Sunday, February 19, 2017

Donkeys Relish February Thaw

This week's temperatures are a complete aberration for southeastern Michigan weather.  And we are luxuriating in it!
(we'll be in the 50's and 60's for the next few days as opposed to the normal snowy 20's and 30's)

Yesterday there was no need to double layer clothes (over p.j.'s) in the morning to feed.

Those sweats and heavy socks stayed hanging up in the bathroom.
It's been about three months since I got away with that.  Ohh-la-la.

And the donkawonks and clucks are enjoying the sunny days while they can.  Unfortunately the donkey yard is a mud fest and it's way way too early to let the beasts out on the pasture.  So it's a catch-22 for them -- lovely weather but terrifically sloppy.

The clucks are in heaven as well.  Those prissy little girls WILL NOT travel more than a handful of steps on the snow.  With all the snow melted, it's a heavenly delight for four hens.  (Although mealworms is still my very effective weapon for corralling them from their walkabout back into their run.)

Have you ever seen a happier face?  No, I thought not.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Inside Critters

You've met two of the inside critters from time to time and they begged me to let them hog -- oops, share the limelight again.  I graciously agreed.

So here you have it.  Those three hooligans who share our home and our hearts.  And our pocketbook. And our patience.

Dusty, aka, Moose 

...has been with us since 2004 and will be 18 this year.  

Yes, clearly he's slowing down but still gets around well.  Biggest fault -- is a voracious 
cuddle bunny.

Dudley, aka Dudes
Dudes has been with us since 2006 and will be 11 this year.

He is too good looking and smart for his own good.  Or at least I tell him that all the time.
Biggest fault -- being part lab and a total chow hound.  Capital letters.  And exclamation points.  Underlined.

Gunnar, aka Buns

I am not recalling the year Gunnar came to us.  He's probably 9 or 10 years old.  
All of our inside critters are rescues but Gunnar had the hardest backstory. 
Biggest fault -- needs lovin' and lovin' and lovin'.  Oh, and add lovin' to that list.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Chicken Treat List

A quick note of thanks to all kind readers for your words of support about Alice.  I still expect to hear that unique voice and see her head peeking out from the barn.  But, it is not to be...

So, let us turn to those crazy clucks to get our minds on another subject.

Let's talk about chicken treats.  Yummm.

I know it's typical for hens to like all manner of vegetable leftovers.  Not my girls.  I've tried greens. No.  I've tried various fruits.  Except for blueberries and bananas - no.  So I've honed it down to five treat groups for my four picky eaters.

From least to most desirable:
1.  Smashed eggshells.  You might consider it cheating to include shells in with "treats", but they do eat them.  It's a beneficial way to put more calcium in those hard working bodies.

I used to put the dried shells from the eggs we use into my coffee grinder and then found a simple potato masher worked just as well.  It's faster and doesn't gum up my grinder.

The shells go into a glass jar that stays in the coop.
2.  Bird seed.  We feed the birds during the winter months so it's handy and the chickens find it tasty.

 I do add rolled oats to the mix.  Originally I purchased a big bag of oats for Alice, as a means to put weight on the girl.  I later read that the clucks can use extra protein during the winter and oats was a option listed, so voila..

3.  Harvest Delight  A pre-fab blend of dried fruits and veggies and the girls really dig it!
Here Buffy leaves the nesting box for a quick treat of Harvest Delight.

Manna Pro makes another chicken treat that the girls are not as fond of.

Yes, that's a pie plate resting on top of the chicken feeder.  This keeps out dust, shavings,  poop and offers a perfect place to put the treats.  I also scatter them on the small coop door when there's snow on the ground and the girls don't want to venture outside.

4.  We're nearing the top of the list with Happy Hen Treats.  Yup, dried mealworms.  The girls will grab the bag out of my hand to get them.  Or at least try.  I save these morsels as the end of the day treat or simply rattle the bag to get the girls to return to the coop.  They love them that much.

 5.  BUT, the best treat of all, yes, the very best is... a banana.  They have gotten a sliced banana every morning for the past year and a half.  And look askance at me when I try to substitute another morning taste-treat.  Blueberries will suffice, but they clamor for banana.