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 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

More ducklings day 21

An exciting day for the ducklings: this morning I reassembled the duckling run, and let them out of the duck house for the first time. It was also the first time they and the older ducks have seen each other.

The day started like every other, with fresh straw and (after this) treats:

Ducklings

They’re tall enough to peek over the edge of the doors now, so may have spotted the older ducks from a distance:

Ducklings

Here’s what the gate panels looked like before I rearranged them; they were basically just acting as a morning shade for the ducks (but there are plenty of other shade options):

Gate panels

From the other side:

Gate panels

And rearranged into a fenced duckling run:

Duckling run

Last time I had the roof panel resting across the whole space, which was annoying, since I had to slide it off to access the duck house. So this time I attached it at an angle, so I can access it more easily:

Duckling run

This makes it a bit less secure from wildlife, but the ducklings will be secure in the house at night, so the main risk during the day are birds of prey, and hopefully that won’t be too much of a risk. I am thinking about adding T-posts to the panels (for more height) and attaching bird netting, to make it more secure, though I’m not sure if that’s worthwhile.

Ducklings leaving their house for the first time:

Ducklings leaving duck house

They had fun drinking the muddy water in the drain channel:

Ducklings leaving duck house

Ducklings

The ducks came over to investigate, and they saw each other for the first time:

Ducklings and ducks

Getting a bit muddy:

Ducklings

Having fun splashing in the paint tray pool, while Betty watches and quacks at them (did you see the video?):

Ducklings and ducks

Ducklings and ducks

Aerial photos in August

I flew my drone over the homestead yesterday. Interesting to compare to when I did so in June and back in April and March.

Let’s begin with an angled aerial shot of the apple trees in the field, the flowerbeds, pond, back lawn, and veggie garden:

Aerial of flowerbeds, pond, etc

The reverse angle, with the shop, hoop house, veggie garden, back lawn, pond, and flowerbeds:

Veggie garden, back lawn, pond

Closer to the pond, with the ducks visible; they weren’t sure what to make of the strange noisy bird hovering and flying nearby:

Pond

Another angle of the pond and ducks:

Pond

And another:

Pond

GIF of flying upwards from the pond:

GIF of pond zoom

One more from lower down; I think this is the first time I’ve hovered over the pond:

Pond and ducks

The flowerbeds and white gazebo:

Flowerbeds

Beehives, greenhouse, veggie garden, chicken coops, hoop house, back of shop:

Beehives, veggie garden, hoop house

Veggie garden:

Veggie garden

Hops taking over the top of the berry cage:

Hops

The berry cage and weather wind speed and direction sensors:

Berry cage and weather sensors

Mount Hood is looking a lot less snowy at this time of year:

Mount Hood

Zoomed in on Mount Hood:

Mount Hood

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

Cleaning out the duck house and mounting the run gate

Welcome to season three of the Yellow Cottage Homestead Ducklings show!

We begin this season, like the previous one back in May, by cleaning out the duck house in preparation for the new ducklings, due around Thursday. [Update: probably Wednesday.]

Here’s a cam shot of the duck house before cleaning it out:

Duck house before cleaning out

I started by raking out the straw and spilt food (ducks are very messy eaters):

Removing straw

I then hosed it out; I designed the duck house to be fairly waterproof with this in mind:

Hosing out duck house

Wet duck house:

Wet duck house

More hosing out:

Hosing out duck house

I left the duck house empty for now, so it can dry out:

Empty duck house

I left the food in the tube, since that is still duckling food from the earlier batch (they get starter feed until 18 weeks old). The new ducklings won’t be able to reach it for a couple of weeks, but can eat from the tube when they can.

In a couple of days time I will finish setting it up for the new ducklings, with shelf liner on the floor, the duckling feeder and waterer, EcoGlow, and heat lamp. I’ll probably do a separate post about that, but it’ll be similar to last time[Update: nah, not much point posting about it; you’ll see the setup when you see me add the new ducklings.]

Next, I installed a proper gate pole. The duckling run is temporary, but since I’ll want it again for the second set of ducklings, I’ll be keeping it around for probably at least another ten or so weeks, so I figured I might as well install a proper pole to hinge the gate:

Gate pole

The pole is set in concrete, from when it was elsewhere in the garden, so I just dug a hole and poked it in. It’s pretty sturdy.

It’ll be easier to open the gate now. It has hinges on the left and a latch on the right, just like a real one:

Gate

The rest of the run fencing is still acting as a shade for the older ducks; I’ll restore the enclosure once the new ducklings are old enough to use it in about three or four weeks time:

Gate and fence

The ducks were supervising my work:

Ducks