So Far, So Good


I told y’all how we moved the turkey poults out of the one brooder, into a new one and how we were still losing them…
Welp, so far, we’ve managed to stop the losses.
From 16, we’re down to 5 Narragansett poults, plus our 10 white poults.
So far, everyone is doing very well.
I am…cautiously optimistic.

So, aside from the brooder change, what did we do?
Hard boiled eggs.
Yup, hard boiled eggs are a miracle food for poultry.
They’re power packed nuggets of nutrition that give baby birbs an excellent boost.
Thankfully, my chicken hens have been laying like mad, so having extras to feed my turkey kids is no problem at all.

I take 3 eggs, hard boil them, peel them, mush them up, add in a little poul-vite (it’s a vitamin mix for birds), a small pinch of brown sugar and water to make a slurry.
Put the bowl down in front of those chicks and watch ’em gobble, gobble, gobble it down!

Plus they have fresh water and gamebird feed (with 28% protein) at all times.
So I am very hopeful that the last 5 of the ones I hatched will survive.
If they don’t now, it’s not because I haven’t tried damn near everything!

In the meantime…

Gardening has begun!
The grape plant has been uncovered from her long winter nap.
The garlic is getting uncovered tomorrow.
And MCFHubby brought this home for me:

Onions, asparagus and rhubarb.
All of which can (and hopefully will) be planted this weekend.
Yes, it’s early before the frost date for us, but this is all stuff that can go in early.
I’m also hoping to prep the area(s) for carrots, beets and peas.
Again, cool weather crops that can get started soon here.

Every year I’m anxious for this time, and now that it’s here, I’m ready to get things going…
So.
Ready!
🙂

Meat Chickens Have Arrived

Back when Hubby, The Kid and I were thinking about how many meat chickens to order, we thought we’d settled on 50, like last year.
And then, something picked at me and told me that wasn’t enough.
I’ve been alive long enough to have learned to listen when my gut says something to me.
So I ordered 75 of the little nuggets.
And 10 white turkeys.

I figured with the success of our Narragansetts from last year, I oughta be able to get 10 whites to Freezer Camp size.
I sure the eff hope so, because things have not been going well with my Narragansetts I hatched this year.
My excitement over 16?
Dashed, because we’re down to 5…and may very well lose them as well.
Fuck.

Y’see, turkeys are very delicate.
Yep, even heritage breeds. Even though the heritage breeds are tougher than the whites, they’re still delicate little things.
As we were awaiting hatching, we evicted the ducks from the brooder, gave it a deep cleaning, sprayed it down with cleaner, thinking we were good to go with our poults.
Welp, as it turns out, there was mold starting in the floor.
I say again…fuck.

Turkeys are susceptible to mold.
Even when us humans don’t know it’s there, have no fucking clue it’s there…turkeys will be doing great, bopping around like crazy birbs, eating, drinking, pooping beautiful turkey poops…and then just drop dead.
Because their little lungs are that effing delicate.

So after the loss of 6 we thought “huh, this is more than just weak poults not making it”.
Hubby and The Kid whipped off another brooder like the last one I showed y’all…metal floor for ease of cleaning, fresh new walls, lid that’s easy to lift for air movement and a door for easy access that doesn’t let heat out…
Then, The Kid and I put fresh straw in, and I crawled into the old brooder to catch our remaining poults.
That’s when I found the mold…under the straw, the wood was wet. And there were small fuzzy spots.
Fuck.

Now we have the last 5 in the newly built brooder, nothing is in the old brooder until it gets torn apart and maybe refurbished…but it might just be scrap now.
Fuck.
I mean, we can’t really complain about it, if we have to scrap it.
The brooder was here when we bought the place, it’s successfully raised near onto 500 hundred birds…but I hate that I found out this way that there was a problem with it.
I hate that it’s costing little lives.
😥
That’s what kills me.

If you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see the size of the white turkeys, compared to my Narragansetts.
The whites are a day old in the picture, the heritage birds over a week!
They’re all getting along beautifully.
I’m actually hoping that the whites will give the heritages enough impetus to keep fighting to stay alive.
There’s really no treatment for mold exposure.
Fuck.
But I’ve got them on high protein feed, clean water with vitamins, a bit of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar twice a day, clean fresh bedding every other day, and today they got some mashed up hard boiled eggs with the vitamins mixed in.
I’m trying my best to make the best of a shitty situation.
While hoping that my turkey hens start laying soon…because goodness knows, the boys are doing their jobs.
The very second I see eggs from the hens, I’m whisking them off to be incubated!

I’m going to bet dollars to donuts, that the second my incubators are full and working on chickens again, that’s when those turkeys will start popping out eggs…and then I’ll end up having to buy a 3rd incubator just for turkey eggs.
😂😂😂
Because that’s my life…chaotic, crazy, and always learning.

16!!!

It’s just a quick shot with my phone, but so far 16 poults have emerged!
I’m pretty darn happy with that.
Considering we keep having help from Daisy Mae with the cord being knocked out, and the humidity was a bit wonky near the end…still…16 poults.
Yeah, that’s good!
Fingers crossed for a good amount of hens this round, so that we can add them to Oscar and Dingus’ harem…any boys, unless they’re perfect/awesome will be Freezer Campers.


Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Awww Mondays.

Voices

Turkeys are hatching…

Hit play and turn up your sound!
There’s many little voices in there.
I’m so looking forward to meeting them all!
Humidity is still high, so they’re not quite done hatching.
When the humidity drops and stays low, then that’s an indication that they’re pretty much done.
That’s when I open the incubator and see if there’s any who need help out of the shell.
Until then, the ones that are out get to sing and dance around while they absorb the last bits of the yolk from their eggs.
They’re good for up to (and sometimes longer than) 72 hours in there without food or water.

The brooder is ready and warmed up for them, when they’re all done and ready.
🙂

Transplanting Seedlings

I’m quite excited that my peppers are at the point of needing to be transplanted.
This is exciting to me because, even though there is snow on the ground outside, the garden will soon enough be filled and growing.
The problem is always those seedling trays.
What on Earth is with them blowing holes in the corners all. the. time?
I get it, they’re not the sturdiest of plastics, but why doesn’t someone make a sturdy, hard plastic version?
I have said I would happily pay more so that I don’t have to re-buy them every season or two.

Yesterday, in our nearest small town, Hubby went into the hardware store to see if they had seedling trays.
Well, they did, but for some strange and ridiculous reason, they had drainage holes in the bottom.
Um, does the manufacturer (in this case Jiffy) even understand the usage of the trays?
*sigh*

But, The Kid and Hubby came up with a fix, so that I can get the peppers transplanted:

Yeah, that’s a drawer.
And that’s gonna work out juuuuuuuust fine!
But this is what manufacturers need to do.
Make us trays that are rugged and sturdy like this drawer.
We serious gardeners would *happily* pay more for them.
And let’s be honest, not having to ditch those flimsy ones every year or two and replace them would be a helluva lot better for the environment.

In other news, tomorrow is day 25 for the turkey eggs.
Tomorrow we take the turners out of the incubator, raise the humidity and wait…anxiously, for the turkey chirp, chirp, chirps to begin!
Still haven’t seen any eggs from the girls in the turkey yard, but that’s okay.
Last night I had to carry 3 of them back to the yard because they thought they should escape and go to bed with the chickens.
🤦‍♀️🙄
Um, no my poor silly birbs.
What I did notice is that they have the tell tale signs on the backs of their heads that Oscar and/or Dingus are doing their job(s). So hopefully soon, but even if not until next year, that’s okay too.
Good breeding stock is worth the time and investment, and these guys are quality birbs.

Monday Morning Round Up ~ April 12th

It’s snowing!
😂😂😂
We spent the weekend getting ready for this storm, because it’s been predicted for almost a week and we knew we had to get things ready…

Hubby finished re-furbishing the former pig house.
Our last pigs were savages.
Literally.
The big male was chewing on the wood sides for fun.
They had toys, endless food, giant stumps to throw around and he still loved to just chew the wood off the side of the shelter.
He was something, that boy…and he was the *nicest* pig of the 3.
The girls were crazy assed bitches.
I have never been quite so happy to send animals to Freezer Camp as I was those pigs!

Anyway, Hubby got the shelter re-furbished, wood on the sides and a new door…then he fixed the gate to that yard and it’s now the permanent duck yard.
We didn’t replace the pallet fence yet, but it’ll be fine for another year yet.
Then we moved ducks.
How did we get sooooo many ducks??
😂😂😂
Oh.
Yeah.
It’s because we let the hens sit nests.
Speaking of…
Our best mama hen, Ripple, has 22 eggs under her.
Fingers crossed that she hatches them all (or most of ’em).
She seems to have adjusted to moving her and her nest fairly well.
We initially left her in with the turkeys, but turkeys is assholes and they were beating her up, trying to force her off her nest. 😡
So Hubby and The Kid caught her and moved her in with the rest of the ducks…gave her the eggs she was sitting in her own little space, and this morning, even with the storm wailing around outside, she was happily chirruping at The Kid whilst sitting on her new nest.
We are hopeful.

Then everyone got new straw.
We’re working off the last round bale we bought in the Fall for the horses…so that means wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load moved to the poultry houses.
But it works well, even if it can be time consuming.
We just do what we have to, to make sure all the critters weather the storm safely. 🙂

Hubby pulled a new bale of hay out of the garage.
We’re at that point in the year where we start using the ones we have stored for next year…but because weather is so odd (she said while looking at the snow/rain coming down outside her window) we pull 1 at a time.
We pay way too much for dried grass to waste *any* of it!
And never, ever think I am disparaging our Hay Guy!
Oh. Freakin’. No!
He makes amazing hay that keeps my Merry Mares fat and sassy throughout the coldest of colds and wettest of wets, and he stands behind his product.
No complaints from me.
But I won’t waste a stem of it if I can help it, because hay is a precious commodity and that’s all there is to it.

Chicks got another light…
Thankfully we had an extra, so now they have 3 heat lamps…but really, there’s a lot of them, and they’re 3weeks apart in age and the Little Red Shed isn’t insulated…so we give ’em heat lamps to cuddle under…and everyone was doing awesome this morning.

Speaking of lights, my grow light is up and over my tomatoes now.
The peppers have been growing gangbusters, so are in need of transplanting. Especially the Shepherd peppers, where every single seed seems to have germinated and they are packed into their little cells.
lol
No complaints, I love roasted red peppers, so I’m happy to grow many, many peppers.
This year the plan is to smoke a bunch, dry them and grind them as spices for winter.
That’s part of the reason for the diversity in heat levels too…

And today we’re watching the precipitation come down.
Maybe we’re not too chuffed about it being snow, but it’ll be melting by Saturday and the land needs the moisture.
Like I wrote last week, Lake Midnight never appeared this year, that’s how dry it’s been.
While that seems awesome, that means not enough moisture in the land to get a good start on the growing season.
And here, the growing season isn’t just the garden, it’s the grasses that we eventually cut and feed to the animals too.
Nothing was greening at all. Just brown, dry and crunchy.
This will change that.
And hopefully, our May 1st celebration can include a Beltane fire.
We didn’t get to have our Samhain Ancestral Fire because of crazy wind and weather, so I am hopeful that this moisture will give us the chance to celebrate Beltane with fire.
As it should be.
🙂

A Wee Bit of Rain

It’s sooooo dry this year.
Lake Midnight never even appeared.

Ducks in Lake Midnight

^^^^
That’s what our pasture normally looks like in the spring.
The arrows at the top are pointing at the fence posts that define the pasture’s border…
Yeah, we’re usually wet, wet, wet this time of year!

I don’t think we’ve ever been under a burn ban from the municipality this early…at least, not as long as we’ve been here.
So last night’s drizzle that 1/2 filled a 55 gallon rain barrel and left us puddles on the drive way was very welcome!
The mud?
Not so much.
But it’s not so bad that I have to be worrying about the horses’ hooves.
When you get water like that ^^^ thrush treatments happen a lot!
The last few years have been on the drier side so much that I haven’t treated anyone for thrush in almost 2 years.
Good for their feet, not so good for growing their food.

So fingers crossed for more rain at just the right times.
Both for garden health and for the hay fields.
I’ve been Dreaming about cutting hay for months now.
Oh how I miss the movement, the quiet swish of the scythe, the turning and raking and the baling…
Soon.
Soon.

After the snow forecast for Monday melts.
😂😂😂

New Brooder

Okay, so I kinda have the image issue figured out. 
I can embed Instagram posts right into blog posts, so that you don't have to click away from the blog to see images.
And, you can click the arrows on the sides of the images to scroll through multi-image posts. 
Whew. 
Took a bit to figure it out, and it's a fair bit annoying 🤦‍♀️🙄 but at least I can share pictures again. 
Until the next grand WordPress upgrade. 
GAH!!
Why won't they listen that the block editor is a clunky clump of excrement that is a pain in the arse to use?

Anyways, this is the new brooder Hubby built for me.
Since we have so many chicks hatching, plus 75 meat chickens and 10 meat turkeys coming in a couple of weeks….and…turkey eggs in the big incubator…
Welp, I need somewhere to put aaaaaaaallllllll the bebes until they’re big enough to integrate into the main flock…and we’ve been gathering (okay, *Hubby* has been gathering) free building materials from places that get rid of their wood pallets.
This brooder?
All recycled wood.
I’ve got some left over paint from when we were getting the house in the city ready to sell, so I’ll slap a coat of that on it…once the 2 broody hens in there hatch out their eggs.
😂😂😂

So y’know, local-to-me folks…if you’ve got any paint sitting around that you’re never going to use and don’t want it, we’d be happy to take it off your hands and recycle it!

I couldn’t help myself…

This is one of the hens who has been fighting me for the past week over collecting eggs.
She sooooo wants to sit a nest.
So when Hubby finished the brooder, I thought “why not?”
I collected 10 eggs, put them in the basket and put her in there.
Yesterday we added another 8 eggs and another broody hen.
I don’t need this brooder for another 3 weeks yet, so why not let a couple hens do the job?
😉

My 2nd hatch was 24 eggs set.
22 eggs were actually fertile.
4 eggs were quitters…somewhere in the incubating process they just stopped developing.
18 live hatches.
1 lost in the overnight the first night.
So 17 total, with 2 having to be helped after they pipped and couldn’t get out of the egg.
So far, I have 60 chicks.
With 18 under 2 hens and another 24 set into the small incubator.

If we have nothing else to eat this winter, we will have chicken.
😂😂😂
But my tomatoes are coming up now so I think we’ll have a good year, food wise.
I sure hope so!!

I Am Angry Today

Y’all know me…I believe in eating whole foods.
We raise our own meat animals.
We buy as ethically as we possibly can, as much as we can afford.
And we cook.
I believe in slow food.
Nose to tail cooking and eating.
Bone broth for daaaaays.
Long cooked soups and stews, homemade as much as possible.
Pressure canned jars of homegrown, or well grown, foods are our convenience foods.

My province, Manitoba, has the highest child poverty rates of all the provinces in Canada.
The Territories beat us out, and that has a lot to do with getting food into remote places, and people moving away from traditional foods and living off the land.
It is a huge point of shame in this country, in my province, that there are children starving.
Not just missing a meal here and there, but outright starving.
And our province is “reforming” the education system…
Listen, kids **CAN’T** concentrate on learning when they haven’t eaten.
Got that??
Hungry kids don’t learn.

Anyways, food security is a drum I have been banging for years…

Today, one of the local rescues made a post about chickens from a commercial chicken barn.
Here’s the link…

https://www.facebook.com/thegoodplacemb/posts/938191546917607

Go read it.
Then come back and read my thoughts.
If you dare.

Listen, I get farmers are running a business.
But folks, let’s be 100% honest here…
If we’re going to use animals, it is our responsibility to use them humanely, and to not waste them.
Animal proteins are nutrient dense, they’re good for us, and they are a part of a healthy diet for many.
But cruelty?
Waste?
Throwing perfectly edible birds in the fucking dump?
Not so fucking much.

This practice, this cull, is 100% about money.
The hens are culled as rate of lay drops, and new hens are brought in.
All out, then all in.
So if a barn has a thousand birds, a thousand birds go out before the next thousand come in.
But what happens to the old thousand is the problem.
Some barns sell to small farmers like me.
But this? What’s outlined in the link?
Happens more often than not.
That. Is. Bullshit.

So here we have thousands of birds killed and thrown in the garbage.
Why aren’t they being processed?
Why aren’t they being distributed to those who need food?
Remember, highest child poverty rate in the provinces.
As of Janurary 2020, 27.9% of Manitoba children are living in poverty.
Guess what?
Those kids aren’t getting enough food.
Y’know what could solve that problem??
FOOD.

*sigh*

But it’s the money, right?
It costs money to process those birds into an edible product for humans.
It’s more “cost efficient” to throw the birds in the fucking garbage than to feed people with them.
And if that doesn’t make people angry, then there’s a big goddamn fucking problem.

Farmers have to buy into quota for eggs.
So, make one of the conditions that in order to buy egg quota, they have to have a processing plan or facility in place for the all out time of year.
Farmers have to have a plan in place for manure management.
They’re supposed to have a plan in place for deadstock.
Why the fuck isn’t there a plan in place for whole barn turnover???
And why the fuck are we the people not holding them responsible for having one?

There is no excuse for this.
There is no excuse for hungry children.
See?
These 2 can be beneficial to each other.
Do not tell me that the best way to dispose of these birds is to leave them rotting in a landfill…
While people go to bed hungry.
While people in Canada starve.
While children starve.

That’s bullshit.
That’s lazy.
That’s crap.

Manitoba Egg Producers need to simply fucking do better.

And people, stop buying cheaply produced food products.
I know it’s hard.
Because there’s all too often not enough money left at the end of the month to eat well.
But seriously people, that’s where slow cooking, nose to tail eating comes in.
With crock pots, instapots in darn near every home these days, fast foods, processed foods, easy from the freezer foods should be a thing of the past.
It’s not hard to cook food.
Really.
I promise…it’s not!
And, if you have older hens like these one in the link, they make such a rich flavorful, healthy soup!
We have to get away from the idea that food is so easy to waste.
Honest to Dog, you want to do something to help climate change?
Stop. Wasting. Food.

But…that’s a whole different issue that demands it’s own blog post on another day.

So. Much. Chirping.

On Thursday I took the turners out of the incubator.
I thought it was day 19.
It was actually day 18, so I was on time instead of a day late.
Which was why I was worried when I didn’t hear chirping right away on Thursday evening.
It’s all good though, the birbs are making up for it!
Last night was almost impossible to sleep because of the chirp, chirp, chirping.
Tomorrow we’ll pull the ones that have hatched out and put them in the brooder, and start all over again.

Speaking of brooders, Hubby got one built for me.
Yay!
Check the Farm Instagram on the sidebar…
(I still haven’t figured out WP’s problem with me uploading images, so I’ll be recycling some until I do…and there’s always Instagram for current images.)
Meat birds come in 3 weeks, and when that happens, the current chicks will go into that brooder (and hopefully he’ll have the chance to build a couple more!) and we’ll go from there.

Yesterday I took care of two asshole roosters.
I had kept them back from last years hatches because of their size (big, big boys!) and because they were not showing the mean rooster traits.
I don’t mind so much if roosters are shitty with us humans *IF* they’re good to the hens.
Well, as the winter wound down, these boys started getting shittier and shittier with the girls, to the point where they were holding girls down just to hold them down, while pulling out head feathers.
I ain’t having that.
There’s way too many nice boys out there to put up with that garbage.
And so, they went to the soup pot.
No room in my poultry yard for asshole roos…
**LOTS** of room in my freezer for ’em. 😉
It wasn’t even that there were too many boys (we had before yesterday 7 roos) because I have (even though I claim only 10 😉 ) at least 60 hens out there. So there’s no excuse for shitty rooster behaviour.
Welp, now the girls can be happy because the mean boys are gone…and the girls happily consumed their innards.
😂😂😂
Yeah, anyone who says chickens are vegetarians ain’t never seen the glee in a hen’s eye when she gets the testicle from a shitty rooster.
😂😂😂

I had also planned on send Oscar to Freezer Camp.

But lately he’s taken a shine to Daphne…

Booooop the snooooot!

Daphne is not impressed that this big bird has decided he’s in love with her.
She’s not impressed by his dancing, prancing and turkey songs.
Nope. Not at all.
😂😂😂
Us humans, however, find it funny as hell…and when Oscar is busy trying to woo Daphne he’s not fighting with Dingus.
And Dingus then spends *his* time trying to woo the turkey hens.
So it all works out just fine.
Besides, I have Narragansett turkey eggs in the big incubator…Oscar can stick around until we see exactly what hatches for us there. He might get him a flock of his own hens. Or he might go Camping.
But there’s time to wait and not be hasty about sending him to Camp.