Fish and ducks

The big koi are so huge:

Fish

Ducks near the bank:

Ducks

On the bank:

Ducks on bank

The duck house, with ducks beyond, and koi in the pond:

Ducks and fish

I mucked out the chicken coops, and dumped a pile of fresh bedding (that they’ll spread out for me):

Chickens with fresh bedding

A queue impatiently waiting as the pop door opens:

Pop door opening

Pop door opening

We added a flock block; a compressed block of seeds and such as supplemental food:

Flock block

Chickens with a corn cob:

Chickens with corn cob

Old and new chickens, separated by a fence:

Chickens

The young chickens with a strawberry:

Chickens with strawberry

A couple of the older chickens with corn cob:

Chickens with corn cob

Old and young chickens:

Old and young chickens

Flock Friday for August 30

Let’s check in with some of the homestead flock, shall we?

Duck butts:

Duck butts

Night swim:

Night swim

A sequence of three pictures of a duck flying from the bank into the pond:

Duck flying

Duck flying

Duck landing

Just like dogs and cats, ducks sometimes have zoomies, randomly flapping their wings and hydroplaning around the pond:

Duck zoomies

A raccoon waded through the edge of the pond, while the ducks watched from a safe distance:

Raccoon and ducks

Attempting an artistic shot of the ducks in the rain through a whirligig:

Ducks in rain through whirligig

The ducks in the pond during light rain:

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Bert standing on one leg. I don’t recall seeing them on the bank in the northwest corner of the pond before:

Duck standing on one leg

Exploring the secret path on the west side of the pond:

Ducks exploring secret path

Ducks exploring secret path

Flapping wings:

Duck flapping wings

On to the chicks. Some of them are starting to cluck (instead of peep) now, so I think I’ll start calling them chickens instead of chicks. They aren’t quite fully grown yet, and won’t start laying for another month or two, but are getting there.

A bit of pecking order aggro:

Chicken aggro

Perhaps triggered by a wild bird in the coop; I hadn’t seen that before (must have come in the pop door):

Bird in coop

So far they prefer to roost above the nesting boxes at night (and above the window, not really an official roost). But I decided to put the poop tray back under the main roosts, in case they do switch to that someday:

Poop tray

Another coop invader: a cheeky squirrel:

Squirrel in coop

The squirrel came back a bit later, much to the confusion and concern of the chickens:

Squirrel in coop

I went out there and chased it out, and it hasn’t been back since (so far).

Chickens on the roosts:

Chickens on roosts

Chickens

Moana looking at me:

Moana looking at me

Four on the floor:

Chickens

Moana eating mealworms from my hand:

Moana eating mealworms from my hand

The chickens outside in their run. Still lots of weeds, which is fine; dual purpose of snacks and shade from the sun for them:

Chickens outside

No pictures of the old chickens this week. I’ll try to get some for next time!

Flock Friday for August 23

For Flock Friday, let’s check in with the ducks first, as usual.

The ducks enjoy resting in various spots on the edge of the pond; this is one of their favorites (some fish visible, too):

Ducks on bank, fish in pond

Ducks and fish eating treats:

Ducks and fish in pond

Next to their house, watching a landscaper trimming a tree:

Ducks next to their house

Ducks in the pond:

Ducks in pond

Early this morning, the alien gray cat (“Paladout”) visited the duck house, when they were on the bank on the other side of it:

Alien gray cat

The cat approached the duck house, and the ducks slowly swam into the safety of the pond:

Alien gray cat and ducks

Speaking of unwelcome visitors, I saw a pair of raccoons in the chicken run in the pre-dawn morning (when the chicks were all safely closed in the coop):

Raccoons in chicken run

Here one is peeking at the camera, before climbing the fence:

Raccoon in chicken run

The new run does have a bird-netting roof, but there are big gaps due to snow damage. One thing on my long list of homestead projects is to replace that with welded wire; I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

One more visitor, a cheeky squirrel in the coop:

Squirrel in chicken coop

Chicks on the roosts in their run:

Chicks on run roosts

Flowers self-seeded from the old hanging baskets above:

Self-seeded flowers

Some more pictures of the chicks in their run:

Chicks

Chicks

Chicks

Chick

Chick

Chicks

They’re getting quite big, but still not fully grown, and still peeping instead of clucking. Here you can see the new and old chickens in their adjacent runs:

Chicks and chickens

They’ll be kept apart until after the new ones are fully grown and start laying. In the meantime, they can get used to each other through the fence, which will make integration later a little easier.

Flock Friday for August 16

Welcome to another Flock Friday, my weekly update on our ducks and chickens.

Let’s start with the ducks. Here they are on our pond, with Bert, the male Buff, flapping his wings:

Duck flapping wings

You can see the green sheen on Gill’s black feathers:

Ducks

A little closer:

Ducks

By the duck house ramp:

Ducks by ramp

On the ramp (with the duck house sign visible):

Ducks on ramp

Inside the duck house, eating:

Ducks eating

A rapid egress due to a random freak out:

Rapid egress

Ducks resting on the pond bank:

Ducks on bank

Closer:

Ducks on bank

Ducks and fish in the pond, shortly before sunset; those ripples aren’t rain, but fish going for food:

Ducks and fish in pond

Ducks at dusk:

Ducks in pond

On to the chicks; they are getting so big, but still not fully grown, and still peeping instead of clucking:

Chicks

Chick

Chicks

Chicks

And the older chickens, enjoying treats:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Finally, some fluffy butts:

Chickens

Flock Friday for August 9

It’s Friday… you know what that means!

The ducks in one of their favorite spots, next to the duck house:

Ducks next to duck house

Eating inside the duck house:

Ducks eating

Treats for ducks and fish:

Treats for ducks and fish

Treats for ducks and fish

They don’t go on the south bank very often; a bit harder to get up there:

Ducks on the pond bank

Wing stretch:

Wing stretch

Treats on the pond bank:

Treats on the pond bank

On the pond edge next to the duck house:

On the pond edge

One of the feral cats checked out the ducks. Hard to see, but she’s on top of the big rock behind the ducks:

Cat on the rock by the ducks

I went out there when I saw that. I don’t know whether or not a cat would attack a duck, but I figured I’d be sad if she did and I didn’t go out. She left when I approached. I suspect that a cat wouldn’t go after a duck unless desperate, especially when they’re together and alert, but better safe than sorry.

Swimming underwater:

Swimming underwater

Did you see the YouTube video of ducks swimming underwater?  Quite impressive!

I moved the mobile cam to the rock by the duck house, for a better vantage point. In due course I’ll add a permanent cam, once I figure out the ideal location. Peeking at the camera:

Peeking

Flappiing wings:

Flappiing wings

Just one picture of the older chickens this time, inside their coop. Here Merida is eating from the top of the second feeder:

Chicken eating from top of feeder

Chicks eating in their coop:

Chicks eating

Chicks eating

Finally, a couple more pictures of most of the chicks; they’re getting so big!

Chicks

Chicks

Flock Friday for August 2

Welcome to another Flock Friday!

Let’s start with the ducks. Here they are resting on the pond bank:

Ducks resting on the pond bank

I mucked out the duck house, removing the paint tray wading pool, now that the ducks can go outside. Since they now spend almost all of their time outside (including overnight), just coming in to eat, I shouldn’t need to muck it out anywhere near as often, which will be nice:

Ducks in the house

I love having ducks on the pond. It’s a joy to see them through the trees as I approach the pond:

Ducks through the trees

Just swimming around:

Ducks in the pond

Going for mealworm treats:

Ducks going for treats

Duck on the ramp:

Duck on the ramp

One thing I didn’t consider was that giving ducks their treats and feeding the koi at the same time can be problematic; the fish swim around the ducks, disturbing them, and the ducks eat the koi food once they’ve polished off their mealworms:

Ducks & fish

I’ve taken to feeding each a bit further apart, which helps somewhat.

A duck on the bank; this pond edge near the house is one of their favorite places to hang out:

Duck on the bank

The three ducks heading out of the house down the ramp:

Ducks on the ramp

Into the water:

Into the water

Ducks in the pond:

Ducks in the pond

In the house for a meal; interestingly you can see straight through the nostrils of the foreground duck:

Ducks in the house

Reaching for treats:

Ducks reaching for treats

On to the chicks, with an assortment of pictures. I should see if I can get them to play the xylophone:

Chick by xylophone

Chick

Chicks

Chick

Chick

Chick

Finally, the older chickens, enjoying a corn cob and other treats:

Chickens enjoying corn cob

Chicken

Chickens

Chickens

Flock Friday for July 26

This week I opened the pop door of the duck house, and the ducks went for their first swim. Though not immediately.

When I first opened the door, the ducklings were unsurprisingly a bit freaked out by a strange portal opening in their wall:

Ducklings unsure about open door

The ducklings, looking in from the pond:

Ducklings through doorway

They peeked out for several hours, but nobody ventured out until the afternoon:

Partway out the door

Unsurprisingly, Gert, the Buff female, was the first out. Here she’s having her first swim, with Bert (the male) watching from the top of the ramp:

First swim

After a brief swim, she climbed onto the bank of the pond for a rest:

Resting on the bank of the pond

I really like that picture.

Then back into the pond for more swimming; she had no interest in going back into the duck house:

Duck swimming

I moved the mobile cam from watching the bird feeders to the northwest corner of the pond, for another vantage point, to fill in a blind spot of the main pond cam:

Duck swimming

Gert went under the pond deck for another break:

Duck under pond deck

She stayed out all night. Here she’s having an early morning swim:

Early morning swim

I moved the mobile camera to the northeast corner of the pond, as that gave a better view.

Gert resting on the edge of the pond around dawn:

Dawn

Misty morning swim:

Misty morning swim

Gert spent a fair bit of time in the shallow water below the pond deck, where she can stand on the bottom, but still be in the water:

Duck below pond deck

In the afternoon, I grabbed her from the pond edge and returned her to the duck house, so she could tell the other ducks of her experience, and have some food and rest:

Duck returned to house

The three ducks in their house:

Ducks in house

I closed the duck house for the night.

A raccoon visited the pond that evening:

Raccoon in pond

Actually two raccoons; very likely the same two that have been frequenting the cat house (more on that tomorrow):

Two raccoons

I didn’t think raccoons could swim, since I’d only seen them wading in the shallow end of the pond. Apparently I was wrong; the pond is about six feet deep at this point:

Raccoon swimming

In the morning, I re-opened the pop door, and gave them the usual treats:

Treats

In the afternoon, everyone headed out:

Everyone out!

A little hard to see, but all three ducks are at the bottom of the ramp:

Ducks at bottom of ramp

Gert shows the way, heading into the water:

Into the water

Bert joins her in the water:

Two in the water

The Cayuga duck (who we think is female, though aren’t sure) joins them, making a big splash that freaks out the Buffs:

All three in the pond

All three ducks swimming around the pond:

Three ducks in the pond

Three ducks in the pond

Three ducks in the pond

Three ducks in the pond

They stayed out all night. I’m beginning to think they don’t like the duck house… though who can blame them, compared to the great outdoors.

A midnight swim:

Midnight swim

I suppose this is the Flock Friday, not Duck Day, so here are some pics of the chickens to close this out.

An older chicken (Goldie) and a chick (Moana) meet through the fence:

Chicken and chick

Three chicks amongst the weeds:

Chicks

The chicks roosting above the closed-off nesting boxes:

Chicks roosting

I went to check on the chicks at dusk, and found four roosting above the window… not really intended as a roost!

Chicks above window

The following evening, Moana was up there again:

Chicks roosting

Chickens do like roosting in high places. Once they get older, and larger, they won’t be able to get up there. But she can enjoy it while she can.

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed the duck excursions.

Duck house: ramp

The ducks are 7 weeks old, which is old enough to swim outside. So today I built a ramp from the duck house to the pond.

I used four 4′ lengths of 2×6 boards, with thin ripped strips for traction, to make a wide ramp:

Underneath, I attached some larger strips to help hold the boards together, plus a thin cinderblock attached to stop it from floating:

Attaching the traction strips with the finish air nailer, using a couple of boards for spacing, and a square to check that they’re straight:

Finished top:

I used untreated boards, and didn’t paint it, to avoid leeching chemicals into the pond. It’ll probably rot away eventually, but I can always make a new one if so.

A pile of stuff on the cart, for transport out to the duck house:

Attached some spare plastic liner over the concrete block, to help protect the pond’s liner:

The ramp mounted to the duck house:

I attached some welded wire fencing, to help prevent raccoons etc from getting into the duck house (I hope):

The finished ramp:

It was getting late by the time I finished, so I’ll let the ducks out for the first time tomorrow. Stay tuned for the next Flock Friday for that!