Monday, February 06, 2012

The chickens demand equality!

The chickens are ticked! Kitten pictures, duck pictures, dog pictures... they feel neglected on the blog, so I am doing what I can for them today.  (Okay, there will be a sprinkling of ducks, too...)



More yummy eggs!



Beaker the rooster and two of his ladies. The four "Muffs" (one is on the left) are just his size and are probably the only hens that don't knock him to the ground when he tries to get his groove on!


We have four "Muffs" who are,  I think, some kind of English Game hen. The "Muff" part refers to their "beards," the feathers that stick out on their faces like facial hair.


You can see the "Muff" better in this photo. She's got a very fluffy face. Three of these girls lay small white eggs, while one weighs small, dark reddish-brown ones.



Beaker is part Silkie, all MAN. 

On Saturday, I trimmed rooster spurs for the first time. I am not brave like my bloggy friend Lynn, who took the sheaths off her rooster spurs like this.  I was  conservative (i.e. nervous) and just trimmed off the pointy tips with dog nail clippers. Next time I'm going to use a Dremel tool and take off more, like this

All three roosters were incredibly good while I trimmed their spurs, no struggling or protest. I wrapped each roo in a towel to keep him from flapping his wings. They all just lay limply in my lap while I snipped off their man-bits, I mean, spurs. I also rubbed some bag balm into their legs, as we had a scaly leg mite problem last year and I'm working on prettying-up  all the chicken legs. Bag balm does a great job.


Meanwhile, Eugenia (mama duck) spend almost the whole day snoozing by one of the barn doors. I think the ducks will be happy when spring finally comes. Muscovy ducks are tropical birds, after all.



The chickens were checking out the new duck palace yesterday.



A group duck-snooze was going down when some brazen chicken (back right) wandered in. The ducks generally ignore the chickens, and I have to say, the chickens have a lot of attitude! I've seen the chickens peck at the ducks until they run off. I've witnessed the hens giving the drakes attitude, and the drakes backing down almost every time. The chickens are definitely the barn-bosses, which is a bit surprising given that some of the ducks weigh 10 - 12 lbs, twice what the hens do.



Ronna and MacGregor hanging out in a particularly messy bit of the barn.



More chicken invaders. We've been working out a system for keeping the duck palace floor dry.We're now putting the heated buckets inside the kiddy pool on top of a tarp. Those ducks splash around a LOT of water.



Errol Flynn helps himself to some duck feed.



Beaker, so manly. So small.



Cutie pie!



Another Muff giving me the eye.

Hopefully this will keep the chickens from complaining for awhile!

29 comments:

  1. WHOA! Beaker is a good looking guy!
    Jane x

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    1. He's quite the little ladies' man!

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  2. Beaker's got a head of hair (I mean feathers) like Samson! He's so handsome.

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    1. He's got better hair than I do!

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  3. Beaker is wonderful, but Errol Flynn is a real looker. I love the group duck-snooze, it all looks very cosy.

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    1. Errol is a really nice boy. He's our biggest rooster, but the most mellow. And those ducks know how to stay toasty warm!

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  4. What fun to have those chickens and ducks. I had chickens one time, until I found a snake in their house eating their eggs. Also around here, we have so much wild life, the chickens all get eaten. I would love to have fresh eggs. Thanks for putting them on the blog

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    1. Marg, we have problems with predators too. I only let ours free-range now if we are out with them. They do have an enclosed run that keeps them safe. In winter I sometimes let them spend the afternoon loose in the barn, which they like. I love fresh eggs! I have never found a snake in the coop, but I once found my hen Tina eating a small garter snake!

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  5. I have a soft spot for Eugenia. Sorry chickens.

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    1. Eugenia was such a good mama to her babies!

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  6. this is quite a managery ! Must be fun.

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    1. They sure are, Red! they make us smile every day.

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  7. Interesting that the ducks are bigger but the chickens can push them around. I guess that shows that attitude is more important than size!

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    1. I am pretty surprised at what the ducks put up with. They certainly aren't that tolerant with each other at times!

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  8. I should not say this, but Beaker is my favorite.
    So handsome! (I bet he knows it!)

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    1. Beaker will be pleased to know he has another lady-love! :)

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  9. Nice to see all your chickens and ducks :)
    My mom and dad had Muscovy Duck´s many years ago they where called Donald and Daisy :)

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  10. Well, they should all be happy now that they've had their 15 mins of fame Natalie....

    Great photos Nat, they look they are a pampered lot.
    The Muffs are such delicate looking girls, very sweet.

    Talking about trimming spurs.......our last roosters had his spurs cut off with the angle grinder . They are such tough things when they get a bit on the long side.
    He was wrapped in a towel and I held him while hubby cut them off. Quick and easy and no problems ....

    Sending blue sky and sunshine wishes for a great week,

    Claire :]

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    1. I love the muffs but boy, try taking an egg out from under one and you'll lose a hand! :)

      THe angle grinder sounds like a very good idea. Gordon has a Dremel tool that I think will do a similar job so I will give that a shot next time! I am less scared now!

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  11. I love your photos and your stories. Good to see that none of them flew the coop while the cats, dog and kitten where in the spotlight :)

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  12. oops, sorry about the type...should have read *were* You can edit it...please ;) and delete this one LOL

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    1. Hey, I read it as "were" so no problem!! :)

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  13. Beaker is really a very handsome fellow. Isn't it fun to see how the different kinds of animals interact with each other?

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    1. It still surprises me that the chickens rule the ducks!

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  14. I did not know the Muscovys are tropical. Those chickens, especially the Muffs, look fierce and fearless. And I must say, Beaker is looking very attractive!

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    1. http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-muscovy-duck.html

      You know, the first time I ever saw a Muscovy was when we were on vacation in Guatemala!

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  15. Anonymous11:43 am

    I did not know bag balm would work for scaly leg mite.
    I have been using Vaseline on my girls legs but only when I see there might be a problem. Do you use the bag balm as a preventor and how often?
    Thanks
    barb

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    1. Sorry for the delay in replying! I am really happy with the results of the bag balm, although it can be a little messy. When I first tried it out on two hens with a bad case of leg mites (we have also used pyrethrin in the past), I massaged it into their legs every day for about a week. It helped soften and heal up the skin too and I see no sign of mites now. I haven't been using it as a preventative but I think I'm going to start. I read that once a week is a good application rate for that!

      I hear it's a good idea to wash their feet and legs before applying the bag balm, but as it has been cold and wintery here, I didn't do that and it seemed to work well anyway.

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Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!