...and the dogs shall share a meal with the chickens.

Good tidings to you this holiday season! May the returning Sun/Son bring you joy this coming New Year.


A Wee Bit Early

Last time, it didn't start until February 2009. This time, it starts today, December 20 2009. What's the occasion? The first goose egg of the season!


Battling Ganders

Or, "it's waaay too early for this sh*t, guys." Godzilla and Billy-Bob had been growing more & more agitated whenever I was around the girls these past few weeks. Princess and Duchess started wooing each other two days ago. This morning there was a three-some in the Pool of Woo when Duchess got annoyed that Billy-Bob was on top of Princess, and decided she should be on top of them both. Then tonight, the first of what will be many fights as Billy-Bob and Godzilla battled for the alpha male position.

The lead gander can change between battles. Billy-Bob was lead for about a month last year, with Godzilla taking over for the remainder of the breeding season after one huge Battle Royale. This year, Billy-Bob is once again taking the top spot early on, but one can't count out Godzilla. If the boys duke it out when the gals are around, the gals will circle and cheer on the fight. Tonight, the boys ended up half-flying, half-rolling downhill while they both had beak-holds, trying to wingbeat the other into submission.

Egg-laying season should be starting around the end of January. Huh, I guess it isn't that early after all...


Which Smells the Worst?

Alrighty, pop quiz: which smells the worst?
  1. chicken feces
  2. goose feces
  3. peafowl feces
  4. dogs who've been rolling in carrion

e. whichever is plastered all over you at the moment.

Last night was peafowl feces. We moved the girls out of quarantine, as after five days there were no signs of obvious diseases, coughs, sneezes or feather loss. They weren't going voluntarily from the larger quarantine quarters into the smaller carrying cage we'd positioned at the quarantine door, so I had to crawl into the quarantine quarters and herd them out while Spouse held the carrying cage. By the time they had been scooted out, my jeans, arms & hands had managed to squish into every fresh pile of poo that was available on the straw bedding. Peafowl poo alot when they're concerned, it seems.

The Muses are now housed in a brand-spankin' new 10'x10'x6' chain-link kennel. Once they've been in there a few weeks and have acclimated to our property and its rhythms, they'll be released into the general population. Then the kennel will be used to corral the (currently stinky) dogs and keep them out of the way whenever we have contractors or the propane delivery guy on the site.

The girls settled in well. Personally, I had to wash my hands before taking a shower afterward.

[pic: one of the girls... Euterpe?]


Flies, Mailboxes, and Rescued Peahens

Flies: We just had a cold snap, and the plague of flies are now (fingers crossed, hopefully, please-gawd-please) dead, dead, DEAD! They'd been horrid this Fall, hanging out on the screen doors in swarms, and getting into the house constantly. We don't use bug spray (we're "catch & release" folks whenever possible, even with scorpions), so were swatting throughout the days and into the evenings. I would have preferred to shoo them out, but you can't shoo out a fly. It's like trying to herd cats: just ain't gonna happen. One night, I killed over two dozen flies just in the kitchen alone. On the upside, all this swatting really improved my hand/eye coordination, so I'm hoping to parlay these skills into whatever next PC game I pick up.

Mailboxes: our mailbox must have really pissed off someone. I was bringing home the peahens, and decided to check the mail on the way in. Usually have to lean over the passenger side to get to the mailbox, but couldn't quite lean far enough over to get to it this time. Not only was it beaten flat, but it had been knocked completely off its post. No getting the dents out this time, the box is toast. Next question: should I go the thrifty-yet-time-consuming route and make a cement-lined mailbox (you know, for the surprise factor next time the Mailbox Baseball team takes a slug at it), or go the lazy/expensive route and buy a Veeders Carbon Steel mailbox? Decisions, decisions...

Oh, and those rescued peahens mentioned: yep, got three of them this afternoon. A local breeder was hoping the feed store I work at would sell them, but the store only sells chicks. These poor adolescent girls were wet, cold, and huddled together in a way-too-small cage that was being hauled around in the back of the breeder's pickup truck. In the rain. The neon "SUCKER" sign on my forehead started to flash and overheat. The breeder really wanted to be rid of them - "we've got too many females" - so I said "I'll take them off your hands, since the store isn't willing to buy them." "You got'em." Free. [Although there's really no such thing as a free pet, is there?] Brought the girls home, and set them up in a quarantined area. They appear to be settling in just fine. Have named them after three of the Nine Muses: Calliope (poetry), Euterpe (music), and Thalia (comedy). They're just now getting some of their colored feathers. Should be beautiful green ladies by Spring. Bonus: they like to eat scorpions! Perhaps they can keep the population around here down enough so we won't find scorpions in the house anymore, as in: on our clothes... on the bed... in the bathtub...

Of Mice and Various Snakes and new Duck Feed Station

As mentioned in the previous post, our region is experiencing a near-Biblical plague of mice. "It's due to all the moisture we had...