Tag: chickens

Catching some rays

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Chili Pepper laying on her side to let the sun get to her belly.

 

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Is this food?

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Sooo, my nephew’s daycare provider cleaned out her pantry the other day. She packed up all the outdated bread, cookies, fruit, etc. and sent them home with my sister for the sheep. Included in the “donation” were a couple of rice cakes. At first I gave them to the chickens. They like grains of all kinds. Yeah, this morning those rice cakes were still there. Untouched. So, I decided to give them to the sheep. They will eat just about anything but meat. The sheep FEASTED on all the other goodies. They cleaned out their tubs and headed to their mangers to browse on hay. And still sitting there, untouched? The rice cakes. Now I say, if chickens, who will turn around and eat their own shit, and sheep, who are bottomless pits with wool on them, will not eat these things, WHY do human beings torture themselves by eating them?

While I was doing chores tonight a car pulled into the driveway. I did not recognize the vehicle, so I went to see who it was. It was a young family; dad, mom, 3 kids under the age of 5. They had seen the sheep grazing on the front lawn and just wanted to get a closer look. So, I started chatting with them. They have recently acquired 2 sheep and a couple dozen chickens. They had all kinds of questions; how often do you worm sheep? How do you keep your chickens safe from predators? How do you know if your sheep are bred? How long are they pregnant?

I answered as many of their questions as I could, gave them a few hints on things that have worked well for us. Some of their questions I did not know the answers to, so I recommended they try looking up on-line. Google is my friend. I often look up symptoms, questions about behavior, new potential food sources, and just general information about the sheep and chickens. They did not have internet access. OMG! I can’t imagine. I would be lost without it.

Taking on animals you have never cared for before can be a real trial. When they are behaving oddly, how can you know if it’s just a personality quirk or if there is something seriously wrong? How can you be sure what is safe for them to eat?  I always want to know about their basic physiology. When I was a kid we had cows. Any question I had about cows I would ask my dad. He learned from his grandfather, who learned from his father and on back through the generations. My sister learned about sheep from a neighbor then worked on a sheep milking operation.

But when you are a small operation, when there is no one right there to ask, what do you do? The internet, of course. 10, 15 years ago, it never would have occurred to me to find answers on-line. Now I don’t know what I would do without it. An invaluable tool our forebears did not have. A sign of the times.

I felt bad for the family. I’m kinda wishing I had gotten their names. If they live nearby I could have tried to get some information together for them. Of course, I did not think of it until they were already gone…

Luna and Georgia

Luna seems to be fully recovered. She can walk a straight line, she can turn her head to the right, make a right turn. And, now that she isn’t being poked with a needle 3 times a day, she has forgiven me and lets me give her scratches again.

Whatever was going on with Georgia seems to have fixed itself. She’s been strutting and pecking like normal the past 2 days. I hate when they start acting weird and you don’t know why!

Georgia

When I left the barn last night Georgia was still on her nest, apparently trying to lay an egg. When got in the barn today she was still there. I was concerned she might be egg bound. Picked her up and felt her abdomen, but didn’t feel any thing. Put her down on the floor and shooed her outside for some air. A few minutes later she came back in the barn and flapped back up to her nest. I took her out and put her in front of the food tray. She ate a little, then headed back to her nest. Three times I had to remove her from the nest. And several times I caught her headed there and shooed her away. I don’t get it. I removed the egg she had laid, but there is still a plastic egg in there. I have fake eggs in several nesting spots to encourage the hens to use them. I’m wondering, is it possible Georgia is broody? Does she think the plastic egg is hers? Is she trying to hatch it? We don’t have a rooster. Can hens get broody in the absence of a rooster? When it started to get dark out I placed her on the roost. Several times she got down and headed back toward her nest in the feed room. Finally, as the other hens were settling down for the night, she decided to stay put and go to sleep on the roost. Hopefully she will be acting normal tomorrow.