Category Archives: Critters

More trouble with chickens….

This farming stuff is tricky business.

I like having my chickens free to do as they choose during the day.  They eat bugs and seeds and they look kinda cute bopping around the farm.

The problem with chickens being loose, is that a few of them have it in their heads to lay their eggs outside of their nest boxes.  This makes every other day a bit like Easter.  We have enlisted the help of local kids to stalk the chickens like little ninjas to find the day’s haul.

Once the nest is located it is best to put a “dummy egg” or two in the nest .  Chickens are dumb, but they aren’t that dumb.  If they go to lay a second egg in a nest and find the first egg gone, they will move on and find another spot to lay….this results in more  ninja neighbor kids stalking chickens…  You can see the problem.  For crying out loud, I have a zoo to build….I can’t keep hunting down dang eggs every day.

Most of the summer we have had a chicken with a cozy nest spot in the corner of the old root cellar nestled in my lilies.

Gus Egg 001

 

Lately though the dummy eggs were coming up missing…what the heck?  Is there a fox stealing the eggs?  Some other predator?

Sissy and her trail cam to the rescue!  Within minutes we had our perpetrator.

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That fuzzy little butt looks awfully familiar….GUSGUS!!!!!

Remember what happened to the chicken caught eating eggs….

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The trouble with chickens…..

For months now we have had a Rhode Island Red chicken eating eggs.  UNACCEPTABLE!  I have chickens so I can eat the eggs.

I promptly Googled how to stop chickens from eating eggs.  One recommendation was to fill an empty egg with mustard.  I did it and it worked….for a while.

Another was to place a golf ball in the nest box. Tried that, too.

We even tried using the trail cam and critter cam to catch the guilty party.

Nada. Nuthin’. Bupkiss. Goose egg (haha).

chicken in the pot

This method will work for longer than “a while”.  Done negotiating with chickens.

Turkeys

How on earth did we end up with turkeys??  I am discovering “that these things just happen.”

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I don’t know anything about turkeys.  I have never had turkeys.  I like turkey on the grill.  I  like roasted turkeys.  I have never in my life met a turkey.

Turns out turkeys are pretty cool.  I really like the noises they make.  Henry makes this  weird sound that is really more vibration than noise.  And “the girls” chatter and coo.

They certainly add to the farm.  And as a matter of fact, we might just try to hatch some baby turkeys.  Why not?

A warm welcome and howdy-do to “Henry and the girls”.

 

 

Ruby and George Kune

Ruby and George are our baby Kunekune pigs.  (Pronounced, ” Cooney Cooney.) Never heard of Kunekunes before?  Neither had we! Their name translates to “fat and round” in the Maori Language, and they make good pets.

ruby and george kune

I am not much of a television watcher.  That being said however; I love love love “The Incredible Dr. Pol” on Nat Geo Wild.  On an episode this winter, a woman brought her Kunekune to Dr. Pol.  It was love at first sight! Fuzzy pigs…what’s not to love??

George Kune        Ruby Kune

George Kune                                                             Ruby Kune

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Pixie

Pixie is the farm show off .  She will was born June 2013 and moved to the farm the spring of 2014.

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Her favorite trick is to go down the slide on her playground for treats.

Pixie is a pygmy goat and her partner in crime, Pepper, is catching on fast.

They are real talkers (especially at feeding time) and they are really fun to play with.

Poppy

Poppy belongs to Jill.  (Because again….who in their right mind needs two mini donkeys? Or three mini horses?  Or two Ginormous White Slobbering Dogs?)

Poppy

See… we went shopping for a mini cow (Lilly) for Anthony and Jill fell in love with a baby mini donkey.  She claims the donkey mama asked her to take her baby but I’m not so sure.  Can Jill really speak donkey?

poppy

Going to these other farms is tricky business. We were lucky to get out of there with just a mini cow, baby donkey and two goats!!  There was also a pony Ashley has her eye on…..

 Pippy 004

Poppy was born in a petting zoo and LOVES people! She can’t wait to meet everyone!

Shearing Day 2014

Today was Shearing Day at Cook’s Country Connection! Marty Hofmann of Integrity Shearing and his “Head Man” Eric were incredibly efficient and gentle with all the creatures getting haircuts.

 

First, let me start with this; a picture of a shaved alpaca.

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Welcome.

And below is Molly, my faithful camera assistant. She made sure to drool on my camera strap and nuzzle my pockets for goodies. 400 pounds of helpful, this one.

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Softer than cashmere and warmer than wool, alpaca fiber can be knit or woven, depending on it’s quality and intended purpose. Here is a wiki link to everything ELSE you ever wanted to know about Alpaca Fiber.  

Next year, we hope to have a seminar or field trip coincide with Shearing Day.

First, the animal is caught and trussed up like a Christmas goose. This keeps everyone -including the animal-safe. Here’s a video of what that looks like:

One, Two…THREE!

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The front legs are pulled forward, the back legs backward, and just like that, it’s time to shave a llama.

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This is Maddox, one of only two spitters today.  By the way, “spitting” is kind of inaccurate. It smells bad, and is more like projectile vomiting. Luckily, they only do this when all their other body language is ignored, and people are scaring them. I am guessing it tastes as bad as it smells, because he made the craziest “ew” face for hours afterward. (See that first picture??)

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Steve’s dad Leo did a great job his first time as official Gate Man.

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Jill was the only llama not to get the royal treatment today; she has a heart defect and is a Gramma Llama, so Lois didn’t want to stress her out.  She didn’t recognize her herd-mates until they breathed at each other a bit.

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Itchy (The Very Naughty Pony) was equally confused.

Here’s a video of that…the look on Itchy’s face just cracks me up when he sees that shaved llama. (You should probably just subscribe to our YouTube channel now. Chop chop.)

And THIS is as close as anyone will be getting to a llama for a few days, which is why we take this opportunity to vaccinate, de- worm and do pedicures at the same time.

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Lilly

Lilly is one of our bodacious bovines. Anthony (one of our Jr Farmers) had his heart set on getting a mini cow as a pet. And not just any mini cow – he wanted a mini Scottish Highlander. He saved his money for over a year and in April 2014 was able to pick up his new pet!

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Lilly is a GREAT addition to the farm!

Lilly 003

 

GusGus

Our dogs and cats are our personal pets and not “exhibit animals”.  That doesn’t mean you won’t see them bopping around the farm but interactions with them will be unlikely.

GusGus is quite the character.

halloween costumes2011 008He never really liked his role at the Cook Dollar Barn.

GusGus and BigGuyHe is much happier as a farm dog.  

He and Walli are half siblings and are Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

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Corgi’s are herding dogs and this is one area where GusGus is superior to his sister.  He absolutely – positively – LIVES for chasing Feta back into the pasture. And squirrels into the trees.  And naughty ponies away from the fence.  He is the talker of the bunch….sassy even.  He has a bark that makes my ears bleed.

All his flaws aside, he was one darn cute puppy!

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