Monday, April 17, 2023

Stars of the Show

 The three donks mostly cooperated during an impromptu photo shoot the other morning.

Let's see if you can identify who's who.

Long time readers may be able to identify the girls, even with winter coats still thick and bushy.

OK, from top to bottom -- Spice, Gabby, and Sugar.  

I do not brush the donks during the winter months, not wanting to disturb the insulating abilities of those thick coats.  But now the brushing begins and they l.o.v.e it.  Ignoring breakfast to stand in line for their turn. Then when the brushing reaches each one, they stand absolutely still .  You can almost hear the ooh's and aah's.  And the donks shed out so much later than their horse relatives.  It's usually July before these three achieve their sexy sleek summer look.   

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Clucks in Heaven

 The clucks couldn't be happier.  All natural impediments to wandering far and wide have disappeared -- snow, ice, and mud.  It's free range time!

About a week and a half ago I began the delightful job of carting out winter shavings and straw from the coop.  Because I tried the deep litter method (modified) over the cold months, there is one heck of a lot to clean out.  So I started with the easiest -- the porch. 

two wheelbarrow loads

This was the perfect  time to let the girls run free into the donkey pasture -- their first foray of the season.

Boy oh boy, they had a ball.

It must be noted that little bit of clean-up set me back in persuading my back to forgive and forget an incident the previous week.  I'm no glutton for punishment so thought the porch would be benign.  Wrong...

Needless to say phases 2 and 3 of 2023 Coop Clean-up are on hold.

Regardless, here is the current cluck daily routine:
Breakfast at 9:00 a.m. with 20-30 minutes of you're on your own roaming time (within fenced areas) 
Free range 1-3:00 p.m. with afternoon treats served by the congenial waitstaff at 3:00 
Followed by sunbathing/nap time

forgive quality - shot through fencing and netting

Yes, apparently it's in the cluck handbook that snuggling is mandatory during outdoor napping.  Hard to tell from this angle but they've fashioned a nice bowl shaped pit in the corner of the run for this purpose.  I had no hand in it.

I cannot leave you without yet another photo or two of the gorgeousness of my orchid.  

And this is only half of it.  She's outdoing herself this year.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Scenes From a Teeny Tiny Farm

With more sunny days leaving their mark in Michigan, the donks are spending less time in the barn and more time sunbathing.

I'm still reveling in the disappearance of snow and ice so am not quick to complain that spring has not fully sprung.  And yes we have mud.

Long time readers know with certainty that these donkadonks love love love their Sunday slop.

Sugar makes it clear she does not want to share hot slop with some ridiculous chicken

It's hard for me to capture nice close-ups of the chicky chicks so I took the opportunity while Stevie was in a nesting box.  I don't think she was happy with me.  Egg laying is a private affair and, in fact, some chicken keepers put curtains over their nesting boxes.  But for the few moments it took, I  chanced  her disapproval.

I hate to actually say this out loud, but for the past few years I have lost a bird every February or March.  Knock on wood we've escaped the curse this year.  Please!  I don't think I've implemented any new epic procedures.  Except I've been more diligent in adding powdered supplements (from Fresh Eggs Daily) and diatamaceous earth to their feed, and have added cinnamon and cayenne somewhat frequently to their treats.   Could that have made the difference?   Hmmm...

My current experiment revolves around providing classical music to the chonkeys.  Thanks to good buddy J2 I have an AM/FM radio in the coop.  So far the hens haven't reported back on their fine listening experience but I expect I'll get emails shortly.

I can't wait to be able to clean out the coop!  Never thought I'd hear myself say that!  I kind of used the deep litter method this year -- deep shavings which are turned occasionally.  Very occasionally on my part.  They're deeper than I've ever ever used before and I want to go back to the smallish layer - much easier to walk on.  I'll have to clean in stages though or I'd have to make many many wheelbarrow trips out to the manure pile.  Think I'll start with the porch.  Now if the rain will let up...