A few of the ladies have really rough looking legs and their coop has been in horrendous need of cleaning. I did some internet research and all the signs point to scaly leg mites, so I treated the affected ladies with Ivermectin and rubbed their legs down with vaseline afterwards. THAT was an interesting task!
First of all, I cleaned the coop out and then dipped the girls in the pesticide/water mix. I put the girls who were treated in a separate side of the coop to dry off. After they dried off, I went in and they got a *fabulous* foot massage and moisturizing spa treatment with vaseline and then they were let loose back with the rest of the flock.
I put down some fluffy, fresh clean sawdust for them to run around in. They also got some brand new, fresh sand to dust bathe in to prevent more mites. Hopefully this will take care of it. I'll likely have to retreat or at least put more vaseline on later this week.
The egg production has been REALLY low over the last several weeks so there has been hardly any eggs lately.
Charlie had been "free ranging" for several weeks and something finally ate him. I TOLD him this would happen. Every time I went out there, I tried to catch him to put him back into the safety of the run, but he wouldn't listen. What a shame. He was such a handsome rooster, too.
I posted a want ad on Facebook looking for used Halloween pumpkins and that was a hit. I hauled away pumpkins and the chickens and ducks "recycled" them for free of charge! They loved them! I have a giant pile outside of the run. Some people who believe in organic chicken-keeping say that pumpkin seeds are a natural de-wormer. Pumpkins, watermelons, and squash are also a very healthy snack for the chickens to eat in addition to their normal "chicken food".
Last week, Eric and I ate one of the ducks that I raised and butchered myself this spring. That was rewarding...and TASTY. I decided that I will be raising ducklings this spring for butcher and to sell to family/friends. I still need to figure out how to torch the tiny little feathers off the duck. Actually, Eric and I didn't eat the skin because it really was WAY too fatty, but I suppose consumers wouldn't want to see teeny feathers in the skin. I'll figure it out.
I made broth out of the leftover carcass and threw it back to the birds and they picked it bone dry, It's amazing what they eat. They really needed the protein though because of all the hard work they are doing molting and re-growing feathers.
Well, that's all for now!