Friday, March 23, 2012

The Pekins have a new name

I have come up with a name for the Pekins. Given that they seem to us to be the duck equivalent of Cornish X chickens (which we named "the icky chickies"), the Pekins are now... Wait for it... The Yucky Duckies! These birds are seriously gross, and grow freakishly fast. The pic above is one of them last weekend, at about the 2-week mark. Crazy!

Grow nice and big you stinky little buggers. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bitor.... is a studly gander

So, my big mean gander managed to do his part to fertilize some eggs!  Happy dance!

I had been collecting goose eggs, with the intention of putting them back in the nest once I got a good clutch together.  It had been really cold out, and rather than have the eggs freezing in the nest while the girls built up a clutch, I'd been bringing them in and storing them in the back bedroom where the temp stays around 55 deg or so.  I kept only the nice clean eggs, and after a week had 9.  Then, LJ decided to buy an incubator!  So, even though I read that goose eggs are a bit tricky, we decided to break in the new toy with my carefully collected 9.  We put them in on the 12th.  I weighed them all and wrote their weights on the eggs with a pencil, as well as marking one side of the egg with an X, and one with an O.  I've been turning them 3 times a day so that the x's and o's alternate each night as far as which side is up.  So, on Sunday, I candled the eggs (shining a nice bright light into the egg), and FOUR showed development!  Truthfully, I didn't really expect anything out of this experiment, so I'm super stoked.  When illuminated, each egg shows a dark spot with veins radiating out from it.  I tried to take a picture, but it just wasn't working.  So, if I manage to not kill these four goosey miracles, I may (knock on wood) end up with 4 goslings in a little over 3 weeks.  Woohoo!

During the week that these eggs were in the incubator, I continued to collect fresh eggs from the ladies.  They'd originally had two nests in the goose hut, and they finally ended up dismantling the nest on the left and all began sharing the one on the right.  On Sunday I put 5 eggs back in the nest, and crossed my fingers that number of eggs would be enough for one of the gals to start sitting.  Lo and behold, they've all been taking turns on the nest!  I didn't think they did that, but I've seen it.  So, provided they do a good job (fingers crossed!) we may get a naturally hatched batch too.  *knocking knocking knocking on wood*

Wish me luck, because this is my first time incubating!

It's Affie Girl's first time too

And she was such a CUTE baby!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grassy goodness

We opened up the rest of the pen to the pigs this weekend. They fell on the grass like ravening beasts. Mmmmm... Grassy goodness and happy piggles.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We only went to town for a couple things...

So, we went to town for a heat mat kit for seed starting, coffee, pig chow, and straw. We came home with all of that PLUS a new brooder light, more seeds, 3 blueberries, 2 bareroot trees (semi dwarf peach and apricot... The kiwanis were having a fundraiser sale and they were only $10 each), 2 bareroot lilacs, and a pair of Swedish ducklings (boy and girl). So much for planning, eh?

Henry drooling over the box of EIGHT guineas we brought home last weekend. We'd only planned for four, but the lady gave them to us for half off if we took all 8 because they were nearly ready to start flying and they couldn't have guineas flying around the feed store. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ducks are not geese

Go figure, huh?

On March 2nd, we brought home 10 pekin meat ducks and 2 runners (because LJ wanted them). :) They were precious little fluff balls. Screeching, "run away, run away!", fluff balls. There's the first difference between these disgusting little creatures and our geese. The geese ran TO us. Heck, Bitor came home with me because he was in a mucky brooder with a mass of ducks. They ran to the far side of the feed store brooder, and little Bitor (Sweet Boy then, and not now, thus the name change), covered in duck poop and mucky bedding, ran TO me and looked up at me with pitiful squeaks. I was a sucker (actually, I really do like the big bitey jerk, just a little).

When you hold these ducks, they struggle to get away, all but the little runner with black feet (we've named him/her Darkwing Duck). Darkwing will snuggle down in your hand once you catch him/her. Here's the second difference. The ducks don't seem to recognize a person's face. Meaning, put your face down to them, and they look everywhere but your face. The goslings looked us straight in the face and talked like we could understand them (sorta like a 2yr old, or Henry for that matter, telling me about his day). "Uh huh. Really? Then what happened?" The goslings wanted in our laps, and they wanted to talk and talk and then take a nap on us. They were such sweet babies.

Darkwing and as-yet-unnamed runner duckling

Difference number three. These ducks are filthy. They fling food everywhere. Everywhere! They have plenty of water to wash off in, yet are mucky with food. The goslings cleaned themselves constantly. The ducks don't bother. Yucky yucky yucky.  I have a feeling that, by the time they are slaughter weight, I'll be very very happy to see them go.  :)

These pekins grow really fast.  Here's the before and after, in just a week's time.  Sorry for the photo quality... camera phone fun-ness.
They went from this little fuzzball
To this, in a week.

Crazy, eh?

Anyhoo, there's our duckling drama. 

Coming soon: More about the piggles, the geese, and the 8 (yes, EIGHT) guinea keets that we brought home this weekend.  ** This is the farm that doesn't end... it just grows on and on my friend...**

Hope everyone had a splendid Monday!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Missing chickens

Miss Blue and one of the marans have failed to go to bed in the coop for two nights now. Today was the second morning that Blue came running up to LJ when he went out to open the coop. The maran didn't turn up with her this morning, but could be heard cackling the egg song out in the woods somewhere. Our two marans are notorious egg-hiders (remember the recent stump pic, and last year's nest hidden under the ferns?). If we don't find her, and a predator doesn't pick her off, perhaps she'll turn up with a batch of maran/welsummer fluff balls. Who knows. We'll do a search tomorrow. Hopefully she's well hidden from predators, but not so well hidden that we won't be able to spot her. Wish us luck!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

High-rise laying

See all the eggs in this stump? Stupid chickens. The marans and the ameraucanas are the usual culprits, though the buffs will do some creative laying now and then as well. :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ducks are here!

We've got baby critters coming out of our ears. More later. For now, just a cute picture of little tiny fluffy baby pekin.