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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: guinea 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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Guess what I got for my birthday! What better way to celebrate the big FOUR SEVEN than with the coolest farm-friendly bird on the planet. They eat anything, just like a pig, and are winter hearty.

We had just been watching Freddie Mercury‘s last heart-wrenching performance of “The Show Must Go On” a night or two before we got the peacock. When my husband jokingly suggested that we call this breathtakingly, beautiful boy “FRED”, the “Queen” reference took hold.

Our guy makes a loud sound much like that of a classic car honking or a bike horn. Peacocks do not sing. His voice is not a music to our ears, but very enjoyable – nonetheless.

Freddie

There would have been pics sooner, but after several days with no problems, our two guinea fowl hens decided to get territorial. They beat him up raw. You can still see the area at the base of his head which is void of feathers.

Freddie’s cage is blocked off with empty, plastic, feed bags. This helps top protect him from extreme weather, shyness and the now free ranging guinea girls that tried to poke at him through the chicken wire.

I was worried, since he is young and was not settled into his new home yet. But, with a heat lamp and triple antibiotic cream, Freddie made it through the aftermath with flying colors.

Curious Freddie

He is a young male, so does not yet have the long tail feathers. But, his long neck and legs are all ready to balance them out. Another year or two and he will be the pride of the barn yard.

Head Shot

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We have tried many different ways to provide fresh water to our fowl. Containers have been purchased at the farm supply stores. Bowls have been made from old pots and buckets.

Either way, there has always been quite a problem with the birds getting their drinking supply dirty. I have been trying to come up with a good, low cost solution that is not too difficult to set up.

I recently discovered that you need to put a little money into a specialized part. Then you can recycle household items (2 liter soda containers, wire/twine) for the rest of the project.

The part was probably, originally designed for use in higher volume PVC pipe type watering systems. If you poke around the net, you will find some information about their use for back yard flock waterers. I purchased a dozen push in watering nipples from Meyer Hatchery’s web site (McMurray Hatchery – similar name but no drinkers for sale).

Large Soda Bottle with Nipple

Getting this together is a bit harder than it looks. You must have a good drill and a bit that is about 23/64″. The hole that you drill needs to be as small as possible so that the nipple fits tightly and does not leak.

The crucial pivot point of my neck is damaged, so I have to commandeer my husband for tasks that require arm strength and pressure derived from the upper body. Even as a really big guy, he struggled to push the nipple (including 1/2 of the rubber washer) through the hole. I may try to find a drill bit that is just a touch wider.

Drilling can be a challenge since the soda bottle cap wants to spin with the drill bit. I have a solution in my head that would make the task easier if one were to make a lot of these drinkers. You need to use a 2″ x 4″ board under the cap to drill through it and not into the floor. But, I think if you were to attach two pieces of wood to this board in a V-like shape, you could slid the cap into the spot where it was snug for drilling.

The next step is to construct something in order to to hang the bottle up at bird head level – so that they can drink comfortably. We drilled a small hole on either side towards the base of each bottle. Wire or rope slides right through the middle and creates a handy hanger when tied or twisted at the ends.

Hanger and Filler Door

You also need a way to fill the bottle up with water. I wanted the watering system to be EASY to manage. Not wanting to have to take the bottles out of the coop, take off the cap, fill and put back, I decided on a hole at the base near the holes for the hanger.

After several tries, I came up with a good solution. A “Fish Mouth” shape was the winner. So that the least amount of contaminants would enter the bottle, a flap was a necessity. It was also important that an average size hose would fit in for filling. I followed the contour of one of the 5 bubbles in the bottle design that make up the standing base. PERFECT!

These were tested before I wrote this Blog entry. They work great! So far, the new drinkers are in the standard chicken, guinea, bantam chicken and quail pens. A few drops of water and shiny steel parts attracted the birds to the nipples. By the next day they were all drinking readily from the hanging pop bottles.

Water in the drinkers lasts several days. You can add a little apple cider vinegar or a drop of bleach to help keep them clean. I am guessing that periodically, the bottles will have to be replaced. The caps with nipples can be re-used over and over again.

Final Product

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