Thursday, October 11, 2012

And Life Goes On....

Since the death of their father, the juvenile turkeys have been searching all over for him.  They have even started going across the road and have expanded their search territory to include all of the surrounding land.


Easter, as we called our broad breasted Bronze tom meat turkey, had gotten too heavy keep up and was in a tizzy.  He had injured a leg jumping off a perch a while back and his limping around and plaintive calls were just too much to bear any longer.  So yesterday we had him butchered.  We hated to but it had to be done.  He has been such a good father/mother to the little ones since their mother was killed by a coyote.  Poor Easter had been the target for our new Barred Rock Rooster and just the other day Floyd Jr. decided to challenge him for control of the flock.
Floyd Junior

It was both comical and horrifying to watch.  Poor Easter acted like he couldn't believe the little guy was attacking him and did his best to avoid injury without hurting the little tom.  Luckily one of the other little toms and Mrs. T cane to his rescue.   They chased and scolded Jr. until he gave up all thoughts of domination.  I had never paid much attention to the turkey flock until Floyd's death.  I have learned a few things and no longer believe that turkeys are as stupid as people say.  They have a social order and evidently care for each other too.  I know Easter has protected the little ones when their own father wouldn't.  He cared for them just like their own mother did. Who would have thought that a tom turkey would do that? And they weren't even related.  Oh and the two Lavender Guineas in the top photo are part of the juvenile turkey flock.  After the death of their mother, we had to cage them up for a couple of weeks and the little Guineas were the same size so we put them all together. Hence they now believe they are turkeys too.  They were also under Easter's protection and care.  They used to love to crawl under him for warmth or to hide from the chickens they were harassing.  Hence the wrath of Jack was incurred on Easter.


We also had Mrs. T butchered as she had no control over the juveniles and missed Floyd terribly too.   We also plan on selling 3 of the 7 juveniles before winter.  We just don't have room for all of them.  I also had my 4 remaining American Chinchilla\ Flemish Giant rabbit bucks butchered.  I have retained one for breeding purposes.
Big Red

 I hated to get rid of these lovable guys but again no room and I did not need so many.  I am now down to 9 rabbits including my Darling Duo.

sisters Suzy II & Fuzz Ball

The geese and ducks may also be slated for the freezer.

Last week I sold my 5 remaining Coturnix Quail.  Now I have only one pair of Jumbo Bobwhite Quail and 2 extra males.

We are searching for a billy goat to breed Fern to this fall and maybe Peaches too.

So we are downsizing and getting ready for the snow to start.  In the spring, our adventures in farming will start all over again.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


The Tragic Death of Pretty Boy Floyd.

I named him after a gangster of the '20's.  From the monent he grew his first tail feathers Floyd was in constant display. And when you called him a "pretty boy" he would really strut his stuff.

Born June 18, 2011, he was one of the seven turkey chicks I helped from their shells in the incubator.  These were Spanish Black Turkeys that I was hatching for a friend of a friend, and he graciously left me three of them for my troubles.

They became Floyd, Mrs. T and Maude.

Here are Floyd and Mrs. T.
Floyd usually chose to either be alone or with humans when possible.

In fact Floyd was a real people person. I truely believe that he thought he was human.  Whenever we had visitors, Floyd was always right there doing his Floyd thing.  This consisted of him walking around a person in full display and very slowly inching his way closer and closer until he finally touched them with his feathers. Unless they tried to touch him, in which case he moved away and started all over again.  Floyd did NOT like to be touched.  Occaisionally I was able to pet him when he was on his roost for the night, but usually he just moved out of reach.

This year Floyd and the girls supplied us with many eggs to incubate.  Then Maude snuck off one day and started a nest outside.  She hatched 12 chicks and did her best to raise them outside by herself. (This put Mrs. T into brood mode, she immediately built a nest and tried to hatch her own too. However the chickens added to her nest at every opportunity and when the first egg hatched she abandoned the nest. A couple of weeks later she realised she had hatched a chicken and abandoned that too. However she has continued to lay an egg a day for the last 4 months.) Then week by week they dwindled until she only had 9 left. Then disaster struck.  One morning I woke up to find the baby turkeys in the duck pen with the ducks.  No sign of Maude so I went searching for the very protective mom.  I found piles of feathers where the apparent coyote attack happened and a trail of feathers where it dragged her off.  We gathered up the chicks and put them in a cage.  Two were sold along with some of the incubated turkeys to make up our final order.  We must have sold about 60 turkey chicks this year.  The remaining 7 are still here and doing well.
"Pretty Boy" Floyd and one of the young 'uns.

We have been trying to figure out what we were going to do with all of the extra turkeys this winter and Wifey suggested getting rid of Floyd and Mrs. T when we get our last meat turkey butchered.  However such a ruckus was formed by family and friends when this was mentioned that we had to keep them.  So a neighbor will be buying our extras.

Then today another disaster.  About 3:15 this afternoon I was over at my Step-mother's when I recieved a call from Wifey.  Someone had murdered Floyd.

A guy had stopped his SUV on the road by the house, got out of his vehicle and shot Floyd twice in our yard.  By the time Wifey got to the front porch he was dispatching poor Pretty Boy my stomping his head into the ground.  Wifey hollered at him "What the Hell are you doing shooting my animals."  But he just ignored her and picked up Floyd and threw him in the back of his vehicle and sped off down the road.

As soon as I got home we went in search of the vehicle at the local DNR parking lots but to no avail.  We came home and called the DNR and reported the incident.

Talk about pissed off !!!

It's degenerates like this that give hunters a bad name.  Not only to be driving with a loaded gun in the car, but to stop 50 feet from a house, on the road and shoot a tom turkey surrounded by our other turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese in their yard.

The best 30 foot shots of his life. And he needed 2 and still didn't get the job done right.

Somewhere tonight this a_ _ hole is bragging to his friends about his hunting abilities.

Well I hope he chokes on his turkey dinner.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Michigan according to Jeff Foxworthy...If you shoot a Whitetail Buck and you call Michigan Deer Trackn Hounds to find it you may live in Michigan..If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in Michigan. If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t even work there, you may live in Michigan. If you’ve worn shorts and a jacket at the same time, you may live in Michigan. If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Michigan. If “vacation” means going anywhere North of Grand Rapids for the weekend, you may live in Michigan. If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Michigan. If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Michigan. If you have switched from ‘heat’ to ‘A/C’ in the same day and back again, you may live in Michigan. If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Michigan. If you install security lights on your house and garage, butleave both doors unlocked, you may live in Michigan. If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Michigan. If you design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Michigan. If the speed limit on the highway is 70 mph -you’re going 80 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Michigan. If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Michigan. If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Michigan. If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Michigan. If you find 10 degrees “a little chilly”, you may live in Michigan. If you actually understand any of these jokes, repost this so all of your Michigan friends and others can see, you definitely do live - or have lived - in Michigan. Best. State. Ever.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rabbit Genetics

I acquired Sadie and her daughter Susie many years ago as an attempt to start breeding meat rabbits.  I got them from a lady going out of raising California Giants for show.  It was an enlightening visit to her rabbitry where I had my choice of over 50 almost identical rabbits of various ages. Only 2 really stood out Susie and her sister Freakie.  Susie because of her totally un-Californian color and Freakie because of her long flowing hair and non-descript color.  If you click on the above photo you can see that Sadie has a small tuft of hair between her ears and Susie has larger tuft of hair that extends down her neck and onto her forehead. She also has hair on her cheeks and under her chin. These longer tufts of hair are wispy and finer than the rest of the fur covering their bodies.  I wish that I had a photo of Freakie, but they were lost in a computer crash. She had this long wispy hair all over her body and her coloration was about every shade of brown and grey mixed together.  When I asked the woman about these rabbits she was totally dumbfounded about how they came about.  She had been breeding her pedigreed rabbits for many years and showed me her album of                                                                                                                                        pictorial pedigrees on all of her rabbits going back over 30 generations.  Sadie was a registered doe raised by her and had been used to breed many litters of solid Californian marked rabbits.  But her last litter had these two unusual bunnies in it.  For some reason that she couldn't even describe she kept them instead of destroying them.  I guess it was the shock factor as she had never had non-typical Cali. bunnies before.
As I had no intention of showing them, it didn't matter to me. And since I have always had a flair for the unusual, I took them both.  And their mother,father and one of their brothers. I had planned on getting some more Californians but these would be the base of my new breeding stock.  But first I needed to get rid of all of my large Mini Rex or small Rex rabbits I had been raising for manure production for my garden.
Well the best laid plans of mice and men...........
After some health issues and grandchildren being born and garden increases and chicken coop expansions etc. etc. etc.  Suffice it to say the meat rabbit plans got lost in the shuffle.  I was raising bunnies for pets for the local pet shop and online sales.  People wanted smaller rabbits so I bought some Mini-Dutch's to breed.
During all of this One of my Rex does had a litter born on Valentines Day and there were a set of twin black bunnies with identical white markings and feet, that I kept.  Twin 2 had a litter close to the birth of my grandson Owen, I frequently shortened his name to 0-1 in my writings and named an odd colored buck bunny that we intended to keep 0-2.

Somehow in the need for space, after 0-2 grew into adulthood he was placed in the same pen that Susie was in and the only thing keeping them separate was a chicken-wire divider.  I knew better, but had other concerns at the time and since he was so much smaller I doubted that even if he got to Susie that he could do anything.  Well again I was proved wrong.  Susie had a nice large litter and one little black bunny started growing fuzz.

Fuzzy Butt was born.

And what a beautiful oddity he was.

Then I got interested in an online meat rabbit group and posted these photos on my new farm page and got many comments as to breed and availability of this rabbit.  Since it was a genetic abnormality, I had no idea if I could duplicate this result.  He was the only one out of eight litter mates to show any hair abnormality.
I soon forgot about Fuzzy Butt and returned plans for crossing Susie to a larger breed.  I had previously purchased an American Chinchilla buck and a Flemish Giant doe and was having problems with her conceiving. So I bred Susie to the Am. Chin. buck Cassity to see if he was the problem.

Susie again had 8 bunnies.  This time she threw 2 abnormal kits.  One white doe with all over long fuzzy hair.

And one light brown buck with a mane.  As these were planned to be born in time for Easter bunnies, I had all of them spoken for before they were even born.  But I had planned on keeping one female for breeding purposes.  When the time came for them to go to their new homes one person backed out and it left me with the only buck of the litter too.

And I had plans for him.
The founder of Backyard Meat Rabbits, had showed interest in Fuzzy Butt and the photos I had posted of the litter.  So I contacted him and let him know that the little maned guy was available.  He came and got him and named him "Mufasa".  As I said in a previous post, he is now a "house pet" and his owner suggested I breed Fuzzy Butt to his mother Susie to see if I would get more that carried the lion look gene.

I did but was a little reluctant to do so too quickly.  Susie just turned 6 years old and I didn't want to over stress her, so I waited 2 months before I allowed her to breed.  She only had 2 bunnies.

One looked silvery white and the other a dark brown that was almost black.
Sadly three weeks later during a massive heat wave I lost Susie along with Cassity and a pure breed Flemish Giant buck and a Registered Dutch doe.  It was a devastating day, they had made it through the worst heat of the day only to succumb by early evening.
The bunnies however did excellent, we moved them indoors and pampered them for a few days.  Making sure they were eating and drinking on their own before we put them back outside.

As they grew the silvery one began showing signs of the recessive gene we were looking for,

I called her Fuzz Ball in honor of her father.

The other one became Susie II for her mother. Plans are to breed them to Mufasa

 and see if we can bred a larger Lionhead type rabbit line.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

If You Can't Say Anything Nice,,,,,

Things have not been going too well here on the farm.  I hate to blog about my difficulties and would much rather have something funny to blog about.  Sadly, there hasn't been much of anything worth writing about.
Frustration can be funny but not at this time.  To start with, the eggs I have been incubating aren't hatching.  My success rate this year is less than 10% and I'm loosing many of the chicks that do hatch.  All of my pens are old and I have been busy repairing them.  The weather SUCKS.  And I am starting to feel my age more every second.

Okay the Pity Party is Over.

A few nice things have happened....

5 weeks ago these little guys were born

And today they look like proper little Flemish Giant bunnies.

My baby Rouen and Khaki Campbell ducks have grown.

Old Mamma Muscovy duck successfully hatched four babies a few days ago.

Last week Wifey bought 2 goslings,

Date on photo is wrong.

and I got this wonderful year old Flemish Giant buck.....

and this adorable Mini-Dutch doe.

So it hasn't all been bad.  The garden will eventually get planted. The power yard and garden tools will get fixed. The fences and pens will get repaired. And life will go on.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

That's No Deer...It's a Sandhill Crane

The photos in this post all come from Google.
Why? Because I have ruined too many cameras by keeping them on my person.

Tonight as Wifey and I were taking care of the animals we heard a very odd call in the corn stubble field behind our place.  It wasn't a turkey or a goose, which are the normal visitors to the field.  We could see a shape moving out in the stubble about 1/4 mile away that looked at first like a deer feeding.
We hopped onto our golf  farm cart and it wouldn't start. The engine rolled over but wouldn't catch.  I had had problems last year with bad gas (too much water in it) and thought maybe that was the problem as I had filled it earlier in the day and emptied the gas can into it.  So I got busy removing the gas line to check it out.  Nope the gas was fine.  Cleaned the air filter and applied some choke.  Nodda. THEN I decided to check the spark plug.  Ah Ha...the wire was off.  I must have knocked it loose earlier when I had to replace the starter belt that flew off while I was driving it in the corn stubble.
Anyway while I was doing this Wifey spotted 2 more of the creatures out in the field and announced that they were cranes.  With their heads down and their color and walking toward us it was very difficult to tell the difference between them and deer doing the same thing. But once they lifted their heads on those long necks, BINGO.  Now in this part of Michigan we never see cranes, so this was an event.
After I got the cart running we let the goaty girls out of their pen to browse and headed to get a better look.  The goats followed us to the back of the property and we all watched as 2 of the cranes head farther back in the field but the 3rd one came closer.  The Girls soon lost interest and began their evening feeding, tearing up grass with as much noise as a heard of swine.  But the Sandhill Crane came ever closer until it was only a little over 100 yards away.  These photos make it hard to see just how big this bird is, I would estimate the body length at about 4 ft., the height to the back about 3.5 ft.,  the height to the top of the head when neck is extended  over 6 ft.

As it passed in front of us it must have realized that it was alone and made that eerie call once more.
(I tried to paste a link here but gave up after an hour. Just Google: Sandhill Crane call,  and it's easy to find)

And flew off.