Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Egg Gathering Video

I made a short video while I was gathering eggs (from the Banties.) The big girls have stopped for awhile. I even narrated it. Don't get too excited, I'm no professional and my digital camera is mainly for stills. However, it has video capabilities and I use it on occasion. 

I liked this video and will probably do more. Stay tuned. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Pictures Around Town

..or Out Yonder.

Synchronized armpit sniffing. 

Looking in the small tree for berries. 

Indian treat dance

Mags and me

The look.

Mayhaps, I found who's been knocking the fake flowers out of the window box.

Last stages of her molt. Still no eggs. The slacker.

She's through with her molt, too. Still, no eggs. Another slacker.

This plant popped up in the yard. No clue when/or if, I planted it. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Runnel

We all know what a tunnel is, right? Probably been through a couple. I have. They're everywhere. The Lincoln (NJ and NY), the Eisenhower (Colorado), numerous tunnels in the Smokies. Even that one connecting England and France called, the Chunnel. (would you need scuba gear? at least an umbrella.)

Well, it's that time of year and with chickens, or any type of outdoor animals, you get rats. I don't care how much I clean things up, they show up, move in and build trails and tunnels. Over and under and through, the maze of trails pop up everywhere. When the weather changes, you can catch the rats movements. Mostly at dusk. Between cracks or under the wire they scoot. Scampering critters nervously grabbing bits of grain left by the chickens. The slightest sound sends them racing back to a safe place. When they think its clear, out they come. Over and over.

I call these 'runnels'

There's 2 or 3 of these 'runnels' leading from the neighbor's sheds, under the fence and into my yard. I noticed another one going under the coop, concrete slab, porch and into the run. I bury wire every time I see one around the chicken area but, the rats always find another place. They dig deeper or further out and get under the wire.

Leaves me to deal with them in another way. Traps. The big Victor wooden rat traps. Them things will break a finger if you ain't careful. Nope, had some close calls but, not mine yet. Caught a rat last night - a little bigger than a pet white rat. Well fed and, before it met Victor, looked to be healthy.

I'll fill these runnels in and keep an eye on which ones are still being used. Set up Victor and see what happens.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chickens and Oatmeal

This here flock of chickens love, love, love oatmeal. I do believe they prefer it cooked and plated over just thrown haphazardly around their areas. It's a real fiasco, too. I shot this short video. I apologize for the lens cap flailing away ( I only have one hand available ) and toward the end my batteries gave out. Ce' le vie.

Chickens and Oatmeal

Monday, November 3, 2014

Goose. The Epitome of Chicken

Goose. Formerly known as Eclaire the Cream Buff. She's really a member of the Poland breed of chicken. Their top notch makes it difficult to see, resulting in a fearful, flighty, nervous bird. I've had her the entire 2 1/2 years of her life and she has always been wild and 'chicken'. Always at the bottom of the pecking order. Her characteristics are in the breed. 

I've had 8 Polands and not all are like this but, enough to make it the norm.  Goose is definitely certifiable, however, amusing to watch. Stands off alone, the majority of the time. Runs from sounds or movement of any kind. Yet, will chase rats, squirrels and the banties. For the longest of time, she HONKED like a Goose - hence the nickname. Since the molt, she hasn't honked very much. Believe me, it's a blessing. Her honking was obnoxious and very, very loud. I feared the neighbors would get upset and begin to complain. They didn't however, my back neighbor installed a 6 foot privacy fence. THANKS!  ;)

Because of Goose's nervousness and jumpy characteristics, she is the sole survivor of 5 different predator attacks. Three by raccoon and two by hawk. She could not be caught. Sadly and unfortunately, the rest of her flock members didn't fare as well. That left her all alone and I wondered, chickens being social, if she cared. I brought in 2 other birds, Esther and Alice, as companions. Still not sure if that was a mistake. Alice immediately bullied her. Relentlessly, chasing and pecking. A few times I thought about sending Alice back to her original home but, over time, she stopped and my little flock of 3 had melded. 

I miss my Polands but, Alice and Goose's personalities are a good source of entertainment. Goose, never still for more than a few seconds. Honking her displeasures. Alice, always looking for that perfect sneak attack. And then, when chaos abounds, Esther steps in and puts a stop to it.

An Alice sneak attack missed Goose, this time. At the shutter click, she was leaning out and on the move. 

Esther reminding Goose she's not always a body guard. A quick peck has her UP in the air and in retreat mode.

Goose standing off assessing the situation.

Sleeps in the rafters, keeping a safe distance from the rest

Leave me alone!
Nature is cruel and the chicken pecking order is no different. It's sometimes hard to watch but, that's how it is. The birds know it and accept it. None of them are stressed out too much. I get eggs from each of them regularly.

One big happy family - as chicken families go.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Alice is Molting

Having a bath in her early stages of molting

Advanced stage of molting

Taking a nap. She's feeling puny during this phase of molting

The new pin feathers in casing. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jimmy Cagney

'you dirty rat'

...or, perhaps Templeton. Paul Lynde's Templeton. The rat from Charlotte's Web. And, Wilbur. That was some pig.     Okay, no Wilbur.

With chickens, not only do you get egg rolls, you also get an assortment of different creatures. Other than predators. I'm referring to them seedy characters. The hidden. The shadow dwellers. The scavengers. They steal food from the feeders. They invade your feed storage facilities. I've had a few storage areas over the years. A metal shed and a wooden silo-shaped one, I built. The rats tunneled into the metal shed and devoured, slept in and ruined feed. I also use the shed for a work shop so, smelling and working around rat excrement wasn't working for me. The silo worked out pretty good for a year or so. But, the rats finally figured out how to break into it. Plus, it wasn't big enough for my needs.

At present, I have my feed in plastic tubs inside a good sized, heavy duty plastic 'shed'. It's actually a trash can shed I picked up at Walmart a few years back. End of the season and marked down to half price.

It serves me well and the only thing that has gotten in are spiders. They don't bother me, but if I see one getting a little too close, I 'remove' it's existence from the premises. I have layer pellets in the blue tub and scratch (an assortment of grains) for a breakfast treat, in the grey tub. A bale of straw, behind the tubs, for coop cleaning days and some hardware and tools for whatever comes up. The red bag on the shelf drives the girls mad. The goody bag. Chicken crack! Meal worms. Raisins. They know it's in there and they know what it looks like.

Most of our yard items have names. Wild bird feeders, lawnmowers, chippers...even this shed. It took a while but, we finally came up with one suitable. Gordon Ramsey. We tried Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri. They were unacceptable. Now, I don't care for Hell's Kitchen but, his name fits the shed's mission and we can remember it. And, of course, we only use the first name so....
Oh, get over it. It's Gordon!

While taking pictures of Gordon, Alice was standing at the ready for a treat. Not this time, clucker!

Anyway, since the weather is changing and food is getting scarce, the rats are moving more and more. Brazen bastards. I've been watching them for a few weeks. I've tried my snapping trap, Victor. But, this year he just isn't catching them. I reckon they've smartened up enough to keep clear of him. Hurts his feelings but, what can you do? You can bring out Betsy. Ye olde pump pellet rifle. At a distance, it only stings. But, get up close and it's real personal.

Be vewwy, vewwy quiet. Hunting season is open. I tagged one this morning.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Black Magic

Since I lost Morticia in February, I haven't had a bird to hold and pet. I picked up a couple of young bantam cochins in hopes of rectifying that. I was 'told' they were friendly. They weren't.

Black Magic and Chantilly Lace
Well, I've noticed while unlocking the coop in the morning, Mags would allow me to pick her up. She'd also, eat from my hand in the run. But, wouldn't allow me to touch her outside. So, I've been working with her, in the mornings, at the coop door. I'll pick her up and hold her a short while, then set her down and keep hold of her.

She'll stay put for a bit and then scurry off and won't let me touch her again. A couple days ago, I knelt down and she came over to investigate (for a snack). I slowly reached out and she squatted. Ha! The submissive squat. I have her now. I still have to move slowly but, I can pick her up anywhere and play Lenny from the book, Of Mice and Men. Only, I won't squeeze her like he did. Right George?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Rain Barrel

Storms swept across America this past week. I watched, on radar, as it inched its way closer and closer. However, we have mountains in the way and I knew once those nasty bands ran into them, they'd be broken up and knocked down a bit. Least, I figured that would happen.

It did! The mountains busted a move on them. They aren't near as big but, still have some rain. So, we're in the barrel. The birds are out in it, foraging for worms and such. Dodging rain drops. Singing BJ Thomas songs and dancing like Gene Kelly.

Even though, they don't look it, I know they're aggravated. It was raining so hard this morning I didn't throw any scratch. They are on their own, for now.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Slice of Bread

Who knew?

My large fowl: Alice, Esther and Goose will not eat bread. Never have. Turn their beaks up at the sight of it. Run off spitting and honking in disapproval and disgust. After several attempts, I finally removed bread from the menu.

When I brought the banties in, it never crossed my mind until today, they might like bread. I found a misshapen end piece on a new loaf and decided to give them a shot. No sooner did it hit the ground were they on top of it. Grabbing, running, gobbling and running some more. They acted as if they'd not eaten in a week. Loved it!

The big girls had a fit on the other side of the fence. Esther was whining. I even got a few disgruntled honks from Goose. Really? It's bread, you silly birds. Whine. Honk. Whimper. Squawk.

Alice was the only one to hold true to her beliefs. Didn't pay one lick of attention to the bickering from Esther and Goose, nor the feeding frenzy of the banties.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Backdoor-ing Facebook

More pictures of days past. Facebook is updating and not allowing me to post my daily pictures. I'll backdoor them and use the blog.

The Banties hanging out. 
Goose getting into her feed.
Goose still molting. It'll be awhile, yet. 
Big girls aren't too excited with butternut squash. Until, I give it to the banties. 
An older picture of Goose talking the talk.  She's been quiet since the molt grabbed hold of her. 
Not very patiently awaiting treats. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pictures Galore

No. Not a misprint of a James Bond movie character.

I have an over abundance of pictures in my Blog folder. Time to un-ass them. So...
in no particular order:

We have 2 of these plants on the porch. They're on either side of the door and loaded with bumble bees. Good thing bumble bees are non-aggressive. 

The main man around here. Higgins.

Breakfast of champions. And chickens. 

Goose in molt. She's filled in since and, I think, is on the downhill slide. 

Fluffing up and no place to go.

Chatty catching a drink

Goose looking rather perturbed. Actually, she looks like this a lot. 

Chantilly (Lacey) Lace

Black (Maggie) Magic. Looking at my empty hand. Her thoughts have been censored.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Black Magic

I cornered Black Magic (Mags) and held her for a few moments, this morning.
Her crop was full and tight.
She felt healthy and alive. But, did a minimal of squirming
All the banties have a soft whimper, sounding a lot like a puppy.
Nothing like that loud-mouthed Goose. Who, by the way, has said nothing since her molt started. However, she's filling in nicely now and has begun to lay again. 
Always looking for trouble. Running wildly down the fence. Pacing back and forth. 
 Oh, there were 2 banty eggs in the nest yesterday. Chatty is no longer the sole provider of the little egg. I'm pretty sure Mags is laying now.