Sunday, 16 June 2013

Those dumb birds

I've been thinking all week as to how I'm going to introduce the keets to the big wide world and how I might make their pen moveable like a chook tractor (thanks for the idea, Farmer Liz) so that they can eat more grass, etc. and maybe assimilate more with the chooker moles.

So, I had a flash of brilliance yesterday morning and decided to use one of the old unusable gabian baskets that had been knocked out of shape (the keets wouldn't notice) and turn it upside down to make a cage thingy. No sweat (she said to herself)... just take out the middle bit and add a wee door at one end. The wire was so strong that took nearly two hours! Anyway, job done and new house in position, it was time to transfer the keets.

The pigtails were to hold it down against the ground
Now there are no photos of this particular transfer because MOTH was laughing too hard at me on my hands and knees in their old, muddy home trying to convince them to go into the cat carrier. Eventually, I caught them all but not after one of them drawing blood on my hand with their surprising sharp claws (it's still hurting).

So into their new home they went. They were happy. The grass was long and there was heaps to eat.

I went out to check on them just before sunset and the cage was empty! They little f***ers had squeezed through the mesh. Oh well, I thought... that was just on eight weeks of nurturing and caring and feeding that I won't get back and I went inside and poured myself a nice red wine.

To my delight and surprise, they were here this morning, down by the donkey stall, cruising around as only Guinea Fowl to do make themselves look like one really big bird. All five present and accounted for. 

Next thing, they've broken back into their cage for something to eat - told you they were dumb birds! Eventually I just opened the door for them. They had an afternoon nap in the sun in their cage, hung out with the chooks, avoided the donkeys, helped me hang out the washing and seem to be very happy and have no intention of leaving. So, I've had my next dilemma answered for me - when to let them roam free and will they just take off... apparently not if you live here.

Keets at 8 weeks old
Meanwhile the donkeys chilled in the shade by the water tanks. They have toparised my lillypilly's that were planted to screen out the water tanks [sigh]. It was surprisingly warm today for winter, as long as you were out of the breeze.

There's an ass joke somewhere here...
I donned a spray pack and weed sprayed the fenceline of the donkey paddock. It's super steep and is bloody hard work but had to be done. We'd also had some big wind over the past few days and there is always a risk of a tree or branch coming down on the fence so someone's got to check it. The boys followed me to make sure I did a good job.

Miss Baillie has been resting from a knee injury. She's been to the doggie chiropractor, has had magnetic treatment, acupuncture, ultrasound work and is now on the mend thanks to a comfrey poultice I made up and was putting on her knee every night to reduce the swelling. Amazing results. It has been a very cost effective and less invasive course of treatment than surgery and she is well on the mend (still milking all of the attention she can get though).

Baillie pouting
Lots of other boring maintenance stuff like pruning roses. Seems to be the time of the year that everyone is clearing, tidying, cutting back, etc. It's been unseasonably wet so far this winter in and around Brisbane. I dread to think what that means for the upcoming bushfire season. Are you prepared?