Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Broody Bellina

Has a week to go before we find out whether there are any chicks in the 7 eggs she's sitting on. She's such a trooper! Lets me lift her up to take the eggs she's stolen over the course of the day. If another hen lays nearby, Belly snags the eggs to add to her clutch. When I open up the nest box door, Belly puffs up into a huge ball and churrrrs at me, but that's it. No pecking. Such a good girl!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Only the one fluffy baby so far

How cute is this little guy/gal?!

As for the others... One of the babies died late in the shell. It was turned the wrong way. 2nd hatched baby (hatched last night) passed this morning... Was pretty weak. Still have one working on unzipping its shell, so perhaps I'll be 2/4? We'll see. From what I've been reading on the goose section of the backyardchickens forum, this isn't exactly unheard of, and goose hatching is difficult. More than a little disheartening, but the one baby I do have is absolutely precious.

Friday, April 13, 2012

First baby hatched on the farm!!!!

Say hello to a noisy and very energetic new gosling. Little guy isn't even dry yet, and has been careening around the incubator and squealing for a good 45 minutes. Thought they were supposed to take a post hatch nap!?

We have a beak!

More patient than I am, by far

Baby is still sitting her nest. She has at least 15 under there. On the rare occasion that she gets up, Bitor hovers near the nest to protect it, and often Sweet Girl will go sit on the nest til Baby gets back. Affie, of course, doesn't sit. As far as she's concerned, the other two ladies make perfectly servicable nursemaids, and this way Affie keeps her lovely figure. :)

Me, though... I. Can't. Wait. To. GO HOME! When I left this morning, the two pipped eggs hadn't made any more progress from last night, though both eggs peeped and rocked when I directed the light through the incubator window. According to LJ, a couple hours later before he left the house, both were rocking away, and one had started to unzip the shell (he said it had broken off a large chunk!). I hope the other two non-pipped eggs have also progressed since this morning. One had finally pipped internally (I could hear the clicking breaths), but nothing yet from the other (just some faint movement at the top edge of the air cell). Fingers crossed for some more shell pips, and maybe a couple newly hatched goslings when I get home!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It pipped!

One of the goose eggs pipped internally today! That means that it broke through the membrane inside the shell. I heard it PEEPING!!!! Yay! We're not out of the woods yet, though. Lots to happen still. Goosey baby still has to pip the egg shell, "unzip" the egg, and get free. This should happen over the next 24-48 hrs, from what I've read. The other eggs need to catch up already!

Fingers crossed! Hopefully I haven't screwed up this hatch in some way, and these 4 eggs will produce little fuzzy butt babies. Cross your fingers for them. :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

An Easter parade, and white runner has a name

The future laying ducks had a lovely time trooping around in the sunshine yesterday. Unlike chickens, who run around helter skelter, these guys paraded around in tight formation. Lots of fun to watch. The runner ducks are too funny. They remind me of skinny people running around with their hands clasped behind their backs. As the chocolate runner is named Darkwing Duck, we've decided to name the white/gray runner Launchpad McQuack. Loving it. Still don't know the sex of either, but I think the names will stick, regardless. Ducktales, woohoo!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

And then there were turkeys...

I think we're finally done buying critters. Though LJ keeps mentioning quail. I don't think I'm quite up for quail. They're so tiny, they just don't seem worth it.

LJ's newest project

Headed home to their new hive.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Eat up little meaties

Grow nice and big...

The feed store had shorted our order of 20 by 3. I found some cornish chicks of approx the same age at a different store yesterday. LJ had me pick up 8 more. So, 25 meaties this year. Yum yum!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Icky Chickies have arrived!

And, the next-to-final shipment of springtime fluff balls has been picked up! (still need to get some turkeys) Today we brought home 17 Cornish X meat chicks.  Ordered 20, but the gals at the local feed store mis-counted, and when we got the couple miles home and called, they had already sold the few birds they had left... grrrrr!

Behold an Icky Chicky, while it's still cute (the cute phase only lasts about a week).

Haven't posted in a bit, as we've been running our butts off. Over the last couple weekends, we have ground out around 20-25 stumps and smoothed the stump areas out in preparation for more lawn/chicken/goose/duck yard locations. We've seeded and leveled and seeded some more.  This last weekend we thinned a small grove of alders and maples to the north side of the current chicken yard. We limbed the saplings, and will use them to beef up our chicken run construction. Last year the heritage turkeys (never ever again) liked to jump to the top of the chicken run and they collapsed it more than once. Since we're pretty sure it will be a prime guinea perching spot, we need to beef it up before we put those birds outside. And now for the rest of the happenings....

Yes, we're getting bees this year (or rather, LJ is getting bees this year). The hive is painted lemon lime and is sitting in the shop. The plastic inserts are in the house where shop-living mice can't gnaw away at the beeswax coating. We've cleared an area near the garden but away from any areas we want to clear this summer (don't think the bees would take too kindly to saws and the tractor running next to the hive). We leveled the area, and LJ seeded it in clover in the hopes that the clover will spread and help to choke out other weeds. He picks up his 3lbs of bees on Friday, so we need to get the hive set up this week.

Yucky Duckies-
Are growing like weeds. They are freaking huge at just 4 weeks old, and are out in the chicken tractor. We're planning some brooder musical chairs, hoping that the layer ducks can go outside before the Icky Chickies outgrow their brooder. The Icky Chickies will go in the big brooder when the laying ducks go outside. The guineas will go outside so the turkeys can go in their brooder. And, if all goes well, the Yucky Duckies will go to the processor just in time for the Icky Chickies to go into the chicken tractor. That's the plan, in any case. *fingers crossed*

Are also growing rapidly.  They are scared to death of us, unless we're refilling their feeder, at which point they jump all over our hands to get to the food (which they mostly fling out of the feeder and onto the floor).

Laying ducks-
More quick growth! All 4 run away from us. Darkwing the runner is sweet and calm once caught, as is the Swedish female (I named her Olga, which LJ does NOT like). The white-ish runner is a spaz, and very vocal (still no name), as is the Swedish male (Sven… LJ doesn't like that name either. Lol). I hope the runners are both female, but we'll just have to wait and see. They were straight run, so we have no idea. I'm thinking at least one male, one female, given the difference in personality and vocalizations. Darkwing is rather quiet and raspy. The white-ish no-name is a freak and extremely noisy. Another we'll see situation, eh?

Are doing well, though one has a cough and we'll need to catch him and give him a shot. We've had to treat two others. Not fun trying to catch a 60 some-odd lb pig, sit on it, and jab a needle in its neck. Not fun at all. You wouldn't believe how loudly they scream.  Not over the needle, but over being caught.  Craziness!  We don't like medicating, but neither do we want to have animals that are sick or unhappy. It's a line to walk. I've read blogs/stories of people that just let their critters die rather than call a vet or administer wormer or antibiotics… all in the name of "natural". The way we see it, that's cruel. Additionally, they're LIVESTOCK, not wild animals. The "natural" has been bred out of them over countless generations. True, some are a bit more hardy or disease resistant, but all the same, I don't get letting an animal suffer. If it doesn't fit your ideals, treat it and sell it so it doesn't "contaminate" your farm. Ok, ok, turning my rant off now. :0)

I have 4 eggs in the incubator right now, and they seem to be doing well.  My only concern is that the eggs have not lost enough weight.  I've been trying to follow the incubation guide that a wonderful dude named Pete posted on the backyardchickens.com forum.  The ideal is for the eggs to lose approx 13%, so the goslings aren't overloaded/overheated, and so they have the room they need to breathe and move in the egg.  I've been doing a daily water spritz and 15 minute cool down for the last several days, which mimics momma goose's getting up/taking a swim/setting back on the eggs.  We'll see how it goes.  They are due to hatch next Tuesday or so.  The goosey gals are still laying eggs.  I checked the nest last night, and they had built up a nest of 27 eggs.  One egg had broken on top of some of the others.  I removed the broken egg and the ones that had been contaminated by the contents and threw them to the pigs (the pigs LOVED that).  I stole the four freshest eggs (for another incubator run), removed the eggy straw, replaced the eggy straw with fresh, and replaced the good eggs in the nest.  Baby Girl hollered at me from 3 feet away the whole time I was in there, and has since been on the nest.  Perhaps my messing with her nest convinced her to get down to business?  Hope so, because it would be great to have some naturally hatched goslings.  Again, fingers crossed!

And, that's about it for the moment. Lots and lots going on, and dreaming of SUN. Right now it's a dream, but hopefully will return well before July this year!

Hope everyone is having a great week!