Local Wildlife: Cooper’s Hawk

A couple weeks ago, a small hawk caught and killed a small bird just off the porch in our back yard. After a bit of research, I think it was a Cooper’s hawk.

Unfortunately, by the time, I got outside to get some closer pictures, the hawk had already flown away with its meal.

A picture of a Cooper’s hawk in the backyard.

Cooper’s hawks mainly eat small birds caught in flight and the hawks are too small to seriously bother our chickens.

The hawk on top of its kill.

Click through for a video of the hawk removing the feathers.

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Mindy the Miracle Chicken

As you may recall, we lost a hen last spring to what was likely a case of egg yolk peritonitis (EYP). EYP is when the egg does not form properly inside the hen and then the yolk can remain inside the hen and cause an internal infection. EYP is almost always fatal.

A few weeks ago, another of our hens, Mindy, was exhibiting similar symptoms. She was somewhat more lethargic than normal and she was also walking upright like a penguin. We recognized the symptoms from our prior experience.  We separated her from the flock.

After last time, we had asked around the area and had been given the names of several local vets who are willing to see chickens. We packed her up in a travel dog crate and took her to the vet at their first open slot.

Mindy in a crate ready for transport to the vet.

Not surprisingly, in the waiting room, we were the only one with a chicken instead of a dog or cat.

After meeting with the vet, the situation was not looking great. Mindy’s abdomen was enlarged and somewhat solid to the touch. The vet could not provide a specific diagnosis and there were a number of possibilities, most of them were very likely to be fatal.

Mindy’s only realistic chance was exploratory surgery. The vet could not provide any likelihood for success because there are very few chicken surgeries (the cost of a chicken is so low compared to the cost of surgery that few people ever take chickens to a vet at all, let alone for a surgery). We opted for the surgery.

Her surgery was the next morning. Click through to see how it turned out. Continue reading

Getting ready for the summer!


Even though we are still in the middle of winter, summer is not that far away!

Penny has had enough of the snow and is ready for some sun and warmth! Here she is wearing sunglasses (tinted doggles).

Penny getting ready for the summer.

Penny getting ready for the summer.

She actually needed to wear them at the vet to protect her eyes during a medical treatment, but she sure looks ready for the beach!

Rainie settles in

Rainie (short for her registered name of “JT’s Elegant Rain”) has now been at her new home for several weeks and has started to settle in.

Her journey from Canada took most of a day – although only about 5 hours of driving – there was an additional multi-hour delay at the border crossing for customs paperwork.  We used a horse transport company that was familiar with the process that made it easy on us to arrange. We used The Horse Limo from Ontario. If you need to ship a horse to or from their neck of the woods, check them out!

I wasn’t quick enough to get any pictures of Rainie actually on the trailer before she was unloaded – but I did manage to get a single shot of the trailer as it pulled away after dropping her off.  Due to a cancellation for another horse and the unique locations on both ends of the route, Rainie got to ride in a large 4 horse trailer by herself which was helpful as Rainie doesn’t like small or cramped trailers.

Horse trailer that delivered Rainie.

After her first night settling in, we stopped by the stable to get to know Rainie better and decided to groom her.

Here is a picture of Rainie about to get groomed – you can see her curly coat.

Rainie preparing for grooming.

Here is a close-up of Rainie’s coat – you can see how her hair is wavy with a little curl.

Close-up of Rainie’s hair.

After a few days of settling in, my wife was able to take Rainie for her first ride since her arrival.

Rainie on a ride.

Both horse and (mostly) rider have a lot to learn and need to get used to each other.

A Horse!

We bought a horse!

Rainie preparing for a test ride.

We spent several weekends in the late fall traveling around the region looking for a horse. Due to horse allergies, we needed to locate a specific breed of horse which is more hypoallergenic than normal horses. That breed is the Bashkir Curly, also called the North American Curly Horse, or simply Curlies. Curlies have finer, curly hair (somewhat similar to a poodle or other hypoallergenic dog) compared to other horse breeds.

After several weekend trips the northeast U.S., we took a trip to Ontario, Canada to visit several more Curly breeders / owners. It was there that we met Rainie, a 9-year old Bay-colored Curly-Friesian cross.

Rainie out on a test ride.

Rainie out on a test ride.

Click through for more pictures, video and information about Rainie.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Lucky Penny Acres!

It is hard to picture Thanksgiving without thinking of turkey.

We have a local flock of wild turkeys that visits our yard every few days, especially during the spring and summer. This year, the primary visitors were a single hen with around 4 poults (baby turkeys).  Occasionally, the flock would consist of several hens with even more young turkeys.

They tend to avoid people and if anyone tries to approach too closely, they usually scatter into the trees.


Wild turkeys in the front yard.


Wild turkeys in the backyard.

Integrating the New Hens

You may recall that we picked up a couple of new hens from the NY State Fair earlier in the fall. We quarantined them in the chicken tractor for a few weeks to make sure they settled in to the new area and they were healthy.

After a couple of weeks and no signs of illness, we moved the chicken tractor into the field with the main flock so the new hens could see and smell the main flock while safely in the chicken tractor. Many members of the main flock crowded around the chicken tractor to meet the new hens.

The main flock meets the new hens.

The main flock meets the new hens.

Neither the main flock nor the new hens seemed troubled by each other and we were hopeful that the full integration would be successful.

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The Cows Head Home

With the summer winding down, it was time for the 3 tenant cows to head back to their home farm for breeding before winter.  Now the goats get to have the run of the pastures until spring.

Here is a close-up of the cows at their water trough a few days before they went back home. Bell comes up close to check out the camera.

Click through for more pictures of the cows.

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Surprise from the NY State Fair

Sometimes you end up buying something unexpectedly. This can occur anywhere, even (maybe especially?) at the NY State Fair – and fried cookie dough, fried oreos, and other atypically fried foods don’t really count as those are now expected at the fair.

One of our neighbors mentioned that they bought a steam mop at the fair a couple of years ago.  At this year’s fair, we even saw the steam mop display, but just walked on by.

However, we did end up with an unexpected purchase from a different area of the fair – the poultry building.  As the fair was more than half over, there were a number of chickens on display in the poultry building that were listed for sale.  We ended up with 2 new black and white Wyandotte hens!

The seller put them into a small wood and wire crate for transport. I actually just carried the crate with the hens in it right out of the fairgrounds. Although no one tried to stop us or verify the purchase, we did get a lot of strange looks from other fair-goers throughout the grounds and especially on the shuttle bus out to the parking lot.

Two hens in a small crate.

Two hens in a small crate.

The crate was not very large for 2 hens and the hens kept trying to squeeze out of the gap in the top before we got home.

Close-up of the hens in the crate.

Close-up of the hens in the crate.

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Bottle feeding a Calf

Loyal readers may remember Sunshine, one of the tenant cows that used our pasture during summer 2015.

Sunshine (summer 2015)

Sunshine (summer 2015)

She gave birth to a calf, named Bert, in early summer 2016. Unfortunately, Sunshine rejected the calf and wouldn’t care for it. Other cows in the herd won’t take care of an abandoned calf so the calf needs to be hand raised to survive.

We went to visit Bert at his home farm a couple of miles away. Our neighbor let us bottle feed Bert for one of his meals.

Bert getting bottle fed.

Bert getting bottle fed.

Click through for more photos and videos of Bert.

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