Monthly Archives: July 2015

Daily Drama 40

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Daily Drama 40

‘Tis the season, and the origin of the term “pecking order” is in full Demo mode. I now have six drakes in the bully pen and only three drakes remain in the common yard with the geese. Emilio is the worst and picks on Vinny and Sal (V&S). Tony can protect them against Boxcar and Boondock (B&B), but not Emilio. Tony picks on poor old Fabio. When I put Tony away, B&B relentlessly chase V&S up onto a brushpile supported by a stump.

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The brushpile also conceals illicit activity of a more devious variety: Carmen Miranda is sitting on a nest. I yank a couple eggs every time I see her off the nest. The last thing I need is more Muscovies.

Shamrock is in the bully pen because he is a jerk. He joins in every fracas and encourages any kind of aggression, like a puny feathered cheerleader. Plus he follows Cubicle, my female goose, around everywhere, which annoys the heck out of Norman. Romeo, the gigantic Muscovy drake is in time out because he is after my hens. I think earlier this spring he actually murdered my older hen, Penguin, but no one’s talking.

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Shamrock the Terrible

They behave themselves in the garden. I’ve been letting Romeo out for a couple hours in the afternoon, mostly to give the rest of the bullies a break.

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Cubicle, Romeo, and Madonna. You can see that Romeo has got his eye on the hen.

It’s much quieter in the aviary with everyone locked up. Norman still takes his job as flock manager very seriously. There’s not much to manage, though.

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Norman on patrol, Cubicle swimming. Grover at the fence, Kitty Hawk hanging back, Winky blending in behind.

Vinny and Sal are still shy about venturing beyond their brushpile, and they won’t go out to the yard with the hens. Once their confidence is restored in the aviary common yard, I’ll let the bullies back out, one at a time. Maybe.

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Sal and Vinny, checking out the pond. Jello the hen in the distant yard. And that’s Norman’s neck and head, mid-photo.

Dang it. Time to lock up Romeo. He’s huge, but surprisingly easy to grab. Muscovies have really sharp toenails, so it’s all about technique.

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Sal averts his eyes as Romeo attacks Madonna the hen.

This is when I threw down the camera and made things right. Darn you, Romeo!

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Romeo, professional thug

It‘s really no surprise that the meekest of the ducks are shy about reclaiming their territory. Old Fabio, named for his head pouf, has been here since late 2006. He’s at least nine years old, and walks like your grandpa. His head pouf disappeared about when he lost his curly drake feather. He’s always been scared to death of me, and now that the six ducks he came in with are gone, he’s kind of lonely. B&B are very protective of him, but they attack V&S so they are locked up. For now, Norman looks after him.

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Fabio, Vinny, and Sal hanging out near their friends in the bully pen, just out of the photo, stage left.

The other drama queen is Lula, my poor little hen. We aren’t certain what her problem is, but it has been going on now since spring 2014. She’s on Metacam daily, and while she walks like your grandma, she is walking again. She has a hard time getting up to her roost at night, so I have been helping her up if she asks politely. Tonight she did. Other times I discover her up there already.

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Lurking Lula

One problem is that we can’t eat her eggs because of the Metacam (meloxicam). She is a very sweet hen, and comes over to get her medicine when I call her.

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“Don’t eat my egg!”

So I went back inside for the evening and I think I’m through dealing with bullies. But, NO! Here is tiny Spike the Budgie, terrorizing The Pirate, my handicapped dove. She put up with his pacing and haranguing, and then she suddenly lunged at him! He took off, flew to the kitchen via the dining room, landed right in his own cage! Nice flying, Spike!

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“BACK OFF, puny green thing!”

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Cheyenne’s Long Road Home | BlogHer

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My little sanctuary is just a toy compared to what some people do. Kathleen Schurman operates a farm rescue in Connecticut, and horses are her specialty. This is a link to one of the Locket’s Meadow stories.

Cheyenne, in pretty bad shape here, but ready to begin her new life.

Here is the link to the story: Cheyenne’s Long Road Home | BlogHer.

Looking good!

And then, Kathleen has a pig who sleeps in her kitchen.

You can donate to Locket’s Meadow here.

Daily Drama 39 | The Roundup

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Daily Drama 39 | The Roundup

Today I rounded up all the bad boys and set up the bully pen. At a certain point, Norman the goose takes his job much too seriously and works the graveyard shift, too. When I can hear his supervising honks all night long, it is time for action.

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Outside the pond, L to R Vinny, Sal, Romeo, and Cubicle. In the pond clockwise starting with Norman the Goose, Boxcar, Boondock, Emilio, and Tony at the center.

Here are a couple photos of better times, AKA fall and winter. Most of the fighting is a springtime affair, but it takes a while for everyone to kiss and make up. Norman is the big gander with the black bill. Cubicle is the smaller goose with the orange bill. Shamrock, a tall gray runner duck, is in love with Cubicle, but she doesn’t take him seriously, so Norman is okay with it.

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Around the corn, happily eating together are Vinny, Fabio, Tony, Emilio, Shamrock, and Boxcar. That’s brown muscovy duck Winky behind them near the lawn. On the grass are Norman and Cubicle, Boondock, and Sal. This photo is from last November, and nobody is fighting. Oh, photobomb by the capybara and a couple mallards in flight from the roof.

My oldest drake, Fabio, is about 9 years old. The head pouf he was named for has long gone, along with his curly drake feather. He limps around pretty well, but he’s lowest on the totem pole. Two of the Rouens (fat mallard-colored drakes), Boxcar and Boondock are very protective of him. Tony, a mostly-black duck who came here from Pasado’s Safe Haven with Vinny and Sal, despises Fabio. Tony attacks Fabio when Boxcar and Boondock let down their guard.

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Sal, the tree duck.

However, Tony is the primary protector of Sal. For some reason, my third Rouen, Emilio, despises Sal. So, Sal has become a tree duck, fiercely defended by Vinny and Tony. I have arranged a feeding station up there for them. Lately, though, Norman gets up there and helps himself to lunch when he’s in the neighborhood. Nobody messes with Norman. Except Romeo, my muscovy drake. He nearly put out Norman’s eye one spring, but for some reason, Romeo hasn’t tried to kill him this year. I suspect the muscovy ducks, Winky (disliked by ALL the poultry) and Carmen (loved by all), are keeping him busy. 

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Emilio has been a prince about getting penned with the cats every evening. Or maybe I am an exceptionally experienced Duck-herd.

With Sal in his tree, and Emilio locked in the cat pen at night, it has been quieter. We have passed the summer solstice, and they will slowly quit fighting on their own, but to accelerate the process, I have separated the four worse offenders into the bully pen. This should break the bond between the aggressors and the under dogs more quickly than if I allow the aggression to continue. I’m also concerned about poor Sal and Fabio, for whom life has not been lovely this summer. I’ll continue to watch for bullying- often one of the others will rise to alpha with the bullies gone- but it should settle everyone down pretty quickly. Last year, I had to separate them much earlier and for much longer, so believe it or not, this is quite an improvement!

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Sir Poopsalot, gatekeeper to the Bully Pen.

Welcome to the bully pen, Emilio, Tony, Romeo, and even Shamrock, who doesn’t pick on anyone in particular. He’s just a jerk.

Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Daily Drama 38

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Daily Drama 38

The dramas are coming fast and furious lately, and that’s my excuse for not writing. I could write every day, but I’m a little hung up on having photos to go with the stories. Would you rather have funny stories almost every day, even if they don’t have photos? Or do you like the photos best, anyway, and oh, by the way, stop talking so much?

 

About a month ago, baby spiders were hatching everywhere. So cute! Now they are much bigger, webs everywhere, at, oh, I guess FACE LEVEL describes it. I try to brush them out of my hair before I cook dinner. It’s so distracting to watch them lower themselves down from my hair, right into the frying pan! I put them outside because I can’t wait until they are big enough to make a dent in the fly population around here.

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Future Flycatchers

Prince Dobalob is being his usual klutzy self. He was limping around last week, and also lost some fur on his cheek. No cut or abrasion but he must have smacked himself pretty good to lose fur in the process.

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Hole in his head

Any kind of damage is good for getting the Royal Treatment. The grass in the front yard is long and lush and makes a nice treat.

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The front yard grass is greener, especially when it is served up special.

The weather has been very summery and all the animals have been flaking out, mid-day. Bonnie Bunny misses her bunny-buddy but she still enjoys her garden party time. She scampers on back to her pen when I go in to put out food and fresh water. Yesterday I heard her hippity hop up the steps behind me, but when I turned to give her a special treat, I saw she was still out in the garden! I’m convinced I heard Wiley Wabbit’s ghost coming in for his treats!

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Bonnie relaxes in her Dobby-resistant garden

Dobby has a new bed for the deck, so the old one can stay under the steps in the shade. This is my view from the kitchen window.

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The new bed seems to be a similar flavor to the old one. Why must every new item be subjected to The Taste Test?

Grover and Kitty Hawk are even lazier now that summer is here. I gave them the penguin blanket that Dobby hated so much. Of course, now that it is a cat blanket, he tries to pull it down every time he walks near it.

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Grover, Kitty Hawk, and the hated penguin blanket

The drakes are very, very aggressive this time of year. I have had to lock up Emilio every night, because when he attacks poor Sal, the geese honk at him. All night long. When I let him out in the morning, he races past the food and water to locate his victim. I’m trying a new strategy that I am hoping will work. I am penning him up with some drakes he actually likes, who have sequestered themselves away from Sal’s buddy, Tony, who attacks poor old Fabio. they only get out for the garden party, but already there are fewer daily altercations. Of course, we are past the solstice, and they should settle down, now, anyway.

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Solitary Confinement

He does get out once in a while.

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Cubicle and Emilio go skinny-dipping

Dobby spends a good portion of his day in his grubby little wading pool. The water heats up nicely in the sun. As an added bonus, the ducks and geese muddy the water up to a very nice brownish color. Of course, none of that mud is placed there by Dobby!

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Dobby’s fur is reddish this time of year.

Sometimes Dobby just goes back to bed after his morning milk.

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Prince Dobalob’s Boudoir

Dobby also has a new hiding place behind the swimming pool. Bonnie Bunny hides back there, too, but not when dobby is there!

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Camouflage

Dobby’s pool was clean for a few days. The swimming pool pump/filter just can’t keep up with the amount of mud he carries in from the wading pool.

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Dobby the Seal

A couple weeks later . . .

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Capybara, Mallard, and green water

That is a wild mallard swimming with Dobby. She hangs around most of the day. Sometimes she brings friends. She comes onto the deck and begs at the kitchen door if I am late with her cracked corn.

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Mrs. Mallard, the perfect guest

Don’t forget to take the poll. Or just write to tell me what you would like to see here. Then hold your breath until I decide what to do next!