Tag Archives: hens

Daily Drama 100 – Enough Hens Already

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Daily Drama 100 – Enough Hens Already

Hens come and go around here. This year they just keep on coming. Read the rest of this entry

Norman’s Nonsense 15 – Pearly Mae

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Norman’s Nonsense 15 – Pearly Mae

Tuesdays are crazy days around here because it’s guinea pig cage cleaning day. You might think an indoor, late evening chore would not affect my outdoor flock, but the Farm Manager starts the crazy part early in the afternoon. Today she was distracted by a ripe rat carcass while she was herding the hens into the aviary. Okay, herding poultry is supposed to be my job, but ew, rat carcass? I declared it to be her turn to herd and high-tailed it into the aviary, leaving Cubicle to eat my dust. The hens scattered, but after the R.C. was walked out to the dustbin at the curb, the Farm Manager dealt with the hens and went indoors.

Pearly Mae in deep concentration, a bit grubby after a dust bath followed by Seattle Sunshine.

Because of the guinea pig cage cleaning, The Bartender put the sheep to bed. Because he is a single-minded creature, he failed to notice Pearly Mae scritching around in the graveyard, pacing at the aviary gate, or maybe roosting on the deck railing near the kitchen door. Big white hen, nearly glowing in the dark, perched less than two meters from the kitchen door.

Everybody else roosts in the barn, but Pearly Mae prefers to sleep under the stars.

Because of the guinea pig cage cleaning, The Farm Manager stepped outside at midnight to set out the guinea pig cage soiled bedding. And noticed Pearly Mae, roosting on the deck railing, glowing quietly, less than two meters from the kitchen door. The Farm Manager snatched her up, walked her out to the aviary gate, and tossed her in. The exact opposite of what she does to Pearly Mae every morning when she gets “Time Out” for eating the cat food. So maybe it was the Farm Manager’s fault, but it was her fix, too. And everybody out in the aviary groaned as Pearly Mae returned from her night out, because she’s one of those types we all put up with, if you know what I mean.

Daily Drama 89 – About These Hens

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Daily Drama 89 – About These Hens

Owning a home means I can have pet ducks. Any neighborhood that doesn’t allow chickens isn’t going to want me, either. I bought a couple used ducks right after I moved into my first little house in Seattle. Hens came soon after. Thirty-five years later I still have a yard full of poultry, but they’re rescues, now. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Drama 88 – Baad Animals

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Daily Drama 88 – Baad Animals

Well, I guess we’re awake now! Princess has a new hobby. Having a hen indoors is a challenge, but I never expected her to start crowing every morning. At least it’s not all day long like a bona fide rooster. A crowing rooster will raise your rafters. Read the rest of this entry

Daily Drama 84 – Indoor Recess

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Daily Drama 84 – Indoor Recess

In the Pacific Northwest, indoor recess is de rigueur from November to March. At least. The Garden Party at the Funny Farm still happens every afternoon, rain or shine, but enthusiasm ebbs during the winter. Even Princess Blur goes out each afternoon to play chicken for an hour, but she’s eager to return indoors well before dusk. That’s 4:15 PM in December.

When the outdoor hens decide to stay in the barn all afternoon- indoor recess- I don’t take Princess out. If they aren’t going to come out into the garden, it’s probably too cold and wet for a tiny hen with a heart murmur.

Windy and Coffee Bean hunkered down for the night– at 3pm. They are both old and feeble and prefer to roost on the ground.

I thought that sheep from the Shetland Islands would be okay with rain, but no. We built a nice roof over their pen and they hang out in there when the rain is overwhelming. Bev, a Muscovy duck has been inviting herself in, too.

Have you seen Hamish and Bev’s video? Slightly off-topic, but I’m not sure it didn’t start when Bev went looking for shelter from the weather.

Baad Romance

We thought the incessant rain was bad and then it snowed. And then the temperatures plummeted.

He’s sitting atop the ring around the feeder.

We have hummingbirds year round here, so it becomes a nightly game called “Will the hummingbird feeders freeze tonight?” If I take the feeders in at night, I need to take them out at dawn, when the hummers start to feed. When it’s cold out, they pouf out downy feathers over their feet to keep warm, like they are wearing little tiny down slippers. If I manage to get a photo of that, I’ll quit my day job.

I dare you to get all ten in one photo. I got nine, here.

I have ten doves outside. They are very tough but they get hungry when it’s cold. Of course, their water freezes overnight. Years of experience have taught me to be careful where I toss the ice. If it doesn’t thaw for a week, I can end up with a treacherous pile of ice shards that make it hard to walk around. Ice maintenance seems like an awfully fussy consideration until that morning when I can’t open the gate past a hasty midden pile of ice.

The heat lamps emerge with the snow.  They all love them, but heat lamps are inherently dangerous. That’s how fires start in barns and finding charred wood near a lamp is scary. I have friends who have had the fire department out. So I only bring them out when the animals are cold enough to actively use them. I’ve had two going this year, already.

The sheep love the snow. They eat it, they cavort and gambol, they do everything but roll around in it. They have deep, dense fleece. I can stick my hand up into it nearly to my wrist. It’s warm and dry in there. I look at those skinny velvety legs and marvel at how they stay warm. After poor snow-hating Dobby, and worrying about frostbite, this is a welcome change.

The snow reveals other wonders. Look at the tracks in the snow, above. That’s a cottontail rabbit track in the center. Tiny tracks, solitary: did he drop from the sky? I have only seen one bunny in the front yard, long ago. Dobby loved that bunny, but he only hung out here for about a week. Or so I thought. Is he still out there? I have seen them next door, so I shouldn’t be surprised that I have (at least) one here.

What is going on with my hens? On snowy days they stay in the barn, jockeying for position under the two heat lamps. Rainy days they prefer to cram themselves under this kiddie slide. Five chubby hens must generate enough heat to make it nice and toasty under there. These are the days– barn days and under-slide days– when Princess Blur has a treat in her living room pen and gets marched upstairs to go to bed right after her afternoon meds. They are the days when I hide in my little greenhouse and pretend it is warmer in there.

True indoor recess occurs when I give up and let the sheep rampage through the aviary. I have to put up the chicken food and heat lamp hazards, and the ducks glare at me, but it’s a big treat for the sheep to be able to explore in there. If the weather was good enough for me to be in there taking photos and making videos, there would be evidence of this excitement. Maybe if we ever have a summer storm. Meanwhile, I am afraid to look: they’ve got access to the aviary now. My only hope for getting them out of there at bedtime is that they are fools for saltine crackers. Anything for a saltine!

So, the snow is long gone, but the rain has returned with a vengeance. The sheep are hoping for more snow. I am hoping for summer. Take a look at my poor basement. That’s six inches of water. Sigh.

Thoughts and prayers for my wet-dry vacuum. It’s on its side in that mess.

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Did you know that Prince Dobalob is featured in a book you can read for free? Before you get too excited, the book isn’t finished, yet, but it’s close enough that I am putting it up serially on Dobby’s website. Check it out!