More Little Chicken Eggs


My parents animal-sat while we were on vacation. I didn’t ask them to hunt for eggs in the yard, of course, and had almost forgotten about the two tiny chicken eggs we’d found the week before. But, yesterday the distinctive “bu-KAWK! buck-buck-buck bu-KAWK!” sound of a chicken complaining while laying eggs made me look behind the crawlspace entrance, from where the sound was emanating. There were eleven, still tiny, brown eggs collected there. 🙂 Continue reading “More Little Chicken Eggs”

Sneaky Nesting Duck


Around August 1st, I noticed that this Black Cayuga duck was not joining the other ducks in the duck house at night. This means that she is getting “broody” and hiding a nest of eggs somewhere. The fact that I have her was an accident- an order filling mistake by the mail-order poultry company. But, she lays eggs as well as the other breeds, so I’ve kept her. She is different from the other breeds I have (Magpie, Runner and Swedish)- she is more “wiley” I think. She can fly about six feet high for several yards, which none of the other ducks can do- they are all too heavy-bodied or oddly shaped to fly. She is also noisy, which I don’t prefer.

Continue reading “Sneaky Nesting Duck”

First Chicken Eggs


One of our chickens has started to lay, this was the first of two eggs we’ve found. They are usually tiny like this when the bird first starts to lay (the scale of the picture is hard to see, but I have small hands, this egg is about half normal size). We have Rhode Island Red chickens, which lay brown eggs. But this first egg looked funny- the brown pigment wasn’t consistent, so it looked like it had been airbrushed on.

I bought the chickens as day-olds around April 10th. So, this is a bit early for the beginning of laying- I would expect it more around 5-6 months of age. Hopefully that means they are going to be prolific layers!

The Mice Are Back, Part 2


This morning, I witnessed this funny little inter-species drama. The cat had caught a mouse, and was lording over her dead prize. The chicken wanted it. Our chickens can be a bit confrontational, I say, they aren’t “chicken” about anything. Here you can see the chicken is posturing to the cat in a tense and threatening way, and the cat is reacting with annoyance. A few times the chicken pecked at the cat, and the cat swatted back. They were definitely having an argument. Continue reading “The Mice Are Back, Part 2”

Status: Duck Incubation and Sewn-Up Duck

NewestDucksThe sewn-up duck has healed well- she still has  a barely perceptible limp, but I almost can’t tell her apart from the other adult ducks. Amazing!

Her adopted babies are the result of my next generation of duck egg incubation attempts. Still not good: 7 hatches out of 36 eggs! :-{ Again, I had a lot of eggs that appears to be fully developed, but never hatched. Continue reading “Status: Duck Incubation and Sewn-Up Duck”

Living With Coyotes: Part 2

yingyang1How to live in balance with your local coyote population? Here’s some of my thinking and learning thus far.

Of course the first temptation is to shoot at them, there is a very alluring promise of an immediate sense of “justice” and relief of seeing that thief dead! Removing certain animals from the population is a valid part of predator management. But, only a part. Continue reading “Living With Coyotes: Part 2”

Living With Coyotes: Part 1


We are sure having trouble with the coyotes this year. Last year, we experienced almost zero predation, I think we had one duck go missing all year, and no sheep losses. We rarely saw coyotes during the day, and when we did, they were off in the distance, hunting mice in the fields. At a human encounter, they quickly made themselves scarce. We heard them howling at night, so knew they were present, but we were all coexisting OK.

But, starting in January, that has drastically changed! Continue reading “Living With Coyotes: Part 1”

Poultry Houses

poultryaframes1I finally finished building my two new yuppie A-frame poultry houses a few weekends ago. I made one for chickens, with nest boxes and doors in the back for collecting eggs. The other one is just a plain night house. The two new houses are on the left, fully roofed; and the older, half-wire house is on the right.

I have the five duck hatchlings growing in the half-wire house. I bought some day-old Rhode Island Red chicks at the local feed store. I considered mail-ordering some, but have read a lot of the hatcheries are back-ordered quite a bit, and I was convinced I only needed a few. The feed store’s order was arriving right after I finished the houses.

I figured I only wanted about a dozen chickens, max, but asked for fifteen, figuring on some mortality. After I paid, the cashier said, “oh, you qualify for six free chicks based on the amount you spent today.” Ok, so now I have 21 chickens, and naturally, zero mortality! I think once you get them out of that mass-production environment into a roomy, warm pen with very accessible food and water, their individual odds of survivial go way up. Plus, I got there soon after their order had arrived, so got “fresh” chicks, and picked the most vigorous ones. I kept them in the house for the first several days until they were well established.chicks3

This was a pullet order, but I’m sort of hoping there will be a screw-up and at least one rooster in there, as I’d like fertile eggs. If not, I can buy one later. But these gals are a start, this fall, we should be able to start enjoying fresh chicken eggs, to augment the duck eggs. When they get a little bigger, I’ll teach them to range during the day, but go back into their house at night.