Corn Crazy

January 21, 2008

In the mornings when I go out to do chores, the chickens always come running because they love me so much. Okay, maybe it has more to do with the fact I always throw some cracked corn out first thing.

The guineas aren’t far behind, and rush in to get their share. It seems every critter on the place loves to munch on cracked corn. Even wonder dog Toby will lick some up now and then.

However, the top of the food chain here is the goats, and when I let them out, they chase everyone else away.

01-21-08 goat

 And just what do you think you’re doing, trying to eat MY corn????

For that reason, the goats are always the last critters I let out of the night pens, but I always make sure there’s some left for them to have a morning treat also!

It seems the only critter outside that never wants their share is the cat, Spot. I guess he figures that corn isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Friday on the farm…

December 21, 2007

It was beautiful out there when I went to do chores this morning. The weather has warmed up again, and I wore a light jacket instead of my heavy winter coat. Even at that, I pulled off the jacket before I was half way finished with the chores. Though the sun was shining, it’s pretty dreary. What colored leaves we had have either turned brown, fallen to the ground, or both. Still, there’s a little color peeking through here and there, like this lovely little violet.Toby was in rare form this morning, galloping all over the place, carrying around a big piece of lumber he found somewhere. He’s got to have a piece of wood in his mouth, whether it’s so tiny you can barely see the end of it sticking out of his mouth, or so large it’s twice his size and he’s dragging it along behind him.

He’s the farm jester, always finding ways to make me laugh, no matter how grumpy I might be. He loves to play in the water. In the original game, he jumped up and bit the water, but later it evolved to him wanting sprayed while he ran around with his lumber stogie in his mouth.

The other animals generally ignore his lunacy, unless he gets too close. Then they’ll scoot out of his way while casting a wary eye in his direction.

Eventually, they’ll go back to munching their hay or grass or whatever they were doing.

It’s another beautiful Friday on the farm.

Morning on the farm…

October 26, 2007

When I went out this morning to do chores, the little guineas were running around. These are the smallest and youngest of our many guineas.

They ran from the main pasture to the “back yard pasture”… mixing with the sheep and goats.

Everyone’s after the same corn I threw out!

Fowl Update

July 23, 2007

It’s dark out, and almost 9pm, but I can hear the guineas outside making a racket about something. They’re not called the “barnyard watchdogs” for nothing! We have two sets of babies (keets) left. The first batch we so carefully penned up was a disaster. None of those survived. The others that hatched out close to the same time was a smaller group, and there are still two keets running around. I have hope they’ll survive, as they are already half grown.

Then last week we noticed a new group of 5 babies. They are still pretty small, and already down to 3 keets. One way or another, something seems to get to the little ones, and the survival rate is pretty low. I think we have too many hawks, owls and 4-legged predators.

Of course, it’s better than the peafowl, which have zip babies right now. I still haven’t had any luck with any eggs hatching in the incubators. My only hope now is one peahen who is sitting on an unknown number of eggs. This is the first year any have tried to nest. I hope she does better hatching eggs than the incubator.

The peahens will probably stop laying soon. The peacock is molting, losing feathers at a rapid rate. That usually signals the end of mating season. It looks like another not-so-successful year with the peafowl. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but the last couple of years have been a bust.

The 3 little chicks of assorted flavors are growing rapidly. In fact, I mistook one the other day for one of the little Golden Sebright hens. They wander further away from Mama Hen these days, and don’t always stick together either. I think they may all be hens, which would be a miracle, but they don’t have much of a comb even yet, and a rooster should be showing a pretty good sized comb by now.

Our last little outside fowl, Peepers, just got moved into a bigger cage on the front porch. After she was abandoned by her mother, and I couldn’t get the other hen to adopt her, I put her in a birdcage on the back porch. She’s about outgrown it, so we put her in a bigger cage. I’m not ready to turn her loose yet, since she’s only half grown. I’m not sure how’s she going to do on her own.

She doesn’t look like the other three, so we have 4 chicks that are all different. Nothing like fowl diversity!

Peepers on top of her bird cage.

Chicken Littles…

July 11, 2007
Right now we have some chicks. Only four, but what a varied assortment! We like diversity here. The mother is a Buff Orpington hen, and the father is a mix from a Polish Silver Laced rooster and Sicilian Buttercup hen. Almost sounds more like flowers than chickens, doesn’t it?
Polish Silver Laced + Sicilian Buttercup =


This Rooster + Buff Orpington Hen = Some interesting Little Chicks.
Here’s a more recent picture of the fast growing little chicks…
The fourth chick was abandoned in the nest by it’s mother. I tried to get the above hen to accept it, but it was a little younger than her chicks, so she figured out it wasn’t hers and kept pecking at it. For now it’s residing in a bird cage on our back porch.

We also had a bunch of Guinea keets. (Fowl lesson for the day: baby guineas are called “keets”, not chicks.) The guinea hens have been nesting in pairs this year, with double nests containing up to 50 eggs. One pair ended up with about 16 keets out of all those eggs, one set ended up with about 5 keets, and another set abandoned their eggs after a snake kept raiding the nest.
Guineas give new meaning to the phrase “bird brain.” They run up and down along a 4-foot high fence, trying to figure out how to get to the other side, when they can fly to the tops of very tall trees with ease. They’re also noisy, but they have one important virtue… they eat ticks. We had a real problem with ticks when we first moved here, and now see only one or two a summer.

Guinea hen and keets crossing our driveway.

The only fowl problem is we don’t have any peafowl chicks this year. I don’t seem to have much luck getting them to hatch out. I have a couple of incubators filled with eggs, but no chicks yet. I keep hoping!

Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy watching the fast growing chicks and keets scampering around after their mothers. It’s fun to see them hopping around, scratching and trying to do “big chicken” stuff.

Chicken Littles… gotta love ’em!

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