Category Archives: pheasant

Words don’t even begin to cover it!

I am not sure that I can even explain how great it was being at the farm this week. I arrived and Deb asked me if I’d met the new addition. I just about fell over when I saw this little guy! He was so freaking CUTE!! All he did was eat hay – seriously. I visited him in the cat house twice. He spent the entire time face down stuffing himself – and try to avoid me petting his ears (unsuccessfully, I’d like to report).

I tried leaving a bunch of times and even got the “where are you?” phone call from Matt, worried that I was stranded somewhere, but I just couldn’t get out the door. He checked my bags when I got home to make sure I didn’t have a stowaway. I didn’t even tell him about my plans to steal the goat! Ah, love.

After I tore myself away from the little man the first time (sooo hard! Did you SEE his tiny horns???), I continued on to the barn and spent time with my friends. I did a little grooming, a bunch of feeding, a lot of petting and spent time antagonizing the pheasant (for reporting’s sake! Usually, he just antagonizes ME!!).

Being around my feathered stalker is like participating in the most violent game of Simon Says ever. When I leave the barn, he walks parallel to me. If I run, he runs. But when I look at him, he freezes. Turn my back? Oh, that’s just “game on” right there (don’t forget you have to tag Simon. This is his favorite part). Swing around to face him? Freeze! Closer and closer he gets until he can safely go in for the attack. When caught, he backs off and starts all over again and the dance continues. He was a bit confused in this video because I turned the tables by following him around. I definitely recommend watching the whole thing though, it’s worth it!

(See? Told you!)

I also brought my Nikon with me. My old rule of “no camera on working days” kind of went right out the window. I even went as far as balancing giant food bowls in one hand and the camera in the other in hopes of capturing everything I could. I’m starting a new trend here on Minding the Minis and will be posting more often. Get ready for Whimsical Wednesdays (where I’ll feature videos. I couldn’t think of a good video alliteration. Visual Vendsdays? Ohhh, vampires…) and Photo Fridays (obvious, but it works!)!!

It was a glorious day on the farm. The weather was even better than last week, there’s a new kid in town (HA!) and I spent time petting munchkins like this:

Can’t beat it!


Filed under bunnies, goats, pheasant, photography, videos, winslow farm

Wow, how time flies!

I can’t believe that my last post was on November 21st! It feels like 14 million things have happened since then. Although, realistically, it’s kind of amazing to me how consistent it is there each week. My duties pretty much stay the same, with an added blanket or an extra scoop of grain mixed in. Gulliver continues to be one of the most amazing beings I can imagine and cuddling with him is excellent every single time. That’s really no excuse not to write though, so I’m going to sit here eating gummy bears and try to fill in lost time.

One Monday, I spent a while walking around the corral with Lunar, my arm slung over her back. I’m not sure how adequately I can describe how cool that was.

The pheasant has continued to plague me. He is such a jerk! On the same day as the walk with Lunar, he made the mistake of trying to attack me with her at my side. She stomped after him with such force, neighing loudly, that it even scared me! Score!

A few weeks ago, I went down to the barn to collect Gulliver and there is a maze of gates to get through on the way back. He was so impatient that he didn’t wait for me to open one of the gates all the way and he got stuck. It took a while to stop laughing before I could free him.

Opie, the little piggy who spends most of her time snoring under a blanket, was out and about while on my way to collect Gulliver. I squatted down to say hello to her. She had food all over her snout and she kindly shared some with my knee. It was just about one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I scratched her head for a while and then continued on my mission.

Right about when the cold weather was kicking in for the season, I was given the task again to put on the horse coats. A little out of practice, Spirit’s snort of derision after I finally got his on said it all. Oh well, practice makes perfect, right?

Another day, I walked passed the regular gaggle of roosters (you thought I’d say “geese”, didn’t you? Nope. They just wait until I’m walking through and try to eat my coat). Standing among them was one of the peacocks. I don’t know why it was such a “wow” moment for me but it caught me off guard. There he was, going about his business, just hanging out, and yet he’s fluorescent blue. So normal and out of place at the same time. Majestic. I thought, “Yup. I get to spend time at a place where walking by a peacock is just a regular Monday. Awesome.”

Recently, Spirit and Cloud (the mule) have fallen in love. Hard core – don’t ever leave me – I’ll just scream on the top of my lungs until I see you again – love. When one of the kids brings Spirit up to the barn, blood curdling cries of anguish can be heard down by the lower barn as Cloud pierces the air with her mournful song. And no matter how much food and comfort I try to give him, Spirit yells at me for a solid five minutes in between bites of his dinner. Cloud has even been known to use her powers by breaking down fences to get to him. Now that’s Love.

Speaking of love, here are some videos of my friends being awesome:


Filed under alpacas, athena, goats, gulliver, horses, humor, pheasant, piggies, roosters, videos, waterford, winslow farm

Beautiful Day!

Compared to the ruckus last week, this visit was pretty low key. The pheasant was scarce, although I did notice two teenagers running after him and asked if they knew the bird they were chasing. “Yes, it’s the one from the bird house.” He is the one that I’ve mentioned who looks like a brightly colored parrot with a long pheasant tail. “Um, no. This is the one who lives over on this side in the cage with “attack bird” on it. Stop chasing him.” Suprisingly, I didn’t see him again for the day. Not going to lie in saying that I didn’t mind at all.

This was the first time Athena sat down in my presence. Either she was tired or she’s trusting me more. I choose Door Number Two.

It also gave me a chance to see her pretty eyes from the side.

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A mountain goat!!! (Bah dah bum.)

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While looking for Waterford to see if he wanted some of the hay I’d brought him, I took my first peek at the inside of his little house. Obviously, a photo can’t encompass how cute he is while he snores, so I’ll let your imagination do the work. Picture, if you will, his giant ears happily flapping about, a surprisingly agile snout that’s up and down and side to side and up and down, all the while erupting with snorty goodness. I seriously contemplated lying down for a nap with him, but his chompy tendencies stopped me. Maybe next time…

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Every week, at least one of the alpacas takes a giant dirt bath and I LOVE it!

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Filed under alpacas, athena, goats, humor, pheasant, photography, piggies, sheep, waterford, winslow farm

Ahh! Bird!!

Last week, I discovered that in addition to being an attack bird, the pheasant is also a stalker. A very angry unsubtle one, at that. While minding my business in the barn, he started peeking around the door. I thought, “no problem” since he did that when we were friends, too. And then he started rushing me…Fast and furious, he came, wings flapping, projectile beak jabbing. Aided by buckets of water, I managed to keep him outside of the barn. But filling them takes time and once empty they were useless in guarding during outside chores. Time for a new strategy.

I picked up a broom and started a new dance with him. Using it as a barrier, he attempted to get around it at first and eventually gave in to attacking it. What a determined little guy! He followed me outside the entire time lunging at me every chance he got. Interestingly, he did not go after any of the animals. Cats sauntered by. Ponies lounged around. Alpacas didn’t even sniff at him when he hung out in their pen. But people? No, thank you, says the pheasant.

We went on a “walk” over to the alpacas and he snuck under the gate and went off into a corner. He didn’t even follow me back to the barn. He hunkered down so long that I had time to close up the barn and make a run for it without my broom. Obviously, the moment he noticed my departure, he tried to come after me. Luckily for me, he’d forgotten how to get back out. (Yes, seriously.) By the time he figured it out, I was safe behind the fence. Round two goes to me!

One of the buckets that doused him kinda knocked him backwards into a roll and he lost one of his tail feathers. You know, one of the ones that had been broken in half by a kid last week? I felt so bad. Even while he lunged at me!

The calm before the storm…


You thought I was exaggerating, right? Nope!

This is the part where he took a little nap due to exhaustion.

Aaaaaaand we’re back!

In all the melee, I forgot to close the barn doors before letting the alpacas out. Poor Athena! Last week, the sheep/goats stole her food, this week it was three big alpacas. When I got into the barn, she was pressed up against the wall, looking somewhat defeated. (If only I could give her hugs!) Fortunately, the alpacas are skittish around me still, unlike the pushy crew from last week. Another win for Athena!

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Filed under alpacas, pheasant, photography, winslow farm

And in this corner…

Soon after I arrived on Monday, I saw the pheasant chase a tractor. I was not fast enough with the camera to catch the hilarious sight, but picture if you will a giant green tractor ambling along with a small bird in hot pursuit. I also noticed that his tail feathers were about half their usual length and was told that a child had tried to pick him up and stepped on them in the process. I can see why he might be angry.

I also can see why the term “attack bird” applies to him…So, I was helping out with Waterford’s feeding. The hose that’s used for him threads from his pen into the barn where it’s attached to the pump. I turned it on and rounded the corner to find that the boy who was feeding him was retreating with a large stick in his hands. “What’s with the stick?” “The pheasant is attacking me!” Well, maybe he just doesn’t like him. This would never happen to me!

I caught up with the pheasant and he walked along with me, buddies as usual. (See?) It wasn’t until I stepped up on a log for better access to Waterford’s buckets that I saw a flash in my peripheral vision, a flurry of wings. The pheasant had switched his attitude from peaceful helper to “I HATE YOU SO MUCH” in one fell swoop. All of the sudden, he was launching his little body off the ground and biting me wherever his pointy little beak could make contact. My foot and ankle were bombarded with angry birdie kisses.  I moved my foot around to shoo him away, obviously not wanting to kick him in the face, but this just fueled his frenzied attack. With the hose still in my hand, I made a quick decision and turned it on him, sloshing the water over him. This helped a bit but he was pretty determined. So I turned the spout into a spray nozzle with my finger and sprayed the living daylights out of him. He kept trying to rush me and then would stop in a giant bird puddle, start again, stop again. Defeated, he gave up trying to maim me and spent the next couple of minutes crouching comically and then shaking his feathers maniacally and THEN wiping his face off in the dirt (by far, my favorite part).

Later when I was working in the barn, he stood outside the door threatening to come in, peering in the door at me. Hopping back and forth. He reminded me of a little boxer, sparring his way in and out of the door. Hopefully next week, his tail feathers will have started to grow back in and he’ll be less cranky. Although, I have to thank him for giving me the opportunity to give him a good long spray. He certainly took it like a champ.

In other bird news, because Monday was a state holiday, there were a lot of visitors at the farm. Claudius the swan was out and about and ended up in the section where there are swing sets and climbers. As I’ve mentioned, Claudius prefers the company of animals and children are definitely not the next down on the list. I was in the barn working and I noticed that he’d parked himself at one of the gates and was gently banging his head against it over and over again. “Please let me out. Please let me out. Please let me out. Please let…”. I left my post to free him and realized the exit was roped off. Now I had to get him over the other exit at the same time that a number of people were leaving. He hemmed and hawed and oh, five minutes later, he finally walked through the gate.

It was nice though because visitors asked me questions and I knew the answers to them. I felt like I’d passed into a new level of volunteering. And maybe Claudius will go on walks with me now.

I’d be angry if someone broke off my tail feathers, too.

Meet Sturbridge. When finished at the barn for the night, I close the two doors securing the animals and then the gate between the sheep and the corral is opened or shut according to Deb’s instructions for the alpacas. One of the kids came to the barn to get something and left the gate open and Sturbridge, Apricot (a mini goat) and another sheep came to investigate. Apricot climbed into Athena’s hay bucket and pushed her out of the way (he does this with the sheep he lives with as well. Half their size but he sure knows how to shove). I managed to put the food dish away before the three of them could eat her dinner but getting them back out of the barn was a bigger task. Two kids managed to wrangle Apricot and the other sheep away but Sturbridge was holding out hope. I got him out of the barn and closed the big doors and reentered through the back corral. I figured that we were done and finished up in the barn. And then I heard it. “Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh”. I opened the doors a crack and this is Sturbridge shoving his face in. I told him that I was sure there was still food where he eats, but he insisted that there wasn’t. Later when I was at the bird house, I found both Sturbridge and Apricot stuffing their faces with hay. Liars! At least they’re adorable ones.

THIS is the back of a peacock!

This is the albino peacock who is just as magnificent as the brightly colored ones.

This quick snapshot was taken to show the varied birds. Obviously there are the peacocks and my turkey love but look in the space between the gate posts in the middle and you’ll see the emu. Look in the rafters and you’ll catch the yellow head of the other pheasant who is reminiscent of a parrot. Winslow is a great place to learn about different birds because there are many different kinds and one can walk right up to them. Speaking of learning more about them, I was only a few feet away from the peacocks this time around. Every once in a while, they move their tail feathers in a way that makes their feathers shake from base to tip. All the colors blur together and the sound is incredible.


Filed under behavior, peacocks, pheasant, photography, sheep, winslow farm

It’s the little things

Just before I was about to leave on Monday, Deb asked me if I wanted to brush Lunar. Um, Yes? So I spent an extra half hour following the contours of her sinewy body. My favorite part (twice!) was when she propped her head and all its weight on top of mine while I brushed her neck. I found out after that the brush I was using was  intended for manes and tails but I can officially report that she loved it as an overall massage.

I knew not to groom Spirit since Deb didn’t mention him, but I did get in some quality petting time with him. Since I don’t do it very often, I forget that he is really soft. Much softer than Lunar. But Lunar got jealous that I was paying attention to Spirit and so she set him off in a barrage of teeth baring and frustration. Since I knew biting was next, I went into cease and desist mode. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

When I’d arrived at the farm, I saw that the pheasant was inside his cage. “Uh-oh”, I thought. I asked him if he’d attacked someone. He responded by pacing back and forth while making cooing sounds and louder insistent ones simultaneously (a distractingly cool combination). He was not happy to be back in the cage. It turned out though that he was just put in it for the day due to a giant easter egg hunt that had happened earlier. Not only that, but his cage door was unlatched. “He’ll figure it out,” was Deb’s quote. But when I passed him on my way to the car, he was still fretting away. I even showed him that the door was open but he was too busy stressing out. Seriously, on a scale from one to get-me-out-of-here, he was at least on “I-said-RIGHT-NOW!” Here’s to hoping that he freed himself.

A still of the little guy fervently wishing he’d be released from his prison. (Note how the latch is open…)

Speaking of grooming, Lunar appears to have done a bit on her own.

While working in the barn, I noticed that the alpaca ladies had come out of their corral to sit and stare at us, only to evacuate when I left. Sigh.

And I just can’t get over how adorable Athena is. She’s such a squish munchkin!

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Filed under alpacas, athena, horses, lunar, pheasant, sheep, spirit, winslow farm

First day of spring calls for snow?

Well, it didn’t dampen my spirits at the farm. I went about my duties in the barn and as I was about to leave, I saw that Gulliver was sitting in his pen. While I usually find him lounging in the big barn, I’ve never seen him lie down after a meal. And even though I’d already given him extra hugs time when I picked him up earlier, I decided it was in my best interest to sit down on the dirty floor. Sure, there were Gulliver pellets and dirty hay scattered about but I’m almost positive that I didn’t sit on any… And then I gave him the most giant hugs ever! Full body smooshes! He showed his appreciation by burping the whole time. I’m not sure I can possibly explain how happy this made me. When my legs were sufficiently asleep, I finally dragged myself off the ground. He stayed seated until Niko coughed and he hopped up looking worried. Cute AND caring. What a guy!

On my way to visit the turkey, I stopped off at the water pump to rinse my hands of Gulliver dirt. While rinsing, a pheasant popped up in front of me. This beautifully feathered guy had been restricted to a very large cage because he’d attacked a few people with his sharp talons and pointy beak. He’s been out on good behavior for about a month but I’ve never come into contact with him. It turns out that he likes me. A lot. He’s super friendly and he didn’t once try to maim me with either set of weapons.

And then I was off to the bird house. While the turkey courted me, clucked at me, and received pets, I watched a bored duck wander around the room. Around and around he went until he walked up to a black rooster and bit him on the butt. The rooster reacted by shrieking in surprise. I’m sure my raucous laughter ruffled a few feathers but I couldn’t help it. Hilarious!

This sheep was checking out the scene in the cat house while I was in it.

Followed this guy in slow circles for three minutes to get a picture of his sad wings.

This is Cotton. He says, “hi!!”

This is the friendly pheasant. Look at that plumage!

Love, love, love.

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Filed under cats, geese, goats, gulliver, humor, pheasant, photography, sheep, turkey, winslow farm