Flock Friday for June 26

Let’s check on Bert, the chickens, and fish.

Bert went onto the pond deck:

Bert on pond deck

Bert by pond deck

Perhaps looking for the mealworm treats and koi food I keep in a box on the deck… guarded by a resident frog:

Frog on food containers

Bert watching the ducklings:

Bert watching ducklings

By the duck house on a rainy day:

Bert by duck house

Bert watching ducklings

Bert watching ducklings

Bert looking over the pond:

Bert

Chickens enjoying one of their favorite treats — rice:

Chicken treats

Chicken treats

Chicken treats

Chicken treats

Chicken treats

Lettuce is ignored when there’s rice available:

Chicken treats

It’s been hot this week, so I opened all of the chicken coop vents and windows. Here you can see chickens on the roost by the front window:

Chickens with open coop window

Chickens with open coop window

Another day; a whole lettuce plant, tomatoes, and corn cobs for the chickens:

Chicken treats

Chicken treats

Looking down from the pond deck at Bert and koi:

Bert and fish

Smaller koi:

Fish

Restocked duckling and chicken food, with a messy floor from straw stored above the door:

Duckling and chicken food

As you may have seen on my personal blog, a jumbo egg:

Eggs

Aerial photos in June

It’s been a while since I flew my drone over our homestead. I felt an urge to do so today, so did, and took a few pictures. I thought I’d share some.

Let start with a top-down view of our flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, veggie garden, and driveway:

Flowerbeds, pond, veggie garden, etc

An angled view of the flowerbeds etc from lower down:

Flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, etc

Flowerbeds, back lawn, pond:

Flowerbeds, back lawn, pond

Flowerbeds:

Flowerbeds

Back lawn and pond:

Back lawn, pond

The two chicken runs, the veggie garden, and greenhouse:

Chicken runs, veggie garden, greenhouse

A closer look at the veggie garden:

Veggie garden

And the berry cage:

Berry cage

Finally, a glimpse of Mount Hood:

Mount Hood

Flock Friday for June 19

It’s Friday, so let’s check on the adult birds, in a weekly series I call Flock Friday.

Let’s start with the chickens enjoying some kale treats, while Bert watches and waits for me outside the run:

Chickens enjoying treats while Bert watches

Chickens enjoying treats while Bert watches

Chickens enjoying treats while Bert watches

Bert then followed me across the lawn:

Bert on the lawn

And down the path:

Bert on the path

That was cute; let’s have an animated GIF of that:

GIF of Bert on the path

Bert watching the ducklings:

Bert watching ducklings

Another day, Bert meeting me by the compost bins again:

Duck and chickens

At the chicken coop:

Bert at coop

Bert watching the ducklings again:

Bert at duck house

Bert watching ducklings

Bert watching ducklings

And watching me:

Bert

A GIF of a couple birds flying over the pond:

GIF of birds over pond

And a still pic:

Birds over pond

Let’s finish as we started, with more chickens enjoying treats (kale and lettuce grown in our veggie garden):

Chickens enjoying treats

Chickens enjoying treats

Chickens enjoying treats

Cat update for week ending June 6

For Caturday this week… pictures of cats! I bet you weren’t expecting that.

Three cats snuggling in their house:

Three cats

One of the ferals watching from atop the bench by the small pond, as Paladout walked away:

Two cats

Mirrored cabin cats:

Two cats

Porcini and Poppy outside their house:

Two cats

Poppy looking concerned as I approached the cat house; she settled down again after I passed by:

Concerned Poppy

Paladout sitting on the edge of the pond:

Paladout

A closer look:

Paladout

Another day, Paladout again:

Paladout again

Watching birds from a cabin:

Cabins

Porcini watching me as I walked past her cabin:

Cabins

Three cats inside:

Three cats

Three cats arriving for breakfast:

Three cats

Poppy on a path, watching me walk past:

Poppy

Cute snuggles inside the cat house:

Two cats

Ducklings day 2

Welcome to day two of the ducklings. They’ve settled into their routine: eat, drink, poop, scamper, sleep, and grow. That’s the life of a duckling, at least for the first couple of weeks.

Here they are when I first opened the top of the maintenance door; lots more poop than yesterday!

Ducklings

I built the aforementioned doors with a handy design with four doors, where I can open just one for a quick peek, the top two to let me access inside without the ducklings getting out, the left two if I need to get inside quickly, or all four for full access.

Here you can see the top two doors open, and the bottom two closed, with a glimpse of the ducklings and Bert:

Ducklings and duck

I moved the EcoGlow out of the nesting box, since they didn’t seem to want to go under it in there. We’ll see if this place is any better:

Ducklings

They did go under it, though not for long:

Ducklings

Eating and drinking:

Ducklings

We’ll remove the leg bands in the next day or two. Those indicate the breeds and sexes of the ducklings. So in the meantime, I want to determine markings so I can identify them. The Buff female is of course obvious, being unique. The Blue Swedish ones are fairly distinct: those are the ones with light gray backs and yellow chests. The one with the red band is the male; I notice he has a more yellow chest and foot, too:

Ducklings

The Buff under the EcoGlow:

Ducklings

Ducklings

A disappointment is that we ended up with two male Rouen ducklings, as seen here; notice they both have green bands on their right legs, indicating they are both male. We had wanted one of each sex. Not sure if we’ll try to get a couple females to balance that, or live with it:

Ducklings

Another shot showing the Blue Swedish in the center of the picture, female on the left, male on the right:

Ducklings

Drinking:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Ducklings

Checking out a nesting box:

Ducklings

A male Khaki Campbell:

Ducklings

The male Khaki Campbell on the left, the female on the right (plus the Buff shaking her head); telling the former two apart is a bit trickier; I haven’t noticed obvious differences yet. I’ll have to take a closer look at them:

Ducklings

The two Blue Swedish again:

Ducklings

More pics again tomorrow!

Flock Friday for June 5

Yesterday I did a post about our new ducklings. I’ll no doubt do another post about them later today too. But in the meantime, a regular Flock Friday post about wild birds, chickens, and our adult duck.

Firstly, I saw what looks like a carrier pigeon on our driveway. It has leg bands, and didn’t seem afraid of me. I guess taking a pitstop:

Pigeon

Pigeon

While doing the gate post repair, I dug a couple of small holes in the new and old chicken runs, so the chickens could enjoy digging in the dirt:

Chickens

Chickens

The heron visited again; the decoy heron doesn’t seem to deter it:

Heron

I chased it off again (though it had been there a while before I noticed it):

Heron

Got a dirty bill there Bert:

Duck

The chickens watching me most intently, waiting for me to give them treats:

Chickens

A couple of funny/interesting things in this shot: stretched neck, and eye in mid-blink (the chicken in the foreground) — fun fact, chickens have a third eyelid, a nictitating membrane, that protects and moistens the eye while still allowing them to see:

Chickens

Rice treat scramble:

Chickens

Chickens

Buffy laying an egg:

Chicken

Bert:

Duck

You may have seen this on the What’s It Wednesday answer; a closeup of Bert’s foot:

Duck foot

Bert:

Duck

Head close-ups:

Duck

Duck

And a couple more shots of him:

Duck

Duck

Stay tuned for more duckling pics later.

Video

A week of our pond

A time-lapse video of a week of our pond, including our duck swimming around, me cleaning out the duck house in preparation for new ducklings, and a heron sighting.

Thanks to Camect for generating this summary video.

Flock Friday for May 29

On this week’s Flock Friday, lots of pictures of chickens, a couple of GIFs, and a bonus frog.

The chickens hanging out by the old coop:

Chickens

Bert with a droplet on his bill:

Duck

Bert “helping” the koi eat their food:

Duck and fish

The chickens watching me expectantly just before I gave them their morning treats:

Chickens

An animated GIF of the chickens spinning around waiting for afternoon treats inside the new coop:

GIF of chickens

And waiting for treats again in the old coop:

Chickens

Broody chickens:

Chickens

Another broody chicken:

Chicken

You may have seen the pond deck box frog on my personal blog; here it’s on the edge of the box, just before hopping out:

Frog

Lonely duck. Hang in there Bert; new ducklings will arrive soon!

Duck

A bunch of pictures of chickens enjoying bonus water on a hot day:

Chickens

Chickens

Chicken

Chickens

I also turned over some logs, revealing tasty bugs:

Chicken

Chickens

Chickens

Finally, a GIF of a week on the pond:

GIF of a week on the pond

(You can see me cleaning out the duck house on the 23rd, and the heron on the 25th.)

The new ducklings should arrive sometime next week, so there may be some baby duckling pics in the next Flock Friday!

Flock Friday for May 22

This week, GIFs of birds swooping, chickens fighting, and the duck flapping his wings, plus more pictures.

Here’s an animated GIF of a bird swooping over the pond; I think this is a female red-winged blackbird:

GIF of bird

A still from that; nice wingspan:

Bird

Our remaining duck, Bert, in the pond:

Duck

And on the bank (which is rather weedy at present):

Duck

A GIF of a male red-winged blackbird swooping over a heron, no doubt telling it to move along:

GIF of bird

GIF of male and female red-winged blackbirds by the duck house and over the pond, watched by Bert:

GIF of birds

A still of that:

Two birds

Broody chickens:

Broody chickens

The chickens can get feisty sometimes; here’s a GIF of a chicken fight; fascinating how they fluff up their feathers:

GIF of chicken fight

Last GIF, of Bert standing on the “island” and flapping his wings:

GIF of duck

The pond is very full at present, with all of the rain recently, so the island is slightly below the surface. Which is fine with him; easier to get onto it. Here he’s starting to flap:

Duck

And just standing on it:

Duck

Notice that the duck house door is closed now; I noticed that he wasn’t going in anyway. I feed him next to it in the mornings, as previously mentioned. I’ll probably clean out the duck house this weekend, in preparation for new ducklings in just over a week. Looking forward to that!

Let’s finish up with a couple of chicken pictures. All eyes on me as they wait for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

No eyes on me after I toss out the treats:

Chickens eating treats

Flock Friday for May 15

This week: followup on Gert, news about ducklings, a duck and bird GIF, and various chicken pics. Yep, it’s Flock Friday!

As you may have seen mentioned last week, we lost our female Buff duck, Gert. We’re not sure exactly what happened, but think a raccoon or larger wildlife grabbed her. The last sighting of her alive was when both ducks swam towards the waterfall shortly before dawn, looking curious about something:

Two ducks

Then a few minutes later Bert swam back alone:

One duck

An hour later, when it was light, I saw Bert on the island (upturned pot), looking like he was searching for Gert:

Duck on island

And he kept swimming over to the waterfall area and looking around:

Duck

As described in that post, I later found her remains in the middle of some tall grasses next to the waterfall.

We are of course sad to lose another duck, though know full well that it’s a risk of free-range ducks.

We’re sad for Bert being all alone now, too.

But we certainly aren’t giving up on keeping ducks. We were hoping they would breed and make more ducklings, but now that that isn’t an option, we have ordered more. Seven ducklings, for arrival in the beginning of June.

Firstly we got a replacement female Buff, like Gert was.

We also got male and female Khaki Campbell ducks:

Khaki Campbell ducks

Male and female Rouen ducks, which are interesting for looking similar to common wild Mallards, though do not fly:

Rouen ducks

And male and female Blue Swedish ducks:

Blue Swedish duck

(Click those links to learn more about each, if interested.)

Hopefully we’ll have a better survival rate this time! The duck house I built is sized for four adult ducks, but since the ducks prefer to live outside, it’ll be plenty big enough for seven ducklings.

Of course, in preparation for ducklings again I’ll need to close up the duck house and convert it back to a duckling nursery, but I’ve noticed that Bert doesn’t go in the duck house to eat anyway; he seems to get plenty to eat from free-ranging. I have started to hand-feed him in the mornings, instead of giving him mealworm treats; perhaps not as tasty, but better for him.

So, look forward to lots of cute duckling pics in future flock updates!

Anyway, back to the pictures. It’s getting warmer, so I opened some of the chicken coop vents:

Coop vents open

I picked up some supplies at the feed store (after getting bee nucs), including straw and chick feed for the ducklings, chicken food, flock block, and chicken bedding. So the storage area of the new coop is rather crowded at present:

Crowded storage area

Bert wandering around the edge of the flowerbeds:

Duck

Bert visiting the chickens:

Duck and chickens

As mentioned, I’m hand-feeding him in the mornings now:

Duck

An animated GIF of Bert going onto the pond island and flapping his wings, while birds swoop over the pond to drink:

GIF of duck and birds

A still of Bert flapping his wings:

Duck on island

Broody Kiwi and Martha:

Broody chickens

Chickens:

Chickens

Eggs in a nesting box:

Eggs