Flock Friday for January 17

This week, the ducks get to practice walking on the ice again, and more snow.

Let’s start with a couple pictures of most of the chickens in the new coop:

Chickens

Chickens

The ducks carefully walking on the frozen pond:

Ducks on frozen pond

On the ramp into the duck house:

Ducks on ramp by frozen pond

Inside:

Ducks in their house

Mealworm treats on the frozen pond:

Ducks on frozen pond

A bunch of crows in the field, making quite a racket; there were many more elsewhere on the field, too:

Crows in field

Crows in field

Ducks slogging through the thin ice on the frozen pond:

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Chickens with some snow:

Chickens

Ducks in the partially frozen pond:

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in partially frozen pond

An early morning shot of snow pooling in the middle of the frozen pond:

Pond

The snowy path to the duck house:

Ducks in partially frozen pond

Ducks in the slushy ice:

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

Ducks in frozen pond

That’s probably going to be it for snow for this season, though it could snow again. It’s melting now, and will probably turn to rain over the coming week. Looks like the temperatures won’t be cold enough to freeze the pond either. It was fun while it lasted.

Flock Friday for January 10

This week: some treats, some snow.

But first, pre-dawn ducks:

Pre-dawn ducks

Chickens enjoying rice, their second-favorite treat (after mealworms):

Chickens enjoying rice

Chickens enjoying rice

Ducks enjoying mealworm treats:

Ducks enjoying treats

Ducks enjoying treats

We got a sneak peek of snow this week.  Here’s the tree by the chicken runs, laden with snow:

Tree by chicken runs laden with snow

As usual when it snows, the chicken run roof netting collapsed under the weight. Someday I’ll get around to replacing it with welded wire:

Run roof netting collapse

Run roof netting collapse

Chickens with a little residue of snow:

Chickens with snow

Snow on the duck house roof:

Snow on duck house

Snowy pond bank:

Snowy pond bank

Me tossing treats to the ducks:

David giving treats

The ducks in the pond (which isn’t at all frozen), surrounded by snowy banks and trees:

Snowy

Snowy

Flock Friday for January 3

A fairly short post this week.

We went away for two nights during the holidays, and were greeted on our return with 15 eggs in one of the nesting boxes (and a few in another):

Eggs in nesting box

Some of the chickens enjoying treats in the old coop:

Chickens

The ducks:

Ducks

Ducks

I captured a shot of the ducks on the pond at midnight at the new year (see the timestamp); probably not enjoying the distant fireworks:

New Year ducks

Later, some night fish:

Night fish

I haven’t seen much of the fish recently, since it’s been so cold; they’re mostly hibernating in the deep end. Though I do occasionally see a few.

The ducks in their house, having breakfast:

Ducks in house

Back on the pond:

Ducks

Finally, a few chickens:

Chickens

Flock Friday for December 27

The pictures this week are pretty evenly split between hummingbirds, ducks, and chickens.

The hummingbirds have been very hungry this week; I’ve been having to refill their favorite feeder pretty much every day. There are 11 hummers on this feeder; can you see all of them?

Hummingbirds

Foggy pond:

Foggy pond

The chickens have mostly kept to their own coops so far, though Lola (the introverted chicken) did spend one night in the new coop:

Lola in the new coop

Lola in the new coop

Ducks:

Ducks

Pippin in my arms, watching hummingbirds:

Pippin watching hummingbirds

After refilling the feeder (yet again), I stood there a moment and captured them a couple of feet away:

Standing next to hummingbird feeder

Partially frozen pond:

Partially frozen pond

Ducks

More frozen pond; they struggled through the ice to come see me (or rather Gert struggled while Bert followed along behind; I’m sure one could have gender commentary about that):

More frozen pond

On rounds (see Rory by the coop), the chickens rushing to the new coop, where I was dispensing treats for the chickens there:

Chickens

Chickens

Flock Friday for December 20

Let’s take a look at the ducks, chickens, and hummingbirds over the past week.

Some pics of our ducks, Gert the girl and Bert the boy (mnemonic, see?):

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

A peek of Gert through the duck house:

Duck through house

The chickens in the veggie garden, coming to see me on rounds:

Chickens

Chicken treats:

Chickens

Chickens

Ducks across the partially frozen pond:

Ducks across frozen pond

Ducks

Lots of hummingbirds:

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Did you see the slow-mo video of the hummers?

Another day, more of the chickens:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

It’s been rather windy last night and today. This morning, I found the chair next to the duck house had blown into the pond:

Ducks and chair in pond

Flock Friday for December 13

Some excitement with the chickens this week.

One of the chickens, Lola, was still outside when the pop door was closing:

Chicken outside when the door is closing

You may remember me describing her as the introverted chicken. She often hangs back, and on this occasion hung back too long, and got stuck outside.

I noticed her perching on the waterer when I checked the cams after I got in bed, so I got dressed again, put on a head-mounted light, and went out there to take her inside:

Lola on the waterer

Here’s me picking her up. I carried her out of the run and into the coop:

David picking up Lola

Another bit of excitement was that I opened the gate to the veggie garden, enabling the new girls to access that:

Opened gate to veggie garden

I also opened the hole in the fence between the two runs, so the old and new chickens can now mingle:

Opened fence hole

They are still laying eggs and roosting for the night in their own coops, though eventually I expect some will swap coops. Chickens are very slow to change.

A bunch of pictures of the chickens all together:

Chicken

Chickens by gate

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Let’s take a look at the ducks, too:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

But we’re not done with the chickens: a few days later, Lola did it again, outside when the door was closing:

Chickens outside when the door is closing

Actually it turned out that there were three chickens outside this time:

Chickens outside

Chickens outside

I realized that the pop door controller was closing the door too early, before it was dark, due to low hanging branches of the tree by the coop shading the light sensor. So I trimmed some branches:

David trimming branches

The tree fought back, whacking me in the face; fortunately only lightly bruising me:

David

As usual, I left the cut branches in the run for the chickens to play with:

Cut branches

So far the chickens haven’t been caught outside again.  I have a daily reminder to check as it gets dark, just in case.

Misty pond, with the ducks heading into the house for dinner:

Misty pond

Finally, some shots of the hungry hummingbirds on the feeders:

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

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 29

A rather duck-heavy post this week.

But also with a cat! The ducks zipped over to investigate a new alien cat at the back of the pond:

Ducks investigating alien cat

I went back there too:

Alien cat and ducks

It was a very friendly cat, obviously a pet:

Alien cat

I told it to go home (back north).  I didn’t want to encourage it to hang around.

The ducks again from that vantage:

Ducks

Earlier this week I slipped in the mud on the path to the duck house, so I added some straw to help give it better traction:

Path to duck house

In due course we’ll get around to ordering some gravel for the path. I still haven’t decided if I want to tweak the slope a bit, or just leave it as-is.

Here’s a nice pic of Gill:

Gill

Bert and Gert:

Ducks

The ducks rooting in the grass:

Ducks rooting in the grass

Ducks rooting in the grass

Ducks rooting in the grass

Ducks rooting in the grass

This morning, the pond was mostly frozen, and the ducks were vexed, trying to figure out how to get to the duck house:

Duck with frozen pond

The duck house door didn’t open, too; I think it may have frozen shut, since it opened fine once I recalibrated the opener. Hopefully that won’t be an ongoing issue. If it keeps happening, I might have to risk leaving it open overnight, if I can’t figure out a way to prevent it from sticking.

The ducks currently just have a small area of non-frozen water in the deepest part, plus around the fountain:

Ducks

They hopped out to say hi to me:

Ducks

A couple of token chicken pictures:

Chickens

Chickens

Flock Friday for November 22

It’s that time again. Let’s start with the chickens.

Martha in a pot in the veggie garden:

Martha in pot

The chickens running to see me when I went into the veggie garden:

Chickens

All four new chickens are laying; here are their eggs in a nesting box:

Eggs

Recently collected eggs — including a blue/green one from the old girls, the first of that color for many weeks:

Eggs

New chickens in their coop:

Chickens

Chickens

Chickens

Laying an egg on the floor, instead of in a nesting box:

Chickens

Lola, the introverted chicken; she often hangs out by herself:

Lola

Merida, the extrovert, friendliest chicken; not looking quite so scruffy as before, though still not fully feathered:

Merida

I needed to change the batteries in the old coop pop door opener:

Old coop pop door opener

A peek of the ducks on the ramp, through their house, while I was refilling their food:

Ducks through house

An assortment of pictures of the ducks on the pond:

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

Ducks

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.)