Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Scenes From a Teeny Tiny Donkey Farm

Just got back in the house from feeding donks and locking up the girls.  With colder temps last night, the driveway conditions have worsened and it may be time for cleats.
That means one more thing to wrap up, zipper up, fasten onto before going out for chores.

I thank my lucky stars I found them in my parents' home after they died.  They have been life savers for me with-the-bad-balance many many times.
I know for a fact those donkeys can hear the back door of our house close.  This evening, the moment I came out into the garage, the hellions started their "you never feed us and we're wasting away" hee hawing immediately.  They must have super duper radar.
A couple of days ago, Fluffy wandered into a snowy area, stopped in her tracks and started squawking.  Didn't move out of the snow.  Just squawked.  It might be best if we didn't discuss chicken intelligence.

I thought the chickens might be getting cabin fever so threw a flake a straw in one side of the coop for them to scrabble through and play with.  To make the game even more enticing I threw a handful of dried mealworms on top of the straw.  Thus began the frenzy.

Helen (Reddy) loves to help clean up in the mornings.  After I clean off the dirty newspapers from the nighttime and am in the midst of placing clean paper, she hops up and insists on helping.  I politely tell her I don't need help and place her on the floor.  Up she hops again, insistent little girl.

And lastly in this pictorial story comes the fine art of manure clean-up.  And you read that right.  It is an art.  Shortly after snowfalls, trails must be forged and they are lovely in their somewhat unsullied condition.

After some time passes, the condition of the trails change due to the tromping to and fro of donkey hooves on manure.

 But, the trick is to not, I repeat not, clean off all the smushed down manure from the trail.  Pretty in this case is not preferred.  For that smushed manure gives one traction on packed down snow.  Leaving a little layer provides safety for man and beast.     

Monday, January 20, 2020

New Hay Manger

I have been oh so remiss in not showing you the new outside hay manger for the donkeys.  Please don't give up on me!

As you know, if you've been following the tale of the four most destructive miniature donkeys on the planet, they pretty much demolished the original, made of wood, Rick constructed this summer.
Here are the remains.

Not much to say.  The photo says it all.

So, my can-build-anything husband put together an indestructible manger, or so we hope.  Metal and plastic.  Well, of course those donkey chompers could work on the plastic, but clearly wood is the prime material in their sights.  So far so good.  Can everyone knock on wood, please.


Lest anyone think they're letting me off the hook, just know they're finding clever ways to find ANY exposed wood on the interior of the barn that's not covered by wire.  AND they eat the wood shavings every night.  E-V-E-R-Y night.  I've been using the pelleted shavings that need to be hydrated when the temps allow (over 32 degrees) because apparently those aren't as tasty and I can actually get a good base going.  But the pine shavings disappear every morning.  This is a first.  No other winter have they done this. 

Perhaps I need a donkey psychologist to analyze the situation.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Lovin' That Chicken Feed

In spite of the fact we've had chickens since the spring of 2015, I still feel like a novice.  Learning, or trying to, new tricks of the trade all the time.  And trying to sort out the riff-raff from the authentic.
Recently I was exploring chicken feed through a chicken "expert" on Facebook.  I still can't tell if this woman knows what she's talking about, although she speaks with a very self-assured quality.  She brought up the issue of protein in commercial feeds and that often it was not sufficient.  Huh.

I have been using what I thought was a quality product based on the advice from a fellow chicken-keeper at the local feed store.  It's organic.  But wait.  The protein percentage is only 16.5.  What the "expert" recommended was 18-20%.

In comes a chicken blogger who highly recommended Small Pet Select's Garden Goodness Layer.  Crude protein:  18%.  The first few ingredients listed: peas, wheat, oats, millet, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds.  Looking good.

Take a peek at the comparison photo --

Joannie couldn't resist a little sample of the Garden Goodness on the right.  All the chickens love it.  No exaggeration.  When I pour it into the feeder they pounce with gusto, something they've never done with the other product.  The rub is the price.  So I've been mixing it with the other product.  I'm sold.  I'm supporting a small family run business with a product that appears to be a nutritious option and one that the birds enjoy almost as much as their treats -- but of course nothing can top a good banana slice.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Hear the Humming?

Four donks are humming along to this "White Christmas" movie lyric. 
Know why?
The pasture gate has been opened!  And all is right with the world.

They've been perusing the perimeter nibbling weeds and bushes and having a ball.

Except when their ever-obliging friend brings them hay.

The bad news - the temps will be rising tomorrow.  Eight pairs of hooves are crossed the snow stays put.