Some of our new little chicks have had a hard time since their move to our farm.
First off, a couple of days after I brought them home and put them in the apartment, I went down to the barn and they were sitting outside in their cage. Even though Tom rarely takes it upon himself to do anything with the livestock, I assumed that he had put them out there for some air, or...something. They do make the room that they're in stinky even though I clean the cage regularly.
Anyway, I saw one of them lying on the bottom of the cage with other chicks standing on it and I thought it might be dead. Then I noted that they were sitting out there in the full sun and it was hot. I picked up the little chick and it was still alive, so I put it's beak in the water and it took a drink. After it was sufficiently revived to stand on it's own, I took them inside and went to ask Tom, "what's the deal?" Yes, he thought they needed some fresh air. "But, why in the full sun and how long had they been out there?" I asked. "Only a couple of hours and I was out there with them most of the time." was the answer. About half an hour later, I went to check on them again. The distressed chick was still standing there drinking water. It did fully recover.
So, this morning I noticed that one of the chicks looked smaller and lethargic. But, sometimes they are just sleepy and while all the others are running around eating and cheeping, the sleepy one will huddle by itself. I had to leave and made a mental note to check that chick later.
I moved the chicks in their cage into the chicken pen (we've been keeping the chickens penned up until the garden is established so they won't scratch up my tender veggies) so they could be with the big chickens, but still be safe and Harry couldn't chase the big chickens away. (Yes, I put them in the shade).
When I got home and went to move them back inside, the little chick looked worse. It was huddled down, wings splayed out, mouth hanging open...actually, it looked like a stroke victim and had what appeared to be a little piece of food at the tip of it's beak, which I thought was pretty weird. What? Is it trying to eat and just doesn't have the strength to swallow?
I took it out of the cage to inspect and here's the deal. It's mouth was glued open with chicken poop. I mean, really, how uncool is it to have your mouth glued open with poop?
My working theory is that it was sleeping under the little perch and another chick above it pooped on it. I'm not sure how it happened with the mouth open unless it was actually trying to get the poop off. Or, maybe it's an open mouth sleeper. I don't know. Anyway, the poop dried and actually glued the bottom part of the beak to the breast feathers. With the mouth glued open, the chick could neither eat nor drink. After I pried the beak loose and the chick could move freely, it started eating immediately.
Now I have to wait and see if I caught it in time. It's amazing how quickly those chicks can go downhill.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Harry loves the new little chicks. I've been keeping them in this rabbit cage in the apartment for the time being. I bring them out and set them in the grass while I clean the cage.
Harry is very...watchful.
He gazes at them lovingly.
The other day, I put them out where the adult chickens were hanging out, thinking that if I let them all get used to each other gradually, there would be less bloodshed when it's time for them to integrate.
Note there are no chickens in the picture. When they came to investigate, Harry ferociously chased them away. See Ginger laying over there all forlorn? Harry wouldn't let her near them either.
We don't know if Harry is protecting them or is hoping to be able to eat them. And Harry does not share food.
I stole the title of this post from my very clever niece, Terra.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Our hens are getting old and it's time for some new blood. Up until now we've only Rhode Island Reds and we've been very happy with them. But, I couldn't find the chicken man that I bought our first batch from at the flea market. I decided to go the craigslist route and found a local woman that had several different kinds of chicks. She only had two RRRs left, so I got those and two other breeds.
I got some Ameracaunas, which lay blue eggs, so that should be fun. I also got some Black Astralorp. I think they lay brown eggs that look pretty much like the RRRs. The seller also had some Black Copper Marans. She said the way you tell the difference between those and the Astralorps was that the Marans had feathers on their legs. So, I don't know enough about chickens to know the difference, but some of the chicks have feathers on their legs. Either she made a mistake and gave me some Marans, or she was wrong about the leg feathers. I guess I'll have to wait til they grow up to see what they actually are. Marans lay deep chocolate colored eggs, but really, some of my RRR eggs are a chocolate color, so I'm not sure I'd know the difference.
I'm hoping that most of them are females, but that is also something that I won't know until they grow up.
Friday, April 26, 2013
I got fed up with Evil Goat. She was getting more and more aggressive and was actually coming after me with her horned head. Tom had this great idea...
and it worked like a charm.
This is a fly swatter that is electrified. To use it, you depress a button on the side and when a bug is swatted, it is instantly zapped.
It kills the bug, but it doesn't kill a goat.
The first time I took it out there with me, Evil kept coming at me and I kept the button depressed and the swatter between me and her. She finally made contact with it, touching the tip of her nose to it and I heard the "pop". I wish I had a video camera with me, but it's nearly impossible to hold the bucket of feed and scoop the feed into the feed troughs while avoiding scrambling goats trying to be the first to get a mouthful of feed and avoiding the horns of an evil goat aimed at me and trying to keep the swatter between me and that goat. I didn't have any hands left for a camera.
Anyway, when she got her nose zapped, she jumped straight up into the air and leapt over all the surrounding goats. Now she minds her own business and leaves me alone. I still take the swatter just in case, but maybe that one zap was enough to convince her that goring me with her horns is not something she wants to do.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The trailer had a leak and the whole back wall rotted out. Jordan has been repairing it.
He had to tear out the whole back end of it. This is what it looked like on Sunday evening. We were hoping for no rain.
Tom is helping with the rewiring.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird...
"Are we going on 'oliday?" (Chicken Run reference)
This is what it looks like on the inside. I guess I'll paint it. Or, maybe some cool wallpaper. Meagan, any ideas? I'm probably going to take out the carpeting, too, and replace it with linoleum. If I have the time and energy, I'll take down the window treatments, replace the shades, and recover the cushions on the couch and dinette.
Friday, April 12, 2013
It's that time of year again. I wrote about this once before
but it becomes more ridiculous and onerous every year.
The tattooing of the kids to be registered.
Maybe it makes sense to serious breeders, but it still makes no sense to me. Although, I'm pretty sure that in just a matter of months, the tattoos will not be visible, I do it so that I can truthfully say that it was done and I can put their tattoo on the registration papers.
I use two pliers, one with our herd name for the right ear and the other with the ADGA preferred letter and the birth order of the goat in the left ear, using black ink on a dark grey ear. I tried white ink one year, but I don't think it showed up any better.
The tattooing went smoother last year and this year because Nephew Jordan was here to help. Tom held the kid, while Jordan and I each took an ear.
Even though it goes pretty smoothly (Jordan and I say, "ready, go!" and squeeze our pliers at the same time so it's all over with at the same time), my hands still shake from the stress of inflicting that pain.
We try to make it as quick and easy for the kids as possible, but they yell and thrash anyway. I don't blame them.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Sunday, April 07, 2013
I think the puppy is growing on Harry just a little bit. He'll at least let her lay down nearby without getting up and leaving in a huff.
She still doesn't have a name. Quick, help me before we end up with "Fiona"!
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
I finally bit the bullet and got another livestock guardian dog. We've been talking about it for about a year and I've been resisting getting another dog even though we've been told and have read that livestock guardian dogs do better in pairs. Harry does a great job, but we feel like he needs a back-up.
So...here is the new little gal.
So...here is the new little gal.
She is a Great Pyrenees/Kangal ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangal_dog ) cross and will be eight weeks old tomorrow. The male Kangals get bigger than Harry, but the females don't get as big, so I don't expect her to get over 90 pounds.
Unlike Harry, who is solid white, this little girl is a very light tan with white feet and a tail that looks like it was dipped in oil, then wiped off and the very tip is white.
Here she is with Harry, who is too important to be bothered by a little pipsqueak girl.
Harry is not always that filthy. Apparently, he has been rolling in something nasty today.
Here she is meeting Kip and Sofia. So far, she doesn't seem to be afraid of anything.
We have to come up with a fitting name. Tom has already said he's naming her Fiona, but I said we should have a discussion in a democratic fashion before he dictates the name.