21hens, thank you for the tips on bulbs. Allium sounds familiar - garlic and chives? The narcissi are toxic to many animals, was thinking I'd try some this fall, maybe some tulips, too. We'll see.
Yeah, I thought the Hands on Horses property was a bit pricey, but it's just $569K now.😬 I erred in saying only the chickens have remained in residence; I think at least at least one or two of the horses are still there.
Yesterday while I was just sitting back relaxing with my puppy, Moses the mellow Roo came up and hopped on my ankles, then made his way up to my lap. He perched and made himself comfortable, and I decided I'd try to pet him. He did not move and was ever so still all the while I petted him. When I brought my hand back, I noticed a little red thing crawling on it, so I started ruffling Moses' feathers, and sure enough, he had little red things crawling on his skin and feathers. All this time he's looking at me with one of those "I want to be groomed" postures, and he sat right there perfectly still while I checked for critters over his entire body. I didn't have to restrain or hold him or do anything to make him be still, and I felt as though he was asking - pleading - me to do something for him. So I did, right then, immediately: I got out the miticide ( a version of Comfortis) I used to rid Abbie of her fleas, soaked some bread in it, and he ate it all. Within minutes he was scratching and biting at himself like crazy, but this morning and today, he is completely at peace, no scratching, "preening," or being miserable. This morning I treated all my flocks with the diluted Conserve. I believe that without the opportunity to dust bathe during the winter, my chickens may have incurred heavier than usual mite infestations. Next will be to spray their roosts and nesting boxes, I guess.
OK, I read somewhere that fertility may be reduced during cold temperatures of winter. Is there any truth to this? I have had really bad hatch rates when I've tried to hatch in winter. Last year almost half of my February eggs failed to start and were infertile. I could easily fault the rooster or my hatching expertise, but certainly not this late winter thing with the Silkies. I should be hatching right now, as the birds seem to be in full lay.
Check your birds for bugs.