Back In The HOT South. . .

July 15, 2010

Yes, we’re home again!  Back to heat in the high 90s… sigh….

Actually, we got home Tuesday night, but I’ve been trying to catch up a little on home and farm chores.  When you’ve been gone for a week, it means you’re bringing home a bunch of laundry to wash for one thing!

When I did chores yesterday morning, I noticed a few additions.  One hen has a couple of little chicks following her around now.

Chicken hen with two baby chickens

She was sitting on a at least a dozen eggs, but I guess as soon as a couple hatched, she was out of there!

And then I noticed this little fluff-ball. . .

Keet

At first I thought it was a little chick.  Perhaps a little long-legged, but we get a lot of white chicks.

It has some interesting dark markings on the back, however, so not totally white.

Keet

Then I saw who is mothering the little thing…

Guinea hen and keet

Well now, THAT’s interesting!  Our little guinea keets are usually brown and black.  So the question is, did this guinea hen hatch out a chicken egg, or is this really a keet?

At first I figured it to be a chicken, but now I’m not so sure.  We had some white guinea fowl a few years ago, when we first got guineas.  They didn’t last long, because the predators seem to find them too easily. 

But the genes are still floating around in the flock, so … maybe this is a for real keet.  Guess we’ll know in a few weeks, if it survives long enough to feather out.

I hope the adult guineas keep looking after this little baby.  It’s a cute little thing.

Friday’s Farm Fotos

May 28, 2010

I like to take pictures.  And I end up with so many pictures, I can’t do a post about each one.  So here we are again, with a smattering of pictures from around the farm this week.

Our little Tufted Titmouse parents are busily feeding those hungry mouths… ah… babies!

"I'm coming, I'm coming!"

The Brookside Geranium is blooming in the front flower bed.

Blue Blooms

There’s also bird nests in the attic over our den.  The screen must be rotten behind the louvered vent panels.  This is one of the parents in a walnut tree in the backyard.

Taking a rest from feeding baby birds.

I’m not sure what kind of bird this is, but we can sometimes hear the baby birds scrabbling around overhead in the den, and they can make quite a racket!

There is a Rosebay Rhododendron in bloom on the north side of the house. 

Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum)

It’s not a very big plant, but it’s grown a lot since I planted it.  At that time, it wasn’t much more than a little twig.

We’ve got summer weather already.  Well, at least it’s pretty warm, getting up to the high 80’s or low 90’s.  The sheep and llamas and dogs like to go lay under the shade of the big walnut and oak trees.

Trying to stay cool. . .

Meanwhile, one of the mama hens takes her baby chickens on to the sheep shed.

Walking through tall grass. . .

The shed is not only shady, but has lots of stuff to scratch around in and look for bugs and seeds and stuff.

Have a great week-end!

Friday’s Farm Fotos

May 21, 2010

Here we are, another Friday, and time for some miscellaneous pictures from around the farm this week. Per usual, in the order they came out of the camera.  Here we go!

Here’s the retired matriarch of our Shetland sheep, Miss Coconut.

female sheep

Got it made in the shade. . .

 She loves having her head scratched and is always looking for treats.  (I have NO idea how she got that way.  Must be The Farmer handing out treats, yeah, that’s it. . .)

This one is an interesting combination of beauty and the beast… beastly odor that is.

Beauty and the Beast(ly odor)

That Monarch butterfly is on a Voodoo Lily.  It’s the only one I see growing this year.  *Someone* keeps mowing down the bank where they grow. . .

Here’s a closer look:

Dracunculus vulgaris

When that big bloom opens, it generally will lay down horizontal.  And smell.  And attract a LOT of bugs.  (There’s more pictures and info about this plant at Voodoo Magic.)

And of course, I have lots of hens and baby chicken pictures, so here’s a couple of those:

On the move!

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chicks

A chick, chick here. . .

Oh, and here’s another picture of the rambling rose growing up in a big oak tree.  I put a couple of arrows in there so you can see better how far it is up into the tree.

Paul's Himalayan Musk Rambling Rose

And while we have lots of bluebirds and Tufted Titmouse birds and robins and such flitting around, there are also still lots of cardinals to brighten up the place.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

And speaking of bluebirds, we have some nesting nearby.  Here’s one after it took off from the nest. . .

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

And one of the bluebirds is looking down at the hidden nest here. . .

Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis)

Their nest is hidden in a pipe that is bracing a gate post.

The arrow marks the spot!

The nest is just below a hole in the pipe, so I can see it’s there, but I can’t see in it.  Can’t see down the pipe either, because it’s too close against the fence post.

It’s been raining this morning, so I wondered how the little Tufted Titmouse baby birds were doing since that’s just an open hole in the post.

Rain doesn't seem to dim the appetite of baby birds!

They seem to be doing fine, in spite of the rainy weather!

The rain doesn’t keep the sheep from getting out to graze either.

A Trio of Shetland Ewes

And last for today, a picture of a bloom and buds on my Country Lady rose bush.

Country Lady Rose

That’s it for this week.  Have a great week-end!

Chicken Babies Left Behind, Part 2

May 17, 2010

We’re going to have a bunch of baby chickens around here I’m thinking!  We have several hens sitting on eggs.  There are two or three hens with nests under outbuildings and who knows where else. 

Then there were a couple of hens out in the sheep shed. One hen has been going about with her chicks for about a week now and just goes back to the nest at night.  The other hen has had at least one or two chicks under her for days.  I’d about decided I was going to get her off the nest today just to see what was under there.

Guess she decided on her own it was time, because I saw her in front of the sheep shed scratching around in the dirt with a couple of chicks.

Two chicks and a hen.

I heard more cheeping, however, so went to look in the nest.  Sure enough, there were some chicks left behind.  Once again I scooped them up and put them close to the mama hen.  It didn’t take the chicks long to know to follow along after mama.

Where have you chicks been?

She checked out the chicks, and the chicks checked out her.

"Let me whisper in your ear. . ."

But there was still one little chick left behind in the nest, too newly hatched to get out and about with the others.  I couldn’t leave it there to die, so that one I scooped up and carried around until I finished my chores.

newly hatched chick

Lucky chick gets a ride in a NASCAR shirt!

I had to find a box to make into a brooder for the little thing.  While I was working, I used clothespins to make a pouch in my shirt and carried him (her?) around.  Then I put the little thing into the box. . .

A temporary home for a left behind chicken baby.

When I’ve only got one or two chicks, I always put a soft, plush, stuffed animal in with them.  The teddy bear works well because I can prop it up with its “arms” and legs.

Cuddled up to the teddy bear.

Now the little chick can stay nice and warm.  Cute little thing! 

And how are the first batch of chicks doing?  See for yourself. . .

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No doubt we’ll end up with WAY too many roosters among these chicks, but that’s the way it goes!

Chicken Babies Left Behind

May 11, 2010

We’ve got a number of hens sitting on eggs.  I’ve heard peeping under one hen for a couple of days now.  This morning I checked, and she was gone, but there were 6 little chicken babies left behind.

Three were in the nest still . . .

3 chicks

"Where did our mama go?"

The other three had crawled over into another section, beside another sitting hen. . .

3 chicken babies

"What are you little ones doing here?"

I saw the hen out in the goat and llamas pen.  She had one lone chick following her around, obviously the only one that managed to crawl out of the nest.  I decided to rescue the six chicks, and see if she would accept them following her around also.

I scooped them all up and carried them out to where she was and put them down in the grass.  Then I got behind the hen and scooted her in their direction.

hen and chicks

"Where did all of you come from??"

She checked them over for a little while, and I wasn’t sure she was going to remember they were HERS.  But pretty soon she started clucking, and the little peeps took off after her.

7 chicks and hen

Mama and her baby chickens take off to forage.

Soon all seven of her baby chickens were following her everywhere, through tall grass and even through the llama poop pile.

7 chicks and 1 hen

Where you lead us, we will follow!

I’ve put a little ramp up to the nest, so hopefully the baby chickens can all get back in there tonight. But I’ll doublecheck them to make sure they are all safe and snug!