Duckling Update

This mild winter we’ve been having has been very good for our ducklings.
Very good indeed!
Instead of being stuck inside on crazy cold days, they’ve been venturing our into the yard, and they’re now mixing at will with the adult ducks and the turkeys.

Today, we double checked leg bands on everyone.
The last thing we want is anyone to have issues because their bad is too tight, so we try to check every week or two. Since it was so nice out, we caught up all the birbs, chickens too, who have bands and checked them, replacing as needed.

And then, as I was collecting eggs, I discovered an unlikely chicken hen pop out a green egg.
I was not expecting this girl to be a green layer. She’s a rather unassuming gold colored hen. But I saw the egg come out of her and it was green, so…so I caught her up and banded her.
That way I know who she is come time to separate out Chubby, Chonky and a rooster…then I can grab her and put her in with them (plus at least 1 more hen) so that the cornish girls aren’t the only objects of the roo’s affections.
Oh, and while banding her, I discovered she has feathered legs/feet.
Interesting.

But back to the ducks…

We have 2 mature drakes, and 11 mature hens.
Of the 14 ducklings we bought in the summer, 6 turned out to be girls.
All except 1 boy went to Freezer Camp.
Not too shabby.
Then we had 2 clutches hatch successfully, with 19 between them, and our lone duckling from a 3rd hatch where 2 died and 1 survived. That is The Kid’s duck, Cricket.
We did lose 1 duckling for unknown reasons, so we are at 19 duck babies.
Well, now they aren’t quite so baby-ish ad we’re beginning to be able to tell who’s a boy and who’s a girl.
If we’re 100% right, we have 12 hens hatched out and 7 drakes.
Of the drakes, only Cricket will stay.
So all told, we’ll have 23 hens and 3 drakes once culling is done.

Gotta say, that’s a darn fine late season hatch, to get so many hens!
That gives each drake roughly 7 hens each for springtime duckling making.
So now we have our fingers crossed for a bunch of the girls setting on nests…and I’m starting to look seriously for crates, bins, barrels…anything I can make places where the girls can hide out in their yard to sit a nest.
My hope is for many ducklings to grow over the summer.
Hopefully we’ll get to see the prolific hatching nature of muscovy hens this year?
Damn, I hope so!!

Cricket from a month ago…he’s considerably bigger now and looks like he’s going to be a blue pied in colour. Hard to know 100% ’til after his first full molt.

Turkey Day

I think it’s kinda funny that on American Thanksgiving I’m butchering a couple turkeys.
I’m Canadian, so our Thanksgiving was last month.
None of my turkeys were ready then…but now?

So, we have 7 toms.
That means, as they’re maturing, there’s a lot of dancing and gobbling and trying to figure out the whole mating thing.
Having 6 hens, well, that’s waaaaay too many boys to be strutting around and hopping on the girls.
Sadly, earlier this week, we lost a hen to over enthusiastic toms.
Now we’re down to 5 hens.
So it’s time to get real about who gets to stay on as a breeder and who gets to go to Freezer Camp.

Hens stay, there’s no doubt about that.
But only 2 toms get to stay…and of those 2, if they start being too much for the hens, I’ll take one of them out later.
The good thing is, my feed bill will thank me.
5 toms eat a lot of food!
And the family will thank me because 5 toms is a lot of food for us.
😉

The blonde fellow will stay, and one of the other bigger boys.

The rest of the toms will feed us.
That’s just life on the Farm.

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.
😘😘😘

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” 😂😂😂

August 1st

Welp, this summer is going too fast…and too slow at the same time.
August 1st already.

We have blossoms all over the yellow beans, so there should be a decent bean crop.
Hubby picked up a new hose and spray nozzle for me, so I can now run the hose aaaaaallllll the way from the hydrant to the garden….they’re at opposite ends of the Farm yard.
*sigh*
We have a hose hookup on the house, but for some reason, the outdoor hose hookup is *after* the water softener.
Yes, because I want soft water to use on the plants.
🙄
So I don’t use that water line…can’t anyways, because we had to cap it off after it burst one winter (shut off valves, people!!! Use frickin’ shut off valves!!) when the lines froze…
Either way, no real loss.
And I have a new hose, with a sprinkler.
🙂

My almost-dead-might-as-well-plant-the-survivor tomato plants have blossoms on them.
There’s 2 ropreco paste tomatoes, who are supposed to be prairie hardy.
Clearly, these 2 are, because they went a month with nothing but rain water and in full blazing sun before I decided to plant them proper….and now, after roughly 2 weeks, they’re blooming.
Heh.
Tough as hell, survive through damn near anything…that’s tomatoes I’m gonna save seeds from (yep, they are an heirloom variety) because *that’s* the kinda toughness I need from a tomato plant in my garden. 😉

I have zucchini fruiting, and I’ve gotten a decent amount of Lamb’s Quarters put up for winter too.
Gotta love them edible weeds! 😉

Tomorrow is lock down day for the turkey eggs.
We take out the turners, do a quick candle to see how things are developing (fingers crossed for a good hatch…*please* let it be a good hatch!!), adjust temp./humidity and then close ’em up and wait for chirping.
Later this weekend we’ll play switch around with housing on some of the later hatches that haven’t been fully integrated with the main flock.
But first, today is Rooster Rehab day.
It’s time for some of the boys to full fill their destiny as sausage.
Which will make *a lot* of the hens happy.
There’s all too many roos running around out there right now…but we knew that wold happen with hatching out so many chicks.
But that’s a part of our self sufficiency.
Extra roos feed the humans and felines for winter.

Check out the Farm Instagram for pics.
Still haven’t had Voldemort out for fresh images, just my phone camera.
But you can see pics there.

Have a great (long) weekend folks!
🙂

Rooster Rehab

It is a fact of our Farm life that the only animals here without a job are the horses.
Well, I guess considering how often they have to participate in photo shoots, that’s not quite true.
But they get to eat money more than any other animal here.
😉

Saturday, we thinned out the flock of roosters.
We had in our coop, with roughly 40 hens, 10 roosters.
That is way too many. 3-4 roos to that many hens is much better for everyone.
That way the boys aren’t fighting, and the girls aren’t being over used.
Bare patches on some of the girls is not a good thing.
So, we sent some boys to rehab…aka freezer camp.

The 2 I had held back from last years hatches were 2 of the 6 who got the chop.

This guy is named “Replacement”.
He thinks he owns the place.
lol

Replacement, while handsome AF, had turned into a colossal asshole.
I have no room in my coop for a rooster who attacks humans.
And, he went for my face a couple of times while I was collecting eggs.
So, off with his head.
I won’t even offer up a rooster for free who attacks humans.
That’s some straight bullshit.
Aggressive means soup.

This guy, who eventually earned the name “Fred” went too.
See, back on New Year’s Eve, when we picked up those extra chickens, 3 of the 11 were roosters.
Big roosters.
Like nearly 14lb roosters.
Big boys.
(Those 3 stayed, btw, to breed some size into our flock. Because roosters are food for humans and felines alike here)

Well, Fred thought he was the cock of the walk and tried picking a fight.
Fred got his ass handed to him by one of the big boys.
Ahem…the big guys are named Larry, Darryl and Darryl, fyi. 😉

And Fred was never the same.
Fred was a broken, unhappy rooster after that.
So Fred has become ground Fred and Fred soup.

Now we have more meat in the freezer for us, and there’s a whole lot more happiness inside the chicken coop.
🙂

Tomorrow…

Tomorrow we fire up the incubators.
I’ll have collected the last of the eggs I need to run 2 full batches.
In 3 weeks we could have as many as 80 chicks.
Depending on fertility.
There’s too many roosters in the coop right now, so I know just about every hen is getting a little lovin’.
😂😂😂
If the weather holds, there will be at least 5 less roos next weekend.
I have to count how many boys there are for sure.
I know the 3 big orpington/wyandotte cross boys are staying.
Everyone else is going to Freezer Camp.
That’ll give some of the “favorite” hens a chance to recover and regrow feathers where the boys have been a bit too exuberant.

But that’s next week.

This week, tomorrow, we set eggs for hatching.
And start pepper seeds.

Today?
Today we rest.

Ruby

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Recover
and
Oak Hill Homestead for the Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Hot and Sweaty

July.
Amirite??
😂😂😂

So it’s hot.
Hotter than normal.
But one of the side effects of hotter than normal, is that we’ve had some good downpours.
YAY.
We sure did need them!

So this week I’m back to cutting hay.
Not ’til Friday though, because we have a couple more days of rain in the forecast for mid-week.
My small hay “fields” look good though…I’ll know more once I get cutting, but I think we’ll do okay with my work this year.
*fingers crossed*
I still have 2 bales put up from last year for the Merry Mares, and I made sure our Hay Guy knew with our last delivery last year…”Let’s just get this out of the way now…yup, I’m gonna need hay next year.”
LOL!!
But there’ll be no horse shopping for me this year…I don’t anticipate any extra hay over what I typically order, because so far the year hasn’t been great.
I had been hoping to bring my herd back up to 4, even if it was only a mini, but that’s just not in the cards for this year.
Oh, there’s plenty of equines out there to be had, but I ain’t taking on another if I can’t feed ’em.
That’s just how it is.

As for the rest of the Farm…

Garden has been loving the rain.
Weeds are huge.
In among the weeds my beans are starting to flower.
I found some strawberry plants on sale at the local grocery store.
$1.94 each and they were huge already!

Holy cheap berries to add to the garden!!

I seriously couldn’t pass them up, it was too good of a deal.
So since my asshole chickens 😉 got to the others, I snapped up 4 of them. Planted them ASAP, mulched heavily, and so far, so good.
They’re inside the garden fence, so chickens can’t get to ’em.

Added a new apple tree to the Farm, in honour of a good friend who lost her last battle with cancer over the winter.
She was an avid gardener, so a tree just seemed right.

Also bought 2 black currant bushes on sale…
We love the end of season clear out on fruit trees/bushes, I tell ya!!
🙂

My honeyberry cuttings!!
We. Have. Roots!

Loooooook!!!
Roots!

Okay, so only 2 cuttings of the 15 I took ended up rooting…but that’s okay! 2 is better than none, and they’re good strong rootings.
Since berries are done for the season, I popped out and cut another 1/2 dozen. We’ll see if I can get any of those to take.
Any that do will spend the winter inside being babied, until the spring thaw, when they’ll go out to expand the Food Forest.

And finally, we’re into the home stretch with the meat chickens.
Whew!
In the next couple of weeks we’ll be looking at sending them to Freezer Camp. That’ll take 43 beaks off the feed bill.
And it will add a whole lot of meals to the freezer/shelves for winter.
Then in the Fall all we’ll have for poultry is whatever roosters I hatched out.

So, in short…
Life is busy.
Hot.
Sweaty.
But we’re getting things done, and it all looks like things are going according to plan (may it stay so…).
🙂

Our Muscovy Flock

I’ve wanted ducks for a looooong time.
I never quite convinced Hubby that we needed ducks until a friend mentioned her work had a pair that needed a winter home…
And then we got ducks. 🙂
That’s how Jazzy and Rain got here.

This was taken on their first day here…

And then over the winter, our Jazzy ended up with a respiratory infection that he couldn’t beat, no matter how much treatment I gave him, and we lost him.
It was only a few months without his partner-in-crime before Rain followed Jazzy into the great duck unknown.

We would have been duckless, but last fall, a local woman was selling off some of her extra stock…turns out muscovy hens really like to lay eggs. And hatch them.
So when the woman posted a blowout sale where hens were selling for $2 each (normally upwards of $20-35!) I jumped at the chance to buy 5 ladies.
And then we worked out a deal for drakes for both our freezers…but out of the drakes we got for our freezer, Hubby and I decided that 1 might have to stay.
Duck eggs are grand, but bbq’d duck is better!
One thing we learned this winter, after putting a bunch of ducks into the freezers of 2 homes, is that we really enjoy muscovy duck meat.
So having our own little flock of laying/hatching/duckling raising birds is no bad thing.
1 step closer to self-sufficiency, I says!

This handsome fellow is the drake we kept…and the brown face of one of the ladies. 😉

And here he is with 4 of the ladies…the 5th is just out of frame.

Now that we have ducks eggs being layed, hopefully one (or more) of the ladies will go broody and sit to hatch some.
And then y’all will get to see duckling pictures.
🙂

Bacon Seeds

The bacon seeds have arrived!!

Just about 6 weeks later than last year.
But, life happens.
We were getting close to drought conditions right around when we normally would get piglets, and I was concerned about bringing more livestock onto the Farm without being 100% sure I could keep everyone watered and healthy on the well.

So, we waited.
Then we got amazing rainfalls (that took out my garden a time or two) and now we’ve had good, regular rains (which have been helping my garden…and the weeds in it!).
That eased my worries about water.
Then, we just had to wait for schedules to align to go pick these guys up…that was yesterday.

Behold, our cute little bacon makers!

Bums!

We brought home 6 little baconettes to grow for as long as possible before winter hits.
🙂