Monday, June 24, 2024

Heat Abates But Flies Have Not

 Here in Michigan, the heat wave lingered a long week as it did in the rest of the country.   Although certainly not to the degree as in the west.  As you might guess, the animals suffered more than we did.  Although surprisingly the chickens didn't seem too affected.  Perhaps because we didn't reach mid-90's.  And we do have big windows.  And had fans going constantly.  To assist the chickadees I served up frozen blueberries

and electrolytes.

The donks preferred the barn much of the time with the fan going full blast 24/7.  Not only did that provide a bit of relief from the temps but also a bit of relief from the flies.  And they are brutal.

Don't know if I've mentioned, everything is happening about a month early.  The pasture opened a month early, the flies arrived in force a month early, shedding started a month early.  Gabs has her sexy summer look and usually she isn't this sleek until mid July.,

This girl sums up the state of affairs last week (seen from the kitchen window).

In other news, Clara adjusted to her saddle pad nicely.

I was a bit worried the heat would affect her more than the other girls, but that did not seem to be the case.  So the question is, will those back feathers grow back when they all molt in the fall.

I am puzzled as to why people seem to find Sharone's name so hard to remember.  You'll remember she was Sharona when she arrived last July.  That name was chosen for two reasons -- the character in the TV series "Monk" and the song by The Knack.  I just changed the 'a' to an 'e' when we discovered his true identity.

And JoannieLu is still acting wonky.  Perhaps it's time to try another pain remedy now that the weather is "normal".  There's no way I would have subjected her to the stress of catching her and applying the essential oil during the high temps.

Here's a fun thing we tried with a neighbor/egg customer.  I suggested we barter eggs for homemade strawberry jam.  She agreed so she has been supplied with three dozen eggs while we got a quart of gorgeous jam and some homemade bagels.  What a deal for both of us!

To conclude let's get a short lesson in donkey tail action.  Sometimes when non equine folks meet the donks they think tail wagging is similar to dogs - a sign of friendliness or happiness. 
Au contraire mon frere. 
It can be a warning sign of  displeasure or, this time of year, it's a fly swisher.  And those tails have been going nonstop lately.

 Stay cool my friends.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Heartbreaking Scene With the Donkeys

 Two days ago, a little before 4:30, I heard the donkeys making a very odd sound.  After all these years around the beasts I know the hungry, angry, scared sounds.  But this one was new.  

Then I heard it again.
I went out to investigate.

As I approached the gate I saw the donkeys (not sure if it was two or all three) alternatively shaking and head nudging something.  To my horror I realized it was a fawn.  Earlier in the day Rick had seen mom and baby in the driveway.  

I have never seen the donks behave this way.  They were totally absorbed, focus intense.  
Clearly the baby was dead.
I quickly walked back to the house to get Rick.

When we arrived back at the donkey yard, we saw the same behavior.  Rick approached and I warned him to be careful; would the donkeys be aggressive to us?  He was able to get them to back away and he scooped up the deer.  Rick laid it out in the field behind the pasture so mama could find it.

Clearly they saw the baby as a predator and that instinctive protective behavior kicked in.  But damn!

Yes, I yelled at them.  And yes I know it was pointless.  But it was a purely emotional response.

What we don't understand is how the baby got into the yard.  The only way was over the four foot fence.  I would not have thought such small a fawn could have leapt so high.

Definitely new territory with the three beasts.   


Monday, June 3, 2024

Managing Chicken Pain

If I'm not in a hurry, morning breakfast with the chonkeys is one of my favorite times with the critters.
Hens will come trouncing back into the coop telling me they're hungry and then they really attend to their meal with gusto.

And who could not find the slow methodical donkey chewing peaceful.

What I didn't mention last post is JoannieLu's behavior is a bit off.  When the girls gladly fly out into the pasture for free range time, she often hangs out in the barn alone.  Or I'll find her in a corner of the coop.

But she doesn't act lethargic.  She's eating, although won't get in and scrabble for treats as the other girls do.
Lo and behold I was flipping through the recent chicken magazine yesterday during a car ride and  skimmed an article on pain management.

It specifically mentioned signs of pain as isolation and standing in a corner or staying inside during the day where it's safe.  One of the suggested plans of action is to combine a couple of drops of lavender essential oil in a carrier oil and administering to feet and legs.
So that's what we did today.
Other options cited are using clove oil or arnica, both items in my tool box.  
Let's see if we can get JoannieLu feeling better!