I’m sure I’ve said that before. But it’s true. I call their hatching eggs “grow your own skeksies” kits. Oh, and I juuuuuust happened to have made a deal for 3 dozen more Narragansett hatching eggs. Nope. Not addicted to turkeys. Not at all.
I may, however, have to create my own support group. I’ll call it Poultry Anonymous. And we’ll meet on a weekly basis, enjoy wine and pictures of our poultry, and throw middle fingers at the govt, because self-help groups are “allowed” to meet. Yup, sure sounds like something I would do. 😉
We had an impromptu shoot with this little dude yesterday. The Kid grabbed them out of the brooder and onto the big mirror they went. Of course it was scary (because everything is scary when you’re a wee little birb in a great big world!) and they called and called and called for their brooder mates…which made the big turkeys wonder what was going on. It was really cute watching a couple of the hens, everytime this little called. You could just see their brains go “Baby!! I want Baby!!” So I said “Hurry up and get to laying eggs, you sillies! Then you can has Babies!” I don’t think they understood me. 😂😂😂
And then they poop on the mirror… 😂😂😂
And then, poor little pumpkin just got tired and sat down:
Hopefully this weekend will be nice enough to grab a couple of the whites out of the brooder and we can get a few shots of them with a Narragansett for size comparison. All in all though, every one of ’em is cute little birbs.
You see, since March 28th, I have not been able to upload a single picture to the blog. I’ve been having to link to Instagram to show y’all pictures. Today, for some reason unknown to me, I decided to try to upload a few images.
So, now I’m going through any pictures I’ve taken the last month and trying to do a mass uploading, just incase WP decides that I shouldn’t be able to again…
Today you get Cricket, the happy muscovy duck:
Why is he happy? He doesn’t know. He’s a duck. 😂😂😂
Ducks and images aside, gardening is getting underway. This past weekend, I rejigged the small raised beds in the front yard. There are 9 ~ 3’x3′ beds. Well, were. Now there are 3 ~ 3’x3′ bed that are much deeper. I took out 6 of them, stacked them on the other 3 and made them more usable. A good heavy layer of rotted horse manure in the bottom, some straw over top of that and then topsoil. And lots and lots and lots of watering in between. Then yesterday, I planted rhubarb in one and asparagus in another. I have room in the asparagus box for more crowns, so next time MCFHubby is at Canadian Tire, he’ll grab another pouch of them for me…and Thursday, he’s going to a friend’s to help split an established rhubarb for us. So I’ll have 2 rhubarb plants.
And anyone who knows me is doing the quizzical doggy head tilt, because I don’t like rhubarb. But, I like the *medicinal properties* of rhubarb…
Plus there’s wine, sooooo, yeah. 😂😂😂
Next up, prepping the spots for peas, and getting those planted. then we’re onto parsley, carrots and beets. While hathing more chicks…because we like eating chicken. 😂😂😂
I set another 80 eggs on the 1st. And I don’t know what the ducks are doing, but I’m hoping to see some duckling action happening soon. We have so many girls going broody, but no one is sitting nests yet. Our Ripple abandoned hers after we moved it…we knew that would be a possibility, but we couldn’t leave her getting beat up by the turkeys.
Speaking of turkeys, my 5 left from the hatching are doing great! Same with the 10 whites in with them. Eggs every day for breakfast and tons of gamebird feed in their feeder 24/7. Finally, they’re all growing gangbusters! Thank goodness!
Now I just need my full grown turkey hens to get on with the laying. They all have the tell tail sign that Oscar and Dingus are wooing them, but we haven’t seen any eggs yet. They might be like the ducks though…the ducks did nothing for laying/broodiness until their 2nd year. Eh, we shall see, right? In the meantime, there’s no shortage of chickens to eat here. 😂😂😂
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! 🙂
Back when Hubby, The Kid and I were thinking about how many meat chickens to order, we thought we’d settled on 50, like last year. And then, something picked at me and told me that wasn’t enough. I’ve been alive long enough to have learned to listen when my gut says something to me. So I ordered 75 of the little nuggets. And 10 white turkeys.
I figured with the success of our Narragansetts from last year, I oughta be able to get 10 whites to Freezer Camp size. I sure the eff hope so, because things have not been going well with my Narragansetts I hatched this year. My excitement over 16? Dashed, because we’re down to 5…and may very well lose them as well. Fuck.
Y’see, turkeys are very delicate. Yep, even heritage breeds. Even though the heritage breeds are tougher than the whites, they’re still delicate little things. As we were awaiting hatching, we evicted the ducks from the brooder, gave it a deep cleaning, sprayed it down with cleaner, thinking we were good to go with our poults. Welp, as it turns out, there was mold starting in the floor. I say again…fuck.
Turkeys are susceptible to mold. Even when us humans don’t know it’s there, have no fucking clue it’s there…turkeys will be doing great, bopping around like crazy birbs, eating, drinking, pooping beautiful turkey poops…and then just drop dead. Because their little lungs are that effing delicate.
So after the loss of 6 we thought “huh, this is more than just weak poults not making it”. Hubby and The Kid whipped off another brooder like the last one I showed y’all…metal floor for ease of cleaning, fresh new walls, lid that’s easy to lift for air movement and a door for easy access that doesn’t let heat out… Then, The Kid and I put fresh straw in, and I crawled into the old brooder to catch our remaining poults. That’s when I found the mold…under the straw, the wood was wet. And there were small fuzzy spots. Fuck.
Now we have the last 5 in the newly built brooder, nothing is in the old brooder until it gets torn apart and maybe refurbished…but it might just be scrap now. Fuck. I mean, we can’t really complain about it, if we have to scrap it. The brooder was here when we bought the place, it’s successfully raised near onto 500 hundred birds…but I hate that I found out this way that there was a problem with it. I hate that it’s costing little lives. 😥 That’s what kills me.
If you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see the size of the white turkeys, compared to my Narragansetts. The whites are a day old in the picture, the heritage birds over a week! They’re all getting along beautifully. I’m actually hoping that the whites will give the heritages enough impetus to keep fighting to stay alive. There’s really no treatment for mold exposure. Fuck. But I’ve got them on high protein feed, clean water with vitamins, a bit of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar twice a day, clean fresh bedding every other day, and today they got some mashed up hard boiled eggs with the vitamins mixed in. I’m trying my best to make the best of a shitty situation. While hoping that my turkey hens start laying soon…because goodness knows, the boys are doing their jobs. The very second I see eggs from the hens, I’m whisking them off to be incubated!
I’m going to bet dollars to donuts, that the second my incubators are full and working on chickens again, that’s when those turkeys will start popping out eggs…and then I’ll end up having to buy a 3rd incubator just for turkey eggs. 😂😂😂 Because that’s my life…chaotic, crazy, and always learning.
It’s just a quick shot with my phone, but so far 16 poults have emerged! I’m pretty darn happy with that. Considering we keep having help from Daisy Mae with the cord being knocked out, and the humidity was a bit wonky near the end…still…16 poults. Yeah, that’s good! Fingers crossed for a good amount of hens this round, so that we can add them to Oscar and Dingus’ harem…any boys, unless they’re perfect/awesome will be Freezer Campers.
Hit play and turn up your sound! There’s many little voices in there. I’m so looking forward to meeting them all! Humidity is still high, so they’re not quite done hatching. When the humidity drops and stays low, then that’s an indication that they’re pretty much done. That’s when I open the incubator and see if there’s any who need help out of the shell. Until then, the ones that are out get to sing and dance around while they absorb the last bits of the yolk from their eggs. They’re good for up to (and sometimes longer than) 72 hours in there without food or water.
The brooder is ready and warmed up for them, when they’re all done and ready. 🙂
I’m quite excited that my peppers are at the point of needing to be transplanted. This is exciting to me because, even though there is snow on the ground outside, the garden will soon enough be filled and growing. The problem is always those seedling trays. What on Earth is with them blowing holes in the corners all. the. time? I get it, they’re not the sturdiest of plastics, but why doesn’t someone make a sturdy, hard plastic version? I have said I would happily pay more so that I don’t have to re-buy them every season or two.
Yesterday, in our nearest small town, Hubby went into the hardware store to see if they had seedling trays. Well, they did, but for some strange and ridiculous reason, they had drainage holes in the bottom. Um, does the manufacturer (in this case Jiffy) even understand the usage of the trays? *sigh*
But, The Kid and Hubby came up with a fix, so that I can get the peppers transplanted:
Yeah, that’s a drawer. And that’s gonna work out juuuuuuuust fine! But this is what manufacturers need to do. Make us trays that are rugged and sturdy like this drawer. We serious gardeners would *happily* pay more for them. And let’s be honest, not having to ditch those flimsy ones every year or two and replace them would be a helluva lot better for the environment.
In other news, tomorrow is day 25 for the turkey eggs. Tomorrow we take the turners out of the incubator, raise the humidity and wait…anxiously, for the turkey chirp, chirp, chirps to begin! Still haven’t seen any eggs from the girls in the turkey yard, but that’s okay. Last night I had to carry 3 of them back to the yard because they thought they should escape and go to bed with the chickens. 🤦♀️🙄 Um, no my poor silly birbs. What I did notice is that they have the tell tale signs on the backs of their heads that Oscar and/or Dingus are doing their job(s). So hopefully soon, but even if not until next year, that’s okay too. Good breeding stock is worth the time and investment, and these guys are quality birbs. ❤
First thing off the hop…fonts are weird on WP this morning. Maybe it’s just me, but in my posting block page yuckiness (I can’t be the only one who hates the way the new posting system works, can I?) the fonts changed and it’s weird. I don’t like change. Especially when it happens without warning. (Like change often does…😂😂😂)
Also, today is day 18 with the incubators. Today I take out the turners, bump up the humidity and wait for the sweet sound of “chirp, chirp, chirp” to start. By this weekend, we’ll have chicks! 🙂 Tomorrow I’ll start saving eggs for the next round… I can only run one of them for the next round though, because in 2 weeks I have turkey eggs coming and they need 4 weeks to hatch, compared to chicken’s 3 weeks…I need the turkey eggs to hatch at the same time as the arrival of the white turkey poults. I’m sure I’ve blathered on about this before…heritage birds of the same species in with meat birds helps the meat birds learn *how to bird* so that the meats are much healthier…as long as they think they are hatchmates. That is very important, because if they are introduced too far apart, it becomes difficult to integrate them. There is too much $$$ wrapped up in my turkeys to chance the poults not integrating well. This is my experience. Others may have different experiences, but this has worked very well for us. And so I have to leave one incubator free for the arrival of 2 dozen Narragansett turkey eggs. Squeeeee! 😀
Finally, for Wordless Wednesday, my lovely sleeping beauty, my chubby Painted Unicorn, Ruby…
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:
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. 🙂
In the beginning of July, I purchased 24 turkey hatching eggs. With a whole lot of hope, I brought them home and set them into the incubator. 27 days later, we started to hear the tell tale chirps and scrabbling around of hatching poults. We were very excited!!
Then on the 29th day, we opened the incubator to find 13 poults. Oh, but one had it’s tiny wing somehow caught between the plastic grating and the edge of the incubator! With a whole lot of patience, I managed to free that little wing. But that wee poult was having trouble standing. We think in it’s attempt to free it’s wing, it may have wrenched a leg. So I picked up this little poult and cuddled it close to me, while the other 12 were whisked off to the brooder and placed under a heat lamp with food and water.
I held this little one for a while, whilst using The Google to see if there was a way we could fix the legs. It’s wing tip seemed fine, once they were able to get it back against their body.
What I found was that most birds can do okay if you can keep their legs together. Okay then…I found a small twist tie and made a hobble of sorts…with help from The Kid, because that poor turkey poult panicked everytime I moved them onto their back! And then, we found a small dish for food and water and a box to put them in, then tucked them in under the light in the brooder with the other 12.
It really was a hail Mary sorta thing, because I didn’t know if they were ever going to be able to use that leg, but I felt like I had to try to help out. Even being raised as a potential food animal, they deserved the chance at a good life. Being that they were the 13th poult, they were given the name 13. And y’know, once you name them… lol The urge to make the birb all better was heckin’ strong once a name was bestowed.
It became clear, fast, that this wee twist tie was precisely what 13 needed! Within a day, there was weight bearing on the leg. By the end of the 2nd, 13 was full on hopping from one side of the box to the other. And singing. Oh turkey songs are the sweetest of the birb songs! I love having them around just for their songs.
Then came the day I took off the twist tie and set 13 down to see what happened… Up came those little wings, that fluttered so hard and out of the box leapt 13 to join their 12 hatchmates!
And this is our lovely 13 now…
I had told The Other 2 that no matter what, 13 stayed. If they were a tom, but not breeder potential, we’d have to build a separate pen. If they were a hen, hopefully she’d be breeding potential, but if not, she’d get to have her own space and we’d have turkey eggs to eat.
Well, as it turns out, 13 is a hen, and she’s a lovely hen who is absolutely (IMO) a good foundation breeding hen. She’s tough, having survived her early days after hatching. She’s pretty…I mean, just look at her! She’s friendly. Because she was handled so much after hatch, she likes to be handled, and does like to cuddle (on her terms of course…;) ) She take no guff from the boys. Which is a good thing. Boys must behave or else. 😉
And poor Oscar…he’s so smitten and she just isn’t interested. lol! Probably because right now Oscar isn’t “husband” material. He’s just a horny teenager tom who wants to get it on with any hen. Even those duck hens.
13 is more interested in Dingus, the other tom we kept for breeding. Dingus isn’t quite the horny boy Oscar is, so they’re taking things slow. 😉 We’re looking forward to spring courtings between them though…I do believe they will make for some lovely poults of their own. 🙂