I see it's been two years since I last posted on this page. It's not that Jesse has not been doing anything.... he's ALWAYS involved in some aspect of birds or chickens! It's just that I'm not good at remembering to write about any of it. We visit ranches to PT test flocks and I forget to take photos. He goes on amazing birding trips and I love hearing all of his stories, but I forget to write about them. New leaf.... I'm going to try to share more here. So today is my birthday and he gave me a NEW IRON! That may sound weird, but it's what I really really wanted. I have been practicing the art of Tai Chi for the past 3 or 4 years and really love it.... So check out the iron that he got for me. Perfect!
We are so excited about the news of our area finally getting a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature store.... Dripping Springs, TX is right next door to us in Wimberley! Anna & Manuel Pena are realizing a dream come true and we really hope they are a big success. We live in one of the most "birdy" areas of Texas....home to the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo, so we are a very special area! The Official Grand Opening is Oct 7-8, 2017 but they will have a soft opening in early Sept at 333 E Hwy 290, Dripping Springs, TX. This is the place to get the freshest birdseed that has been blended specifically for our region, in addition to all your other Nature needs. This business gets the HA stamp of approval! Check out their Facebook page Wild Birds Unlimited of Dripping Springs for all their current news. We love their heading photo on their Facebook page!
Maybe you are having a birthday party?...a Wedding Shower?....a Memorial Service?...or a friendly get together and want to do something special. Schedule a Star Party at Cackle Observatory for a memorable and meaningful evening. Use the Reply Form on this page to arrange your needs...either on site at Cackle Observatory in Wimberley or on the site of your choice within a reasonable distance of Wimberley.
So, how do you get the most from your Party?
First, come prepared! No matter what temperature you hear it will be, prepare for weather that is at least 20 degrees colder. If you are not familiar with the observing site, arrive early enough so that you don't have to arrive after dark, not knowing where you are going, and disrupt everyone with your headlights. No white lights after sundown. Allow yourself to become dark-adapted in order to see all that you can see.
Star Parties are the perfect place to learn more about observing, more about telescopes, and more about all the other accessories that go with the hobby. If you are considering purchasing a particular model, or building your own telescope, there is no better place to learn all the latest news, or to see the latest designs, and to get first hand advice.
You should never simply take a two second look at an interesting object, and you should learn to study each object - to train your eye to see all that it can see.
The Backyard Basics Expo on Sept 17, 2016, put on by Texas AgriLife Extension is a really great opportunity to learn those life skills which you need in order to be self-sustaining. Sessions this year are Bee Keeping, Herb Gardening, Keeping Fresh Foods Safe, Rain Barrel Basics, Home Aquaponics, Turf 101, Backyard Composting, Drip Irrigation, Urban Wildlife, Veggie Gardening, Vermiculture and of course, Backyard Chickens. Huth Avian is proud to be the presenter of the Backyard Chickens session!
Get all of the details and register at: http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/backyardbasics/
Hope to see you there!
Really enjoyed time yesterday, visiting at the Wimberley Senior Center with my bantam Cochin, "Bitsy" and Fancy Feathers 4H Club member, Alyssa Caldwell and her Nankin, "Blackberry". The Senior Center has a program for clients with moderate memory loss called CIRCLES OF FRIENDS. The group meets at the Community Center every Thursday from 10:00am-2:00pm. The program provides an enriched curriculum for "friends" of the Center. The morning begins with greeting and circle time with all participating. Activities include, art, crafts, movement, music, exercises suited for 55 years of age - some are sitting, some are standing depending on the friends' abilities.
Yesterday we had the privilege of being the morning's activity with a little Chicken Show & Tell & Touch!
For more information please call the Senior Center at 512-847-1781.
Guiding a group of intrepid Wimberley Birding Society birders at the beautiful Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, Tx and surrounding area. Weather projection for great sightings is optimal....thank goodness, because I'm camping and don't enjoy sleeping out in the rain or cold! Some of our favorite sightings were the Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Scott's Oriole and we heard the White-tipped Dove.
The 18th Annual Butterfly Day has now come and gone. I am always happy , privileged and honored to play a small role in this event. My table was stationed in one of my favorite locations in the gardens....at the chess set! I remember the 1st Butterfly Day eighteen years ago.... there were a small handful of butterflies released and activity tables set up... it was very quiet and peaceful. This year it has grown to a cacophony of sights and sounds...people everyone, equally inspired by the awakening of Spring and Life. I had a great day guiding Bird Walks around the Gardens...best sighting of the day was the Indigo Bunting! I met many nice folks, whom I will be in contact with for my 1st Tuesday Bird Walks in and around Wimberley. Looking forward to raising and releasing a cage of butterflies at the 2017 Festival!
An enthusiastic group of birders gathered at the Wimberley Community Center, bright and early to begin their quest for birds on Tax Day 2016 (April 15). After a rousing chant of our BIRDER mantra (Better Identification Reduces Doubt & Enhances Results) we broke into three teams: #1-The Broadwinged Road Stoppers (Tom T., Sally E., Linda L., Suzanne J. and me).. #2-The Hill Country Hooters (Bill & Bobbie W, Nan & Don P., & Jan H.)...and #3- The Newbies & Oldbies ( David G., Lila M., Jim & Mitzie W., Lynne S., and Susan N.) and headed out on a competitive quest to find local bird species. After three hours spent at the Patsy Glenn Refuge, Woodcreek North and Blue Hole Park we reconvened to tally up group numbers. The teams sighted a collective 57 species for the morning. Everyone then gathered at Milagros for the Annual Awards Luncheon where Team #1 was awarded with the coveted traveling Grand Champoin(sp) Trophy Cup for having the most sightings....I was proud to receive the Red Cardinal Award for being the Most Valuable Birder (of the Ear). It was a most fun and memorable morning and my calendar is marked for the Tax Day 2017 competition!
If you're ever in the Temecula, CA area, I highly recommend The Liberty Kitchen for great food, service and ambiance.
Give them a try and let me know what you think! Their menu reflects a definite Texas/Louisiana flavor....really, a Duck Tortilla soup....oh yeah! It's owned and managed by a very fun and creative family....tell them I said "hi" when you're there! They get a definite 5-crow thumbs up!
The 9th Annual Fancy Feathers Chicken Show was the best ever. Club managers Janet Dietz & Janine Basinger did a great job of guiding the Fancy Feathers 4H Club members in their implementation of the various aspects of a successful show....from their concession stand to their unique awards and competitions. This show is put on by the youth members themselves, with support from their families. I had my Huth Avian Services table there and so had the opportunity to talk with most of the folks there, at one point or another. Everyone was most impressed with the professionalism shown by these kids and how great it was to see them wearing their distinctive tshirts & lab coats, so it was easy to find show personnel when help was needed. They already have thoughts on how to make next years show new and innovative again....this is a hallmark of this show. In 2008 they introduced the first "Cluck Off" in TX...in 2009 the 1st Egg Show in TX was implemented....in 2010 the 1st Youth Exhibition Poultry Showmanship class in TX was added....in 2012 the 1st Serama Tabletop show in TX was added....in 2014 the 1st "Match the Judge" contest in TX was added.... I think you'll like their "first" for the 2017 show! Keep an eye on this club and their show!
Come out to see a great variety of breeds, shown by some of the top breeders in Texas. This show is sanctioned by the American Poultry and American Bantam Associations. I started this club and this show back in 2009 and so far it continues to grow. New club managers, Janet Dietz and Janine Basinger, will do a great job with this years show, as will the current club membership. This is a way you can support the kids! Look for me at my Huth Avian Services table...I'd love to say "howdy"!
Steve Jones was slated to be one of the judges....we are all greatly saddened by his sudden demise yesterday, due to a stroke. Both he, and a young club member who passed away this past year, will be on everyone's minds throughout the show. Both will be greatly missed..... RIP
The show will be held from 9am - 3pm at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park on RR12, just north of 290....across from Dripping Springs Elem School.....admission is free! There are fun activities for everyone!
RCW spotted at Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, TX....rarely seen in the United States as far north as Tx or southern AZ.... heading 2 1/2 hrs there right now. This would be a lifer for me. RCW is a New World wood warbler native to Mexico and Central Mexico. Altho generally birds of tropical shrubby highlands, North American sightings tend to be in oak woodland canyon bottoms, near running water, low in dense vegetation. They primarily feed on insects and spiders, foraging close to the ground.
This waterer is from My Pet Chicken and I have now had it installed for 3 months. It claims to be "a solution to all the most common waterer problems, and the result is a no-drip, clean, freeze-free watering system. The nipple design won't drip. Due to the unique nipple design that doesn't "hold" water, even in temps well below freezing, your chickens will be sittin' pretty...... each nipple accommodates up to five hens,...... you can purchase the nipples separately and attach them to your own system......there's no tray for dirty beaks to soak in. Dirtied water doesn't get pulled back into the container, so you'll only need to clean your waterer every few weeks or so."
PROS: can be set on a pedestal which allows for easy refilling and cleaning of the water reservoir when necessary (which is not very often!).............. easy to add frozen water jugs in the summer to instantly cool water.......affordable
CONS: does drip SOME water (see photo)............each nipple accommodated two of my hens, not five...my 5-nipple system needed an alternate water source for my 25 hens
MY OPINION: So far this product is no better or worse than the standard nipple waterer... I am anxious to see if it will be FREEZE-FREE this winter.... if so, that will be a definite plus! (will update this winter)
The new Beakup system has been in place now for several days.
My Black Copper Marans, raised on fount waterers, have adapted well to the Beakup. I thought they would learn to press the trigger and keep the cups filled, but now understand this is not the design....the cups will not always be full which is beneficial because excess water will not be dirtied. When birds go to drink, they hit the valve which releases the amount of water needed. This prevents spilling, overflowing and evaporation, for optimum efficiency. No water drips on the ground. The cups twist off, which makes for easy cleaning. Because the water reservoir sits on a pedestal, it is easy to refill and easy to add ice jugs to cool water in summer. Customer service has been quick to answer questions.
So far, none.
I have ordered more cups to try in a couple more of my coops...
(previous posts 8-24 and 8-31)
Got my 5 Beakup system assembled and installed.... now to watch birds and see how they like it..... will report later this week.
Preparing for 10 days of birding in Colorado.... leaving Fri for the Denver and surrounding mountain areas. Checking in with Corporate at the Partnership for International Birding while there, too. Target birds for the trip are White-tailed Ptarmigan, Golden Eagle, Mountain Bluebird, Clark's Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee and the Black-billed Magpie.
Looking forward to attending the first American Birding Expo on Oct 2-4, 2015 put on by Birders Digest magazine. Can't wait to talk to people and spread the word about the great birding trips offered by the Partnership for International Birding! Most of the top optics vendors, travel companies, birders, birding supply vendors,etc from around the world are expected to attend.
It's not that far from one of my favorite birding hotspots, Magee Marsh.
I will be leading monthly bird walks in Wimberley, TX. Meet at the community center at 7:15 AM on the 1st Tuesday of every month. The first one will be next Tuesday, September 1st, so mark your calendars and show up. The location of the walk will be no more than an hour away. Easy to moderate walking .....$10 fee.
It was too good to be true. It was the new Poultry Director of the Hays Co Livestock Show Board that hired me to judge the youth poultry show in January..... thank you for the vote of confidence! However when he attended the meeting yesterday, the Board voted "No" saying they didn't want a local judge. I would have been fair and impartial, and would have done the mini-poultry clinic with the kids after the judging like I always do, but it's their decision. If by chance they should reconsider, I would certainly love to do it!
It is with total confidence that I recommend the Urban Coop Company, located in Dripping Springs, Tx for any and all of your chicken coop needs. Their attention to detail in the craftsmanship of their coops is stellar and they listen to what their customers want and accommodate them however possible. These coops are beautiful and will add a touch of yard art wherever they are placed. They are almost totally made in the USA and are individually hand made at the Texas ranch of the family that owns the company. The coops are built to last, make owning chickens easier than you can believe and have special touches comparable to high-scale home builders. The owners are personable, care about their customers needs and are highly ethical, friendly folks! It was only a few short years ago that they conceived the idea of a chicken coop company and they have grown their business in leaps and bounds into the successful venture that it is today..... that will only happen when a product and the service is of the caliber of the Urban Coop Company. Try them... you'll love them!
Pretty excited today... just confirmed that I will be judging the poultry classes for the Hays County Youth Livestock Show on Jan 28, 2016 at 9am. As a young 4H member I showed both chickens and poultry at this show... about nine years ago. I no longer know any of the families with youth involved, and have looked forward to doing this for a long time. It's a great little show and I hope the kids get a big crowd of supporters on the day of the auction, Jan 30 at 11am. I know how hard the kids work to get their birds ready for the show!
The set of Beaktime watering cups that I ordered arrived in today's mail. I'm eager to get them set up and installed in my coop of young birds tomorrow, to see if they work as well as I'm hoping they will. The design looks really good (kind of a morph of fount/nipple) and should make maintaining a clean water supply a breeze. I've learned that unless chickens are started on the traditional nipple waterers right from hatch, they generally have a hard time adapting to them. If they get used to drinking from the fount style waterers, they don't transition well to nipples. Stay posted and I'll let you know if my birds are able to switch from the always dirty fount waterers, to this cleaner style. Since they are somewhat like little founts, they just might work! If they do, I will post an update with contact info for the company and will recommend them to my consultation clients.
I am excited to announce my affiliation with the Partnership For International Birding. This is an exciting organization with which I look forward to a long career. I will be setting up a page with more information in the near future, but in the meantime know that you may contact me for assistance in setting up any and all of your dream birding trips! I would be honored to lead your birding trips within Texas and hope to assist with your other U.S. or international trips. Click here for information on PIB
I've fallen behind on updating this blog, but will make it a point to update more often! For more info on this event contact the Hays Co. Texas AgriLife Extension Agency HERE
Been busy this month doing Spring Bird Surveys...seeing a nice variety of birds, but not a whole lot of each kind. Painted Buntings are in abundance this year, which is nice....Golden-cheeked Warblers are here, too! A high spot for me was the article that appeared in the San Marcos Record on Mother's Day.... thank you to Mr. Jerry Hall, who is one of God's angels on earth; he's always looking out for others and making sure they have something to smile about every day!
Mama Hen's Blog
The rooster may crow, but the Hen rules the roost!