Friday, March 14, 2014

Ella & Fella (Sebastopol Geese ) Are Nesting

 Ella & Fella, my Sebastopol geese have grown up . I love them so much. Until recently they followed me around like doting puppies ,but I guess like all youngsters, they grow up and other things become more important. Spring has come to Cedar Pond and Ella & Fella  along with the ducks, chickens , sheep , birds, frogs, etc., have followed their instincts to reproduce .
 We placed a kennel in our vegetable garden last month to house Ella & Fella while they got used to living near the pond. They got used to the kennel for a week before I began opening it up during the day to let them outside the veggie garden , giving them access to Cedar Pond. The pond is fairly large. There is an island in the middle and we can row a boat around it, so it easily accommodates geese that need a large body of water for successful mating, along with our flock of ducks, the wild ducks, Blue Heron , occasional Bald eagles and hawks.
 Another view of the veggie garden . You can see the geese in the kiddie pool .It was their sole water source when they lived in the back poultry yard. My husband opened some of the fence wire in his veggie garden so the geese could come and go during the day. They also ate all the weeds and much of the greenery in the garden ( fertilized it too ) so he can rototill the garden next week and begin planting without as much work. Yesterday I blocked off all the garden but the kennel and pond access from my geese to protect my husband's garden from their efficient browsing. This allows them access to their home while Ella has started incubating the eggs she has laid in her nest in the back of the kennel. The geese have to be penned up at night, as do my ducks and chickens or predators would eat them. We have many raccoons, coyotes, dogs, possums, and feral cats who find my poultry tasty.

 Ella on her nest. Since Ella is a first time mama I want to make sure she can incubate and raise her young. Sebastopol geese are not too common and they are expensive , so I gave 6 of Ella's eggs to friends to incubate in their incubator , replacing her eggs with fertile duck eggs . She is sitting on 9 duck eggs. Duck eggs have the same incubation time and requirements as goose eggs. Plus, if she successfully hatches them, they will thrive with her as a mama. If she does well I'll let her tend her own eggs next spring.
Fella guarding Ella. Geese can be scary as they run at a person with their wings spread wide, hissing and biting, but Fella does not do that to me. I think he still loves me and knows I'll not hurt him or Ella, but he's not so nice to our dogs and the ducks ! Good for him.
I'll keep this blog updated regarding Ella & Fella's nesting. Whatever happens, I am still very happy with these geese. For now , here's a view of Ella & Fella heading back to the nest.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ducks In Winter

 The ducks coming up from the pond where they enjoyed  a cold swim & splash. No matter the weather, our ducks love the pond even when it is mostly covered in ice.




Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Poultry Management & Goals for 2014

 I am pleased with the Sebastopol geese I bought last spring. Ella & Fella are beautiful, easy to keep, and I am hoping they follow the plan and lay fertile eggs THEY will incubate & raise. These geese just make me happy. They know my voice and squawk & honk every time I speak to them. They also follow me around like puppies.
 Our laying flock is comprised of Americaunas, Cuckoo Marans, and white Orpingtons. The Cuckoo Marans have been a disappointment because after the first few months of laying, their chocolate brown eggs became the typical brown color of most every other brown egg layer. Aside from my disappointment over their egg color though, the Marans have been hardy chickens laying all year round and my Maran rooster is a handsome and very nice fellow.
 Last weekend I cleaned the laying pen out. 12 wheelbarrows of yuck were toted out and spread in the garden and a shallow area needing more fill. I dusted the flock with lice powder and also the nest boxes & perches. I am putting apple cider vinegar in their water and have begun giving them Hen Grit . They seem to appreciate the grit . For the last 2 months I've been getting only 1 or 2 eggs a day but since Monday of this week the girls are giving me 3 to 5 eggs a day ! I think the total cleaning, dusting, and minerals have helped but have to admit the increasing daylight hours probably are the reason for the better egg count. That and the girls are finally all done moulting.
 I love my Bantam White Cochins, especially the frizzled ones. I am definitely going to keep raising them , maybe add some new breeding stock . The rooster is my original rooster so he must be a few years old and from what I've read, the fertility of roosters decreases significantly as they age.
 This is Mr. Fancy Pants. He is a Silkie / Bantam White Cochin cross hatched and raised here by his momma. I was afraid he was a goner 2 weeks ago. My Bantam Barred Cochin rooster decided after a year of getting along with Mr. Fancy Pants and the flock that he wanted to kill Mr. Fancy Pants. I found Mr. FP cowered in the corner of the bantam pen, bloodied and battered. I captured the barred bantam and caged him up to be sold at the auction. I had planned on keeping the barred cochin for breeding, but I simply don't have the desire to accommodate aggressive roosters anymore and Mr. Fancy Pants is easy going, tends & protects the hens and their chicks from predators and is fun to watch. I was concerned he had lost his right eye in the fight and until today it was a swollen shut blob. But look he has healed quite well !
 The two youngest doves are sitting near the lamp keeping warm and out of the way of the adult doves.
 I have a pair of doves sitting on eggs again. My doves are prolific and the dove population is always growing around here. I have 3 pens of doves. this is the backyard pen where they thrive. I captured 6 of the 20 living here and took them to the auction last weekend. It seems they are intent on replacing their numbers.

 These are the chickens I am really excited about ! Paint Silkies. No, they are not dirty. ( Well, their head tufts are because they keep pushing their heads into the chicken wire surrounding their pen to get whatever looks good on the other side. ) They have black spots !
 I bought them at the poultry show I attended with my grandson Bugs. There are 2 roosters and a hen. I will be breeding the roosters to the white Silkies I already have and begin looking for some more Paints. I have been scouring the internet for as much info as I can find on this new variety. Just think, spotted sheep, spotted ducks, spotted chickens.....

Best of all fresh from the chicken eggs !
 
2014 Goals for my poultry :
  • Buy more white Orpingtons & Americaunas for laying flock
  • train geese & ducks to live and graze near the pond which will be a better home and environment for them ( in other words, they aren't to live in the backyard anymore )
  • Prepare the new Silkie Shack for my Silkies and breeding program.
  • Begin culling doves for the whitest , hoping to breed out the ghost of a ring around their necks I find in a few doves.
  • Nurture assorted bantam hens , make new nest boxes for them to incubate & brood chicks.
  • Buy new Bantam White Cochin chicks, some frizzled.
  • Learn more about the Porcelains I have ( thanks Bugs ) and begin preparing them for show.
  • Look into local poultry shows and begin preparations.
  • Enjoy my chickens fully !!!!!!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

D'uccle color genetics

 In this post I will  be writing about  some of the d'uccles color genetics and how to improve some of the problems that occur in these colors.
 Above is Copper one of the chicks hatched this year , if you look you can see that there are two or three shades of orange throughout his body, this is one problems of the Mille Fleur color , you can breed this out by crossing a Porcelain with a Mille, the chicks will come out as mille  Fleur's with lavender genes, if you breed the chicks back to other Mile Fleur's for a few generations you should be able to get the Porcelain genetics out.

 



 Above is a photo of the wing of my Porcelain rooster this is a feather quality problem that happens with Porcelains mainly the Roosters, you can breed this out by breeding them to mille Fleur's , the chicks will come out Mille Fleur's with Porcelain Genes , then you breed the chicks back to other Porcelains those chicks should then come out Porcelains, a few generations of breeding them to Porcelains that haven't been crossed to any other colors should eliminate the Mille Fleur Genes.                                                                                                                                                       Below is one of the chicks from my Black Mottled Project, He is a Porcelain Black Mottled Cross the red Color in his feathers comes from the mille Fleur in the background of the Porcelain , the porcelain is a Mille Fleur with the Lavender gene  which turns buff or red to cream and black to Light blue , breeding one of the chicks below should Produce Blue or Self Blue Mottleds which I guess I will find out when I breed the hen I hatched this year.





Friday, November 22, 2013

Poultry Show ~ Lacamas Community Fair 2013

This past August we attended our local community fair. Our grandson & granddaughter are now showing chickens where their mother showed chickens and rabbits when she was their age. Here is Bugs with one of his bantam d'Uccles, waiting for his turn in the Fitting & Showing competition.

In this competition the competitors are required to wear white long sleeved shirts and dark pants or skirts. The chickens , ducks, turkeys, or any other poultry being shown must be perfectly groomed.The judges award points in this competition based on the condition of the bird, the knowledge of the handler, how the competitor handles the bird and him / herself . Some fitting and showing competitions also require the competitors to take a nomenclature test which is a chart of a chicken with about 50 blank lines with arrows pointing to various parts of a chicken's anatomy. Yup, a "fill in the blank" test !
Bugs answers the judge's questions.


I think he did O.K.
Both Bugs and his sister did O.K. Congratulations to my two bird-brains !

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Washington Feather Fanciers Winter Brisk ~2013

 My grandson Bugs & I attended a poultry show this past weekend. I saw it advertised in this months issue of Backyard Poultry and we decided to check out the chickens on display.
 This little rooster won big !

 These Sebastopol geese are beautiful, and I wish I had written down the name of the owner of this pair. ( Not that I'll be buying any more geese Jim. )
 Here are the very breed of chickens my grandson has been wanting for quite awhile. Salmon Faverolles. Bugs wants bantams though and we finally found a breeder of bantam Salmon Faverolles right here at the poultry show ! Above is a hen and below is of course, in all his glory, the rooster.

 Bugs raises this breed, and loves them.

 An African Buff goose. This goose was huge. There were quite a few geese at the show,
 and turkeys too. This is a magnificent Narragansett Turkey.
 "What are you looking at ? "
 We had to wait awhile to view the chickens I especially wanted to see, the Silkies. This is a judge very carefully checking out each fluffy bundle and the young man on the right was writing down her comments.
 Just look at this cute Silkie !
 I must admit, I came home with 3 half-grown Silkie chicks, but I'll show them in another post.

 Now here are some serious curls. I have never seen any birds with such tightly curled feathers. Click on the picture to enlarge and really look at the feathers these pigeons are sporting.

The weather this past Saturday was terrible and to get to the show was a 2 hour round-trip drive. I almost canceled because of this, but Bugs wanted to go. I am glad we did. The Washington Feather Fanciers Winter Brisk ~ 2013 was well worth it and Bugs is thinking about entering some of his own chickens next year !