Melissa Nicole

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since Jun 27, 2015
Zone 7b; Mohave Desert
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Recent posts by Melissa Nicole

Breeding season depends on the weather where you live. Mating behavior in my gaggle usually starts taking place the second week of January with eggs starting anywhere from last week of January to the second week of February. It usually ends in May when it starts getting hot here. Geese are going to do what they are going to do when they are going to do it regardless of what we want. Also when you think you have them figured out, they will change the rules and have been known to go broody in November, while it is snowing outside or fall in love with a horse or a dog or a person.

Out of curiosity what kind of geese do you have?
3 years ago
First I have never seen an avocado or papayas produce in a container. There are some dwarf bananas that do well in large pots. As far as vanilla beans they are actually a vining orchid that is native to Madagascar. In most places they require a greenhouse cause they are cold sensitive with humidity requirements. They can also be considered invasive in the greenhouse cause they want to grow quite a bit before flowering. Back when I was still growing orchids it is one I chose to pass on due to its growing habits.
3 years ago
For tough birds that can tolerate extremes I would look for stock from some of the Basque landrace varieties or Icelandic chickens which have a different chromosome count that other chickens and are heat and cold hardy. Both are excellent at foraging and brooding. There are many good dual purpose chickens out there, personally I like Welsummers.

After keeping chickens for over ten years I tried ducks and decided to start phasing out the chickens cause the ducks are much easier to manage during the intense heat of the summer. Plus they are much nicer to my garden.

3 years ago
All of mine, 5 dogs and 4 cats, have been altered. I find everything goes much smoother when I don't have to deal with thier hormones. I don't find that it lessens thier guarding drive one bit.
3 years ago
Arizona has laws protecting backyard beekeepers that Nevada does not. I'm in northwestern AZ less that 20 miles from the Nevada state line. The soil here is very well draining and we have that nasty caliche stuff. We are on the alkaline side of things. Very rocky soil but workable. I had a very hard time getting anything to grow here until I started keeping poultry and bringing the soil back alive.
3 years ago
You obviously live near me. My almonds are doing well but not really growing fast enough to be an effective wind break. Pomegrantes come from a climate very similar to ours and do phenomenal here. I have also heard that pineapple guava can work as an evergreen edible hedge here.

For a windbreak/protection for my veggie garden I have espaliered/hedged apricots on the south side. On the north side I am using the native, already there, creosote bushes.

Rabbits are the biggest pest I face by far. I put fences around everything I don't want them eating. Sharing with the birds is a nice idea but they can be greedy out here so bird netting can be useful. As far as keeping javelina out I have seen pics of concrete barriers used to stop them out here. I use dogs.

Eucalyptus varieties can do well here and help drive off certain types of pest.
3 years ago
It may take a while for the three new ones to integrate with the existing ones, especially bringing them in during the middle of breeding season which is not going to cause the existing geese to be welcoming. At least the three new ones have each other to be their own little gaggle.

When bringing in new birds I like to quarantine them for 30 days before beginning to introduce them. It gives them time to get acclimated to hearing each other. Fighting is to be expected in the beginning also. Unless they are seriously damaging each other I don't interfere. Some feathers will get pulled out but they need to figure things out between themselves so they can get along later. After breeding season things should start calming down and by winter everything should be worked out.

As far as the existing geese picking up bad habits from the new geese like fear reaction, I wouldn't worry. The existing geese already have the reaction hardwired in their brains, they are just not acting that way cause there is no reason to. The new geese will figure out there is not reason to act that way also and should calm down soon.

3 years ago
There is a ten pack of coyotes where I live that has been going around and decimating other peoples poultry flocks. For my LGD's I have a 5 pack, I always run at least three outside at night. They are "house dogs" that are required to work but not necessarily every night although they usually want to.

I am not sure how many coyotes one LGD can handle, it would depend on the dog and the coyotes, too many variable factors to even try to answer that. Personally I prefer to be over dogged than under dogged, the larger the defensive presence encourages predators to seek thier meals elsewhere. It also means less stress on the working dogs and I think it can help them be in better condition for if and when they do have to physically draw the line.

As far as dogs and birds, well that is all I currently use the dogs to protect, ducks, geese, and chickens. Yes you have to train them to be extra gentle when they are young, they don't always come preset. Some definitely take more patience than others. My four legged "problem child/wiggle ox" that acted very inappropriate towards the birds during his adolescence and was not trusted around them at all until he got his brains when he was about two and a half years old. Since then, he just turned five, he has turned into second in rank of the "I Love My Birdies" squad. He has appointed himself the primary guardian of hens that are brooding out chicks. Once he even tried to break up a fight between two ganders which he quickly realized was a mistake when they turned and latched onto him and started wing flogging him. He didn't try to hurt them them, he just tried to get them to turn him loose.

There is absolutely no way that I would be able to free range my birds where I live without dogs to protect them. I have witnessed the geese sounding off and alerting the dogs to something they need to bark at several times. I can also tell when a broody hen has chicks hatching out under her cause the dogs get extra guardy and barky about a day before the first pips. As far as predator losses and dog losses I don't have those. Also the "predator" that my dogs have had to get into it with the most are other peoples domestic dogs.
3 years ago