Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Morning Faces

Although the temps have cooled in southeast Michigan, the days have been sunny of late, which means good humor in the mornings for beasts, fowl, and humans alike.

Just take a look at these goofy morning donkey faces.  Leisurely munching a plate-load of hay and straw.

Invariably Luigi is on one side of the outside manger and the girls steer to the other side

Gabby (background) doesn't have time for silly faces.  There is much chewing to be done.

Sugar needs to know if there are more items on the menu

As I've mentioned, mornings are the best.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Two Dogs and a Fish

Those residing IN the house are clamoring for the attention they justly deserve; this post will spotlight two dogs and a fish.

You've met them before, but perhaps it's been a bit too long without giving them their due.

Gunner, our Rott/Bernese Mt. dog mix, is about the ripe old age of 12.  Because he was found wandering the streets in a nearby community about nine years ago we can only guess at his age.

How could you not be smitten with that face!

Gunner doesn't realize the summer is fading and his fan is no longer needed.  He faithfully sits in front of it although it's not turned on.  Indeed, it has been his fan all summer.

If you're a faithful reader, you'll remember when Dudley died in October 2017, we waited a few months and then put the wheels in motion to get Gunner a companion.
Voila, Faith appeared on the scene.  The greyhound Princess is only 5 years old and keeps Gun active.

Well, not active all the time.

What a tangle of long legs.

At total rest.

Now I am sure this is Finny's debut on the blog and, boy he is excited.

He is a beauty to be sure, and par for this house, a real food gobbler.
Our conversations are brief but meaningful.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Thwarted by Sparrows

The local gang of sparrows has been eating me out of house and home.  In through the little chicken coop doors they fly in order to feed themselves silly on chicken food.  I buy organic pellets for the girls which ups the price so the sparrows are not welcome.  Plus they could be bringing unwanted disease onto my little flock.  What to do...

I tried to go the cheap route with some netting through Amazon.  The plan was to cover all sides and the top of the chicken run to stop the buggers from getting in.  Bad move.  Rick struggled and struggled and the darn stuff would not stretch to the advertised dimensions.  Back it went. (gosh I sure do appreciate being able to return Amazon items to Kohl's) 

Tractor Supply to the rescue.  This version of the netting did what it was supposed to do.  In spite of the fact installation time was far greater than anticipated, we were pleased.  Until I saw sparrows in the run trying to get out.  The marauders have found some tiny opening and cannot resist the allure of that tasty chicken food.  Apparently getting back out is a dilemma.  I've come to the rescue a couple of times, opening coop doors to shoo them out, but I can't always do that.  So I'm leaving them to their own devices.  And no, we can't determine the whereabouts of the tiny opening(s).

Since losing Jo this week I've been assessing everybody with my eagle eye.  If a chicken makes the smallest odd move, I zoom in to observe.  I did give everyone, even the little girls, a concoction of oatmeal with lots of garlic and cayenne pepper.  Many articles praise garlic for its antibiotic properties.  Since I don't know the cause of Jo's death, a natural proactive intervention can't do any harm. 
I licked the spoon after fixing the oatmeal with herbs and was a little overwhelmed by the garlic, but the girls ate every bit gone.

Cross your fingers...

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Another Difficult Post

I lost Jo this morning.  She died in less than 24 hours of me noticing something was off.  You know I just can't bring myself to write about what I thought it was and what, after more reading, I'm suspecting it was.  Maybe later. 

Losing a hen continues to be heart-wrenching. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Gruel Isn't Cruel

This morning's Sunday breakfast included steel cut oats simmered with blueberries and walnuts.  Rick, always the Sunday morning chef, made a bit too much.  So we shared with the chickens.

Much to my surprise, all birds were enthusiastic.  Usually the big girls are a tad fussy.  And the little girls are partial to greens.  But everyone (except Buffy) dove in.

Don't tell anyone, but I haven't named these cuties yet.  They're just so little and wary, I'm having a problem fitting their names.  It will come. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Four New Faces

Before I share photos from our latest adventure, please know that I know these are lousy photos.  But I have an excuse.  Really.

And the story goes this way...

About a week ago, friend Cheryl alerted me to the fact the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) website showed four hens up for adoption.  With the following names:  Hillary Fluff, Oprah Henfrey, Henneth Paltrow, Lindsay Lo-Hen.  I called the facility to ask some questions, but didn't get all the answers.  However, I did ask if the girls could be held until Monday for me; we were going to be out of town over the weekend and clearly I didn't want the chicken & donkey sitter to tend to brand new girls.  Their answer was a swift "no".

I called when they opened on Monday and the girls were still available.  We decided to add them to our flock and drove about 40 minutes to the shelter.  It was at this point I got the background story.  In June a hoarding case of 80 birds (ducks, chickens, etc) was uncovered in Detroit (we're about an hour north) and given over to the MHS.  These girls were part of that group.  They were only about a month old and (yes, you can do the math) are now 3-4 months.  Quite young and quite small.  Probably half the size of Sweet Pea and Buffy. 

They are segregated in the new half of the coop with the covered porch.  And will have to stay segregated for a bit.  This morning two escaped while the big girls were out and got harassed.  I had to call for back up. 
Hopefully they do some more growing in the next month and feel better prepared to stand up for themselves against the bullies.

MHS was guessing they are bantam mixes -- two reddish like Isa Browns, one a mottled red/brown, and one mottled buff.

They are shy and skittish and so photos get taken on the fly. 

In mid run, but you can see coloring

And this is the nightly roosting location they have chosen -- on top of the raised window!!
The first night I went in to lock up and heard soft cheeping, couldn't find them anywhere.  

Now I do not believe I will keep the names MHS handed out, clever as they are.  I may try to stick with my female singer names (Lulu, Etta James, Peggy Sue -- OK a song, not a singer, Joannie B(aez), Ruby Dee, Buffy (St. Marie)...  Any thoughts?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Scenes From a Teeny Tiny Farm

You get a gold star if you correctly identify the following beauty

It's Sugar, of course

She has taken Gabby's place elbowing her way to the front of the crowd when I enter the gate in the morning.  And nip at anyone who dares to get too close.  I have to remind everyone I DO NOT like to get caught in the crossfire. 

You may remember I have called Gabariella the "witchy-witch" (except using the "b" word) in part because of this behavior.  Well,  there's a new witch in town. 

Four of the hens banging their cups on the bars, yelling out "You dirty screws!"

Newest addition to the donkey gate
thanks to Crossroads Donkey Rescue auction