Sunday, June 26, 2011

Up high in the rafters!

Mother hen and 13 chicks!
Tonight, after herding the geese back to their corral, I went into the coop to get a head count which I do every night prior to closing all the doors.  This evening as I looked up into the roosting rafters I was to find a pleasant surprised.  Mother hen and her clutch of thirteen chicks, which are only a few weeks old, are on the roosting rafters too.  So surprised, I ran back into the house to get the camera.  Ok! Ok!  But, I did walk with a purpose.  So, here sits the hen and her chicks on a  rafter that's at least 7.5 feet off the ground and at least 3.5 feet away from another rafter. Would have loved to see how they got there, maybe tomorrow night.  Normally, the hen has a corner on the floor she likes to nest in for the night and all the chicks disappear under her wings.  But, not tonight!  They roost with the flock up high in the rafters.

I hope you enjoy the picture of the family roosting together this night, high above the floor!

My glimpse of the family roosting!

Another view of Mother hen and family!

Mother hen and family Jun 8th!

A different group of chicks, just a week older!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lady Slipper

Greater Yellow Lady Slipper
I knew of one Small Yellow Lady Slipper growing under the giant Elm at the end of the driveway.  It bloomed last and this year in the same place.  I don't recall any other sightings of any lady slipper at My Prairie Home.  This year, along with the Small Yellow Lady Slipper, but growing along the woods edge is the Greater Lady Slipper, numbering about 40-50 blossums. The difference between the two Yellow Lady Slipper is main the size of the plant, blossum and number of blossums per plant.  Neither of the two Yellow Lady Slipper are the state flower, that is the Showy Lady Slipper.  We don't have the Showy here on My Prairie Home, but they are growing in ditches but a mile or two  away.  Did you know that Minnesota hosts some 43 different orchid in the wild.

Thus far I have photographed the Small Yellow Lady Slipper, the Greater Yellow Lady Slipper, the Showy Lady Slipper and the Pink Lady Slipper.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mother hen

Mother and chicks
 This past Sunday I was looking in on our brooding hen.  She greeted me with her normal growling and a peck to the hand.  I was looking for chicks and sure enough I found them hiding under her wing and other just coming out of their shells.  I told the hen she was OK and I left her.  Naturally, I have checked on her each day since and the number of chicks are growing.  We are up to ten and about six eggs yet to hatch.  This morning, three days after hatching started, I moved the clutch and hen to a room in the coop all to their own.   I did this mainly to allow the chicks a few day of growth without other members of the flock bothering them.  The hen wasn't too happy with the move this morning or with me handling her, but quickly settled down and nested into a corner of her choosing.   Look close and you can see a chick borrowing in under the mother hens right wing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ugly Duckling

Two day old Keets
We have all heard the story of the Ugly Duckling turning into a Swan,  but here we have the opposite happening.   These little Guinea chicks, which are called Keets in the Guinea world, are so cute.   Then, to only imagine when grown they take on a totally different appearance.  The proper name is not Guinea hen but Guinea fowl and they are of the same family as the pheasant.  We have noticed a bit of insect decease here on My Prairie Home of which it would have been more noticable if the Owls didn't dine so well this past winter.   The watchdog part of there behavior has not surfaced yet, but they can make a great deal of racket just calling to one another.  Can you imagine... "Where are you?"  And the reply; "We are over here!"  And the reply; "Where are you?"  And the reply; "We are over here!"  This will sometimes goes on for several minutes with no resolution.  Neither group would find the other.  Silly birds!!!
Year old Guinea on a nest

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Guinea Keets
On May 5th, I decided to hatch about eight guinea eggs, but I wasn't confident we had a male servicing the hens.No matter, I thought I would try.  Ten days in I candled and discarded those that didn't show any development, which left me with five eggs.   Last night as I checked on the progress of the eggs, I noticed a few cracks on a couple of eggs.  This morning we have three chicks that have hatched, which seem to be a little camera shy.  The other two eggs haven't start showing signs of hatching yet.

After I gathered the eggs for hatching, a male guineas stepped forward a let his presences be known.   He was spotted mounting the hens and terrorizing Rudy the Rooster by chancing him around the yard.  So much for the rooster ruling the roost.