Saturday, July 30, 2005

My donkey thinks it is a chicken.

I think my donkey has lost his mind. Yesterday afternoon I decided to cut the grass in the pasture. So with this in mind I opened the gate to drive the tractor in and to my surprise my donkey ran right through the open gate. Now some of you might wonder what is supprising about this so I will just tell you that donkeys are usually a bit wary of something that is different. So normally you can open a gate for a minute or two and the donkey will just stand there and look at it while he trys to decide whether or not the open gate is a good thing or not. So as this gate is almost never open and the donkey in question has not been through it in about five years, I figured I had time to drive the tractpr in. Well I was wrong. As soon as I had opened the gate and got back on the tractor the darned donkey trotted out as nice as you please.

This behavior may be a little unusual but what happened next is the strange part. Now you should now that I have one hundred acres and wile that may not be the biggest farm in the world it is a good sized chunk of land when you are standing in the middle of it.

So I am sitting there on the tractor wondering what the donkey will do now that it is out and has the run of the entire farm when to my surprise he runs all the way over to the chicken barn and settles in to eat the grass amongst the chickens. There it stayed contentedly munching on grass with the chicken milling around underfoot as if it too was chicken. I had a hard time getting him to go back to his pasture and eventually had to entice him with food. So either the donkey thinks it is a chicken or that the chickens are donkeys, either way its nuts.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What is a Bantam ?

A Bantam is a miniature chicken. They are usually about 1/4 to 1/5 the size of a regular chicken.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Leghorn Chicken Breed

Leghorns are most often white but they do come in other colours. They're a hardy breed of chicken but their combs can get frostbite in the really cold weather. I don't like the leghorns much as they are really skittish. I know, I already confessed that I don't like birds at all, but some like the "zebra" are kind of okay.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Jack Attack Part 2

I looked around Left and Right. Where is it. I can't see it. Then in an instant a shadow came over me and with terror in my heart I began to realize the true depth of my situation. It was above me.

Whomp! It hit me Right in the back of the head. I felt its claws digging into the back of my neck as it beat me fiercely about the head. With a scream I let the pail drop to the floor as I fought to get the creature off me. I flailed about with my hands like a wild man, hitting it hard in the chest. It fell to the floor with a thump raising a cloud of dust as it scrambled to get back on its feet. Seeing my chance I turned and ran for the door my feet slipping in the soft dry dirt of the barn floor.

I turned and looked over my shoulder as I ran. It was right behind me relentlessly persuing its prey. I poured on all the speed I could muster as the barn door was now in sight. I hit the door still running nearly wrenching it off its hinges. Again I looked over my shoulder sure the mad creature would be close behind. To my great relief it was nowhere to be seen. I had made it. I had survived.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Plymouth Rock Chicken Breed

Plymouth Rocks are the chickens I call Zebra Chickens. They are black and white striped (or barred). They used to be a favourite for North American chicken farmers.

They are friendly and passive, and good foragers, they like to range free. We lost all ours to a mink one year and haven't replaced them yet

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Roosters Crow Whenever and Wherever...

Most folks think Roosters crow at dawn. They do start then but the truth is they crow all the time! It seems to be a male territorial thing.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Chicken Farming and Chickens in Feed Barrels

You have to watch if you are a Chicken Farmer - chickens are really tame and sometimes they even get smart and figure out where you keep your feed.

If your back is turned and the lid off the feed barrel, the smart one(s) will jump in when you're not looking. Then you put the lid back on without looking and you've trapped a chicken in what might be called Chicken Heaven....

Some of my chickens used to jump into the feed barrels and end up spending 24 hours in them before I'd find them in the morning. It's a shock to lift the lid up when you're half asleep and have a chicken come flying out at you.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Keets (Baby Guineas) Bred on Farm Need Warmth and Dry Spaces

Lorine has good luck with breeding her guineas on the farm. We found out that baby guineas, called Keets, often die from getting damp in the long grass. So as soon as they are born, or soon after, you have to find them and take them from the mother bird.

We have been lucky enough to find and gather quite a few hatches. We keep the day old birds in our shower stall downstairs. It's easy to rig up heat lamps, and keep sawdust in the bottom to keep the little ones dry. It's also easy for Lorine to get to for cleaning. You also have to be careful the baby birds can't slip, so don't use newspapers - their little legs are fragile. In fact adult guineas have very fragile legs too.

These keets are one week old and all survived.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rhode Island Red is the best chicken of all time

One of the most famous chickens of all time is the Rhode Island Red. It was developed back around 1910 in Rhode Island.

I say it is the best chicken of all time because it combines the best features of all the other breeds into one great package. The Rhode Island Red is very hardy it handles hot and cold temperatures well and they almost never get sick. It has a good temperament.

It forages well out side on its own in the barnyard. It lays lots of large brown eggs and is large enough to make a nice bird for the dinner table. If you are going to have only one kind of chicken on the farm this is it.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Jack Attack

Beads of sweat ran down my forehead as I crept silently through the barn. Carefully taking just a few steps then stopping to look around and listen for the sound of death which I new could be hiding anywhere amongst the old farm machinery or bales of hay. OK so far so good, a few more feet, stop, watch, listen. Satisfied for the moment that it was nowhere to be seen I made my move, I could see my goal just a few feet away -- the old 45 gallon drums of horse feed.

Earlier in the day when my uncle had asked me to feed his horses as he was going to be away, I had been to embarrassed to tell him of my fears. After all I was 10 years old, that's practically a grown up.

I moved quickly now. If I was fast maybe I could be gone before it returned to its lair. I dashed the last few feet to the feed barrels and flipped the metal lid off the drum with one hand and reached for the feed scoop with the other. Frantically I scooped the required amount into the green plastic bucket all the while scanning left and right for any sign of its return. There that's it, four scoops, I can't believe it, Im going to make it. Then I heard it, the sound that brought terror to my soul. The sound of death.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Children and Chickens on the Farm

My grandson loved holding this baby chick for the first time. It didn't seem to bother the chick either.

All you wanted to know about Chickens & Chicken Farming

Today I want to tell you about the Leghorn chicken. The Leghorn is a white-feathered egg layer that lays white eggs. It's the most common chicken used for commercial egg production.

I don't know how long they've been around, but at least 50 years. At maturity they weigh about 4 pounds and they start laying eggs at 4 to 5 months of age. They've been bred to have a very high feed to conversion rate, meaning you don't have to feed 'em much to get lots of eggs.

On the down side, it's been my experience that Leghorn chickens are very very high-strung. They are very exciteable, easily agitated, and a minor disturbance in the hen house can send them into a frenzy. This can put them off their lay for a day, so you lose a day's worth of eggs.

It's also been my experience in farming that Leghorns are more prone to eat their own eggs than other breeds. They're also not as hardy as other breeds so if you're looking for barnyard chickens running around the farm on their own, Leghorns aren't the best choice.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Chickens Can't Fly

Did you know that chickens can't fly? City slickers think they can because they have wings. But chickens are too big and heavy for their wing size so they are flightless. Sure they can lift off for a few feet (but not very high) if they try really hard, but they can't actually fly.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Plymouth Rock & Rhode Island Reds

I used to call this chicken on the right a zebra chicken. Their real name is Pymouth Rock. The reddish brown one is a Rhode Island Red.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Singapore Makes Plans for Bird Flu

The government Singapore has said that if a bird flu outbreak strikes again, it may resume health screening of all visitors as it did during the SARS crisis of 2003 and deter its citizens from traveling to countries that are infected with bird flu.

The Health Ministry unveiled its contingency plan Wednesday in case Singapore suffers cases of the H5N1 avian flu strain, which has killed 54 people in Asia since 2003. The city-state so far has reported no bird flu infections.

Friday, July 01, 2005

More Bird Flu in China

The World Health Organization has urged China to step up testing of wild birds, as well as the humans who've come in contact with them near a lake in remote Qinghai province where 5,000 birds have died. Health officials from the World Health Organization are afraid the bird flu might mutate into a form that could spread directly from person to person, setting off a pandemic.

Officials from the WHO say at least 54 people have died in Asia this year after becoming infected by sick birds.

Tests show the birds died of the H5N1 strain that has proven fatal in Asia's latest outbreak. All over Asia, authorities have slaughtered tens of millions of birds to contain the virus. That step has not been taken Qinghai province because many of the birds are from rare, protected species. Most of the slaughtered birds have been chickens and other poultry. Tests show the birds died of the H5N1 strain that has proven fatal in Asia's latest outbreak.

In Tokyo Japanese agricultural officials said they suspect cases of bird flu at a farm in northeastern Japan may have been part of a larger outbreak that has since receded. The Agriculture Ministry said Sunday some of the more than 800 chickens that have died since April at a farm in Mitsukaido City had been infected with the H5N2 strain of bird flu. H5N2 is considered less dangerous than the H5N1 strain because it is not yet known to infect humans.

On Tuesday, lab tests found chickens at the five farms closest to the infected farm had developed antibodies to the virus in their blood. Chickens at the remaining 11 farms tested negative.