Monday, September 18, 2017
But let's start at the beginning.
Friend, Kris, texted to say a brand new local brewery was disposing of spent grain that could be used for chicken feed and for pigs and goats. What a find! Free donkey and chicken food.
I did do a bit of checking online to see if the stuff was safe and found some farm folks have fermented their grain intentionally as they believe it's more nutritious. OK, we're good to go.
So Rick scooted over and we received a 25-lb barrel of fermented grain.
He immediately scooped a generous portion for the donks. They walked away. And would not return to the bowls. Nope. It was icky.
So then we tried the birds.
And they agreed it wasn't bad, but they didn't consume enough to make a dent.
Soooo, a quick text to the neighbor to see if she wanted 25 lbs of grain for her cows and we were able to pass it along.
It was such a good idea...
On another topic --
I find there's always a bit of jockeying around to make the donkey and chicken environments as pleasant and healthy as is possible. To that end, the wading pool that had been in the chicken run for their amusement (but was also a failed experiment) was shifted to the donkey yard to allow for easy feeding without the consumption of dirt -- NOT a beneficial extra ingredient.
Yes, standing in the pool is always helpful.
And the girls got the two tires that the donkeys have ignored, and, a branch. I'm not sure the tires are a hit (just something to climb on) but the branch is getting a little more attention.
I wish I could hit on a toy for the donks that tickled their fancy but so far everything has been a flop. Fancy Jolly Ball - no. Beach ball to toss around - no. Tires to nose around - no. If anyone has a suggestion, I'm all ears, as are the donks.
Monday, September 4, 2017
And little Ruby gave me a scare a few days ago.
I'm just hoping we're out of the woods.
I'll go into a bit of detail in case any of you are chicken savvy -- Melba? Perhaps you can help diagnosis.
I noticed Ruby's rear-end feathers looked "dirty" and thought she needed a little sponge bath. I didn't get to it immediately and soon after saw she was lethargic. A little panic (and guilt) set in. If you recall, Emmy Lou, who was also an Isa Brown, just died in June and I did not intend to repeat that episode.
A little sleuthing on the internet led me to think she might have a bound egg. The advice was a sitz bath and abdominal massage.
Rick stayed nearby, a good thing, since the girl almost escaped during the 15 minutes of warm soaking. Then the massaging. Rick felt no tell-tale sign of a lodged egg. BUT, we did see a little egg string in the sitz bath water. Of course I returned to the internet to see what the signs of an internally broken egg are. That led us to inserting, via eyedropper, a small amount of oil into her vent. I'm truly not sure what we accomplished, but she seems to be displaying normal behavior now.
By the way, she did not object too strongly to being dried off from her bath with my hairdryer.
Who woulda thought...
Sunday, August 27, 2017
So, today I invite you to join the scenes of "ahhhhh".
Years ago friend Mary introduced me to Sky chairs. This summer I splurged and bought one for reading.
Mug and book are within an arm's reach.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
I would much rather muck out a stall or clean out the chicken coop than weed. And my flower beds back me up.
There are some that are fail-safe.
They are past their zenith, now, but, boy they were lovely a couple of weeks ago.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
But then there are slugs.
Gross, gross, gross.
The buggers show up on the sides of the donkey water trough. OK, I need to fill the darn thing and they're in the way. So, it's a matter of picking each suctiony slimy beast off and sending him/her on his/her way in the weeds.
I can't tell you how slimy my fingers get after this ordeal. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
At times there have been up to eight in the trough at one time.
Let's throw in an extra yuck for good measure.
It occurred to me to take a quick look-up of slugs to appear somewhat knowledgeable.
No, don't wanna.
Thank goodness I'm not finding them everyday, as I was about a month ago. Don't know why. Don't care.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Dudley (big dog on the right) believes it is his inherent duty and right to clean out Gunner's food bowl after Gunner has concluded the meal.
Same rules seem to apply to the donks, except the rules change as to who has the god-given right. When donks are given their teeny portions of grain or supplement, those bowls are cleaned to the n'th degree. Hard working tongues.
Well, now the chickens feel compelled to tackle the donkey bowls following beet pulp days. As part of the regime to bulk up Luigi and Gabariella (we've talked about this before, please take notes) they receive a modest portion of beet pulp on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For those horse owners out there, YES, I soak thoroughly in hot water for an hour.
Chickens are drawn to the remaining micro-specks.
Jo (always immerged in the bowl), Sweet Pea and Buffy investigate.
The bowl the pulp was soaked in is always of interest too.
And speaking of Jo, and her penchant for sitting in bowls (if you recall, she likes to sit in the treat bowl in the coop), she joins the ranks of manure queens.
I've only observed one other of my flock do this, and for the life of me can't remember if it was Golda or Emmy Lou (both sadly gone).
I must tell you one other story which, unfortunately, does not have accompanying photos or video.
A few days ago, I was just inside the barn, tending to some chore, when around the corner comes Sweet Pea running full tilt and slides to a stop right in front of me. Just like your favorite baseball player sliding into home base. No, there was no threat, no predator lurking. She thought she was missing out on a treat. It was probably the funniest thing I've seen one of the girls do and laughed at her outright.
What a bunch of ding dongs.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Add to those issues my current knee situation... and you hear a heavy sigh.
The dadblasted thing went bonkers Saturday evening for no apparent reason and mobility has been an issue since. Thankfully I see daily improvement, but in microscopic increments. So, my patience has been short, extremely short. (thank goodness I have a little Honda scooter to zoom out to donks and clucks as the bike is out of the question right now)
That depleted patience views donkey insistence that they're starving 24/7 with a short fuse.
Because Luigi and Gabariella came out of the winter underweight, for the past two to three months they've been receiving double their normal rations plus some extra supplements which they regard as treats. But I am greeted continually with their ear-shattering communication that it's not enough.
And their increasingly daring attacks upon the grain can stopped being amusing quite a while ago. I can be inches away and they are at their tricks.
You can observe the sequence, while I'm standing right in front of Luigi.
These are intelligent beings, but bloody hell I don't know how to train them to stay away.
Verbal persuasion doesn't work, physical threats don't work.
It's very inconvenient to close the door behind me while getting hay then turn around with an armful to unlatch the door.
What to do!!
So, I'm irritated with the donks, the donks are irritated with me, and the flies. Who knows with whom the flies are irritated.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Because it's a daily battle and I spray those legs every single day, I prefer to use plant based formulas. However, the flies have been so tenacious the past 10 days or so, I have been playing with some alternate methods (more on that in the next post). Nothing is doing the job as I'd like.
As I was wandering the the internet searching for more possibilities, I found a DIY fly repellent using essential oils. As I perused the list, I realized I had most in my EO stash and decided to give it a whirl.
The recipe is as follows:
I had everything I needed except the Idaho Tansy and had to substitute Lemon Myrtle for the Lemongrass. But then I got thinking (uh oh). Would the oils mix with plain ole' water? I again looked online, found suggestions for emulsifiers and then asked husband Rick, the biologist/chemist in the family. His suggestion of vigorous shaking just before applying said concoction served my purpose.
I've only been experimenting for a couple of days but thus far, I'm pleased. I'll have Luigi report back after a longer test period.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
I try to look my best for all occasions and I did not want to disappoint for this event.
My favorite straw hat, oversized t-shirt, University of Michigan shorts, and barn sneakers completed the ensemble.
It's no secret, I have been approached by Vogue for a cover shoot.
A sense of sadness prevails as all the wild daisies are cut down.
Although the wild daisies perished, some of the cultivated flora are flourishing.
Monday, June 26, 2017
One of his favorite places to hang out in the morning is the back of the recliner. Or next to me on the couch with the dog.
Unless it's hot out. The hotter the better as far as he's concerned. And then he's insistent that he lounge on the deck... for hours.
He's just a crazy kitty.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
I guess it's because when I grew up, there was no air conditioning in the house for years. Dad would put the box fan in the bedroom window at night to help cool things down. When we did leap into the world of cool air, we depended on window units, the noisy buggers.
Anyway, fans serve many purposes around here.
Cooling off donkeys and helping to keep the nasty nasty biting flies at bay is pretty important.
For the record, I am oh so partial to metal fans.
Because Rick insulated the chicken coop, and it has cross ventilation, the heat does not build up too badly for the girls.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
It's a gang of two. Their escapades develop in broad daylight. Yes, they are bold.
I have observed that the ringleader changes...with the wind.
And here you have it.
The "do-anything-to-get-the lid-off-the-garbage-can-holding-the-grain-and-tip-it-over" gang.
I was able to sneak up on their most recent malicious adventure and record the beginnings of mayhem.
At this point I was unsure whether to call the authorities, but refrained for fear of retribution from the gang members afterward.
But I now have the evidence, in safekeeping.
The moral of the story: please, please safeguard your grain-filled garbage cans. These marauders can get desperate.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
So, let's tell the girls how special they are.
My confession is this. I would be heartbroken if something happened to Sweet Pea.
She is my #1 helper during morning chores, following around the donkey yard. And chatting the whole time. Actually it's the only way I can tell the difference between her and Buffy. Sweet Pea is full of talk, talk, talk. The few times she's been in the coop in a nesting box during morning chores, the silence has been deafening.