Chicks and Chickens

I love this time of year.
Spring brings new life on the Farm, and new hope for a prosperous year ahead.

Our first round of eggs has hatched.
I initially set 80 eggs between the 2 incubators.

In the small incubator was all the blue and green eggs I was able to collect before starting.
22 colours and 2 browns.
Of those eggs, we had 20 hatch.
1 died in the shell, and the last 3 weren’t fertile.

Chicks in the small incubator…can you tell who’s going to be the trouble maker in this group?

In the big incubator I set 56 eggs.
1 was tossed due to having cracked in collection…those frozen eggs can really fool you with the cracks sealing back up when thawed.
In total, we had 24 hatch out.
5 of the unhatched were viable.
1 of those died shortly after pipping, the other 4 died in different stages of development.
The last 26 eggs weren’t fertile.

Don’t mind the phone pics…it’s too hard to use Voldemort when the chicks are still int he incubators. 🙂

Overall, I’m happy with 44 little chirp chirps this round.
Considering those eggs were collected during our polar vortex cold snap that darn near snapped us all, any life coming from them is amazing and makes me happy.

Now the small incubator has 24 greens and blues in it, due to hatch in 2 weeks time, while the big one awaits the arrival of turkey eggs sometime next week. 🙂

We’ll keep running the incubators until mid-summer.
Last year my last hatch finished the first week of July, and with excellent Fall weather, we were able to put all the extra roosters in the freezer. Fingers crossed for that kinda luck again!
This year though, I want to keep better track of how many roosters we butcher.
That way I know if I have to up my hatching game next year.
I will say, I am considering a 3rd incubator just for turkeys…though, I have noticed lots of folks will run chicken eggs in an incubator with turkey eggs.
I might try that. We’ll see how my turkey hens do when they start laying…if I get a lot of eggs from them, I might just spend the money for a 3rd.

The current crop of hens is happy as can be with Spring weather too.

Dust bathing…

They sure do make a mess of the lawn.
😂😂😂
This is just outside the gate to their yard…because heaven forbid the jerks stay in their yard and dustbath in there…oh no, that would make too much sense!
And if there’s one thing chickens ain’t got, it’s sense!
😂😂😂

They’re so funny…

😂😂😂

Blessed Lammas

Mid summer already.
Holy smokes, this year…after the slowest passing winter, this summer seems to be flying by us.

Things are kicking into high gear here.
Meat chickens are graduating to freezer camp…the first 10 went last weekend.
The rest go this weekend.
The freezers are being cleaned out of last year’s meats and turned into sausages.
Yeah, I’m really on this kick of making sausages.
The roosters from last year were so flavorful, but not good eating on the bbq. They were just too tough.
We bbq a lot.
But cooked low and slow, they were amazing!
So I figure I’ll take what’s left, grind with some bacon and seasonings and make sausage.
I also have some of last year’s pork left that I’ll do the same with.

We found some bags of chopped green tomatoes in there too.
So the next round of green tomato wine starts this weekend.
As well as a grapefruit one…we got a fantastic deal on MinuteMaid frozen concentrates. I wanna say it was 3 for $1.
Since my lime wine turned out pretty decent (still have to bottle that one) I figured I’d try grapefruit.
And then, I have my dandelion petals ready to start a small batch of Odhinn’s Mead.

I’m still fighting weeds in the garden.
I think I will forever and ever.
That’s just the nature of gardening.
But, my beans are in full flower, the tomatoes are too, and I don’t have any clue what’s in there for carrots.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weeds sheltered the teeny seeds enough to let them get a good hold on growing, but I’m not really expecting anything.

Ducks have resumed laying eggs.


Which is good because the last nest the one hen sat on was all rotten eggs.
We’ve seen the drake doing his job, so I’m collecting a dozen eggs and firing up the incubator.
I didn’t want to run it again ’til spring, but this is an opportunity I can’t pass up.
I’ll be watching out for a sale on 2nd one too…that way in spring, once the ducks pick up laying after their winter break, I can run batches of chickens and ducks at the same time.

Haying is moving right along.
I’m putting up as much as I can, while I can.
I had the opportunity to purchase a 2nd scythe. One with a longer blade. Oh how nice it glides through the grasses!!
It’s given me the chance to cut an extra area that I couldn’t do with the shorter ditch blade…so I’m a happy girl!

Plus, the longer blade makes 2nd cut here go so much more smooth!
The short blade isn’t meant for those later in the season softer grasses, so it tends to rip instead of cut. No matter how sharp it is.
I do have to fix the tip of the new-to-me one, but aside from that, I’m even making the snath (which is just a hair too short for me) work with a change of posture.

So that’s where we’re at here.
Working, working working.
Prepping for winter.
Thinking about plans for next year already.
I feel like this is all stuff I’ve shared before, but really, day to day right now is a lot of “more of the same” with only small changes.
Feel free to ask anything though, if there’s something y’all are curious about.

Ruby enjoying a nap in the sunshine…

2nd Hatching

We’re at 15 moved to the brooder so far…

15 chirp chirps

Under the mass that was chirp chirps, there was 1 that was trying to pop out of the shell. We didn’t see them until we had the 15 out…so we closed up the incubator right quick to let the little one finish.

Now it sounds like a couple more needed more time, because there’s more than one voice in there chirp chirp chirping.

So, as it stands, with 2 hatches, my incubator has paid for itself…math here:

Trying to decide last night, if financially, the investment in the incubator was a good idea. Leaving the whole idea of one step closer to self sustainability out of it (because *of course* the investment was worth it on that front)…because math…and because there are so many numbers that swirl around in that brain of mine that I had to throw a few extras into the mix…
(These are the things that I think about after a handful or so of beers…😂😂😂)

So last year I paid $4/ per Easter Egger chick.
Pick up was, literally, down the road from us.
I bought 18 of them, 13 were roosters.
Kept the 5 hens and 1 rooster.
Total of $72 invested in the birds.
(not including feeds in this, because I can’t remember what I spent on starter last year for those chicks…and it’s not in my notes anywhere. )

This year, same woman was selling her EEs for $4.50/chick.
I bought an incubator (not because I has a problem with her prices, but because I kept missing her sales posts)
With the incubator, 2 gallon sized waterers, a pkg of Poul-Vite and shipping, the total was $137 and change.
So, using last year’s prices, to come out even chick wise on my investment, I would need to hatch out 34.25 chicks. 😂
We’ll just round down to 34 chicks.
But, if we use this year’s pricing (which I’m inclined to do, because it’s what I would have happily paid, because her chicks are quality birds), I would need to hatch out 30.444~ chicks…so 30 of the fuzzy fluff-balls.

So far, in my first hatch, I had 18 chicks.
All are growing well, feathering out nicely and getting ready to start spending a bit of time outside.
All I need, chick wise, to hatch this time to make my investment worth the money is 12 chicks.
12 chicks and the incubator has paid for itself.
Then everything hatched out after that is gravy…or fajitas…or, and this is the front running idea, sausage.
Mmmmmmm, chicken sausage 😋😋😋

We’ll probably open up the incubator tonight or tomorrow morning and see who else hatched.
And then, we’re done hatching eggs for the year.
We just have to let everyone grow and see who stays on as egg makers. 🙂