Flock Friday for December 6

A sad Flock Friday this week: we lost a duck, the female Cayuga (the dark one). More info below.

But first, happier times earlier in the week. Our pond mostly froze on several days, so the ducks got to experience walking on the ice:

Ducks walking on frozen pond

And eating treats on the frozen pond:

Ducks eating treats on frozen pond

Did you see the video of the ducks walking on the ice? And the second longer video?

Another day, waddling from a non-frozen portion to greet me:

Ducks walking on frozen pond

Swimming in a non-frozen portion by the pump:

Ducks swimming in non-frozen portion by pump

Duck tracks:

Duck tracks on frozen pond

Bert & Gert:

Bert & Gert

Ducks on the bank:

Ducks on the bank

Gert and Gill:

Gert and Gill

Birds in the duck house:

Birds in duck house

Treats on the bank:

Treats on bank

On Tuesday, I noticed the two female ducks in a somewhat unusual place, in the northeast corner bank of the pond:

Ducks on bank

Gill was nestled down on the bank, with the two buff ducks hanging around nearby, possibly confused or concerned:

Gill on bank, others concerned

I kept an eye on them, and later saw them all swimming, though Gill looked a bit withdrawn, her neck kind of hunched down:

Ducks swimming

She was barely interested in treats, acting rather listless:

Barely interested in treats

Later, she was resting on the bank again, and didn’t retreat as I approached to check on her:

Gill on bank again

I examined her, but couldn’t see any obvious injuries, so I put her in the duck house overnight, to protect her from predators. She had food and water, but mostly just settled down:

Gill in duck house overnight

In the morning, I checked on her again, and encouraged her to have some water, but she was still very withdrawn. I kept an eye on her on the camera, and noticed she hadn’t moved for a while, so went out to check her again, and (as suspected) she was dead.

I don’t know what killed her. She could have eaten something she shouldn’t, or got blocked up, or injured herself on something, or been attacked by something. Since I didn’t see any injuries, it was probably one of the former.

Anyway, it’s always sad to lose one of the animals. Having lost the male Cayuga when they were ducklings, I wonder if that breed just isn’t as hardy as others.

Now we only have two ducks, the two Buffs, Bert and Gert:

Bert and Gert

I hope they both survive! When Gert starts laying, probably in spring, we’ll likely let them keep the eggs, and hatch ducklings. Which has its own risks.

Sorry to bring you down with this sad tale.

Let’s end with a couple of pictures of the chickens. Them rushing over to greet me in the veggie garden:

Chickens in veggie garden

And waiting for treats in their run:

Chickens in run

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!

Cat update for week ending March 9

Happy Caturday!

Poppy on the cat house deck, with one of the twins in front:

Poppy & a twin

Three cats:

3 cats

Porcini licking her lips:

Licking

Cat snuggles:

Cat snuggles

Pansy the shop cat:

Shop cat

All five cats snuggled in the shelter:

Cat snuggles

I’m refilling the cat food, and didn’t realize that Poppy was still inside the shelter; you can see her peeking out of the door (I usually try to wait for when nobody is home):

David refilling cat food

Pepper, the other shop cat:

Shop cat

Two cats at night:

Two cats

An alien orange cat encounter:

Orange cat encounter

Orange cat:

Orange cat

More on the orange cat encounter:

Orange cat encounter

I opened up the cat shelter to clean up a thrown up mouse, and straighten the mats:

Inside cat shelter

Still more snow, and a snowy cat:

Snowy cat

Four cats waiting for breakfast:

Four cats

A good stretch:

Cats

Three cats playing around the (mostly empty) fountain:

Cats in fountain

A snowy possum:

Possum

And a snowy raccoon:

Raccoon

A view from another camera of a couple of cats on the snow-covered deck of the our house:

Cats on deck

All five cats inside:

All 5 cats

Poppy on the cat house deck:

Cat on deck

A photo of the snowy cat house:

Snowy cat house

Cat update for week ending March 2

Some interesting encounters this week at the cat house.

But first, a couple of cats looking out of the shelter; I enjoy the eyes in the window:

Cats looking out of shelter

Cats snuggling:

Cats snuggling

Yet more snow:

Snow

A pile of all five cats in the shelter:

Cats in the shelter

A couple of cats watching a raccoon:

Cats watching raccoon

A “SLOW, WATCH FOR FERALS” sign in the driveway, flecked with snow:

Slow, watch for ferals sign

Snow:

Snow

A cat with snow on their back:

Snowy cat

Did you watch the video on YouTube of cats playing in the snow?

Another raccoon encounter.  This time Poppy had enough, and went out of the shelter to hiss and swipe at the raccoon, and then retreat back to the safety of the shelter:

Raccoon encounter

Another cat then ran up from behind the shelter and did the same from the other side:

Raccoon encounter

A screenshot of my iPad, showing cats in all four cameras:

Screenshot

A Steller’s jay bird flying in for a drink from the heated water dish:

Bird

A cat climbing the tree next to the shelter:

Cat climbing tree

Another raccoon visit, watched by a couple of cats:

Raccoon

The alien orange cat visited a couple of times:

Orange cat

The reverse angle:

Orange cat

Cat snuggles:

Cat snuggles

A cat watching a deer:

Deer

Pepper the shop cat watches a moth flying by:

Shop cat & moth

Pansy, the other shop cat, reaching for some food:

Shop cat

Three cats playing on the driveway:

Cats on driveway

The alien orange cat came back again early this morning:

Orange cat encounter

The cats inside quickly evacuated:

Orange cat encounter

The orange cat went inside the shelter, and Poppy followed and expressed her displeasure at the invasion:

Orange cat encounter

There was much hissing and growling, culminating in a little swiping and rapid exiting:

Orange cat encounter

But let’s end with more snuggles:

Cat snuggles

Yet more snow

We got a couple more inches of snow this morning.

Beehives and trees with snow:

Beehives with snow

Berry cage with snow:

Berry cage with snow

The shallow (foreground) end of the pond is frozen, but the deep (back) half is liquid:

Half frozen pond

The back lawn covered with snow, with the brown gazebo in the distance, and the old chicken coop on the right:

Gazebo & coop with snow

The flag is snagged on a branch, with a little snow on it:

Flag with snow

Cat update for week ending February 23

Did I say “last of the snow” last week? Maybe not:

Snow at the cat house

Cat footprints in the snow, going to the back door of the shop:

Cat footprints in the snow

A cat stretching in the shelter:

Cat stretching

Porcini on the awning, Poppy below:

Cat on awning

A cat intently watching something. Probably me; that’s about when I finished setting up the new cameras:

Cat watching something

The alien orange cat visited again:

Alien orange cat

And explored inside the shelter, too, which I bet our colony wasn’t happy about. They weren’t home at the time, but would have smelled him (fun fact: orange cats are almost always male):

Alien orange cat

Some raccoons also visited, as happens all too often:

Raccoons

Porcini in the feeder, hoping for a late dinner:

Cat in the feeder

I mentioned yesterday that I set up new cameras, and am temporarily using the duck house camera to watch Pepper in the shop. She has a cozy nest high up on a shelf in the front of the shop, on top of a pile of foam, a large dog bed, and a heating pad:

Cat in shop

This day (Wednesday) was Pepper’s 4th birthday, or at least as observed; she is feral, like the outdoor ones, rescued from the streets, so her exact birthday is unknown.

All 5 outdoor cats enjoying the shelter:

Cat snuggle pile

Cats eating breakfast:

Cats eating

Another shot of Pepper sitting on her heating pad nest in the shop. I temporarily renamed the camera in her honor:

Cat in shop

Three cats in shelter… but notice the cat-shaped shadow on the back wall?

Cats in shelter

Yep, that’s from a cat out on the awning, looking in the window:

Cat looking in window

Moments later, a cat looking out the window (cropped and zoomed to be more visible):

Cat looking out window

Four cats outside the house:

Cats by house

A closer shot of Pepper in the shop; sometimes she gets too warm on the heating pad, so moves off it. Here she’s surveying the shop from her high perch, looking for rodents:

Cat in shop

But she doesn’t stray from the heating pad for long. Having been working in there (building the duck house), I know how cold it is:

Cat in shop

Another snuggle pile of four cats:

Cat snuggle pile

And all five:

Cat snuggle pile