Wowzer what a WINDY day!!!
Since my last post about 2-4 weeks ago (time sure flies when I stay busy and have fun doing it!), I've lost 6 chickens, and one duckling. The chickens, I believe were to a coyote. We have absolutely no issues with the coyotes since we've fenced the immediate perimeter, yet some of the smaller breed and/or juvenile chickens continue to climb through the fence to forage the treeline directly beside the fence. We've witnessed coyotes laying in wait camouflaged by the trees and brush. We shoot at'em, chase'em even, yet they keep coming back. I know chickens have some intelligence, yet they seem to lack common sense.
I thought stringing chicken wire along the bottom of the field fencing would alleviate the issue of climbing through. However, DH doesn't want to deal with the weeds and grass that will inevitably weave itself into the mesh. SIGH!
The duckling, however, drown. Now, to me, this seems odd. Then I witnessed my dominant drake mounting the ducklings in the pool, which brought me to the conclusion that he drown the poor duckling while trying to mount it.
The latest conundrums for me are twofold:
1) Fawnzie, my dominant drake who's an Indian Runner, and my King of the Fluffybutts, Goliath, go round and round. Generally, Fawnzie, even though much lesser in weight, wins. However, Goliath got him good a time or two, and I am worried that he will literally shred Fawnzie once his spurs become spears.
2) All the Roos and Drakes bully to a bloody mess my two Polish Roos, Albert Einstein and Billy Idol. They actually gang up on them. Albert becomes the brunt of the abuse more so than Billy does. They both freak out, run and squawk, and then just give up, lying flat on the ground, face buried in the grass - looking like an ostrich with its head buried in the sand. I feel sorry for them.
I have separated them in cages to heal from wounds. Yet, not permanently. My flock of both chickens and ducks run free-range together. I am not setup to keep ducks separate from chickens. They got along just fine until Goliath decided to try and mate the duck hens, which obviously upset Fawnzie. And as far as Albert and Billy, well, none in the flock seems to tolerate their presence, not even the hens. I don't understand this at all. Poor guys.
So, I am looking to rehome AT LEAST Albert. Anyone interested in him?
I do want to wait until after I get back from a week "vacation" in SD next week so I can breed him with hens before I let him go, though. He's typically a fantastic bird, no signs of aggression. I just think he deserves a less stressful life, and its clear that won't happen here.
Let's see, last post I was telling about the coop remodel. I think Trish44 asked for pics. I still do not have the run completed, as other things have taken precedence.
One thing I have learned: don't use white nesting curtains; they stain badly! Eeew! lol
Coop on the left with red stripe on door (there's sand on the floor now):
Coop on the right (with partial run in front):
I started with white curtains with a quilted pattern...
then switched to blue chambray (MUCH better)...
The roosts in both coops are hinged so they can be raised and hung up to scoop/rake poo, and they allow for 32 sq st of roosting space each.
Each automatic feed bin holds over 50 lbs: one of starter and one of layer (this one holds close to 70 lbs)
The attached brooder measures 67" long x 28" deep x 24-27" high (inside) and allows for two heat lamps.
Each coop has 2-3" of sand/road gravel.
The curtains help alleviate using the nests as overnight hotel rooms. lol
Each nest has either carpet or astro turf. The hens appreciate the astro turf WAY better than the carpet, so, changing them all out to astro comes next.
One coop is nests, the other has cages along one wall for separating as needed for wounded or ill or even mating.
Each coop has a hanging wire cage as well for broody's to cool off and simmer down. lol
The existing run between the coops also has 2-3" of sand and another 25' or so of roosting space as well.
Am working on a 32 gallon automatic waterer that I hope to have completed before winter sets in.
The extended run that will be in front of both coops tying them together (timbers on the ground in the above pics), will most likely be on hold until spring...unless DH surprises me and builds it for me. (He usually only helps when there's something I just cannot do by myself.)
Running electricity and a water line to the coop is also on the agenda for next spring.
And then embellishing the coop and making it "cute" will come spring time as well. Hoping to go for a western town general store kinda feel.
The goats are doing well. Three of them. Love them to pieces - like dogs actually! They love to be petted and given attention and I've mastered bleating at them. lol We've extended their 2 acre pen by another half acre or so to incorporate some of the treeline where they have pretty much devoured the poison ivy and brush. Lookin' good! Now to move the fence line over another half acre or so before winter! DH wants to build them a larger enclosure, even though we've read they're hardy animals and have no real need for it. They already have what we built for the two shepherds we had in that pen previously, and they seem to enjoy cuddling together under there.
Left to Right: Tearston (because he has tear stains on his face), Maximillian, and Moses. Tearston is a Kiko, Max a Nubian, and Moses a La Mancha. We may be looking into Boers next year. Too fun!
Well, I gotta get back to "work" as I'm still plugging away at the inside house remodel, too. Kitchen looking GREAT, if I do say so myself.
I hope all is well with everyone!!!