So Far, So Good


I told y’all how we moved the turkey poults out of the one brooder, into a new one and how we were still losing them…
Welp, so far, we’ve managed to stop the losses.
From 16, we’re down to 5 Narragansett poults, plus our 10 white poults.
So far, everyone is doing very well.
I am…cautiously optimistic.

So, aside from the brooder change, what did we do?
Hard boiled eggs.
Yup, hard boiled eggs are a miracle food for poultry.
They’re power packed nuggets of nutrition that give baby birbs an excellent boost.
Thankfully, my chicken hens have been laying like mad, so having extras to feed my turkey kids is no problem at all.

I take 3 eggs, hard boil them, peel them, mush them up, add in a little poul-vite (it’s a vitamin mix for birds), a small pinch of brown sugar and water to make a slurry.
Put the bowl down in front of those chicks and watch ’em gobble, gobble, gobble it down!

Plus they have fresh water and gamebird feed (with 28% protein) at all times.
So I am very hopeful that the last 5 of the ones I hatched will survive.
If they don’t now, it’s not because I haven’t tried damn near everything!

In the meantime…

Gardening has begun!
The grape plant has been uncovered from her long winter nap.
The garlic is getting uncovered tomorrow.
And MCFHubby brought this home for me:

Onions, asparagus and rhubarb.
All of which can (and hopefully will) be planted this weekend.
Yes, it’s early before the frost date for us, but this is all stuff that can go in early.
I’m also hoping to prep the area(s) for carrots, beets and peas.
Again, cool weather crops that can get started soon here.

Every year I’m anxious for this time, and now that it’s here, I’m ready to get things going…
So.
Ready!
🙂

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…

😂😂😂

Last Day of February

Ever have one of those months where all you can think is “holy shit, I made it!”??
Yep, that was February for me.
😂😂😂

But today is the last day, I’m almost ready to fire up the grow lights…
Oh.
Wait.
So I’m sending Hubby out on a mission tomorrow. Because my stand for growing seedlings isn’t big enough.
And I always end up with some in the library window, with a hanging lamp that doesn’t have enough light to keep the plants from getting long and leggy before planting.
Thanks to the google, I discovered the Home Depot here in Canada has a led light fixture that is a grow light.
Probably designed for the folks who want to grow pot (because that’s legal here now) but hey…it works for us gardening folks.
So I’m sending Hubby out to buy me one tomorrow after work.
And then, if that works, I’ll send him back for another 2 of them.
And we’ll build one of the shelving units we have in boxes in the basement and hook up lights for 3 shelves and then I’ll have 2 plant stands and 4 shelves to grow seedlings!
Not that I’m excited about growing seedling for the garden or anything…
Oh no.
Not me.
Not even a little bit.
😂😂😂
Okay…maybe a little bit.

We’re a week into the first round of incubation.
I haven’t candled the eggs yet.
Maybe tonight, if I remember.
Not sure how many are going to be good…I had to collect for 6 days before I had enough, which is longer than I like to collect eggs for.
After that polar vortex ripped through here, the hens were withholding eggs like crazy.
Down from 60ish a day to 8…if I was lucky.
They’re on the upswing now, which is good because in 2 weeks Ima need aaaaallllll the greens and blues they’ll give me.
I always collect as many of those as I can for hatching, then fill in with the browns.
Those genetic egg pictures tell me my big roos from brown eggs crossed on blue and green egg layers should give me more green eggs…
I love me some colour in my egg basket.
😉

This is Miracle the Rooster…and nice side eye from that black hen there…🙄

See? Big rooster.
This guy’s name is Miracle.
He came to us a year ago on NYE with 2 other boys and a group of hens.
A friend needed to rehome her birds and asked if I was interested.
Yup!
Now, this guy and his 2 brothers were originally called Larry, Darryl and Darryl (google it if you don’t get the reference 😉 ), but this summer and fall we had no end of trouble with that damn coyote.
Bastard got the other Darryl and we thought got this Darryl too…
Until the evening (because that stinking coyote was brazen enough to be picking my birds off in the middle of the damn day!) and we were bbq’ing and my Kid goes dashing off the deck yelling “rooster!!”
And I’m like “wtf?!?” as she runs to the pasture fence, climbs over, then climbs back with this rooster in her arms…well, he was short some tail feathers and he was definitely in shock, but we couldn’t find any other injuries on him.
So we banded his leg and re-named him Miracle because it’s a damn miracle he got away from the coyote!
Lemme tell ya, he’s a lot more careful how far he lets his hens go and he sure does make sure they listen and scuttle their feathered butts back to safety the *second* he says so…
He’s a lucky boy to still be alive and he knows it!
Hopefully he teaches the other roosters to be just as diligent with their ladies.
(though thankfully we haven’t seen Wile E since the last time we fired shots at his rear end…)

So we’re ready for March.
Looks like it’s coming in like a Lamb, and I’ll be expecting it to go out like one too.
Either way, we’re ready for spring, for building, for gardening, for the growing season overall.

And maybe a nap or two too. 😉

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.

It’s Here!!!!

The new incubator arrived last night…

Can’t I haz the big box?

Yeah the box is huge.
The incubator is huge.
It can hold 56 chicken eggs, so I shoulda realized how huge it was gonna be.
D’oh!
That’s okay.
I have a spot for it, as well as the first (smaller) incubator.
This year‘s hatching is about to start!
🙂

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday
and
Word of the Day Challenge for Year

Wordless Wednesday

We’re at the point in the cycle of seasons where the urge to get things going for the coming spring is soooo strong.
And yet, we know that it’s just a wee bit too soon.
Napping in the sunshine is the way to go.
At least until March 1st.
Then…
Then it begins!

Sharing for Wordless Wednesday with Comedy Plus, bethere2day and image-in-ing
and
Word of the Day Challenge for Cycle.

53 Days…

53 days until Spring.
Another month before we fire up the incubator. Still just the one…haven’t managed to get the $$$ together to order the 2nd yet.
I keep spending the egg money on things that come up…
Like new blankets for all before Yule.
Groceries when Hubby found a spanky deal on some veggies/fruits.
Feed, now that the layers are gearing up and laying more…they need more than just the barley chop and wheat so we’re mixing in layer feed now too…

But, I can still run batches of 24 eggs at a time.
And I’m waiting for some money to come in at the end of the month, so the next incubator should be ordered and arrive in time for hatching season’s start.

I’m looking out the window at our unseasonably, but oh so appreciated, -8*c.
Normally we’d be at least 10 degrees colder.
Of course, I’m also dreaming wistfully of the garden.
Unseasonably warm weather will do that to a Farm gal. 😉
We’ll start seeds soon though…right around the time we fire up the incubator.
So much life to start in just a few months!!

One of the best parts of this weather is how much less The Merry Mares are eating.
Hay consumption has slowed down, and for that I’m grateful.
They did decide to dig out the last bit of the first oat straw bale and have a bit more fun with it…


Astrid buried her head way down in there, looking for left over grain bits.

She was awful peeved that I called her ’til she lifted her head out…Sable dove into the spot she had been and probably found the tasty bits she was digging around for.
😂😂😂

And Ruby wore her straw beard whilst trying to have a nap…apparently I was annoying her again by taking pictures.
lol
Too bad for her.
😂😂😂

Sharing with Word of the Day Challenge for Wistful
and
Oak Hill Homestead for the Simple Homestead blog hop.

C-c-c-cold Redux

Ugh.
Right back into the deep freeze.
And it’s looking like we’re stuck there for the next week.

But the horses are doing well…
In fact, they’re happy as equine shaped clams with their latest oat straw bale.
There was a bit of silliness as Hubby brought it into the pasture.
Scary noisy thing (yeah, the tractor is terrifying…dorks) bringing a big thing towards them.
Led to some running and bucking and general silliness.

Once it was down, the net wrap cut and we left the pasture though…
They were in there like 3 dirty shirts.
😉

nomnomnom

Astrid!
Behave!

I’m so ready for spring…