Last September I introduced everyone to my chickens, who I had lost many of during the summer due to a feral cat that had decimated my once thriving flock. So many of my little bitties that I loved and raised since May were gone, and I had started over in July. I was worried that going into winter was going to be hard on them, they were fairly young. My sweetie, Brian, worked for several days to build me a chicken pen and hen house, and surprised me with some new Rhode Island Reds, a couple of White-crested Black Polish Chickens, and a young turkey of undetermined gender.
(You can see where I was at back then at this post: http://dawnallynn.blogspot.com/2007/09/raising-poutry.html )
It's February now, and we haven't lost a single bird since Brian put up the pen. In addition to the chickens and Turkey, I acquired a rooster and three ducks. :)
The rooster we named Allard, (Teutonic for nobly resolute) and came to use via another Freecyler looking for homes for two roosters. The roosters fought too much, (which is why the previous owner had needed to find them new homes) so we found a home for the more aggressive of the two, and Allard seems fairly happy with his small harem. The rooster we passed on went to another Freecycler who had a lonely flock of hens also here in the East Mountains.
At first there was some issues between Yuma (the Turkey) and Allard, but they seem to have worked things out. These days the two of them even roost together in the hen house. The roosting boxes I have in the hen house go almost all the way to the ceiling, and they sit up there like co-conspirators watching over everyone sleeping below. We have four boxes on the shelves, which some of the hens enjoy, but we also have two boxes lower down as well as an open cage which two of the hens prefer(This is where the hens currently are laying eggs). One of the lower shelves has a space beneath it about 20" high and about 52" deep. The ducks have taken a liking to this area, and they leave an egg about every two days.
Here's Allard, the second in the second image he is crowing. :) I love it.
Here's the new ducks :) From a lovely family in Albuquerque who were having problems with their ducks picking on the chickens. These guys are currently named"Dawn, Pat, and Quack Quack". We are thinking about renaming Dawn and Pat, since we have a Dawn and a Pat in the house and it is confusing. We haven't figured out any new names yet.
The white duck is a Pekin, and is a male. We may get him a Pekin female when summer comes. We are going to build a larger pen so there is plenty of room for them as well as any ducklings. The black ducks with the red heads are Muscovy's, and are quackless. One is a female and one is a male. I put the baby pool in the pen and have kept it full of water, the ducks have enjoyed it some, though it's been full if ice or slush the last two days. I throw bread pieces down for them to snack on, but they love it when we toss the bread into the edge of the pool. Maybe it's easier to swallow wet. The hardest thing with the ducks is keeping the water clean in the water bowl, I can put fresh water in there and ten minutes later they've muddied it. I go out every morning and evening and give them fresh water, and break up any ice in the pool.
We dropped a pallet next to the pool so everybody can reach the pool easily. The chickens aren't interested in swimming, of course, but they do drink from the water.
While in this picture it looks like the duck and the rooster are being amiable, in truth Don is cornering Allard because he's decided he's mad at him. Allard runs around for a few minutes and then flies up to roost high where Don can't reach him.
I'm not worried about it, Allard is
capable of defending himself just fine. :)
Yuma has grown a great deal since last fall. He is fairly friendly, though he doesn't want to be held or touched. He does like to eat from your hand, and prefers to be fed lettuce this way. (He won't eat it off the ground.) The center image below is Yuma looking up at me, hoping I'll feed him something. The third photo below is Yuma showing off his plumage. He's a doll.
Right now I have one Barred Plymouth Rock Hen, an Araucana, Six Rhode Island Reds, two White-crested Black Polish chickens, and Allard. I don't know what kind of Rooster Allard is.
Plus the ducks and Yuma that's 15 birds. Gotta love em.
It snowed last night, and the birds didn't seem to mind at all. I went out this morning and fed them some strawberries, grapes, fresh corn on the cob,lettuce and bread. They were pretty happy. :)