Thankful Thursday

Yeah, today is thankful Thursday.
I’m not feeling extremely thankful today though…

It’s cold.
It’s day I-don’t-even-know-any-more of extreme cold warnings. Which means it’s much colder than typical for this time of year.
I guess Mother Nature is catching us up for the nice weather we had back in December and January.
There’s always a cost, right?

So that hay we’ve been doing so well on?
Blowing through a bale every 3ish days.
But mares gotta eat, or they don’t stay warm.
A cold horse in this weather dies.
Not on my fucking watch, if I can help it.
So eating my Merry Mares have been.
And then there’s the waterer…*sigh*
I feel like it’s always something, know what I mean?
The winds were savage for a while, and the damn thing kept freezing over.
And then it froze at the spigot.
That means standing there in the freezing cold, with a hair dryer to thaw it…with 3 toddlers dying of thirst, even though I just brought them buckets of warm water from the house to drink, but they be dyin’ and I be cryin’ because my hands are cold and I’m hopin’ I can get the water running before the hair dryer conks out…
*sigh*
Get horses, she thought…
It’ll be fun, she thought…
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
😂😂😂

Egg production is waaaaaaay down too.
Where I was getting 50-60 eggs a day, now I’m getting 8. If I’m lucky.
People want eggs.
I don’t have much eggs.
I’m just barely making regulars and that’s because I had some stocked up from last week…but now we’re low because 8 effing eggs a day.
60ish hens.
But they’re eating and drinking and trying to stay warm.
Ain’t so easy even with a heat lamp and deep straw.

Today we found we’d lost a duck baby.
Again it’s the cold.
We can feed ’em, we can make sure there’s fresh water, and draft free coops and heat lamps and damn if some aren’t gonna just die on us anyways.
But ya sure feel like shit when it happens.

And then, just to cap off the craptastic shitstorm that is February, I have to go to the dentist.
While to some that’s not a big deal, for some of us it is.
I have a tooth that has to come out, but need a dentist that won’t make me wear a mask (got that) and will let my Hubby in the room too (can’t do that yet…fuck the govt, because it’s their shit restrictions) because y’all….this woman does not do well without her support person…
So I get to stay living with this fucking thing until the shitty restrictions open up enough that I can have my person in the room while having the dental work done.
Looking at the way the hand wringing from the “experts” is going, that oughta be sometime in 2037.
Think I’ll just tie a string to the tooth, tie the other end to Ruby’s halter and give my girl a big ol’ smack on the bum…that oughta yob that fucker right out of my mouth.
😂😂😂
And if I die, they can list me as a covid death.

I guess I should still be thankful…
My Hubby is still working and is able to get his teeth fixed (thank goodness! he’s had problems with his mouth since I’ve known him).
We have plenty of food in the house.
The house is warm.
We’re still able to share our bounty with those who need it.
All in all, as frustrated and cold and tired as we are, we’re still grateful for all that we have.

But for this weekend, I’m just done.

Here’s a picture of cats…Hobbes in front, Trouble in back.

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus and Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday.

Duck Update

The ducks are well.
They’re now in the same yard as the turkeys and the 2 species seem to be getting along pretty darn good.
*knock on wood*
The other day when I sat down to take pictues of the turkeys, our drake (whom I’ve simply been calling Drake) took exception to my being there…

He was hissing and wagging his tail and side eying me the whole time.
😂😂😂

The girls, however, weren’t terribly worried.
They were more interested in seeing if I had some food for them…

Oh hey, Food Lady…got anything we might like to eat?

The 2 hens we bought in the spring have blue eyes…it’s kinda cool. And it makes it easier for me to know who they are. The whites look so similar.

Remember back in August I bought those 14 ducks off the local buy and sell page?
Well, 6 went to freezer camp.
I have 3 more drakes to go, and we have 4 lovely young hens to add to the flock. (and yes, if you math that out, we’re short one…we lost a bebe in the beginning 😥 )
2 whites…because I guess I needed more white ducks to get confused by…a black and white pied…

black and white pied with one of the new whites…who actually has a hint of chocolate to her…

And a chocolate pied…

awww, cute sleepy duck hen…

Now don’t yell at me if I have those colour names wrong.
I *think* that’s what the colours are called, but I’m very open to my being wrong. We’re not a breed for colour Farm, so I haven’t researched it beyond the simple basics. 🙂

That gives us 10 hens to 1 Drake.
Plus the 18 ducklings and Cricket.

Cricket

Now little Mr Cricket…he gets to stay on as a breeding drake.
It’s become obvious that Cricket is male.
And, we have 4 unrelated hens, with goodness knows how many hens who are half siblings in the brooder with him.
The standard seems to be 5 hens/drake.
So, even with just the 10 we have now, having a 2nd boy to work come spring is needed.
By the time spring rolls around, Mr Cricket will be quite interested in young hens…
And to be fair, he is a favorite of The Kid’s.
He’s become her pet, and I try not to chop the heads off of pets.
😂😂😂
But, like every other animal here, he’ll have a job.
Only horses get to be pretty and eat money. 😉

Cricket and TroubleCat

Getting There…

Today we got 4 round bales of wheat straw home for The Merry Mares.

It was…interesting. lol
Those are big bales, but thankfully, we didn’t have far to go.
Also, thankfully, the folks we bought them from have more available.
Like 800 more available!!
So, later on if I need more I can get it any time.
Yay!
I suspect that we might need a few more to tide The Merry Mares over for winter. Fingers crossed not, but knowing I can get more means I can give ’em to them to enjoy without worry. 🙂

So today we did that.
Then we set one out for the horses and peeled off some for the ducks, the chickens and the turkeys.

We stole all the duck babies from their Mamas and put them in the coop I showed you last post.
It’s getting colder and it’s time to get the ducks into one pen.
And it’s too cold for the babies to learn pecking order with the big ducks.
So, since we have the coop, and we already had Cricket (the once house duck) and his friend Disco (a once duckling from our white hen) in there (Disco was added because Cricket needed a friend…animals *always* do better in pairs), we figured we’d put *all* the ducklings in there.
At least until they feather out enough to go into another house near the bigger ducks.

*sigh*
Animal husbandry can be frustrating.
It is, no matter what, a lot of work.
Especially if you’re doing it properly.

We also brought home another 400lbs of feed for the poultry and 100 lbs of oats for the horses.
Our horses don’t get a lot of grain.
We prefer to give quality hay, alfalfa cubes as extras and beet pulp.
But on those bitterly cold nights, the grain is handy to stoke the equine furnace and get it running hot so that when the ample amount of hay (and now straw too) goes in, they stay warm.
Horses stay warm best by eating.
Not to say we don’t blanket.
We have one for everyone, but Sable gets to wear hers more than the others. She is my Palomino Princess. ❤
And to be fair, she’s getting up there in age, and sometimes us oldsters need a little help to stay fat and sassy in the colder months. 😉

Tomorrow I butcher the last handfuls of roosters that are ready to be done, while Hubby and The Kid work on the fencing for the adult ducks and turkeys. Then we can move the turkeys to their coop and the ducks into the brooder the turkeys are in.
It’s been a looooong summer/fall of poultry butchering and after tomorrow I’ll just have 5 or so ducks to do.
Of the 14 we bought, we did 6 last week.
There’s 7 left (we lost one small duckling shortly after we got them) and I think a couple of ’em are hens.
Hens stay on, drakes go to freezer camp.

Come spring we’ll look at the 18 babies that hatched (19 technically, but Cricket has become The Kid’s pet, so Cricket is off the table, food wise), figure out who’s a hen, who’s a drake and set breeding groups from there.
Hopefully come spring, the eine kliene bang bang music amongst the ducks will give us a massive amount of ducklings to waddle the pasture and eat bugs, whilst shitting out ducky fertilizer here, there and everywhere.
I am hoping to have whole ducks for sale come next fall.
Ducks can be processed on Farm, and sold Farm gate.
They just have to be whole and labeled as “uninspected”…meaning they haven’t been done in a provincially inspected abattoir.
And, with no overseeing board (like the Manitoba Chicken Producers, or the Egg Board) there’s no limit on the number of ducks I can butcher and sell, so long as I follow the already in place guidelines.
Turkeys is 99 per year.
Meat chickens is 999 per year.
I would love to become a supplier of well bred, well raised, humanely slaughtered muscovy ducks.
So that’s what we’re working on.

So that’s where we’re at.
Making progress, and trying our best.
Today I turned on the heat for the very first time this winter.
And I need to get hay home.
But so far, so good.
Things are going well…would be better if there were 6 of us, instead of 3 but…whatrya gonna do?
We’re gonna do the best we can and hope for the best.
🙂

Just think, in 4 1/2 months, I’ll fire the incubators for the first hatch of 2021.
Feels like forever away, but it’s only 4 1/2 months.

Tuesday Morning Round Up ~ October 6th, 2020

Somehow, October has crept up on me and bowled me over like a bull in a china shop.
Gee, surprise!
🤦‍♀️🙄
So much surprise (not) that I started writing this yesterday, when it would have been a Monday Morning Round Up.
😂😂😂

So, what have we been up to?
Welp, I do believe we are caught up on roosters.
For now.
We’ve got a handful that need to grow some more in the bachelor pen before going to freezer camp.
Next up, ducks.
That’s this weekend.
Then we’re finishing the turkey/duck yard so we can move the turkeys to their new house.
They’re growing very well, but not enough that we’ll have turkey at Yule for dinner.
Naw, more like in March…but that’s okay.
We’ll have a better idea on hens and toms then and then we can weed out the boys we’re not going to keep.

This also happened:


This little guy hatched out from our chocolate hen.
She had this one and one other duckling….but she decided she didn’t want to actually *have* ducklings, she just wanted to sit on a nest.
So she let the chickens try to kill the bebes.
We didn’t catch them soon enough to save both, but did save this one.
And for now (a temporary time) we have a house duck.
Ain’t gonna be for long because I detest having birds in my house, but right now I have turkeys in the brooder (still) so no place to put a duck on his own.

So, to sum up…busy, busy busy.
Roosters.
Freezer Camp.
Ducks.
Building.
Just trying to get shit done because, as we all know…

Winter is coming.

To quote a friend… “even the livestock are sick of 2020” 😂😂😂

Ducklings Round 2

Back in the spring I had bought a trio of muscovies…a replacment drake (because Donald was infertile) and a couple of hens…
I paid a fair bit for them, but spring is prime time for adding new blood to flocks, so people charge more.
That’s more than fair…if I wasn’t happy with the price, I wouldn’t have paid it…just in case anyone thinks I’m complaining about the seller. I absolutely am not. I know spring is premium price time and I needed a drake. 🙂

Well after a few slow starts and 2 eggs not hatching in the incubator, our muscovy ducks are delivering.
Last week we found Ripple’s 8 ducklings hatched.
Today we have another 9 or 10 more…

Don’t you be lookin’ too close at my babies, human!!

Oh, I’m lookin’!
And I’m wondering if those 2 chicken eggs are gonna hatch or if they’ve gone rotten.
🤢
🤮

All those fluff butts!
😍

I’ve got 2 more hens sitting on nests that should be hatching in the next week or so.
I hadn’t planned on over wintering quite so many ducks, but when the babies happen the babies happen.
Good thing we have a duck coop just about ready to move them all in to!

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Awww Mondays
🙂

Editing to add…
The final count for this hens hatch is…11!!
Eleven baby ducklings.
Pretty darn awesome.
🙂

It Finally Happened

This has been a couple years in the making.
We’ve been waiting what feels like for. ever.
We’ve been wanting this to happen for so long.
And finally…

This is Ripple…one of our muscovy hens.
Isn’t she a beautiful girl?
Look beside her…

There’s a scrap of something bright, bright yellow there…
Do you see it?

Do you see now?
🙂

Ripple has hatched out ducklings!!

It’s late in the season, yes.
But after the eggs I stuck into the incubator died (but were well formed) we knew our new drake was working…before winter though, I needed confirmation that spring would give us ducklings. Otherwise, I’d be looking for a new drake. Again.
So when Ripple decided she was sitting a nest at the end of July, we let her.

There’s 2!

There’s a couple more eggs under her that might hatch yet…

There’s 3!
You can just see the hint of a 3rd duckling under her.
🙂

Good job, Mama Ripple!

If that doesn’t make getting the duck house in place for winter that much more urgent, I don’t know what does!!
😂😂😂

New Ducks

Say hello to our new trio of muscovy ducks…

There’s 2 hens and a drake there.
They’re young yet, being a Sept. 2019 hatch.
But, in the next month or two, the hens will start to lay and hopefully the drake will get to work doing what drakes do best.
He’s got a total of 6 hens to service and I’m hoping her does that.
I want these girls to give me ducklings…many, many ducklings.
🙂