First snow last night. Last night while The Kid and I watched some late night tv, we heard an unusual sound…it’s was shrieky/squeaky and loud enough to be heard over the sound on the tv. Cats weren’t terribly concerned. Nancy jumped off me to go to eat. Daisy didn’t even lift her head. Freyja was too full with chicken to care about anything. And the dog? Only barked because I got up to look for the sound. lol Like I said, not concerned.
This morning, wandering around doing chores, we see extra tracks in the snow…and discover we lost another chicken. *sigh* Either a fox (which would line up with the sound we heard last night), a coyote, or someone’s dog is wandering around eating my stupid birds. Either way, we need to move the coyote trap into a place where the tracks are most prevalent and catch this asshole.
Now, before anyone goes off about protecting my birds better…yes, I know these ones need to be in a coop. They’re from my last hatch and for some reason, they’re too damn stupid to find their way over to the coops at night…and until the snow hit, we had no idea where they were hiding, because they’re that good at hiding for the night. Now that we have an idea where they’re hunkering down for the night, we can collect ’em up and toss ’em into a coop for safety’s sake.
I know the canine is just doing what canines do, but man…I hate losing birds. *sigh* And frankly, with everything else going on, we just don’t need this extra bit of stress. 😡
Today we got 4 round bales of wheat straw home for The Merry Mares.
It was…interesting. lol Those are big bales, but thankfully, we didn’t have far to go. Also, thankfully, the folks we bought them from have more available. Like 800 more available!! So, later on if I need more I can get it any time. Yay! I suspect that we might need a few more to tide The Merry Mares over for winter. Fingers crossed not, but knowing I can get more means I can give ’em to them to enjoy without worry. 🙂
So today we did that. Then we set one out for the horses and peeled off some for the ducks, the chickens and the turkeys.
We stole all the duck babies from their Mamas and put them in the coop I showed you last post. It’s getting colder and it’s time to get the ducks into one pen. And it’s too cold for the babies to learn pecking order with the big ducks. So, since we have the coop, and we already had Cricket (the once house duck) and his friend Disco (a once duckling from our white hen) in there (Disco was added because Cricket needed a friend…animals *always* do better in pairs), we figured we’d put *all* the ducklings in there. At least until they feather out enough to go into another house near the bigger ducks.
*sigh* Animal husbandry can be frustrating. It is, no matter what, a lot of work. Especially if you’re doing it properly.
We also brought home another 400lbs of feed for the poultry and 100 lbs of oats for the horses. Our horses don’t get a lot of grain. We prefer to give quality hay, alfalfa cubes as extras and beet pulp. But on those bitterly cold nights, the grain is handy to stoke the equine furnace and get it running hot so that when the ample amount of hay (and now straw too) goes in, they stay warm. Horses stay warm best by eating. Not to say we don’t blanket. We have one for everyone, but Sable gets to wear hers more than the others. She is my Palomino Princess. ❤ And to be fair, she’s getting up there in age, and sometimes us oldsters need a little help to stay fat and sassy in the colder months. 😉
Tomorrow I butcher the last handfuls of roosters that are ready to be done, while Hubby and The Kid work on the fencing for the adult ducks and turkeys. Then we can move the turkeys to their coop and the ducks into the brooder the turkeys are in. It’s been a looooong summer/fall of poultry butchering and after tomorrow I’ll just have 5 or so ducks to do. Of the 14 we bought, we did 6 last week. There’s 7 left (we lost one small duckling shortly after we got them) and I think a couple of ’em are hens. Hens stay on, drakes go to freezer camp.
Come spring we’ll look at the 18 babies that hatched (19 technically, but Cricket has become The Kid’s pet, so Cricket is off the table, food wise), figure out who’s a hen, who’s a drake and set breeding groups from there. Hopefully come spring, the eine kliene bang bang music amongst the ducks will give us a massive amount of ducklings to waddle the pasture and eat bugs, whilst shitting out ducky fertilizer here, there and everywhere. I am hoping to have whole ducks for sale come next fall. Ducks can be processed on Farm, and sold Farm gate. They just have to be whole and labeled as “uninspected”…meaning they haven’t been done in a provincially inspected abattoir. And, with no overseeing board (like the Manitoba Chicken Producers, or the Egg Board) there’s no limit on the number of ducks I can butcher and sell, so long as I follow the already in place guidelines. Turkeys is 99 per year. Meat chickens is 999 per year. I would love to become a supplier of well bred, well raised, humanely slaughtered muscovy ducks. So that’s what we’re working on.
So that’s where we’re at. Making progress, and trying our best. Today I turned on the heat for the very first time this winter. And I need to get hay home. But so far, so good. Things are going well…would be better if there were 6 of us, instead of 3 but…whatrya gonna do? We’re gonna do the best we can and hope for the best. 🙂
Just think, in 4 1/2 months, I’ll fire the incubators for the first hatch of 2021. Feels like forever away, but it’s only 4 1/2 months.
This weekend we’re fencing their new yard…because with 13 of ’em in there, this coop/brooder is just too small. Plus, Ima gonna need that brooder back thankyouverymuch for next March when the hatching begins again.
I do also have this lovely coop that’s going to be used for chicks too:
Which was given to us by a friend when she moved. It’s awesome because it’s separated into sections, so when I hatch out eggs from different sources, I can keep chicks separate until they’re big enough to band for identification. But anyways…the turkeys have to move to bigger, easier to keep them in, space for winter. That’s just one of the many things we’re doing this weekend.
Somehow, October has crept up on me and bowled me over like a bull in a china shop. Gee, surprise! 🤦♀️🙄 So much surprise (not) that I started writing this yesterday, when it would have been a Monday Morning Round Up. 😂😂😂
So, what have we been up to? Welp, I do believe we are caught up on roosters. For now. We’ve got a handful that need to grow some more in the bachelor pen before going to freezer camp. Next up, ducks. That’s this weekend. Then we’re finishing the turkey/duck yard so we can move the turkeys to their new house. They’re growing very well, but not enough that we’ll have turkey at Yule for dinner. Naw, more like in March…but that’s okay. We’ll have a better idea on hens and toms then and then we can weed out the boys we’re not going to keep.
This also happened:
This little guy hatched out from our chocolate hen. She had this one and one other duckling….but she decided she didn’t want to actually *have* ducklings, she just wanted to sit on a nest. So she let the chickens try to kill the bebes. We didn’t catch them soon enough to save both, but did save this one. And for now (a temporary time) we have a house duck. Ain’t gonna be for long because I detest having birds in my house, but right now I have turkeys in the brooder (still) so no place to put a duck on his own.
So, to sum up…busy, busy busy. Roosters. Freezer Camp. Ducks. Building. Just trying to get shit done because, as we all know…