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 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 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 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.

Flock Friday for July 19

This week the chicks got to go outside for the first time. So let’s start with that.

First tentative step out the pop door of the coop, unsurprisingly by the bravest of the chicks, the Exchequer Leghorn, who we’ve named Moana (after the Disney princess):

First tentative step out the door

On the ramp:

On the ramp

On the ground:

On the ground

Via the run cam, the chicks exploring. Since the run has been vacant since we kicked out the older chickens shortly before getting the chicks, the weeds have taken over:

Exploring

The chicks will enjoy grazing on the forest of weeds, and no doubt they’ll all be gone in a few weeks time. We did identify each of the weeds, and check that they are safe for chickens to eat.

More exploring:

Chicks outside

Moana on the grazing box, which will provide ongoing grazing once they’ve mowed down all of the weeds:

Chick on grazing box

If you look back at the chicken run cam picture above, you may notice a very straight edge of the weeds on the left side, about a foot from the fence. That fence separates the old and new runs. Here you can see why, on the right side of this picture: one of the older chickens poking her head through fence to eat the weeds within reach:

Chicken reaching through fence

I’ve seen several of them do that. And today I pushed some of the weeds to be closer for them. No reason why the chicks should have all the fun.

Some more pictures of the older chickens, enjoying treats from our veggie garden:

Chickens with treats

Chickens

Chickens with treats

Fluffy chicken butt:

Chickens with treats

On to the ducklings and their treats:

Ducklings

Water on the face:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Ducklings

Ducklings

Ducklings

The wings are getting quite big:

Ducklings

Eating from the feeder tube:

Ducklings

I’ll make a ramp for the ducklings soon (maybe Sunday?), so they’ll be able to go out into the pond. That’ll be very interesting; I wonder if the non-swimming one will brave it? Stay tuned for the next update!

Flock Friday for July 12

Let’s start Flock Friday with the ducklings:

Ducklings

I’m still not completely sure of the duckling genders, but the left Buff is now quacking, and the right one is making a much quieter vocalization. Fun fact: generally only female ducks quack, which suggests that the left one is female. So I am fairly confident that the left Buff is Gert, the female, and the right one is Bert, the male:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Treats:

Ducklings

Here are the Cayuga ducklings:

Ducklings

And some sad news: the little one died Monday evening. I’m not sure of the cause; the size could be a factor, since it hasn’t grown as much as the others, perhaps due to some health issue, or something else. It wasn’t as active as the others, and looking at the video footage, it just sat in a corner for some time, then keeled over. Very unfortunate, especially after losing some chicks a few weeks ago. All part of the experience of keeping animals, though. I just hope we don’t lose any more any time soon.

Anyway, it was time to install a feeder tube for the ducks. So I removed the barrier closing off the nesting boxes:

Removing nesting boxes barrier

The ducklings were excited to explore their expanded accommodations:

Ducklings in nesting boxes

A duckling in a nesting box, as seen from outside — there’s a gap below the cupboard shelf, to reach in to eventually collect eggs, if they deign to lay them in a box (ducks lay anywhere):

Duckling in nesting box

In the cupboard, a jug of food tops the feeder tube, providing several days capacity:

Jug of food for dispenser

The tube goes through the shelf on the edge of a nesting box, resting on a support:

Food tube

The tube in the duck house, and a duckling eating from it. The yellow cap on the end can be removed to clean out the tube:

Duckling eating from food tube

Ducklings hoovering up rice:

Ducklings hoovering up rice

I also added a feeder tube in the chick coop. I was going to make a new — larger diameter — one like in the duck house, but decided to re-install the old tube for now. I might redo it later, when the chicks are bigger:

Chick feeder tube

The chicks didn’t take long to figure out the feeder tube:

Chicks eating from feeder tube

Chicks eating rice from my hand:

Chicks eating rice from my hand

Chicks:

Chicks

A chick in the hand:

A chick in the hand

On top of the nesting boxes:

Chick

On the nesting boxes center bar (the nesting boxes are still closed off, till they’re ready to lay eggs):

Chick

Synchronized chicks on the bar, and others eating from the tube:

Syncronized chicks

Finally, on to the older chickens. Here they’re watching Jenn work in the veggie garden:

Chickens watching Jenn

Me adding some dirt to a tire, for them to use as a dust bath:

David adding dirt to a tire

Camilla the escape chicken; she has always been the best flyer of the chickens, and flew onto the chicken coop, and out, then spent the night outside, and met me on the path to the coop in the morning:

Camilla the escape chicken