I have 3 ducks and a goose. Three of the four are males. One poor little gray duck, named Stormy is apparenlty the lone female. I actually thought all 3 of the ducks were females, since I can never find the bird book to explain anything. Anywhooo, I found out the goose was male because I caught him in the "act" last summer. Yikes. There are some things I don't need to know about my birds.
I watched the goings on yesterday morning. One big white duck, named Sunshine, was trying to "get it on" with Stormy. She wasn't in the mood. Not at all.
The little thing would let him get close and just as he was about in position, she'd dodge him. If was incredibly funny. The wierd thing is the goose, Taloose, was hanging out -- as if supervising. He's sort of taken on this whole Big Brother role. He keeps an eye on all the goings-on around the barnyard.
During the summer, when I let them out each morning. He's the first bird out of the coop and he immediately does the "fly over". He makes a low flying trip down the side walk. Then he patrols the perimeter of the house. If anyone but me comes in the yard, he hisses and chases them away. I think he thinks he's a dog. So I have a goose that thinks he's a dog and a cat that thinks she's a dog, but no actual dog.
Things that make you go "hmmmm."
Just outside the gate I have two roosters. I call them my watch roosters. Both of them were kicked out of the coop and have managed to survive. I call one Henry. He's white with cool black tail feathers. He charged my calf muscle with his talons. This always pisses me off, so I caught him and threw him outside the coop. I figured if he could survive the racoons, coyotes and cats -- then he deserved to live, but I wasn't going to provide him with shelter. The other one a large Buff Orpington-- a large golden bird. The females are great layers. This guy also hit my calves with a set of talons. Butt head. So he too got caught and thrown into the river bed. But I managed to land him in a larger snow drift. I spent nearly two weeks feeling guilty that I'd wasted the bird -- he would have been good in a stew pot or one of my neighbors could have used him because she likes to hatch her own eggs and you need a rooster for that.
I felt horrible, I'd wasted the life, food etc.
Then one day I pulled into the driveway and there he was. I'll be damned. So he hangs out with Henry and they watch over the yard. Out in the coop, I gather in a couple dozen eggs each week. The warmer weather has increased egg production somewhat, which is cool because then I usually have an extra dozen to sell if I want.
I have heat lamps in the coop this time of year. They're plugged into the coop ceiling.Twice this winter, I've walked in to find the lights broken off at the collar. I have no idea what those birds are doing in there, but I hope they're having fun. I'm guessing the roosters get to goin' at it and fly up and break the lights. The two roosters I have in the coop are miniatures -- I can't imagine they have enough body weight to do much -- but they're certainly up to something.
This time of year, as the snow is melting and the frost is coming out of the ground, it's a mucky muddy mess out there. I hate it, but am always thankful for the change of seasons. I'll be glad, though,when I can walk across the driveway without fear of falling on the ice. However, I'm not looking foward to the amount of work that awaits me when the weather clears. After last summer's remodel etc. everything got neglected and it's not like I'm great in the yard anyway.
But in light of all the recent stress in my life I'm feeling compelled to focus on the yard and chickens. It seems like a return to center -- to my roots. Maybe a little dirt under my nails will fill up the voids I'm always trying to fill with activities outside my home and away from the farm. Maybe my grandmothers and my mom are trying to guide me back to what is natural and real -- where I can make a difference in my own world without worrying about making a difference in anyone elses.
Maybe, just maybe, the garden and farm is the place to be silent enough to hear my own voice -- instead of those who don't have my best intentions at heart.
More than anything, it's a piece of land offering peace of mind.