Mostly Good Animal News

I hope all of you who celebrate Independence Day in The US have a safe and fun holiday. And now for the news update.

Guinea Drama Part 2

I went out to feed the birds yesterday, and lo and behold, there were only five guinea keats. I fed them and was confused. So when Chris got home, I asked if we weren’t supposed to have seven. He said yep. Crap.

I then looked more carefully at their cage. Since it got put in the chicken pen, it’s been on grass. That made what WERE small holes into bigger holes. Two of the little dickenses had escaped.

The five remaining ones, nicely arranged.

About that time, Alfred skipped by looking very happy. Well, there was one keat. We still haven’t found the other.

Henhouse Happiness

As we were standing around lamenting the loss of the guinea fowl, Lee asked when we could combine the two chicken groups. I said now, I guess. So everyone is together now.

We’re taking over!

The older ones definitely are the bosses, but they aren’t attacking or anything, other than Clarence, showing what a manly rooster he is. He and Bruce are okay.

Gracie wanted to help Bertie and Ginger eat grass.

This means we can add our new nesting boxes and expand the run some more. We’re working on that, and more shade, today.

The new hens clustered for a while but it’s better now.

How’s Apache, You Ask?

I’ve been walking him a little bit every day. Today Chris came over to observe his gait, and we are pleased to report he’s walking pretty normally.

Grass! Yay!

So we let him and Fiona enjoy some green grass and loving for a while. They’re so good, just relaxing with us.

Happy to be out of that pen.

And you can sure tell Apache has lost weight. That’s one fine butt with no belly showing through!

His best side?

And of course we need to end with the cutest thing ever.

Do you have a treat?

Animal Farm Report

No, this is not a report about a book I read in high school that’s eerily reminiscent of today. I’m just updating on the ranch animals.

How’s Apache?

We continue to monitor the heck out of him. He’s walking fairly normally, so we will slowly start exercising him. Yesterday Sara and I walked him around for about ten minutes. And yes, he stuffed as much green grass in himself as he could.

Still eating hay.

He’s on a different feed, new supplements and the Buteless herbs. And he gets his coronal band painted most days. Pampered!

As for Fiona, she loathes sunscreen. Sigh.

Today we’re going to get a lot of straw that we can leave out for them to chomp during the day, since Apache and Fiona are in the dry lot a while longer.

The Other Horses

Today I tried a real ride on Lakota, the dreamy palomino. It was interesting to ride such a well trained horse. He sure backed up well, and he trotted over obstacles!

The ride was helpful for me, because I was able to convince him eating grass was not on the agenda. And my use of the reins got better, thanks to Sara’s help. Making strides!

Spice is getting fungus medication and it’s making her look worse, so far. But that may be appropriate. She and Lakota are now eating down the grass in the small paddock, so it will be bad enough for poor Apache, eventually. Ugh.

And Birds?

The guinea keats are growing like crazy and starting to lose hair on their necks, as you can see here.

We think we’re cute.

They’re still pretty ugly, but will be beautiful adults.

No more fairy eggs! The ones on the left are from yesterday.

Clarence the rooster has finally been accepted by Bertie and Ginger. He’s usually out with them now. I just hope he starts fertilizing them soon. Poor Fancy Pants keeps brooding.

At least we’re in the same general vicinity.

The others are developing personalities. Hedy seems to be the boss. I see her eating oyster shells, so I hope that means she’s a hen. Her tail is suspiciously attractive.

Pretty Hedy

And Bruce never ceases to amuse me. He’s bossing like a boss and fluffing his crazy feather variety all the time. And trying to crow (no luck yet from either rooster).

I think I’m cute.

Horse Tragedy, Dog Comedy, and Fairy Eggs?

Sometimes life sends you from one extreme to another so quickly that it takes your mind a while to catch up. Today was one of those days.

I was walking to the horses so I could feed them, accompanied by Vlassic, who was jumping around eating grasshoppers, chased a cow, and had a grand time. As I came past the bales of hay, I looked toward the cattle pen, to see how Apache was doing.

My heart stopped. He was lying motionless in the dirt. Fiona said hee-haw and he didn’t move. I quickly walked up and said, “Apache?” In what I’m sure was a stricken pet-owner voice.

I’m okay, mom. See? I’m trying to be funny and stepping in my dish.

He flipped his head up an whinnied. Whew. But, had he foundered? Could he stand up? Did I have to call the vet? He answered that question by hauling himself to his feet and shaking. He’d just been napping.

He’s up and eating!

By that time, I’d called poor Sara, who said, “You do know they lie down, right?” But she understood why I’d panicked.

Actually he is walking marginally better today. He’s still not great, though.

Fiona always stays close.

Meanwhile, Fiona kept nudging me. I turned to see what her problem was just in time to see a little black butt slipping into her water tub. Vlassic was apparently hot.

The tub, the water, the dog, all black.

Fiona was not amused to see him in HER water, but I went straight from my fear for Apache and his feet to laughing maniacally at the dog. That was great.

That was NOT funny. Also, this pen is too small.

We fed the other horses, who are on their best behavior, then went back to chicken world to get today’s eggs.

We’re over here, being good, eating our own food.

All the ladies and Bruce were fine, but there were no eggs. Then, on the ground, I saw this:

That is one small egg!

What the..? I went to the Googles and found that Ginger had laid what is called a fairy egg! They are tiny eggs, usually with no yolk. They are also usually lighter or darker than a hen’s usual egg.

Lee’s thumb, usual egg from Ginger, fairy egg. Yep, it’s darker.

They happen when something disturbs a hen’s reproduction process. Well, of course! Ginger and Bertie were quite disturbed by being cut off from their pen and all those new pullets showing up.

We will have to see if Bertie pops out a fairy egg tomorrow. Little do they know, but tomorrow they get a new boyfriend. Oooh. Don’t tell them.

Donkey Legs and Other Problems with Dampness

Poor Miss Fiona! When I trudged over (okay, I drove) to feed the steeds after finishing my newsletter draft, I noticed one of them did not slog up to greet me, and it was her.

The horses were clean on top and muddy on the bottom after yesterday’s big rain, but were happy to see me. Fiona stood in the middle of the paddock and brayed at me. Hmm.

They’d also gotten locked out of the pens, so were excited at new grass (at most they were locked out two days).

I got their supplements all prepared, and the horses dug in, but FiFi just hobbled a couple of steps. Uh-oh. I went out to her and eww! Every single leg was raw and bleeding on the outer side. Of course there were also flies everywhere.

I took pictures and sent them to Sara. We pondered. Did a dog go after her? No, they aren’t puncture wounds. Did she slip in the mud and scrape her legs? Well, how would that happen to all four?

Ick.

We’ve narrowed it down to rain rot that she’s making worse by gnawing on it, or lice or something. I’ll look again tomorrow and try to get better pictures to send the farrier. In the meantime, I cleaned her as much as I could and fly sprayed her. More news as it happens!

Damp Hens

I felt badly for the chickens last night when it rained so hard, but they were fine today. I need to get their food covered better, though, because it keeps getting wet.

We’re happy hennies.

It is still damp and foggy now, so I just put food on the ground with their delicious scratch and leftover veggies.

They still aren’t laying, even though they have grown a lot. Oh well, they are good diversions.

Playing! Fun! Okay!

Today’s word for UU Lent is play. Great choice, since Lee and I are taking a birthday present road trip to visit a new place and see some relatives. It’s my gift to him. We hope to get Lee relaxed and me out looking at water. Fun.

As you can see, he’s thrilled.

I’ve always tried to incorporate play into my life. Some of the goofy stuff I do, like weird hair colors and holiday-themed nails are play for me and a way to encourage others to bring some fun into their lives.

Tina really enjoyed making these St Patrick’s Day nails.

My two main sources of fun at this point in my life are the Master Naturalist activities and my animals. I learn so much in our MN meetings and classes, and I have fun sharing it with others.

Boy did I learn a lot about plant ID a couple weeks ago.

The dogs and chickens make me play. They can’t help it. But true play is when I’m with Apache and Fiona. They both love to play, and I love going along with them. They just like to hang out together. Like yes, when Trixie the farrier came, we spent most of the time cuddling and nuzzling.

My guys.

Apache loves when Trixie comes and he gets to get in those weird positions and then feels better. I think he thinks they’re playing.

Today’s Instagram post shows a horse playing!

Riding just exhilarates me. It’s the best playtime ever.

One More Way to Play

I must admit that some aspects of our work renovating properties is like play. I do have fun picking out colors, fixtures and such. And Chris and I tend to play pretty often. Yesterday, we decided to check out the well behind the Pope Residence.

Look! Water!

It has water in it. We are now working on ideas for what we can do with that. We both admitted we had wanted to look in there for a long time.

I’ll have a Pope update soon. Until then, here’s a hint of what we hope will be the next project.

Hmm. Looks like a house…

Damp and Dreary Can Be Cheery

Today started out bathed in fog, and as the sun sets it’s still drizzling. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day. You can find beauty anywhere if you just look around! Just look at all these beautiful water droplets!

Anita stayed over last night, sleeping on my gradually softening air bed. Shoot, that was a GOOD air bed. We had the nicest discussion, just Anita, Lee, and me, as we drank our hot beverages and finished cleaning up after last night’s delicious Thanksgiving dinner. I felt so relaxed, with Carlton curled up in my lap, and the fog draped over the trees outside.

Web of glistening sparkles.

I got Anita to walk the dogs with me and pose like she is out on the misty moors. It was fun to walk through all the tiny air droplets. It wasn’t too cold, so it was good walking weather.

Continue reading “Damp and Dreary Can Be Cheery”

Ranch Return. Ahh.

Being away from nature for a week was hard on me! I was so glad to come home to the ranch and see familiar sights. The trees, the cattle, the birds, my dear pets. It even smelled like home.

Back exploring with my buddies.

I got to check out what has changed and what’s new this evening. I also got to walk the dogs through beautiful autumn light. Here’s a report!

The old cedar elm at sunset.
Continue reading “Ranch Return. Ahh.”

Donkey Feet and Horse Teeth

So, I started yesterday feeling all fancy and business-like as we got our pictures taken by the Chamber of Commerce, because Hermits’ Rest Enterprises is the July Business of the Month. Mandi and I had on nice clothing and jewelry, and Mandi’s hair was all straight and fancy. (See the Hermit Haus blog for more details.)

Then, by mid-afternoon we were back at the ranch, and I had morphed into Cowgirl Suna, with jeans, boots, and hat to meet Trixie the farrier to look at the horses and Fiona. I asked Mandi to come along, since she’s the one who doctored Fiona and knows more about horse health than I do.

Fiona’s Footsies

Fiona went first, and she was pretty good, though she did get the idea to try to file her own hooves. It didn’t work out.

Now that I’ve got this thing, how do I use it?

Trixie said that Fiona’s “bad” foot was really interesting, and that she’d never seen one like that. The footbed still seems longer than the outer hoof wall. We went over a lot of possibilities for what could have caused it. We settled on the bag abscess she had on that front hoof causing the outer walls to not grow like usual, which caused separation and other issues.

Continue reading “Donkey Feet and Horse Teeth”

A Dog Is Not a Donkey

So, today I went to visit my dear horse and donkey, who I hadn’t seen in a whole week! They’d already been fed, and Sara had ridden Apache in the morning. But I just had to say hi.

I brought Apache and Fiona out for some loving, and it became clear she had to be groomed, big time. She was almost all bur.

I look as good as Apache the giant horse!

To remedy the situation, Sara and I chatted and groomed. Fiona was in heaven. She leaned on us and practically sighed with joy at the attention. After 15 minutes or so, she had a lot less hair and burs.

She happily showed us her feet, so we could check her progress. Eek! All sorts of cracking and ugliness. However, she seems happy and able to run and trot. We will see what the farrier says.

Continue reading “A Dog Is Not a Donkey”

Donkey and Storm Update

I’ve been so busy writing about Fiona that I haven’t had a chance to talk about the horrible weather that’s been going on here (what else is new? the weather has been bad everywhere!). But I know the donkey fans out there will also want to know how the little darling is doing.

Feisty Fiona

Well, she hasn’t injured anyone since Wednesday! Hooray! Actually, when Mandi and I went to feed and medicate her yesterday, it went really well. She is always so glad to see me that it makes my heart swell. It’s great to be loved! And with me holding her head and Mandi squirting the medicine in her mouth, everything was over in a moment.

You aren’t gonna give me a shot, are you?

Fiona even took a treat right after the medicine (when I first was working with Apache, he would not take a treat from anyone until at least a day after you gave him his worming medicine, but now he trusts me not to worm him twice).

She is not walking 100%, but is not hopping or anything. Whew.

Wait, are treats involved?
Continue reading “Donkey and Storm Update”