Friday, April 1, 2011

Dastardly Ducks and Chicken Butt Baths

Ah, springtime!  The first robins have been spotted, daffodils are blooming, and Easter peeps have appeared in the stores.  On our urban farm, the hens have kicked their production into high gear. We're now getting around ten to twelve eggs every day.  The ducks and geese are laying eggs now, too.  The garlic is growing in the garden and if our calculations are correct, we may have baby bunnies in a week or so.  Everywhere we look, there are things growing and blooming and beginning.
Ah, springtime!
Things are a little more complicated than that, however. 
Take the hens, for example.  Just as the high egg production season is starting, I spotted a couple of hens with dirty bottoms.  Looking up our handy dandy chicken expert on google, we found that our hens were being bothered by chicken butt lice.  No problem.  We just needed to clean them off and dust them with chicken dusting powder.  This, we have done.  I will spare you the details of the chicken butt baths.  
The ducks and geese started out confused as to who was who, but I had high hopes that they would figure it out in time.  That has happened, sort of.  Gussie, our male goose, has become super protective of Madeline, our female goose, and their nest.  Harold has realized that he is a duck and that Thelma is a duck, too, and not a bad looking one at that.  So, the normal male/female waterfowl behavior is proceeding as nature intended for it to proceed.  Until, that is, the ducks and geese are together in the yard.  Then Harold makes a mad dash for Madeline, again.  He thinks very highly of himself and can't imagine why any female fowl wouldn't agree.  These days, however, Gussie takes offense and chases them both.  The whole thingslooks like a scene from the Keystone Kops.  
During a calmer moment, the only thing I need to worry about is Gussie trying to bite my ankles or calves and Napoleon the rooster, attacking my feet.  Gussie is a sweet, mild-mannered goose who wouldn't hurt a fly, which is unfortunate, because we have plenty of flies.  He has no problem trying to take a piece out of me.  He will back down quickly if I am facing him but that is exactly when Napoleon decides to go into attack mode from behind.  
I decided I'd had enough.  I can handle Gussie.  I can handle Napoleon.  I just can't handle them both at the same time.  We now have the geese in a pen by themselves. Collecting goose eggs is going to be an adventure.  Does anyone have a spare suit of armor that I can borrow?

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