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!!
😂😂😂

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.
🙂

Freelance Writing

I don’t know how people do it…make money blogging.
I just don’t.
I’m clearly missing something…I’m sure it’s the lack of ads and affiliate links…or maybe I’m not pimping myself out quite right.
lol
If you’ve got any secrets on how to do that, (make money while blogging, not pimping myself out) please feel free to share. 😉

That said…I have, in the past, picked up a little extra money freelance writing for online homesteading magazines…most notably homestead.org.
And, having submitted a few ideas back in January, I got the go ahead to write 3 articles for them.
Yay!

So I’m busy writing those…and once they’re live, I’ll share the links so y’all can read them.
🙂
Hopefully I can keep up the writing streak here, but, things might get light here and there.
Paying work has to come first.
Mama gots to makes the moneys, ya know?
😂😂😂

But I’ll do my best to keep things rolling here…after all, in just about 2 weeks, there’s gonna be chicks hatching, and I’ve got 3 new ducks coming today…including a drake for my Muscovy hens.
I don’t want y’all to miss chicks or ducks. Or new equine pics. Or the latest Capture52 shots.
Just bear with me if I’m slow, ‘kay?

🖤🖤🖤

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday
Because I”m thankful to be able to share my Farm life with everyone and I’m thankful to have a few paying jobs coming.
🙂

Ducks in the Garden

I know, I know…

I kept saying I was going to stick the ducks in the garden when it was all done.
I said it last year.
I said it in the spring, thinking they’d help with early, pre-planting weeding.

But, it never got done.
Until now!!

Behold…ducks in my garden!

There were a little put out by this move…

Brown duck is accusatory duck. 😂😂😂

But then, they discovered the seeds on the long grass and started eating…

‘Kay, maybe not so bad…

They have 3 places for shelter…the 2 compost bins, which are empty, with the doors off. And a crate that they’ll all fit into if they choose to cuddle together.

Donald…yeah, well, my Hubby named him.
He’s a handsome duck.
And he likes having 5 wives. 😂😂😂

And then, the girls found the pool…because ducks have to have a pool!

Oh the excitement!!

Splashy splashy…

So they’ll stay in the garden for a month or so, eating weeds, bugs, and fertilizing.
Then we’ll move them back to the coop when the weather turns towards colder.

Sharing with the Simple Homestead bloghop hosted by Oak Hill Homestead.

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Feel free to buy me a coffee.
🙂