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.)

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!

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!

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

Flock Friday for October 18

It’s time for a confession… I take way too many pictures of the ducks. They’re just so cute! Several times this week I told myself “no, put away that phone, you don’t need any more pictures”, and had a hard time narrowing down the ones to include this week. The new iPhone 11 Pro Max with the fancy machine learning optimizations takes some amazingly detailed photos, too.

Without further ado, the ducks:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Duck

Duck

Ducks

Duck

Duck

Ducks

Ducks

I haven’t included a picture from inside the duck house for a while; here are the ducks eating:

Ducks eating in the duck house

Ducks with lots of leaves in the pond:

Ducks with lots of leaves in the pond

Okay, enough ducks. Let’s look at the chickens enjoying some rice; one of their favorite treats:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

The older chickens enjoyed the rice, too:

Chickens

Finally, some hummingbirds:

Hummingbirds

Flock Friday for October 11

It’s time to check on the ducks and chickens.

Let’s start with the ducks, as usual:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

I really like that last picture of the ducks.

And the new chickens; here they are rushing to see me:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Some older chickens:

Chickens

Inside the old coop, the flock block is slowly getting smaller:

Chickens

Flock Friday for September 27

It’s Flock Friday time.

Here are a couple of ducks heading up the ramp into their house:

Ducks heading into their house

Duck butts, looking through the pop door into the duck house:

Duck butts

Some pictures of the ducks in the pond, scooping up treats, and going between sunlight and shadow:

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Ducks in pond

Another day, I went over to the west side of the pond, and the ducks followed me:

Ducks in pond

The chickens have been roosting above the window in the coop, which isn’t entirely approved, since jumping down from that height could injure them, or cause other chaos:

Chickens roosting above window

Like this: a chicken using another as a step on the way down:

Chickens roosting above window

So I trimmed the hardware cloth above the window to be less roost-like. One still managed to perch above the window, but the others took the hint:

Chickens roosting above window

A couple of pictures of the new chickens outdoors:

Chickens

Chickens

A chicken pecking at zucchini:

Chicken pecking at zucchini

A steller’s jay bird flying off with a peanut from the tray:

Steller's jay with a peanut

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