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.

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.
🙂

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!!

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.

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…

😂😂😂

Tired

With the excitement of starting up the incubators for the years comes the forgotten knowledge of what the 3 days of hatching is really like…
Exhausting.
Once the first chirp starts, there’s excitement.
Yay, we’ve got chicks!
But then…as more come out of their shells, the *loud* chirping starts.
And the scrabbling, jim jamming around…at all hours.
Then, throw in Daisy Mae, who has to tell me she can hear the chicks in the incubators.
At 2am.
*sigh*
Yes cat, I am aware that there’s birds chirping in the house.
Quite. Aware.
Thankyouverymuch.

So here we are on day 2 of hatching, running low on sleep, just waiting for tomorrow morning when we can take aaaaaallllll da little birbs out to the brooder and start again.
😂😂😂
And so it will go, every 3 weeks from now until the beginning of July.

This…this is what my face looks like right now…”Can I just get a little quiet time for a nap??!?” 😂😂😂

Wednesday March 10th ~ Day 18

First thing off the hop…fonts are weird on WP this morning.
Maybe it’s just me, but in my posting block page yuckiness (I can’t be the only one who hates the way the new posting system works, can I?) the fonts changed and it’s weird.
I don’t like change.
Especially when it happens without warning.
(Like change often does…😂😂😂)

Also, today is day 18 with the incubators.
Today I take out the turners, bump up the humidity and wait for the sweet sound of “chirp, chirp, chirp” to start.
By this weekend, we’ll have chicks!
🙂
Tomorrow I’ll start saving eggs for the next round…
I can only run one of them for the next round though, because in 2 weeks I have turkey eggs coming and they need 4 weeks to hatch, compared to chicken’s 3 weeks…I need the turkey eggs to hatch at the same time as the arrival of the white turkey poults.
I’m sure I’ve blathered on about this before…heritage birds of the same species in with meat birds helps the meat birds learn *how to bird* so that the meats are much healthier…as long as they think they are hatchmates.
That is very important, because if they are introduced too far apart, it becomes difficult to integrate them.
There is too much $$$ wrapped up in my turkeys to chance the poults not integrating well.
This is my experience.
Others may have different experiences, but this has worked very well for us.
And so I have to leave one incubator free for the arrival of 2 dozen Narragansett turkey eggs.
Squeeeee!
😀

Finally, for Wordless Wednesday, my lovely sleeping beauty, my chubby Painted Unicorn, Ruby…

And one just for thought…

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Wordless Wednesday.

November 1st

Welcome to the Dark Half of the Year.
Yeehaw mutherfuckers, let’s do this.

*sigh*
So, the last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy.
Ok, so when aren’t things busy here?
😂😂😂

We bought a live pig, brought him home and processed him.
We’re still working on the yard for the turkeys…we ran out of stucco wire for fencing, but found a decent deal on rolls from the local home improvement store. So, that’s today and tomorrow’s plan.
That way I can clean out the turkey coop and them giant effing birds can get some time outside before real winter hits.
Last week they turned 3 months old.
I’ve got to take some new picture for y’all, because they are incredible looking!!
Whew.
I’m super happy with them.
And I’m so looking forward to them laying eggs…
I’ve been looking up videos of turkey mating so I know exactly what to expect come spring.
😂😂😂

Last night was a crazy windy, chilly night.
Being out in the country, we don’t get trick or treaters, sadly.
But it was a wild and crazy night for us to drive out on our big field and (inserting some witchcraft here so skip to the next paragraph if that sorta thing bothers you ❤ ) renew the wards on the Farm.
Normally I walk the corners, and salt the posts/perimeter with prayers for protection, but this year, I had Hubby home, it was a full moon, time change, windy like crazy and the energy was **electric**!
So I got him to drive me out to do the corners after dark.
It.
Was.
Awesome.
And I figured 2020 was NOT the year to play fast and loose with spiritual protections.
So we got that done and we’re good now, starting the Dark Half of the Year.

(Safe to come back to reading now, the witchery talk is done ❤ )

Hopefully hay makes it here today.
I’ve been texting back and forth with our Hay Guy…he hasn’t forgotten us, just been busy, but I’m low and The Merry Mares are on hay full time now.
So the plan is for today.
Fingers crossed.

And now, I’m trying to decide on our next Farm purchase.
Every year, we get a rebate on a portion of our school taxes (which are included in our property taxes) because we are zoned agricultural farm land.
That money is always invested back into the Farm.
This year I’m torn between a still…because as things get more and more ridiculous out there in the world (our provincial govt is in the process of taking us back to full lockdown…because y’know they “opened up too fast” in the spring and that why in the Fall cases are rising…yeah, okay. whatever. Not like locking down will push the next round of cases out to the next time we reopen or anything…just remember, if you don’t wear a mask, it’s *your* fault we don’t get Christmas…hint…I never wear a mask, and am quite well versed in what the exemptions are under the health orders continually imposed on us…so that bit about masks is pure sarcasm, in case anyone missed it…)
Anyways…the still…one thing Hubby needs is distilled water for his cpap machine. So a still would be a valuable tool to have…we will *not* talk about distilling spirits like whiskey, rum, vodka dn gin.
Oh no, we won’t discuss that at all.
😉 😉 😉

Buuuut…I’m also looking at another, bigger incubator.
Listen, poultry is something I can grow a lot of.
I have the space, the skills, the poultry.
Now the ducks have been making babies, so they can do what they’re gonna do.
But I have turkeys who will be sexually mature come spring, plus a whole lotta chickens, including our Chonky:

Chonky the Cornish meat hen

Chonky is laying eggs and has a boyfriend in one of the big roos…so we really want to separate her and him for some eggs to hatch.
I want to be able to keep those chicks separate from other chicks so that’s gonna take a dedicated incubator.
See where I’m going?
The 2 I have just aren’t quite enough for all that I want to hatch.
Plus, if I have a bigger one that I can hatch more out earlier, I have less smaller chickens at this time of year to process.
It makes sense.

But again, the problem is, not enough money to do both a still and an incubator.
I have a bit of time to decide, but weighing the pros and cons have been…difficult…to say the least.
😂😂😂

But on that note, I oughta get my butt moving.
Still have to finish putting the garden to bed, break up some pumpkins for seeds and feed, and help out getting my turkey birds yard done.

Have a great day folks, and here’s hoping level 11 of Jumanji goes easy on us all.
😘😘😘

Fall is Coming

Seems like no matter how hard we try to catch up, we just keep getting farther behind.
I think that’s the way of things, no matter what though…

So we’ve shortened the list of things to do before winter a bit.
I had planned on a massive garden expansion into the 70 acre field for next spring.
I just can’t do it.
There’s not enough time or manpower (womanpower?) to get it done.
However, don’t think I’ve given up on expansion plans.
Oh, no!!

I planted into straw bales the past 2 years with marginal success.
This year was better than last year, but now the bales are far too broken down to use as a straw bale growing area.
Right beside those bales, we put a couple black plastic compost bins that have been working as homes for chicks/ducklings.
Now that those birds are ready to move into the main poultry yards, the bins can go back to their rightful uses for compost…but I’m left with an area chock full of straw and bird manure…what to do…what to do…

Oh!!
I know, I know!!
😂😂😂
Since the straw bales are *right there* and they’re too broken down to move with the tractor, I’ll take out the chick/duckling yards, breakdown the bales to cover the manure areas, then cover with composted equine excrement to create a long(ish) wide(ish) permabed ala Zach Loeks

That will get covered with plastic for the winter, so it can marinate and cook and be ready for spring planting.
It’s not as big of an expansion as I was hoping to do this year, but, we can only do what the 3 of us can do…and this, Kid and I can do in a day or two.
And we can always add on later as well.

I’m also working on propagating the grape vine I was given…as it turns out, it should be pruned this fall, so with pruning comes the chance to start more. Fine by me. 😉
I think I’ll give another go at propagating the honeyberries as well…because one can never have too many honeyberry plants. lol
And I’m taking a hard look at my black currant bushes too…😂😂😂
One can never have too many fruit bushes, I’m telling ya!!
What I really need to do, is figure out where on the property to put some raspberries.
Someone where they can just go wild!
I love raspberries, they’re expensive to buy, and I have space.
I can remember my Grandmother Kate’s patch as a child.
It was massive.
She’d give us kids a pail, send us into the patch and tell us not to come out until we needed another bucket to fill.
I ate so. many. berries.
😂😂😂
Pooped red for weeks!
I need a patch that big here.

Besides, raspberry plants are more than just berries for food.
Berries for wine, leaves and berries for medicine.
The goal is to grow as much medicinal plants as I possibly can…and one native to my climate.
So there’s been *A LOT* of studying going on for me.

The more I watch the world around me breaking down, the more I see people acquiescing to restrictive demands, the more I hear people demanding mandatory vaccination once a “safe” covid one is released, the more I think about dropping right out of society.
I don’t do submission and I don’t do forced medical procedures.
And I’ve had more than enough emotional manipulation to last 37 and a 1/3 lifetimes.

So, the more I can work on self sufficiency the better.
I suspect that in the next few years, there will be an underground market up and running to fulfill the needs of those who aren’t buying what the talking heads and powers that be are selling.
I mean to be on the ground floor of it.
To be fair, many of us small farmers are the basis of that sort of market anyways…I do think it’s just going to expand as people resist more and more.

Anyways, that might be a little too much for some of y’all.
That’s okay. 🙂
I try to keep it light, but freedom, while sometimes a scary thing, is very important.
But anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about that. 😉
At any rate, here’s a link to one of my very favorite Claire Wolfe pieces for your enjoyment:
What’s an Outlaw to Do?
It’s well worth the read.

And finally, a picture of my Ruby…
We had been given a whoooooolllllle bunch of grain screenings for the chickens.
As Hubby was working on getting it into storage bins, he mighta left a feed tub unattended for a wee bit…

“nom, nom, nom…gotta eat as much as I can before the DadGuy notices!!”

Enjoy the weekend folks.
I’m off to run a Rooster Rehab Camp.
🙂