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Hello Tom

April 20th, 2016

Tom has been dancing for all the turkey hens, he’s quite a handsome fellow. Of course the ladies pretty much ignore him all the time. That doesn’t deter him, he still spends all day dancing and puffing his feathers to show them how handsome he is. I’m quite happy with him, he’s a real gentleman. He’s never shown even a hint of aggression towards me. This year I’ll be letting my muscovy hen hatch out ducklings, but I’m not sure if I’ll be letting any of the turkeys set, we shall see. I am selling fertile hatching eggs though, I’m happy to provide these for other locals who want to raise turkeys and don’t have toms or hens.
Bourbon Bronze Turkey (1)
Of course it’s mating season with all the wild birds as well. I enjoy hearing and seeing them all flitting about the garden and starting the process of bringing up the next generation of pest control for my garden. We have a pair of nesting crows and they’ve been madly building their nest in the pine grove below the house. They are a joy to watch!

Have you been noticing bird courting in your garden?

Balancing

January 12th, 2016

When you have birds, or any animal, it’s a balancing act. Finding the best way to keep them safe from predators while allowing them freedom to roam and be able to be what they want to be. The result is that my birds range fairly freely, but I lose some to predators on occasion. Yesterday was one of those occasions.
Turkey feathers in chicken wire
It’s always sad to lose a bird or two, but in the circle of life we can’t expect our animals to always win. Life just doesn’t work that way. My predator loses are very low, but that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking to lose an animal you’ve been raising and caring for. We lost two of our young turkeys Sunday night or Monday morning. It was their fault for deciding to roost outside not safely in the coop like they should have, especially now that the electric fences are down for the winter. It did teach all the other birds a lesson, every single young turkey was in the coop early yesterday afternoon, safely locked away from whatever nabbed their two litter mates.

Happy as Clams

April 2nd, 2015

All of the birds are happy as clams. As the snow recedes they immediately go to the fresh ground and start scratching away. No doubt there will be a few bare spots in the lawn where they have congregated for the past few weeks.
chickens in spring 1
Thankfully, more and more area are opening up so they can spread out a bit and kick through leaves, which they prefer to grass. They linger much longer outside now that the days are getting warmer, sunnier, and longer. I can’t close up the coop until it’s dark, even then there are often chickens outside the door trying to enjoy the last bit of daylight.
chickens in spring 2
With the spring will also come foxes and other predators. As soon as the snow melts it will be time to put up the electric fences and get them going once again. Until then the chickens will enjoy being 100% free range.
chickens in spring 3
I notice the wild birds are also out and about more. As I gather sap during the day I hear more and more birdsong. It’s a beautiful thing to hear and see animals and birds string in the wild once again.

Are you noticing more birds and wildlife as spring comes?

The Circle of Life

May 20th, 2014

When you have animals you notice the circle of life.  On Sunday morning I went out to the coop to find our oldest hen had died during the night.  She was in her usual spot the night before when I counted everyone at bedtime, she must have died in her sleep right on her roost.  I’m happy she went this way, it’s no fun dealing with sick chickens.  She lived a long happy life, out foraging in the fields and have fun with her flock mates.
Chickens 2
We’re not sure how old she was, probably around 5 years old. She came to us with the house when we arrived a year and a half ago, she was an Isa Brown. We still have a few of these original hens left, but their numbers have dwindled by way of fox attacks.
Broody Hen Umbrella
Meanwhile, Broody Hen is being a wonderful mom, bringing up replacements for her. So goes the circle of life, there is birth and death; the young replace the sick, older or those lost through predation. It will be interesting to see how many of these little chicks are hens and how many are roosters. It seems in spring the new life cycle of this circle is most evident since this is the time when animals are hatching and birthing the subsequent generation.

Have you noticed new life in the garden?

New Life

April 29th, 2014

Miss Broody finally has a few babies. Last Friday morning I noticed a little chick in the nesting box when I checked on her. Sadly, there was one that hadn’t made it through the hatching process as well.
broody hen and chicks 1
I checked on her on Saturday morning and there were a few more chicks and a couple more in the process of hatching out. Monday morning I moved them from the tiny nesting box into a small brooder in the chicken coop with food, water and a small heat lamp.
broody hen and chicks 2
It will be interesting to watch these little ones grow up to see what they look like. Some of them should be Wyandottes, some of the will be barnyard mixes, no doubt they’ll all be just as great as their parents!
broody hen and chicks 3
Miss Broody went right to work showing her babies how to scratch around in the litter, drink from their water bowl and eat the food I provided for them. I wanted to put them outside but it was very cold and rather windy. If they could easily navigate in and out of the coop I would have let her simply take them wherever she wanted, but our coop is not accessible to little birdies, that’s something we’re hoping to work on. There are also lots of layers of chicken wire installed by the previous owner and it is kind of a land mine for little ones.
broody hen and chicks 4
In the future we hope to have a new coop with a dedicated brooding area for mama birds to hatch out their young and it will have a dedicate run area attached to it for safe outdoor fun for little babies. Until then, we’ll make do with what we have, which probably means carrying them outside into a fenced in area and then carrying them back in at night. It will be well worth the effort in the health benefits it will provide for the little ones.

Any wonderful things happening in your house/garden/coop?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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