Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Introducing New Chickens, Ay-Yi-Yi

In the past week I have vehemently made two "note to self" vows.
1.  Never have knee replacement in the winter
2.  Never introduce new chickens in the winter

As you might guess, things are not going well.
Three new girls are still in the dog kennel except when we're monitoring.  Our four enjoy taking turns bullying, with Ruby Dee the most aggressive.  Perhaps it's because she's next to the bottom of the pecking order and now she's reveling in being able to bully someone else.  Who knows what goes in the minds of those chickens!

Sweet Pea (on the right) tells Lily Marlena and Peggy Sue that she's in charge

Yes, we do have names.  Friend JC2 helped pick out "Peggy Sue" and I instantly knew it was a keeper.  Lulu, the black austrolorp, hides out in the cage in the background.

But I now have a plan.  In a couple of days the daily temps are to reach 38 degrees with no precip.  When I leave the area at my mid-day rounds, I'll leave the coop door open into the barn, close the barn gate so donks can't access the coop, and leave everyone to their own devices for an hour.  They're just going to have to duke it out.  That's the plan for two consecutive days (cross your fingers the weather lives up to the forecast).  Then we'll remove the dog kennel and see what happens.

Amazingly one of the new girls laid an egg, quite soon for hens this young.

  It's the one on the bottom.  Not terribly small.

In comparison the donkeys' care is a piece of cake right now, thank goodness.

Sugar (oh wait, is that Spice) asks if I brought out any cookies
When I say no, she asked if I am quite quite sure

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Back in the Saddle, Kind Of

For about a week now, I've taken over mid-day duties of four silly donkeys and four silly chickens.  I feel a little embarrassed revealing I drive out to the donkey gate -- with a brand new knee, slipping and falling is not an option -- and then rely on my handy cane for support on the uneven ground of packed down snow. (I have no need of the cane elsewhere)

The first day I went out, I joyously greeted those little faces and asked, "Did you miss me???"
The response: "Do you have any treats?"

Little buggers.

No, Luigi does not feel emasculated in his pink blanket, although it may be handed off to Sugar or Spice when theirs arrive.

After a couple of days of getting my chore legs back, I ventured to shovel out new feeding places to throw hay.

Gabby discovered the off-the-beaten-track pile first and Spice and Sugar queued up.  Spice's patience was short-lived and Sugar moved up in line.

After a minute she joined Spice and Luigi and Gabby feasted alone.  She is a little diva!

I do so love seeing my babies, but I do not have nerves of steel and sometimes the jostling makes me anxious.  They may be "miniature" donkeys but there's still a good 300-400 lbs available to tip your balance.  Putting our their supplements is the hardest part; they
l-o-v-e it and clamor to be first.  I have to hustle my bustle out of the way.

And now for the BIG news.

We welcomed three new hens into the fold.  Pardon the photo quality.  As we've done before, they are segregated in a dog kennel until we're more sure everyone can co-mingle.

 The black is an australorp while the white girls are white amberlinks.
I'm mulling over names.  Considering Lily Marlena staying within the singer theme (Ruby Dee, Emmy Lou) and white = lily, Blanche (French word for white is blanc), and Audrey for the australorp.  But those are only mullings.  I also had Lulu in the back of my mind, germane to nothing.

If you check back to the November 19 entry you can see how cute the girls were early in their lives.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

From the Inside Looking Out

The good news is I've started driving again, but the bad news is I still am not tending to critters yet.  Talked to the physical therapist today and he's guessing I'll be stable enough on these snowy conditions in a couple of weeks. 
Everyone will get a big sloppy kiss on that day, donkeys AND chickens.

In the meantime, the holidays were quite nice, although Dudley was in my heart and missed.  He loved opening Christmas presents and would get as excited as a kid.
Miss you Duds.

However, Gunner got into the Christmas spirit with a new toy.

And has been helping Rick with donkey chores.  With a snappy coat, of course.

Yes, we're cold and snowy, and getting colder in the next few days.

Rick is most likely getting tired of my interrogations ensuring he's doing things "properly" for the donks and clucks.  I've been preparing hay cubes every morning for the equines to put a little warmth in their bellies (soak 'em in hot water for at least an hour to hydrate the cubes, and then add a bit more hot water just before Rick goes out to feed).  I have to feel like I'm helping my babies in some way.

 Lastly, the two Christmas cacti have been going strong since Thanksgiving.  A bright note.

Whoops, almost forget my newest Christmas acquisition this year.  The Christmas gnome.
I'm purely smitten with him.