Almost Here!

Tracking says my incubator is in the nearest big city.
All I need is for it to make it to where we can pick it up.
Squeee!!

And, I’ve contacted the lady I bought Lemon Chicken’s batch of chicks from…

Lemon Chicken is in this box somewhere!

She’s selling hatching eggs from the same crosses that Lemon Chicken came from.
Hopefully I’ll be getting 2 dozen from her at the end of the month.
Looking forward to firing up the incubators!

Hoping to hatch out a few more like her! 😉

Shipped!

I got the email yesterday that my new incubator had been shipped.
Here’s hoping it arrives easily and swiftly.
🙂

Today I sat down and figured out how many hatches I can run before it gets too late in the season.
5.
5 batches of 80 eggs.
Yikes!
lol
That’s a lot of chicks!

To say I’m a little excited to be able to grow that many chicks into food for our family (and others) would be a tremendous understatement!
C’mon Spring!
🙂

 

Ducks

I’m adding to the duck flock this spring.
We still have our 4 muscovy hens.
Donald went to Freezer Camp.

So today I was looking at the local hatchery’s website, planning…dreaming…plotting what I need financially and in supplies for what birds I plan to order.
In May there’s going to be a local small animal auction that we want to go to, so I’m hoping to pick up a new drake for the muscovy girls.


I don’t think they much cared for Donald, because of all the eggs they gave us, not a one was fertile.
So I’ll see if we can find them a better suitor.
And then, hopefully, we’ll be overrun with muscovy babies!
I’m told they breed like crazy…I haven’t see it yet.

Back to the hatchery…
My plan is to order pekins.
They’re a simple white meat duck.
Which is what we want ducks for…meat.
And then I noticed they had cayugas this year.
Oooooooh…

Cayugas are a black duck with an iridescent sheen to them..
You can see examples here:
Metzer Farms

So now I’m thinking I’m going to order 9 pekins and 1 cayuga.
And we’ll see what happens from there.
I’m hoping to get at least a pair of drake and hen so I can keep 2 for breeding, and the rest will go to Freezer Camp at the end of the summer.
Again, we’ll see what happens.
But I’m focusing on poultry this year, while researching sheep still, because we’re not planning on pigs this year.
This is my break year from raising pigs.
That’s okay, because we still have a bunch in the freezer…and I still have to smoke the bacon.
I’m getting there.
😂😂😂

53 Days…

53 days until Spring.
Another month before we fire up the incubator. Still just the one…haven’t managed to get the $$$ together to order the 2nd yet.
I keep spending the egg money on things that come up…
Like new blankets for all before Yule.
Groceries when Hubby found a spanky deal on some veggies/fruits.
Feed, now that the layers are gearing up and laying more…they need more than just the barley chop and wheat so we’re mixing in layer feed now too…

But, I can still run batches of 24 eggs at a time.
And I’m waiting for some money to come in at the end of the month, so the next incubator should be ordered and arrive in time for hatching season’s start.

I’m looking out the window at our unseasonably, but oh so appreciated, -8*c.
Normally we’d be at least 10 degrees colder.
Of course, I’m also dreaming wistfully of the garden.
Unseasonably warm weather will do that to a Farm gal. 😉
We’ll start seeds soon though…right around the time we fire up the incubator.
So much life to start in just a few months!!

One of the best parts of this weather is how much less The Merry Mares are eating.
Hay consumption has slowed down, and for that I’m grateful.
They did decide to dig out the last bit of the first oat straw bale and have a bit more fun with it…


Astrid buried her head way down in there, looking for left over grain bits.

She was awful peeved that I called her ’til she lifted her head out…Sable dove into the spot she had been and probably found the tasty bits she was digging around for.
😂😂😂

And Ruby wore her straw beard whilst trying to have a nap…apparently I was annoying her again by taking pictures.
lol
Too bad for her.
😂😂😂

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Wistful
and
Oak Hill Homestead for the Simple Homestead blog hop.

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. 🙂

Chickies!!

I originally set 24 eggs in the incubator…

(phone pic)

At day 7 I candled and found 3 not fertilized, which left me with 21 eggs.
And then the pipping started on day 20 (I forgot to candle again at day 14).
It took everything I had to *not* open the incubator until day 22…

On the morning of day 22 we prepped the brooder, got a bin ready to transfer from incubator to brooder, and opened her up…

18!!

Of my 21 eggs, 18 hatched.
So we whisked them off to the brooder and I closed up the incubator for another 24 hours…in case those eggs were just slower to hatch.
Turns out they weren’t fertile.
So they went to the piggies.
🙂

And now, here some sneak peek pics of the ones who hatched:

Look at them!!
🙂

Interesting mix…
Our rooster’s sire is (I’m told) pure Ameraucana, hen an easter egger…so him with our easter eggers and our Browns and Columbian Rock Xs made some interesting mixes.
Whether or not I get more coloured egg layers from any of the hens (if there are any lol) we’ll just have to see.

Little cheepers…

What a funny little spot on this one’s head!
😂😂😂

So now we feed ’em and watch ’em grow.
Hens will stay on as layers, roosters will go on to become fajitas.

And round 2 of eggs, 24 again, is in the incubator.
After that hatch, I’ll put it away ’til spring.
I’d love to keep hatching, but we have to be sure whatever pullets we get are big enough come the cool/cold season so they can be in the coop with the older hens safely.

So after this round, I won’t set any more eggs until mid-March.
But I’ll be on the look out for other egg varieties…turkeys, ducks, guineas…just because I can.
🙂

There’ll be more pics in a bit…we’re busy getting ready for The Kid’s grad this weekend. Once that’s done, and we’ve recovered, The Kid and I have a specific photoshoot in mind for these balls of feathery cuteness.