A Little Jaunt

Yesterday was the first day we all left the Farm for errands in just about a year.
It’s been mostly Hubby, sometimes I go with him, but The Kid has 99.99% of the time stayed home.
Yesterday we all went for the drive.

First up we met up with a friend so she could get some delicious farm fresh eggs from my asshole birds.
That was a lovely visit…we hadn’t seen her for more than a year, between life schedules and then this *waves hands* stuff going on…but it was so good to see her. ❤

Then off to see the Lady with the turkey eggs.
Holy smokes, this woman is living the Dream!
Moved from a crowded once country turned citified area to a 1/4 section farm where she can see elk off her deck most mornings. So exciting! She’s a really cool lady, and I’m super happy for her and her family.
And when I found out I could still get turkey eggs from her this year, I jumped at the chance.

DaisyMae Flerkin helps incubate the eggs. Notice the candling light is on…DaisyMae *always* turns that damn light on.

And then from see the Turkey Egg Lady, we went into the big city to get a new well pressure tank.
Our well pump has been coming on every 20 minutes or so…which is not normal and not good.
After posting on Facebook for ideas, we checked/fixed the leaky toilet and the leaky water softener and that didn’t change things. So a friend’s son, who is a plumber and former farm boy, said the next thing is the tank, because it sounds like the bladder has a leak.
To be fair, another friend, who just recently had her pressure tank replaced, said the same thing.
So now we have a new pressure tank, and Hubby (with the assistance of The Kid and I) will set about to replace the leaky one with the new one.
Wish us all luck.

And finally, we were given some more feed seeds.
Beans, and some feed corn.
Pintos, and navy beans.
Those got put into the “we’ll plant these for food for us” pile.
And then there was the bag of feed corn.
Um, yes please!
I don’t actually have to tell y’all why I might want to grow feed corn, do I?
Knowing that I love to do home brewing?
Yeah, so I now have enough feed corn seed to do a very nice plot of corn.
That may or may not become a lovely alcohol in the fall/winter.
😉

Seeds!

And the duck girls have started to lay…we’re taking the eggs away for a bit, just because it’s still chilly at night, but in a few weeks, we’ll leave them for the hens to start to sit, so we can have many, many bebe ducks.
Fingers crossed!
🙂

It’s That Time Of Year

Oh boy oh boy…
I’m soooooo itchy to get things going!
The only thing keeping me from firing up the incubators is the darn cold.
*Still* under an extreme cold watch.
It’s been 10 days straight.
That’s just crazy.
Hopefully tonight it’ll end…tomorrow?
Soon. It’s gotta end soon.

But here I’m thinking about ordering my meat chicks.
In fact, this week I have to buy layer feed again.
With this cold, the birbs are blowing through feed like crazy.
Like.
Crazy.
3 25kg bags typically go 2 1/2-3 weeks.
Pfft.
I think we’re at a week and a half, and we’re gonna need for this weekend.
So, yeah…effing cold.
When I place my next feed order, I’ll order my meat chickens and 10 white turkeys.
Now that I have a better grasp on raising turkeys, I figure I should be able to raise the whites.
Hopefully.
Looking forward to putting a whole bunch of turkey into the freezer.
🤤🤤🤤

And once the order goes in, Hubby has his orders for building.
We need a whole separate brooder for turkeys.
The biggest thing we did wrong last year was not keep them in the brooder with high protein feed longer.
My Narragansett crew did ah-mazing staying in the brooder for almost 4 months before getting outdoor time.
And I tell you, they are hardy af!
This cold snap, they’ve been out doing turkey races over the snow drifts like maniacs!
So hopefully they breed and lay like nuts come spring time, because we need more of them. 😉
But whites are a raise for meat, short season bird only.
So they’ll spend a good long time in the brooder, then get some outdoor free ranging time away from chickens before going to Freezer Camp.
And we can’t have them tying up the brooder that cycles chicken chicks through it throughout the summer…which means building work for Hubby…well, all of us, really.

Then we needs a shelter in the old pig yard for ducks.
We’re changing that yard from pigs to the ducks full time.
We’ll rip out the pallet fence, replace it with stucco wire, and put up some windbreak boards as well.
We’re looking at making it the year round duck yard, so we have to account for the snow that blows in there.
To go with the new shelter (that we’ll be able to lock ducks in at ight to protect them from coyotes) we’re planning on a few broody boxes…that can also be closed up at night to protect broody ducks and their eggs from predators.
This is the design I’m thinking about:

Image shamelessly stolen from Google.

I want to make those fronts removable though, so that once ducklings hatch, Mama Ducks can take them out and teach them all the things bebes need to be taught.
But those fronts would be easy to close up to protect everyone too…

And it’s almost time to start pepper seeds.
I just need a bag (or two) of potting soil to get going.
Peppers take longer than tomatoes to start, so they’ll be going in the next week.
Than ground cherries.
If the damn things will ever germinate for me.
🙄
They are sooooo tasty, and supposed to be super prolific. But I can’t get even 1 seed to start.
Stupid things.
I’ll try again, because I have the seeds, but I might through them in the garden and see if they’ll volunteer if nothing happens indoors.

And that’s where we’re at.
I’m itching to get busy, but it’s not quite time, and we’re not quite ready.
Sooooooooon, though.
Very, very soon.
🙂

Ruby says this cold snap is equine excrement. I agree.

Oh Look…It’s February

Welp, that escalated quickly, didn’t it?
New year, then all of a sudden it’s February.
And yet, it still felt like the longest January ever.
We sure enjoyed the nice days we had.
Didn’t care for the crazy cold ones though…of course, I never do, but I recognize that our climate needs that cold time for the Earth to reset Herself for the coming growing season.

Last month we sold 36 dozen eggs.
No joke, the hens have been blasting them out.
For which I’m glad because I’m sure I gave away that many eggs too.
See, we’re still in “code red lockdown” here.
And no matter how I feel about that, I know that for some that means putting food on their tables is that much harder to do.
Not everyone is “lucky” enough to be considered “essential” by our oh-so-benevolent govt 🤦‍♀️🙄 and not everyone has the ability to work from home.
I am always and forever a person who will hand food off to people who need it when I can…and I try to make sure it’s done in a way that it doesn’t look or feel like charity.
No one wants be treated like a charity case.
But I’ve had extra lately and a few people have come to my attention about needing, so Hubby and I have been porch dropping bundles of food when we can.
I don’t say any of that for accolades. I don’t want that.
I just want people to be able to eat.
And if they can, pay it forward when they can.

Anyways, we sold a lot of eggs.
And from those sales, I shared half the money we earned with Can Praxis.
Now, another thing this entire pandemic thing has done is beat the crap out of fundraising for groups that rely on donations.
Can Praxis uses equine therapy to help veterans, first responders and their families manage PTSD.
They rely on donations a lot.
I am happy to have been able to send them a little money.

Now, once I get things settled out with my credit card…
Oh yeah, some douchnozzle stole my credit card number and went on a shopping spree last year and I’ve been working on getting it straightened out…in the mean time, I have no credit card to use to purchase my seeds for the garden. Joy! But thankfully the credit card company has been easy to work with and hopefully in the next couple of weeks it’ll all be sorted…
But until then, this months egg money over and above feed costs is going into *MY* food security…aka my seed order. lol
Once that’s done, I have another place in mind (or 2 or 3) to share our egg money with to help others.

In other news…
4 weeks.

It’s 4 weeks until we start the incubators.
Whew!
And then the work begins.
We have to build a couple more brooders.
Plus we have to build a couple broody boxes for the duck hens, so that when they decide that it’s time for bebes they can do so without being bothered and are safe.
We’re looking at the end of April for meat chicks and white turkey poults.
And then there’s turkey eggs to hatch as soon as they start laying…
So yeah, brooders to build.
Thankfully the source of free building materials is still an option and Hubby has been stopping every darn chance he gets to pick things up.

Oooooh….and these 2 big boys joined our flock just over a week ago…

LemonChicken giving the 2 new boys the what fors and whys of the poultry yard…

Ain’t they handsome?
😍
They are Lavender Orpingtons.
Big boys, to breed more size into our next generation of birds.
Just like our Orpington/Wyandotte cross boys.
Big roosters with good meat to bone ratio.
Eventually I want to only be buying meat chicks to raise for sale and we eat chickens from our self sustaining flock. (We’re close to that now, just need a couple more breeding seasons to perfect my crosses.)

Yesterday was Imbolc.
That means we’re officially half way through winter.
Yay!
It also means that the nags got them the next round straw bale to explode and enjoy.
When that happens, they also get to run…because fat mares gotta get a little exercise and thy sure do know what the shakin’ of the tractor bucket means…prance, dance, run like mad whilst posing for The Food Lady to take pictures.

Running through my Capture52 “landscape” shot…brat! lol
Yeah. Tell me that Palomino doesn’t know aaallllllll about performing for the camera while running around! 😂😂😂

So we’re at…waiting for seeds so I can start seeds…waiting for March 1st to rev up the incubators…waiting to collect enough building materials to build brooders…waiting for spring weather to get the first walls built on the greenhouse and the herbal/medicinal garden beds built…and rhubarb! Gotta get me a rhubarb plant…but gotta wait for spring.
😂😂😂
That’s my life folks, hurry up and wait for the busy season to start, and then the busy season hits and we don’t have time to think.
It’s all good though.
Don’t think I’m complaining. I’m not.
The only thing I’m complaining about is the impending ass numbingly cold front headed our way this weekend…oh and the govt, because I hate those bastards. 😂😂😂

😂😂😂
Worth a shot, doncha think?
😂😂😂

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday. 🙂

One More Thing Done…

The gate is now hung on the turkey/duck yard.
Instead of being leaned on the posts and braced with a stick.
😂😂😂
Hey, we’re innovative here!
Sometimes things need a little ingenuity before being finished.
Especially when we didn’t have hinges for a week and quite honestly, I didn’t want to leave the turkeys cooped up in their coop for that long…see what I did there?
Cooped up in their coop?
😂😂😂

And now that the turkeys and ducks have decided that co-habitating in the new duck house is okay, we have the brooder coop free…well, it was free.
Now it’s housing 19 duck babies who aren’t quite ready to integrate with the rest of the flock.
And Mama Ripple didn’t give 2 duck shits about seeing her ducklings again.
😂😂😂
She’s already flirting and dancing for Drake so they can get to workin’ on the next clutch.

Next thing to get done is to run cords for the heat lamps.
I ordered new ones from Princess Auto (one of my favorite stores ever!) so that we can heat the 3 coops (ducks/turkeys, ducklings, and chicken coop) when the temperatures drop.
Plus have an extra for the brooder come spring…because y’all just know once March 1st hits, the incubators get fired up and we start this hatching/growing thing all over again.
Here’s hoping we don’t have to replace the outdoor plugs.
It’s one of those things that’s been on “The List” but has yet to get done…and Hubby is not a fan of electrical work, and trust me, a licensed electrician is *not* in this Farm Girl’s budget right now!
So we’re hoping the plugs don’t keep popping their breakers.
Fingers crossed.

Oh!
And my light colored turkey boy has been figuring out his dance moves.
😂😂😂
He keeps doing his mating dance for the ducks hens, not the turkey hens tho…I think he likes his girls short, fat and weird looking. lol
But that he’s figuring out his moves now means he’ll be ready once the hens are receptive, and that’s a good thing.
So fingers crossed for many, many fertilized turkey eggs for hatching!
😍😍😍

Today’s next task is cleaning the kitchen so I can rinse the pork bellies that have been brining so that I can fire up the smoker tomorrow and have bacon…and see about hanging a tree stand for Hubby to hunt out of tomorrow and Wednesday.
Since all the Remembrance Day ceremonies are cancelled (#fuckcovid) he might as well go out and see about putting some red meat in the freezer.

Ruby’s face says it all about how we’re all feeling here at the Farm…

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

Skeksies

Welp, I finally managed to get out to the turkey yard with my camera.
Hubby and The Kid got the fence pulled and we now *have* a turkey yard!
Those poor birds were so confused the first time we left the door to their coop open.
And then again when Hubby shoveled out the mass of poo and straw.
😂😂😂
He was stealing their good stuff!!
But they’ve had a few days of freedom outside now and they’re starting to get it.
So the other day I went out with Voldemort and just sat down in the yard…in a spot they hadn’t shit yet…lemme tell ya, turkeys can shit a lot. Everywhere. Lots of shit.

But I found a spot and had a seat, giving them a chance to settle down and try to figure out what the hell I was…

“Oh hey…what are you?”

They spent a lot of time just staring at me, completely confused.
😂😂😂
Um, turkeys are confused a lot.
And a bit sketchy/skittish.
Oh but they’re fun!
They sing and hoot and call to each other and they’re like gangly teenagers who don’t have complete control of their bodies yet.

And I am 100% convinced that turkeys were the inspiration for the Skeksies.

Tell me that bird doesn’t look like a Skeksie!
Of course he does!
In case you’re wondering what the hell I’m going on about…
Skeksies

Just wandering about, doing turkey things…
Pretty light coloured hen…and some ducks.
The light one right in front is a tom…he’s figuring out his strutting and dancing…though he keeps doing it for the duck hens, not the turkey hens…I guess he likes his girls short, fat and weird looking. 😂😂😂

In a few months, we should see the hens begin to lay eggs…probably end of Feb., beginning of March…and then we’ll see the boys dance their mating dance…and then! Then I’ll be grabbing eggs to put into the incubator, because more turkeys is a good thing. 😉
Hell, if I can order some broad breasted whites (commercial birds) to raise with a round of these guys, hopefully we’ll be flush with turkeys for next year!
Fingers crossed.
🙂

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!!
😂😂😂