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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Category Archives: fowl

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Farmette 1769’s honey bees are no worse for the wear after Tropical Storm Florence last weekend. I guess I can take the tent stakes out of the ground now. Or maybe my shadow can take care of that task.

 

Our honey bees were out enjoying this hot, sunny Saturday. They had been doing this all day while I was at Carolina Chickenstock. It’s like Woodstock, but with chickens.

It is actually a large poultry buy and sell gathering that happens twice a year in Taylorsville, NC. It is almost an hour away from me, which is doable. Breaking an hour and a half total driving in a day is difficult for me. I have degenerative discs in my cervical spine of the neck. I have had surgery, but you fix one spot and the one below crumbles more. I broke my self-inflicted limit and will pay for it for a day or two, but it was so much fun!

I purchased a pair of white homing pigeons, which were being sold in pairs only. We only had one pigeon here since Petunia’s boyfriend was killed by a snake.

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This is the new pair. They’re gorgeous!

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The quad travel cage was still in the back of my truck, so Petunia came all the way into the garage to investigate the familiar sounds of friends. The new pair will stay caged for 2-3 weeks until they know that this is their new home.

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I was lucky enough to happen upon a Dark Cuckoo Maran Hen for sale. They lay dark brown eggs. Even though the nutritional content is the same, we love having the variety of colors in our egg basket.

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I stole this pic off the net. This is what her eggs should look like. We have brown, tan, white and blue egg layers right now. It will be great to have this color too!

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It really was my lucky day. I found a juvenile pied guinea fowl. We have two juvenile pearl, which are this color without the chrome aka white splashes. The contrast is beautiful, albeit hard to see in this photo at this angle.

I got up really early to pack up for selling, did a lot of buying and chatting, came home and got the newbies settled in, took care of Barry the giant, crazy puppy and a gabillion other things.

So that’s all for now – I’m tired.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

 

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Since there really hasn’t been any change since last week, I decided to write a combo article.

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Here are a few bees at the entrance of the hive… The End

Just kidding. The really big news is that we finally released our homing pigeons. Actually, it is just a pigeon – singular.

I had purchased a pair, to train as wedding/memorial doves (yes, those are actually white homing pigeons, not real peace doves).

But, there was a small gap in the cage door. A snake got in and tried to eat the male pigeon. He could not, since the pigeon was too big, but in the process of getting to the impassable shoulders, he smothered the bird to death.

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This is the inside of the female pigeon’s new digs. I was in the process of building this when the snake got into the old cage.

It is designed specifically for homing pigeons. The photo shows “Petunia” inside, from the viewpoint of looking in from the newly opened gate entrance.

She had gotten settled in for about 2 weeks. This is long enough for homing pigeons to think of a new space as home.

My husband took a pic of me taking a pic of Petunia. She made it to the landing pad.

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Then our sole homing pigeon hopped up to the top of her house. It is attached to the main chicken/duck coop.

Petunia tried to hang out with the chickens on the ground. One of them got territorial and chased her, so she flew up to the coop’s roof.

26E8E98D-2A68-46D2-832F-1C03A6118267This photograph shows our one and only wedding rental, enjoying the top of her personal home. This image is from the day after her maiden voyage out into the world.

We’ll take our girl farther and farther away from our house, until she knows the home base location well; and can then be used for events.

I’m hoping that the people that sold me the pair are at Carolina Chickenstock poultry sale again in September (It is held twice per year in Taylorsville, NC.).

It would be wonderful to get a few more that are this smaller-sized pigeon (They tend to run larger.), so that she has some matching buddies.

Happy Weekend! Have a great one!!!

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With a busy weekend happening, Monica’s Weekend Recipe will be short. This article is focused on just one cooking ingredient – eggs. Not only is this about eggs, but, specifically, Duck Eggs.

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What are the Benefits to Eating Duck Eggs?
by Countryside Daily Magazine
  • Duck eggs stay fresher longer, due to their thicker shell.
  • Duck eggs are richer, with more albumen, which makes cakes and other pastries fluffier.
  • Duck eggs have more Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • People who cannot eat chicken eggs, due to allergies, can often eat duck eggs.

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Ducks make much more mess than chickens, so we opted to keep just one duck. Since the coop is predator proof, and we opted for standard sized birds this time (instead of bantam/mini), we feel more comfortable naming them – since they won’t end up being meals for foxes, weasels, raccoons, snakes, hawks, falcons, feral cats, stray dogs or coyotes. Our egg laying duck is named Macy.

Info
via Wikipedia
A duckling is a young duck in downy plumage or baby duck. A male duck is called a drake and the female is called a duck, or in ornithology a hen.

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I usually take my coffee with me while tending to the poultry in the morning.

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One last pic of Macy and her buddies, happily eating kitchen scraps.

Have fun cooking with eggs, and if you have the option, try duck eggs. They are delicious!

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Call ducks are Bantams, which places them in the miniature poultry category. Due to their light body weight, they can fly very well. So, unlike your average heavy farm duck, it is advisable to clip a wing so that they don’t wander too far off.

Clipping the flight feathers from one wing sets both wings off balance, leaving them flightless. The procedure is painless, since feathers are just like finger nails and hair.

Some blood vessels are still active in newly grown feathers, so avoid that area during clipping.

Muriel (left), Hector (right)

Muriel (left), Hector (right)

Duck Video

We bought Muriel, a female Call duck, at Carolina Chickenstock in the Fall of 2012. With a bit of searching early in 2013, we located a male (drake) Call duck for sale near Winston-Salem, NC.

In conjunction with the drake duck, there was also the opportunity to buy a male (gander) African goose to go with Annie, our female Chinese goose. It was a long drive from the Charlotte area to get the drake, so without too much thought, I went ahead and bought the gander too.

Muriel seems happy with her new duck boyfriend, Hector. They waddle around together, taking an occasional dip in the baby pool or a spare water pan. They are both super cute and easy to handle. Bantam breeds take up less space/accommodations and also consume less feed. Miniature livestock fit well here at our little farmette.

Our Annie, seemed content with her surprise boyfriend, Robert. They quickly become a bonded pair of closely related (both from the Swan Goose) domesticated geese.

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Robert (left), Annie (right)

Robert (left), Annie (right)

The thing is, we don’t have a pond, stream or a fenced section of land for them, so there were second thoughts. I made the decision that the best thing was to get these full size (Standard) geese out of their pen and into the hands of someone with a more suitable set-up. They were sold to Kunekune Pig Preserve here in NC. One section of the preserve boasts a large fenced area with a big pond. They should be comfortable and safe at their new home.

We greatly enjoyed our time with them. Geese are very wonderful birds and great watch animals for farms.

Four Bantam chicken eggs (left), One Bantam duck egg (right)

Four Bantam chicken eggs (left), One Bantam duck egg (right)

That decision now leaves more time and energy to attend to our Call duck pair. Spring, though a bit unpredictable and chilly this year, has sprung. Beginning mid-March, Muriel started laying eggs. Her eggs are green!

A homemade egg candler shows obvious growth.

A homemade egg candler shows obvious growth.

The pair is now proven fertile and we are excitedly looking forward to Call ducklings. My lovely husband Jamie often says “There’s nothin’ cuter than a bucket of baby ducks”. I am thinking that Call ducklings, due to there tiny size, may just prove to be our new, ultimate, Spring baby fixation.

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We can’t wait to see!

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Guineas coop in progress = sign opportunity

Guinea fowl coop in progress = signage opportunity

This is our yearly reminder to let go – and to move on. To our hopes and fears. To our dreams and disappointments. To our failures and triumphs. To our sadness and joy.

We welcome the New Year with all its possibilities.

I actually made it up to midnight. Watching the Times Square ball drop celebration would have been lovely. But we gave up regular TV a few years ago and could not locate a live feed through our Roku box.

We decided to watch a movie instead. The Polar Express is a heartwarming film. It allowed us to stretch out the season’s spirit and stay awake at the same time. I savored those last drops of holiday magic.

We then toasted 2013 with sparkling wine (and sparkling juice for our young son). It was finally time to sleep, but remembering a last minute chore, I wandered outside. And there was this beautiful moon.

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It not only captured my attention, but my imagination. I thought of the Steven Hawking series that I started watching the other day. He described the planets revolving around each sun/star. There are 100 billion stars in our galaxy. And there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe.

Thinking about the vastness of it can make one feel small and insignificant. That makes what you choose to do with your life all the more important. We may be tiny specs of dust, but we all have the power to create our own little worlds.

We also possess the power to remind ourselves, all year long, that all around us – there is magic.

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We noticed some mites on a hen that was getting her injured leg wrapped. They are extremely tiny and easy to miss, but when you see them on your poultry, it is best to deal with the situation as soon as possible. Within the next day or two, one by one, I pulled our birds out of the coops. Each chicken was treated for these nuisance pests.

Our injured bantam Ameraucana hen

Wild birds and newly purchased poultry are the main sources of chicken mites and lice. It is part of the deal if you choose to keep chickens, but merely requires periodic checks and attention. Bird mites/lice are species specific. You may get a few on you when working with your chickens, and they may bite you. But, they will not take up residence on humans.

With our poultry now held in smaller, stronger coops due to predatory loss, parasite proliferation and disease can occur more easily. Free ranging chickens are usually very healthy since they have the freedom to take care of their own hygiene and balance their own nutrition.

Our main coop is a tractor type and allows you to move your chickens to a fresh patch of grass. It is the best compromise for caged v. loose. We need to build more of these.

Chickens normally clean themselves off by taking dirt/sand baths. They enjoy dusting themselves as much as they like to scratch and peck at the ground. I sometimes let a group out towards the evening to frolic about so that if any of them elude re-capture, they’ll roost shortly as the sky darkens. When they are in “zombie sleep mode” I can grab up any of the strays.

When I was taking this closer look at our fowl, I noticed how glossy our red bantam Cochin rooster had become. The feathers of a rooster are so beautiful. The older a male chicken gets, the more magnificent the plumage becomes. So, after completing my farmette chores, I took some new pics:

“Mozart” (bantam Polish rooster) unhappy about picture day

Black & White feathers

“Big Red” – Red bantam Cochin roo

Red feathers

Black & Red bantam cockerel

Black & Red feathers

Splash bantam Cochin cockerel

Splash feathers

Blue Showgirl Silkie roo

Blue feathers

White bantam Polish x Showgirl Silkie “Ugly Project” cockerel

I am not sure if any iridescence will show up in this little guy’s tail feathers, but we will know by the Spring. Either way, he is handsome
– in a strange and bizarre kind of way.

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Hens can have great feathers too.

Splash bantam Ameraucana hen’s feathers

Mille Fleur bantam Cochin hen

Mille Fleur (“Thousand Flowers”) feathers

Pictures do not do justice to the color, shine and detail of chicken feathers. In order to see how truly gorgeous they are, you must see them in person – or raise your own personal  flock!


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This boy was finally caught on his evening roost. I managed to get a few good pics of him this am. Aside from his battle wounds (still healing from his territorial fight), he is a very good looking bird.

The nice thing about Cochins is their mild mannered nature. This guy never tries to skewer (with his spurs) or bite people. Once you catch him, he is a cooperative model.

Bantam Birchen Cochin Roo:

His imitation of a Bald Eagle.

SG Silkie x Bantam Polish Cockerel
(just plain missed getting his pic yesterday)

This young roo has not been plucked nor is he molting. He is actually part of our ugly breeding project.

Chick Magnet!

This growing adolescent is actually quite full of himself. Our lady’s man proclaims to be quite a stud.

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