Sunday, August 9, 2015

Little ducks & Turkeys first free-range day

We let the baby ducks & turkeys out of their little run yesterday; they had quite the adventure...I was worried about the little turkeys; they are so tiny; but they loved being out & catching bugs; it was hilarious to watch.  The turkeys were the first to venture out of the run while all the ducks huddled in the corner not knowing what to think : )

They were immediately on patrol for bugs, weeds, & anything they had not seen before: so funny...

After about 10 minutes; the ducks decided to join in on the fun & followed the turkeys out; they are such a herd: if one decides to go somewhere, the whole herd follows.  It's pretty funny; someone will venture out ahead & most follow; those that are not paying attention will get left behind & as soon as they realize, they peep their heads off & run like mad to get back with the group; it's a crack up : ) 

The roo didn't quite know what to think of the new invaders; but everyone settled down soon enough.  The ducks seem to go like mad for a bit & then someone decides it's nap time & they all pile up together: usually with a turkey or 2 in the middle; so cute!

The little turkeys were having the time of their lives; peeping at each other constantly; the would run back to the duck herd, then range out to where we were & then back again.  They are very friendly & don't seem to mind being picked up & petted; they usually fall asleep...

So cute!  The turkeys might be my favorite these days; they are so docile & sweet, whereas the chickens & ducks seem to go through a period of panic at everything after the first week; they eventually calm down, but as teen-agers they seem convinced that everything is out to eat them.  Maybe they would be calmer if we handled them more, but we tend to let the mama chickens raise them & since they free-range, after the first couple days it's pretty hard to catch them.  But: I think they are happier & healthier that way.  And it seems like there is always a few out of the crowd that like to socialize: like Gold Chicken; she think she should be able to come in the house anytime she wants & will hop up the stairs to sit on Josh's chair while he's on the computer.

Here she is with her 4 babies; she is one of the originals of the flock; old by chicken standards & this is her first brood: she has proved to be a really good chicken mom.  Thanks to the roo in the back, we have got some really good color this year; lots of new little red hens & some really pretty blue-ish colors; not sure where that came from, but not complaining : )

Also; quite a few frizzles; thanks to our 1 frizzled hen; I think our count is about 5 young frizzes at the moment & a couple have some cool coloring; so far they all appear to be hens; crossing my fingers : ) 

little red chick

And; we had some more baby chickens hatch: including Grey Chicken (the one we found in the shop the other day)--yesterday most of her eggs hatched & we moved her into the hutch today.  She must have been in the shop for 3 weeks!  LOL; chickens go into a bit of a trance when they are sitting on eggs: they don't make any noise & hardly move; I'm glad we spotted her.  She chose a nice soft spot to sit on her eggs, but there was no way the babies would have been able to get out of the crate & if we had not moved them they probably would have starved within a few days.   But we did, & all the babies are safe with the mom in the hutch with food & water.  

We have quite the bird farm these days; this is the most babies we have ever had.  It's a lot of fun though to watch them range around the property.  So glad that we have a big lot on the outskirts; we are almost out in the country--it's perfect.   We will have to start selling off some of the chickens & ducks soon, though; there are too many & I don't want the pasture & garden to be decimated.  Any roos that we cannot sell will go to "freezer camp" this fall, along with most of the turkeys.  Boy duckies will be re-homed & we will sell the excess hens (we are not really a fan of duck meat).  We have decided on our numbers; for chickens--20 hens & one roo, ducks--8 hens, & turkeys--probably just keep a boy & a girl for breeding next spring.  Although, we are getting a bit attached to the little turkeys that we raised in the brooder; we will see what happens this fall : )  

Does anyone else out there raise birds?  We are thinking about trying some quail & pheasants next year, and maybe a couple guineas...  Anyway: happy weekend!