Friday, May 28, 2010

Chickens and ducks and turkeys. Oh my!

Time has just slipped away from me and now 4 weeks later I will try to bring everyone up to speed on the happenings around here. The farmers market has started up and I have been participating in that until I wrenched my back in the garden. Those veggies better be worth it but I am feeling better now.

My daughter who lives in Boise finished her chicken coup and tractor and sent pictures. Here are the pictures. She has twinkle lights on it at night so she can look out and see if raccoons are lurking about. These are her first chickens and she is even more anal than I am about keeping them safe. She even gets up in the middle of the night to check on them. Oh well they are her first and she only gets to have three since she lives in town. In case you can't see the sign on the coup it says "Eggs, It's what's for dinner".
I also had The Man build a chicken tractor for my girls. Although I have two runs on the coup my girls have eaten and stomped down most of the grass in both of them. So what I do is graze them in the chicken tractor. This gives them access to fresh pasture and keeps them safe from predators. For those who don't know what a chicken tractor is I will explain. Like my daughters my tractor is a rectangular box that is covered with chicken wire on all sides except the bottom. Mine has wheels on both ends so I can wheel it from either end without turning it around. It is also larger 4ft wide by 12 ft long. Thats because I am putting 27 chickens in it. It has a small corner shelf on one end so I can put a water font on it and not have to pick it up each time I move the tractor. It has a door in each end so I don't have to struggle to turn it around every time I need to park it in front of the gate for the purpose of loading the chickens in and out. All I have to do is park it in front of the open gate of the coup open the door and the chickens walk right in. I usually cover one end with an old blanket to provide shade for them while they are 
out in the yard and they are happy. Because I have so many chickens I have to move it about once an hour to keep them supplied with new forage.  

Now on to the newest addition to our barnyard family. The other day I went to get supplies at the co-op and they had ducklings. Now I had not any intention to get ducks. But...... there were two Khaki Campbells left in the group of ducks. I didn't think. I just got them and brought them home. I have been having tons of fun with these little guys. They imprint very quickly and will follow you around especially if you happen to know how to make mother quacking sounds at them. They follow me from the coup to the garden and they love frozen thawed peas. The Man calls it duck candy. Our oldest girl takes them up to her room and after properly covering her bed they make themselves at home on it and keep her company while she does her homework at her desk. The only problem I really see with all this cozy duck stuff is that they get lonely and stand out in the coup yelling their heads off. I have finally convinced them to spend the night in a large dog carrier out in the run by putting them to bed with a bowl of water with peas in the bottom and a dish of chicken food. Buy morning they are ready to be let out to go for a swim in their wading pool. Sometimes that has lettuce leaves floating in it. Yum! They are bug eyed monsters for peas though and here is the proof. Yesterday The Man and I stopped by the farmers co-op to pick up the bentonite that he had ordered. This is to seal the pond that he thinks the ducks need. It's probably a good thing he was with me because they had baby turkeys. I didn't get any. So with that I will sign off.