Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Poultry Demands Equal Time

After my garden tour post, the citizens of our poultry yard are demanding some blog time, too.  So here goes.

It's only been the past several days that we've let the chickens, ducks and geese out of their winter pens.  The main reason we've kept them confined is that we've had a bobcat in the neighborhood and our electric fence that surrounds the poultry pasture doesn't work in the deep snow.  Now with nearly all the snow gone (or at least going quickly) we have been getting a charge on the fence (not full force but enough to discourage an investigating animal who might put his or her wet nose on it) so feel fairly secure in letting the birds out for fresh air and exercise during the day while we're around to keep an eye on things.


These are our two pairs of Pilgrim geese.  One of the gals has already started a nest of two eggs.  At least, without being too invasive, we think there are only two there.  Or perhaps it's a communal nest?  At any rate, I think geese start laying and wait to start serious setting on the nest until they have a good number of eggs.  Or that's how I understand the process works.  (Hopefully, the geese know more about it than I do!)


Our small pond has open water at one end of it, and the geese have been splashing and giving themselves much needed baths in the last couple of days.


I really like the looks of the black Muscovy ducks.  Above are a pair . . . Daphne and Darby.


Here are three Cayuga ducks.  The picture doesn't show it well, but their feathers are not only black but a deep, iridescent green.  Very pretty.

Last December we got two pairs of Muscovies and two pairs of Cayuga ducks.  Unfortunately, we lost one female of each variety.  So as of now, we're left with a female and two males of both the Muscovies and Cayugas.  We're really hoping the remaining gals will lay a good number of eggs and hatch out several ducklings so we can build our mating pairs back up.


Of course, some of the chickens wanted their picture taken, too.  We've had twelve hens over winter (including two bantam hens), and we've been consistently getting 6-8 eggs every day.

Just got word on Tuesday that the four (more Pilgrim) goslings we ordered for delivery end of April will be here today.  Oooops.  Well, at least we've had time to get a brooder area set up in the garage for them.

I'll take pictures of the little fuzz balls when they arrive.

19 comments:

gld said...

I love the mixed inventory of poultry! Do you do anything with them besides just enjoy them. I know the chickens and eggs but wondered about the other species. Is that birch in the background; beautiful white trunks!

odiie said...

Nice looking birds. Muscovies are my favorite.
Your gardens are looking good, also. Mine still have standing water in them. I did dig up some parsnips yesterday and they're looking nice. Fed them out to the rabbits, though. Here's to not having any more snow this season????
From Glory Farm

Sue said...

How wonderful!! I love seeing your birds.
I'm glad they are enjoying some outdoor time. Looks like I"m not the only one expecting more snow this weekend.
Free Fertilizer.
Ha.

Michelle said...

You've got quite a flock! I love black poultry, like my black Easter Eggers.

Kristina said...

Looks like they are enjoying getting out. I would love to dig a pond and get ducks, but we may not be able too (crop run off). Enjoy!

Tombstone Livestock said...

I see you are busy, busy as usual.

Sue said...

I just showed this post to hubby and he says he's bringing up his fork.
I'd watch that man!!
Teehee

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - We have a problem with hawks taking our poultry and find that it's usually white or light colored ones that get picked off. Must be that the darker ones are harder to see from up in the sky? But I do prefer the black ones as you do.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I know folks do raise water fowl without a pond, but they enjoy it so much I wouldn't want to deprive them of their enjoyment in being able to swim and dive in the water.

Mama Pea said...

Tombstone Livestock - Nah, just being my usual, fluffing off, lazy-bones ol' self! :o] How have you been? Haven't heard from you in a coon's age!

Mama Pea said...

gld - Enjoy them and then . . . eat them! Our good neighbor was raised on a farm and his dad smoked duck which he says was the best meat he's ever tasted. So he's going to give it a go with some of our ducks . . . if we get some hatched this spring to butcher in the fall. Same with the geese. When we raised them before, we always had a Christmas goose and one at Thanksgiving, too.

We have lots and lots of birch trees up here. They are lovely trees and can grow trunks a foot or more in diameter.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - I have a feeling we'll still see more flakes falling but hopefully nothing too serious. We're not too wet here so as soon as the mud dries out a bit, we'll probably need rain. Sorry to hear you still have what sounds like too much right now.

We're sure hoping the Moscovies prove out. We still have 10 more Moscovy ducklings coming!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - You're gonna have to come visit in the fall to get a taste of goose or duck! But, yes, that's what we're hoping to do with some (eat 'em) if the pairs all cooperate and hatch out babies this spring.

I think we're both getting a little tired of the free fertilizer. :o( Bah.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

They look pretty happy to be out. Those Cayuga ducks are really pretty. -Jenn

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Run....run....I see the water, let's run before they decide to put us back in our coop!!!! Your birds are gorgeous, I'm sure your ducks will surprise you with eggs that will hatch :-)

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - Day before yesterday we had rain all day and despite that everyone was still out and doing a lot of preening. I think they thought the rain was their own personal shower!

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - We can hardly wait for the whole pond to open up. I love seeing the water fowl paddling around! We're keeping our fingers crossed for lots of duck and goose eggs . . .

Susan said...

I don't have a pond but I do have a kiddie pool! I'm going to try and find some Muskovies locally - in the past I've had problems with them flying. Do yours fly?

Mama Pea said...

Susan - In lieu of a pond, a kiddie pool sounds pretty good! ;o} We clipped the wings of our Muskovies. I had always thought that would be mean and hurtful to the birds but all it does is remove some feathers (tips really) and seems to be working.