Let's cover the bad first, so we can end on a good note, shall we?
We lost 5 chickens, including four laying hens, in one week to an unknown predator. Two of the losses happened while we were gone at camp. The other three took place all in one day last week. Sick. Disgusting. Frustrating. Infuriating. Expensive.
We have four laying hens left, along with a young hen, a young rooster, and our Big Rooster. So we're down from 5-8 eggs each day to 2-4 eggs each day. Hopefully the young hen will start laying soon.
For now, we are keeping the chickens (along with their buddies, the ducks) in their coop/pen unless we have someone outside to watch them. Fowlherd is the newest title around our place.
The ducks are doing well. We definitely have a mallard drake, and it is fascinating to watch him develop his colors. In a couple of recent pictures of the ducks, you can see that how much he changed in just one week.
Since we lost the third duck up at the pond, they won't go up there, and they have become yard ducks. But they love playing in this tub of water. This shot was taken on August 2nd.
And here's the drake a couple of days ago on August 9th. Jonathan got a great shot that captures the color change in progress on his head. Looks a little rough right now, but he will be gorgeous soon, I think. His tail feathers are also starting to curl up, another drake trait.
The guineas are doing well. We let them out of their pen as often as we can, and they love walking (and occasionally flying) around the yard looking for goodies. Our garden is fenced, and I'm thinking about letting them run around in there, since that's the biggest reason we got them. We're just a bit uncertain of getting them out and in, so we'll see. They have much more of a herd mentality than the chickens; they are rarely farther apart than in this picture: