Babies!!

There’s been a bit of a baby explosion here this week.

I have repeatedly been told that muscovy duck hens left alone will hatch tons and tons and tons of chicks…
Well we’ve had a few clutches hatch out, but nothing like the “you’re gonna be over run with that many hens!!” like I’ve been told…
Truth be told, because we eat our extra drakes, I *want* to be over run with ducklings.
I’m still waiting for that…

In the meantime, there’s kijiji.
It’s a Canadian buy/sell site where most farm folk list their extra animals for sale.
Welp, after a couple of beers I decided, the other night, to scan the livestock section…we’re coming into fall and lots of folks try to sell off extra animals so they don’t have to winter them.
Often, those animals go much cheaper than they would in the spring.

And so when I saw week old muscovy ducklings for $5 each, 21 of them, I contacted the seller…who said if I took them all, she’d charge me $80.
So we met up and made the duck deal in a Walmart parking lot.
😂😂😂

When we met up with the seller, she did say she could only catch 19…that’s okay though, because $80 was still a great deal for 19 ducklings.

Away we went, with our bounty.
And when we pulled into our driveway, we though “huh, we’re almost out of shavings” so Hubby and I planned on a quick trip to the feed store for another bundle of them, so that we could clean the empty brooder (we finally got the cornish meat birds butchered last week) and put these 19 babies in there…
As we’re transfering them to the bigger crate with shaving in it for a temp. holding pen ’til the brooder was cleaned, The Kid yells “duck baby!!” and runs off…I’m thinking “what the hell??”
And it turns out one had hatched while we were gone and had escaped from Mama.
Huh.

So she catches him, and puts him in the house with another one that she had found earlier in the week.
That made our 21 ducklings. 😉

Then this morning, I step out to feed the cats (always before the chickens get out, because otherwise the chickesn steal the outdoor cats’ food) and I see the duck Mama in the puddle (from our leaking well line that has yet to be fixed even though I have been all over every damn company within a 30 mile radius to come help us…fingers crossed this last guy, a local plumber who has been right on top of all my questions adn is booking his excavator guy to come do it, can make it out and get it done…) with 2 little yellow balls of fluff.
Huh.
So there’s more of ’em.

THEN!!

My brother gets here to check on his old car stored here, and as I come out to talk to him, I see 5 little balls of fluff following Mama Duck and an angry chicken clucking at the extra bebes to come back to her…and when Hubby comes out he says there’s 6 balls of yellow fluff in total.
So it turns out that this duck and chicken co-sat the nest and so far have hatched out 8 ducklings.
It’s really late in the year for ducklings.
And chickens can’t be trusted.
So we’ve cleaned out the brooder in the Little Red Shed and duck babies will go there…

But wait!!
There’s more!!

This is Lefty…

Lefty listened to all my yelling about if chickens are going to hide eggs here, there and everywhere, then they should at least come back with some damn chicks!
So she did.
😂😂😂

In 24 hours, we’re up 32 babies, bringing our grand total for poultry this year to…

10.

That’s it, that’s all.
We only have 10 birds.
That my friends, is how poultry math works…and why I’m the head and founding mother of Poultry Anonymous.
To think, I don’t even really like birds.
😂😂😂

Our Crazy, Crazy, Morning…

Turkey babies (who are not so much babies anymore, but teens) needed their brooder cleaned.
So I set up a yard within the big turkey yard, put out food and water and opened them up…and they proceeded to panic and fly here, there, and everywhere whilst screaming angst filled teenaged turkey anthems of woe and abuse because the whole wide world is scary and The Food Lady was murdering them.
*sigh*

So they ran the big turkey yard (the big turkeys were still in their coop because they are too big to run with the teen turkeys who are still mid-sized and no match for a full sized hen, let alone Dingus or Oscar) while I scooped their mass of straw/feed/shit out…
With this being the stenchiest part of the job, my Kiddo went off to feed the ducks and chicks in the Little Red Shed, only to come back to tell me 10 (58) chicks had popped their door and were now wandering around the building here, there and everywhere.
*sigh*

With that, we rounded up the teenaged angst filled turkeys and put them back into the brooder…and let the big adults out because they were convinced that they were gonna starve to death.

If Oscar doesn’t eat 65.3 times a day, he will die. He is happy to regale you with tales of how I starve him and how he has died so many times for lack of food.
*sigh*

As I cleaned out the next brooder (which is a half full combo of cornish and first hatchers), Kiddo let out and fed the ducks, geeses and big chickens. Geeses are mad that I haven’t dropped every single goddamed thing to get them some weeds right fucking now…and they are happy to tell me that in no uncertain terms.

😂
😂
😂

I have not listened to them, other than to laugh and say “You’re on the list, I’ll get to you soon”.
The next brooder got lined with shavings (because I’m out of straw and I don’t have the energy to chase anyone for any quite yet) and we set out to capture 10 (58) chicks and move them to it.
1 Wheelbarrow, a dog crate, 2 women, a dog and 3 horses…
This is what it takes to move 10 (58) chicks out of the Little Red Shed to the brooder.
Well, the dog and the horses are more a hindrance than help, but that is no surprise. And then there were 10 (58) chicks in the brooder.
*sigh*

Finally, we got to the point of making sure all the feeders and waterer were topped up, collecting eggs (my turkey hens are trying to nest again and are rather put out that I keep stealing their smooth egg babies), the pools for the smaller ducks filled to warm in the sunshine for afternoon swimming and now?
Now it is finally coffee time.
While I play with money to pay the bills, buy some groceries and if all gets paid just right, maybe even a case of beer for Hubby.
*sigh*

My helper at editing earlier this week…
This is Homer J, our latest house duckling.
He was abandoned by the hen who hatched him, left for dead at night in the duck yard.
We found him and brought him inside.
Honestly, didn’t think he was going to make it.
But it’s been a week now, and he’s doing just fine.
Singing up a storm and pooping everywhere but on my desk.
😉

All Out

All the plants are out of my house.
Not necessarily planted, but moved out to the garden and this afternoon, I’ll put in whatever I can.
And then it’s down to the weeding, watering, mulching and whatever Mother Nature decides she’s going to do…oh, and fucking cats.

This morning as I’m moving the plants out for the final time, I notice my zucchini is gone.
They were lovely seedlings passed onto me by friends…they were growing beautifully.
Up to 6 leaves and happy, happy, happy.
And then this morning?
Gone.
WTF???

Yeah so, I had started some pumpkins in the house.
I set those outside in the garden first, then went back for the tomatoes.
I guess I didn’t latch the gate…or she climbed the fence.
Either way, I came into the garden to find this asshole:

…eating the pumpkins.
Seriously.
Eating the pumpkin leaves…
WTF??

And then I look down to the end where the peppers are and see this one…

…lying on the pepper plants.
I say again…WTF???

And then, just to add a bit more insult to injury, Coal walks over to Trouble, does the nosy kitty kiss thing with him, looks straight at me and starts munching on a pepper plant.

*sigh*

I may have lost it right about then.
Screamed like a maniac at the cats.
Chased them out of the garden.
Threatened to make slippers from their lovely furry fucking hides.

And now the weather can’t decide if there’s going to be gale force winds, or if there will be no winds, or what it’s doing.
All I know is, it’s June 18th and the tomatoes are not coming back into the house.
They can live or die as they see fit.
Grow, don’t grow, what the fuck ever.

But I’ve had my first harvest of Lamb’s Quarters.
And I’ll be harvesting more this weekend with weeding.
And today I’ll be emptying the one incubator.
Some turkeys have hatched, some chicks have hatched.
And on Sunday the other incubator goes into lockdown with 41 Narragansett turkey eggs in it.
Then, one last round of eggs for the year.
It’ll be a big set…97 eggs.
And once those hatch, it’ll be mid-July.
Which makes it the last one.
I am so good with that.

But for today, all I have to do is get things in the ground.
Rains are coming this Sunday, so I want everything done and in.
I’m so very close.

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Feline Friday

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.