Monday, July 19, 2021

Tools of the Trade - Use what You've Got

 I got so tired of walking in ick in the donkey barn.  For quite some time the three hooligans have decided the primary place to relieve themselves of bodily fluid is the dirt entryway.  A few years ago we tried putting drainage materials there, but we're back to muck.  I said to Rick, "can't you find a couple of board to use as a cross walk"?


 Basic, yet effective.  Mostly.  The hens like to use it too and often when I'm doing morning chores and they're roaming around, traffic jams erupt.  My guess is the donkeys ignore the boards.

After we found our brand new chicken waterer was empty entirely too soon after filling, I said the darn thing was leaking.  Rick said the base wasn't level and it was slopping over the edge.  Turns out Rick was right, darn it.  So he removed the wooden base, leveled the dirt floor and placed two cement blocks as the new base.  


It may need to be raised higher to avoid debris, but so far it's not been too dirty.

Of course we've talked about fans, fans, and fans.  The big girls have a fan in their side of the coop, as do the little girls.  And the donks' fan not only provides a slight breeze, but helps shoo-fly shoo the pests.


  I tend to feed the donks in the barn in front of the fan after their afternoon pasture time so they can cool down and get a brief reprieve from the flies.  I've read other chicken people complain about flies in the coops, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for us.

Finally, not a tool, but just because this never fails to amuse me, I give you the "donkey water is elixir from the gods, while chicken water is icky" scenario.



* * * * * * Say Yes * * * * * *

After a quite recent trip to one of the local farmers market, we now have a 10 pound box of delicious blueberries.  This has become an annual tradition after friend Mary clued me in to the farm that has "the best" berries around.   I always end up freezing a portion but a significant number of bluebs remain available for pop-in-the-mouth deliciousness.  My second favorite (vanila) yogurt pairs perfectly with the berries and I don't hesitate to indulge.


 


Monday, July 12, 2021

Donkey Behavior -- Grit your Teeth or Smile

 Sometimes when one encounters resistant donkey behavior e.v.e.r.y single day, it's easy to lose a little patience.  And one's (no names mentioned here) voice reflects it.


Usually when I open the gate in the morning to bring in the manure wheelbarrow I let the donks graze the grass in the area just beyond the gate.  With all the rain nature has recently bestowed, it's nice and lush -- and oh so tasty.  I accidentally discovered that the donks would come back in to their hay by voice command.  When I start calling they kick up their heels and race in.  Except the day I try to get it recorded.  Of course.  

And then there are the days they are not quite so cooperative and I use the stern voice.   


I've also had to gather my patience with little Miss Sugar.  Suddenly she has decided she does not want to be fly sprayed.  The flies are at their peak right now and can eat a donkey leg raw so spraying is imperative.  But I've grown tired of chasing the Sugar Booger round and round and it's not good for either of us on a hot and humid day.  So I've turned to trickery.

The donks love love love getting brushed.  They'll choose brushing over food.  And squeeze in between me and the donkey I'm brushing to get another turn.  So now I've learned to put down the fly spray bottle and pick up the brush and give Gabs and Spice and little once over. Then sweet talk Sugar over.  When she's feeling nice and relaxed, bam I throw the lead line over her neck and hold the whipper snapper while the legs get thoroughly sprayed.


For those wondering how the little (chicken) girls are doing, a funny story.  Last night when I went out to tuck everybody in for the night, the big girls were in their assigned roosting spots and making their settling in for the night noises.  Well the little girls were in the porch drinking beer, playing rock n' roll and not at all ready for the good times to be over.  Wouldn't you know.


*  *  *  *  *  *  Say Yes  *  *  *  *  *  *
Oh my golly, I just found this deliciousness at the grocery store last week and have used tremendous will power not to eat the whole box.


Non dairy "ice cream" treats.  Simply decadently wonderful.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

All Calamities Diverted

 Several encouraging follow-ups. Well maybe not several, but three.  That's a start.

First and foremost Faith.
For those who missed the "Close Call" post, Faith tangled with a husky (don't know who started it) and lost the fight.  She had a pretty good rip in her throat and a smaller wound on the back of her neck.  Fast forward to today and look how good this pretty girl looks.

 


The wound below her collar has healed wonderfully and her antics have returned to normal.  Thumbs up.

***

Last week Goldie got an epsom salt bath and a three-day wormer regime.  Knock on wood the girl is behaving A-OK.  No more lethary, no more standing in the corner, no more wanting to stay in the coop.  I'm not sure we're completely out of the woods but so far so good (in February I thought Lilly, along with Sweet Pea, had been "cured" but sadly things went downhill). 

*****    

And lastly the little girls are doing quite well, growing and thriving.  


While the big girls are out for their free range time, the little girls get the run of the entire coop and they love it.  They're starting to understand the routine; after two hours you must go back inside the coop  from the run and to your own side of the coop, dividing door closed.

There was an accidental co-mingling and amazingly no one was bothered.  The little girls are almost the size of the red bantams.  But, Violet, Jewel, and Henrietta should stay on their little girl food for another two months so permanent co-mingling is not possible yet.  Based on their brief encounter, though, it should go smoothly.


*  *  *  *  *  * Say Yes *  *  *  *  *  *

Another tasty vegan recipe that even got a positive review from Rick.

Asparagus, Radish and New Potato Salad


All right, this is Nigella's photo, not mine, but my version was totally photogenic too.

Check out the recipe here
Of course I substituted a non-dairy milk for the buttermilk (added a tablespoon of vinegar to emulate the taste)

Perfect for a hot summer day. 


Monday, June 21, 2021

Personalities

 Meet the foodie of our little herd of three.


Yes, Spice.  First one in off the pasture to get hay.  First one to hear the lid come off the garbage can with either supplement or Senior (which is oh so yummy).

Spice is also the one who pushes her derriere against me if I'm not tending to her.  Every day. Multiple times a day.

I can only interpret it as attention seeking. It's often unexpected and if I'm bent over, I have to get my balance quickly or go on over.  Thank you Spice.


Sugar makes it known she believes she rules the herd.  Always first in line at the gate, shooing away the other two.  Banging the gate.  Posturing her way into everyone's food bowls.  Oh yes, Sugar with a very capital S.  But she's smart enough to know not to pull her little shenanigans with  me.



And then there's Gabby.  My girl.  I still wonder if she feels like odd girl out without her mom or dad there.  I think she's a beauty.  Not cute, but a real beauty.  Always have.

Yesterday while in the chicken coop, with the door pulled closed so chickens couldn't escape, but not latched, the door slowly creaked open, then it opened a bit wider and guess who was peeking in.

Gabariella in front, telling Sugar to back off

I will freely admit I laugh at and love them all, but am partial to Gabby.  
One of her other "endearing" traits is the ear-splitting bray she feels is necessary when you're standing two feet away.  It's always food related.  I guess I don't move quickly enough for her pleasure.  Better work on that...


Please keep Goldie in your thoughts.  She's acting "off", the first sign of trouble.  A little lethargic, slow to move, going off by herself.   

I'm going to start with an egg bound analysis tomorrow and probably an epsom salt bath.  If that doesn't seem to do the trick I turn to a wormer.  

This little girl needs to feel better!



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Perfect Little Bovine Lady

 I was going to tell you the tale of our most recent head-shaking incident with a neighbor.  Except this time I wasn't just shaking my head in exasperation, I was mad.  Really mad.  

But that's probably not the wisest move on my part so instead let me tell you about the leading character in the tale -- Mathilda.

You've met her before, but let me re-introduce you. 


This is the lovely girl with her baby

Without going into detail about "the incident", what I can say is we had to move the girl and baby from our driveway to her pasture multiple times in one day without assistance from the owner.  Mathilda couldn't have been more gentle and cooperative.  I just needed a few carrots as incentive and she was  perfectly behaved. 


Blackie, in the background, has already been re-located to another property because he found his way through one of the neighbor's many fence faults and ended up on someone's property (not ours).  Instead of the fence getting repaired, he was removed.  As you may remember, Blackie was my carrot buddy and I do miss the boy and hope he is safe and well.



I'm sure Baby misses his protection; he'd shadow Blackie in the pasture and run to him if startled.
But, I can't get maudlin about the situation if I have no control.

Anyway feelings between our house and the neighbor are probably at an all-time low and I don't get the pleasure of talking to her critters -- the sheep who also escaped into our driveway as well as Mathilda have been sequestered away from the fence line.

Heavy heavy heavy sigh. 






 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Faith's Close Call

 In the near future, we plan on visiting our son who lives a couple of hours away.  When you have dogs, donkeys, and chickens sometimes making arrangements becomes problematic.

For a quickie visit, we ask a friend(s) to feed donks and let chickens in and out.  Dogs go to a nearby dog sitter.  We've been using this dog sitter for probably 15 years.  Dudley, our big black lab mix, would get ecstatic when he figured out it was a dog sitter day.  That meant playing with other dogs (besides Gunner) and generally having a short holiday from mom and dad.  Dudley showed Gunner that it was a cool place to go and now Gunner has shown Faith the same.

Said dog sitter is not available for the weekend we intend to go.  Rats!

We have the lodging, we have the chonkeys arranged, but not the dogs.
So we've been doing some fancy footwork checking out local boarding facilities, dog sitters on Rover, and putting the word out on a community page on FB.

We found someone close by with experience so scheduled a meet and greet for this past Saturday.  Gunner and Faith immediately found her backyard to be immensely interesting -- new smells here there and everywhere.  Gunner in particular was having a little too much fun exploring every nook and cranny.  And both dogs got along with her husky.  We decided it was a good match and were confirming arrangements when out of nowhere the husky and Faith got into a vicious dogfight.  I have no idea how long it really lasted and, of course, it seemed like minutes and minutes and more minutes.  Because Faith has little fat and does not have a heavy coat to shield her, she was the loser.

After seeing the vet at the emergency clinic, this is our little girl.


   

No beauty contests in her immediate future.

Since she can't wear the "cone of shame" because of the location of the gashes, the vet suggested an old t-shirt.  She's getting used to it, but will never be a big fan.

Here she's resting in the coolness of the basement .  

Needless to say we're doing a bit of scrambling to make arrangements.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Violet, Jewel, and Henrietta

Housekeeping announcement:
Blogger.com has informed users they will no longer support the email notification service effective "sometime" in July.  That means you will no longer receive emails notifying you of a recent post.

Disappointing but a consequence of using a free blog hosting site.  If it helps, I tend to post on Mondays and/or Wednesdays.

New Girls Arrive
The Isa Brown babies (3-month olds) arrived this past Saturday.


They're very shy and skittish so I make sure I go into their area of the coop and just talk to them for a few minutes every day when I'm not feeding and opening/closing coop doors.  

The big girls were happy to announce their displeasure in having lost access to half of the coop. For some unknown reason they prefer the nesting boxes in the area the little girls are in.


 Goldie kept pecking the screened area of the door separating the two portions of the coop (this serves as an area for the two groups to see, hear, and smell each other).  Joannie B. had done the same thing the day before.  At this point the big girls seem to have resigned themselves to the loss of the second bedroom of their coop condo.

The current problem is the little girls don't seem to be going into the porch very often where they can get fresh air and sunshine.


  



These were taken the first couple of days after arrival.  I just happened to read an article today about the importance of sunshine for chickens.  So I'm left with the dilemma of whether to shoo the girls out into the porch and cause them anxiety or rely on them venturing out on their own.  What to do...

As for names, this is what I've selected:  Violet -- in memory of my blog buddy Louise's little girl, Jewel -- thanks to a suggestion by friend Bev that goes along with my female singer theme, and Henrietta -- because it popped into my head and I like it.

When the little girls are grouped together I'm beginning to be able to tell the difference based on coloring, but when separated all bets are off.  I'm working on it.