Friday, October 18, 2013

New 'scovy hens!

As the weather turns colder, I'll slowly get back into blogging. For now, we added four new young muscovy hens to the farm this afternoon. The two larger girls went out with Merle, Maggie, Frieda, Olga/Sven, Crusty, and the geese. The two younger are going in the chicken yard with the chickens, turkeys, Choco Taco (Chocolate 'scovy drake hatched here this spring), and 4 scovys from a later hatch. I sure do like these ducks!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Raspberry vinegar?

Maybe, if I'm lucky. Had extra raspberries from a flat we purchased down the road at one of the local berry farms. 4c of berries and 5c of white wine vinegar per my Ball preserving book. Recipe says to stir every couple days, and taste once a week til desired strength is achieved. We'll see how it goes. Only cost me about $8 in vinegar, so no great loss if it doesn't work, right? Right.

Hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Poultry run, summer busy, and critter update

This is why I haven't been posting.  The new poultry run has eaten up all my time between rain and then too-hot-to-work weather.  Been crazy busy.  It's almost done, and I'll post pics once it's totally finished and I've moved on to another project.

I've got some family and friends pretty ticked off at me lately because I've disappeared.  Thing is, it's summer.  I work full-time already.  Then, because it's summer and mostly not raining and light rather late, I spend all my not-at-work time doing all the stuff I can't do when it's "not-summer".  I really really don't have the time to go spend a day at the farmer's market, or antiquing, or just generally farting around.  There's mowing, and weedeating, and the garden, and the animals, and all the baby animals, and house projects, and the chicken run, and the new steps we need to install, and fruit that needs picking and preserving, and a coop that needs repainting...etc etc etc.  I get home from work, change my clothes, and go work outside.  We might take one day a month to go do something not home related, like going to yard sales or mushroom hunting.  That's it.

So, really quick update. 

Goldy-hen and 4 duck babies are still in the chicken tractor and doing really well. Goldy is turning out to be a super mom.

Turkey eggs: 4 weren't fertile, 2 stopped developing halfway, 2 got broken by the hens, 3 pipped and didn't get any further, 3 hatched.  The three poults are doing great, and are in a different chicken tractor with Bellina, who I know is a kickbutt mom.  My kickass S&BiL hatched out some turkeys earlier this season... maybe they'll trade with me so I can mix up the bloodlines.... haven't asked yet what they're planning on doing with their turkeys.  Add that to my list. If not, I can always just sub some purchased poults next year.  Heck, I don't even know yet what the sexes are of my 3 piddly poults.  Should be able to make a guess in just a couple weeks.  I really want to have a tom and a couple hens.  Want my own farm-hatched babies, and not have to purchase our turkeys every year.

The two chicken eggs I stuck under Smaug so she'd stop stealing nests didn't hatch.  Weren't fertile.  The two black copper maran "pullets" I bought turned out to be cockerels.  I think I need to keep one.  Hubby doesn't agree.  I'm thinking along the lines of, "tough, I'm keeping one".  :)

More 'scovy eggs are destined for the incubator.  I have 15, and should have 17-19 total come Thurs when I start the incubation.  If Freida goes broody, I'll let her sit, but if the ducks hatch any more babies themselves, they'll go into the chicken tractor until the babies are big enough to not be easy raven pickins.

Traeger and Weber are doing great.  Weber is growing like crazy, but Traeger (the goat) isn't growing nearly as fast.  Shocking, considering how much he eats.  We're really impressed with Weber, a katahdin sheep.  He mows down blackberries and other brush just as fast and happily as the goat.  I'm thinking we may do this breed again.  Very very happy with him.

Annnnnnd... that's about it for now.  Work to do.  Have a fun and safe 4th!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why ducks line the fence when they see "the cup"

If I walk outside, carrying "the cup", they watch... And wait. This was the 2nd cup of slugs collected this evening. Oregon sure is great for slugs (of manageable size... WA is ridiculous. Damn banana slugs).

The slugs especially like the places where the chicken tractor and its assorted poultry have rested. Easy pickins and happy waterfowl. :)

Must use the cup, as slugs have different sorts of slime. Some thin, and some like glue which literally has to be SCRAPED off... Absolutely will NOT wash off. Yuck.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lost 5 ducklings... New lesson learned :(

All 6 of Maggie's ducklings were out there this morning. As of this afternoon, there was one. I'm about 95% sure that the culprit was the local raven. It's huge, and "quorks" instead of cawing. Totally not a crow. I saw it go after a duckling last week, but the other birds chased it off. Figured that was the end of it. But, down to one duckling with no trace of the others, and no grass was flattened around the edges of the pen, so nothing climbed the fence and stole them. I don't see a hawk stealing off with 5 freakin ducklings. But I've observed a raven return several times within an hour to the same campsite to steal, each time, a piece of bread from a torn breadbag. So. I'm putting my money on that damn raven. It steals eggs too. $&@!  I took the last duckling from Maggie and slipped it in with Goldie. Hopefully Maggie decides to set another clutch.

Hard lesson learned: next batch of ducklings will go into a chicken tractor with momma for 3 weeks or however long til they reach a size that will deter the raven... If said raven is still around come the next hatch. Funny, it is the only raven I've seen in our area. Always alone.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things just doesn't belong...

Well, at least Goldie doesn't know any different. :)  She hatched out two, btw. The two that I hope will be black and white like Freida. The brown one in the back is Maggie's, but injured its leg, so I snuck it in with Goldie. She seemed happy to have it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

More muscovy duckling pics!

They're quick little buggers. So difficult to get a good pic!

Goldie chicken came away with two, and while all of Maggie's babies appear to be brown like Merle and Maggie, the two Goldie hatched seem to be pied black/white like Freida! We'll see when they get feathers, eh? :) Pics of the Goldie babies soon.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Our first farm-hatched ducklings!!!

Maggie was off the nest this morning for a drink and a bite to eat, so I went out to check the nest. Lookie what I found!!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Broody butts!

Left to right... Goldie (5 duck eggs), Bellina (5 turkey eggs), Smaug (2 chicken eggs so she'll stop trying to steal the other hen's nests), unnamed buff (4 turkey eggs).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

At least someone loves blackberry vines!

Weber and Traeger going to town on blackberry vines. Num num num!!

And yes, they're wearing old dog collars. We have a Rubbermaid tub full of old dog stuff, and the first thing we did, before we even put them in the pen, was dig out collars for them. Gotta be able to catch the buggers in case a coffee can full of grain doesn't do the trick!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

What's a few more? Hello turkey eggs!!!

We have ENOUGH critters? Huh? What? Nah. Why not add a few more!

After work I picked up a dozen turkey hatching eggs from a gal I found on craigslist. Actually, 14, as she threw in a couple extra. Some are Narragansett/Bourbon cross, but most are pure Narragansett. Planning on sticking half under Smaug and half under Bellina. I really want a turkey pair so that we don't have to buy poults every year. Yeah, a closely related pair isn't the best thing ever, but I want to pick out the best behaved and beautiful babies that have been raised with the chickens and learned their manners accordingly. This is the only way I can figure to do that. No one seems to sell sexed poults, and I don't want to purchase (at $10-15 a pop) a handful of straight run babies to see what I get. Nor do I want mature birds that are more likely to not go to bed at dusk or respect the fence. So, there you have it. Turkey eggs. Wish us luck!

Oh, and the current list of critters?

Around 30 chickens
1 guinea
4 turkey poults (brooder)
3 pheasant chicks (brooder)
6 ducks
2 geese
25 meat chickens (to butcher on Tues)
1 meat goat
1 hair sheep (also meat)
22 duck eggs being incubated (16 under Maggie Muscovy and 6 under Goldie Ameraucana)
And tomorrow there will be 14 turkey eggs between 2 broody chickens

Fun fun!!!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

More goats in cars... This time it's personal

Actually... A goat and a sheep... And a truck, not a car. OUR truck.

Meet Weber (katahdin sheep) and Traeger (boer goat). Both are wethers (that's a castrated male, for those not in the know). The BBQ names are based on the condition I set down for hubby... We will NOT be keeping these guys forever. They go to butcher in the fall. They are currently installed in our front goose pen, mowing down the grass. They'll eventually go in the back pig pen, to take care of the grass and brush back there all summer. Omg... I have a freaking goat again... Doing my best to not panic... Lol.

Oh, and deputy guinea is NOT pleased! He will not shut up. He absolutely does not approve of the intruders. 

Weber doesn't want anything to do with us, so I wasn't able to snap any good camera phone pics of him... Traeger is all about the camera, though.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

No home butchering this year

Hubby's schedule has been a bit up in the air, which could make getting the icky chickies butchered a bit of an issue. Especially since we try to schedule help from friends. So, he called our local poultry butcher and managed to get a spot! Ickies go to butcher the day after Memorial Day. I'm actually a little relieved that someone else will be doing it. Yeah, it's cheaper to do it at home and fun having friends over to help, but I was stressing pretty hard over whether everything would come together. This way, no worries and no mess. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders!

In other farm news, two scovy eggs in the incubator are due to hatch over Memorial Day weekend. Maggie is happily sitting on her big beautiful nest, and the chickens are sharing scovy egg incubation in the coop. Whenever Smaug gets of the nest, Goldie swoops in and steals it. Goldie! My freaking ameraucana is broody. First one we've had go broody of that breed. At least she's not a biter, and she's just big enough to cover those 6 eggs. Fingers crossed!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Maggie is finally setting!!!

Pretty little Maggie

Maggie, our chocolate Muscovy has FINALLY set! Woohoo! She's rather small, so I decided to keep her down to 16 eggs. Every day, we've pencil-marked new eggs with a big X on one side and the date on the other. She got up to 16 a week ago between her eggs and Frieda's, and every day since, I've been pulling the two oldest eggs and replacing them with the newer eggs. Finally, she accepted that 16 was her lot. Hopefully, a little more than a month from now, we'll have a batch of 'scovy babies. Fingers crossed!!

We're also debating sticking additional 'scovy eggs under Miss Bit€#¥ aka Smaug (LJ read The Hobbit last year and feels this name is quite appropriate) who is very bitey pecky broody and refuses to give it up. Couldn't hurt to try, eh?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I whacked it with a stick... Stupid llamas

Did you know that there are llamas in the woods? Well, there shouldn't be. Neighbor came up to the house last night. He and his daughters were riding horses in the woods near our place, and out of nowhere two llamas appeared and attacked their horses. The girls bailed off the frantic horses, and said horses took off... Followed by the llamas. One horse was still missing, so I grabbed a walking stick (critter whacking stick since I didn't want to get my pistol out) and headed into the woods to help search.

Ran into neighbor's wife, who was riding her stallion on the search, both because she could cover ground more quickly, and because he was hollering loudly every few minutes for his girls. Figured that might help locate the missing mare, I guess. She and I split up, and I walked round the long way back to the house. It was near dusk, and there's cougar and bear in them there woods. I wasn't gonna stay out til dark. I was rounding the last bend when I heard crashing in the woods to my left. Yay! I'd found Maggie! Nope. Two llamas came trotting out. They spotted me, and one of them laid back its ears and started coming at me. Wth! Good thing I had grabbed a stick. When waving my arms and yelling didn't shoo it away, I gave it a good whack. Pretty sure the stupid creature was planning on stomping me. Anyhow, didn't want ANYTHING to do with me after I smacked it.

I posted a lost and found on craigslist. Hope someone finds and catches those stupid llamas. And to think I'm usually on the lookout for cougars. Never figured I'd get charged by a freaking llama in the middle of the woods. Stupid llamas.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Beefy, the bath-hog gander

It's HIS bath. He's the biggest, so it's his, right? Waves must be made. Water must be sloshed. Pool must be nearly emptied via bath time play before anyone else gets a shot at it.

"Back off mud-demons! You will not soil these waters! MINE!!"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

More goats in cars

Or maybe they're sheep? The one on the right looks like a sheep. This pic was taken in nearly the same place on the highway as the last one. Gotta love it!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Our FREE duck

Went to a local poultry swap this weekend, just to look around. We happened by the booth run by the folks that own our favorite local feed store, and there was a big dog crate under the table. I peeked in, out of curiosity, and there was a sign that said "free duck" and a lovely Muscovy hen inside. Free duck? Heck yeah!

The gal that owned her had made arrangements for a new home, but the person she'd arranged to meet never showed. Lucky us!

Isn't she pretty! Her feathers are in excellent condition, and I think this duck was well-loved. She doesn't really want to be caught, but sits quietly when held. Look at the lovely green and purple sheen of her feathers. 

Merle immediately recognized her as "his kind" AND that it was a "she". He was already waddling our way as we entered the pen, and (so not exaggerating) he "claimed" the new girl less than 5 seconds after I put her on the ground. Poor gal didn't get as much as an introduction before Merle decided she was his new girlfriend! We found it fascinating that Merle knew immediately that this new duck was his kind and a girl (he isn't the slightest bit interested in either Crusty-runner or Olga-blue swedish). 

Other than a little harassment from Maggie, the new addition was quickly welcomed to the flock. We named her FriedaK. Pronounced "freeduck"... Frieda for short. :)

The trio... I guess 'scovys really do flock together. They don't really mix much with the other birds.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Critter musical chairs

We played a little musical chairs this weekend with the birds, as the meaties had enough feathers to go out, and were reaching the 3-week old "omg, they stink, I can't keep up with the volume of poop" stage. But before the meaties could go outside, their chicken conestoga had to be vacated.

So, the 11 pullets were rudely snatched from their chicken tractor and thrown to the wolves moved to the chicken yard. Miss Speckles was extremely mean, and a couple lost some feathers, but the other hens pretty much just ignored the new additions. Deputy Guinea dictated the rules of the barnyard (go to bed promptly at dusk, stay in the yard, no fighting) and herded them around for a while. Other than that, not a whole lot of excitement there. The Fayoumis kill me. They're so tiny, they just run in and out of the fencing, like it wasn't there. Ugh.  The Fayoumis are the ones with the white heads.  They're roughly the size of a Stellar's Jay.  No joke.

The meaties were hauled out to the chicken tractor, where they'll live til Memorial Day weekend, at which point they'll transition to freezer camp.  Can't wait for the day.  Grody birds.  Tasty grody birds. On Tues, 4 BBW turkey poults took over the newly vacated brooder in the shop.  Love turkeys.  Love love love.  Wish I could keep a BBW tom.  They're great.

(pics from last year)

We installed two nucs last Saturday, and the new bees seem to be very happy (knock on wood). They're very local bees, as there's a big bee place about 2 miles away as the crow flies.  I did totally biff it while carrying a frame, and it was nearly a disaster.  But I did my best to control the fall and didn't jar the frame much (but did land on my left arm and totally torqued my shoulder).  Anyhoo, two hives are up and running, and LJ is copying the design of the cardboard nuc boxes to make some swarmcatchers to put around the property.  They'd also double as a catch kit to keep in the car.  If they work out well, I'll post an entry on how he made them.

Hm... what else.  None of the 17 duck eggs in the incubator were fertile, so I chucked em and put 7 of Maggie Muscovy's eggs in there.  We'll see how that goes.  She's currently filling up a nest out in the duck hut as well.  I want cute little waterfowl babies! (that turn into fat tasty freezerbirds).  :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The things my chickens will eat

I peeked out at the hens this morning before work, and saw them swarming something on the ground. Whatever it was, they were going crazy over it. Then, I caught a glimpse of white/brown fluffiness in the middle of the ruckus. Aw crap. Figured something got one of the hens between hubby letting them out when he got home from work, and me getting up to go to work. Anyhow, I found a pair of shoes and tromped out to take away their "treat".

Happily, it wasn't a chicken. It was a headless rabbit. I'll spare you any photos. Something must have killed it last night. The hens did not appreciate me taking their prize, and one of them attempted to latch on to it as I gingerly pinched the rabbit by the toe and carried it out of the yard. At least it had been dead long enough that the fleas had all vacated the premises. In case you ever wondered, wild rabbits are COVERED in fleas. Anytime I shoot one, I let it sit for 10 or 15 min before I'll go pick it up. Nasty nasty things. EwEwEW.

So, to conclude, headless rabbit joins mice and small snakes on the list of things my chickens will happily devour.  Ew.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Puppy love

My sweet boys.

Henry may grumble when Gus tries to interrupt Henry's Mommy-time, but they really do love each other. It's loads of fun watching them play tug. Henry will be walking through the living room, and he'll spot one of their tug toys. He'll pounce on it, and tail a wagging, prance over to Gus and hold it still so Gus can grab it. He'll then drag Gus all over the house. If Gus loses his grip, Henry stands very still and lets Gus get another grip. Noisy play, with all the growling and click clack of nails on the floor, but entertaining nonetheless!

Gus keeps Henry fit, as Gus has LOTS of energy and goads Henry into games of tag. Sometimes Gus chases Henry, sometimes Henry chases Gus. Must be working, as according to his last vet visit, Henry has only gained 3 lbs in the last 3 years (he'll be 6 in June!). I wish I had only gained 3 lbs in the last 3 years...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Farm update: Broody hen, duck eggs, Muscovy moving

Angry angry Bellina

Belly is very very broody. We're talking full on puffball, angry, won't leave the nest box, stealing all the eggs from the other nests, chattering like an enraged raccoon, BROODY. At least she doesn't bite. I pull her off the nest every day when I get home, and she growls away as I tuck her under my arm and carry her over to the water/food. We're debating putting some duck eggs under her, just to make her happy.

We're down to, I think, 16 hens and 10 pullets.

Thinking that Broccoli is a dud. S(he) hasn't laid any eggs yet, and Beefy doesn't seem interested in her/him. Other than that, I could swear Broccoli is a female. Looks like a female. Carries herself like a female. Acts like a female. If she doesn't lay at all between now and fall, she'll go to a new home, and we'll buy a sexed African girl for Beefy.

All of the waterfowl (including the 'scovys) got moved to the summer pen this last weekend. I beefed up the fence on the unprotected side to about 8 1/2 feet, and there are more improvements planned for next weekend.

Maggie Muscovy laid her first egg on Saturday, and thankfully they're shaped differently from Olga's eggs so we can tell them apart (Crusty lays green eggs, Olga and Maggie lay white). Olga's eggs are large and very round. Maggie's are a bit smaller and elongated.

Merle Muscovy jealously guards his Maggie. He acts more like a rooster than a duck. Poor Sven got too close to the new girl, and Merle latched onto Sven's wing and dragged him away. Poor Sven.

The geese went over to meet and greet, but Merle raised the crest of feathers on his head, and the geese turned tail and ran away. Lol. The 'scovys have laid claim to the smaller water tub, and they spend a good portion of the day floating in it.

Maggie still hasn't gotten the hang of laying in the duck hut (though I saw her messing around in there in the dark this morning). For the moment, we're collecting her misplaced eggs, and will probably pop em under broody Bellina this weekend and see what comes of that.

I put 17 duck eggs (from Olga and Crusty) in the incubator on Saturday morning. Perhaps this evening I'll be able to see if any are developing!

Muscovy names... Pretty sure we've settled on Merle and Maggie (M&M).

Meat chicks: NOT cute anymore. Stinky, ravenous, noisy... Definitely not cute.

Turkeys: We will be picking up 4 BBW turkey poults on the 23rd.

Last year's poults

Bees: Picking up two nucs on the 20th.

Trees: Planted 7 more fruit trees last weekend. 2 plums, 1 apricot, 2 pears, 2 apples. Planted them all around the property, with 3 out at my deer meadow.

Non-Farm related, but something I may want to look back on (as this blog is my way of keeping track of stuff).... As of today, I've gone 30 days without smoking. Woohoo!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A pile o' meaties

- this year's Cornish X chicks- 

They're so darn cute... For like the first week. The pic was taken just after they were brought home and installed in their brooder. They pretty quickly piled up and went to sleep under the lamp. An hour or so later though, they were exploring their new home and kicking bedding into their water *sigh*.  As they approach the two-week mark this weekend, they're getting decidedly less cute. Another 10-14 days, and these little balls of fluff will go out into the chicken tractors. They'll be in the tractors til Memorial Day weekend, at which point we'll have our annual butcher party.

I'm a tuly attempting to keep track this year of how much they cost us to raise. We'll see if I can manage to keep up with keeping records!

Monday, April 1, 2013

They're so ugly, they're sorta cute. Muscovy ducks!

So, how does a trip to the feed store end up with us driving 45 min in the other direction to pick out a pair of adult ducks? Well, I'll tell ya.

Headed to town for our weekly trip for groceries, feed, etc. LJ mentions he heard a rumor that our local feed store has Muscovy ducklings. So, we had the entire trip to town and back to ponder adding Muscovy ducklings to our menagerie. Plenty of time to discuss how we could critter-shuffle... the rest of the pullets could go out in the chicken tractor with the others, ducklings could go in the little trough in the shop... and so on. We hit the feed store on the way home, and the gal that runs the place basically said, "Where'd you hear that we have Muscovys? We've never had those. We have some tufted ducklings, though!" (No thanks... freaks of nature) So, as chick and chicken chow was loaded into the truck, I could see that hubby was very disappointed that they had no warty little mud-demons. In that short ride to town and back, he'd already imagined a life with Muscovys.

Soooo... I suggested he check craigslist. He found a guy with ducklings and mature ducks and we set a time to head out. Ran the feed home, did a couple chores, and headed out.

The place was... Interesting. There were chickens free ranging, a huge house full of doves (or pigeons... I dunno), and a huge pasture full of geese and ducks. I'd driven by the place a hundred times and never knew it was back there.

Turns out the guy only had two ducklings... Yeah. That wasn't gonna work. So we went out to take a look at the birds in the field, followed by the bird-dude with a huge salmon net.

This is where things turned into both a new stock and a rescue operation. A number of the birds out there were gimpy. All of them were a bit ratty. There was plenty of shelter and feed, but if they had a pool or pond to bathe in, I didn't see it. We'd come this far, so we picked out the healthiest male and female we could find, both chocolate in color, with white heads. The guy netted them, and we carried them back to the truck. A little ratty, but bright-eyed, quick on their feet, and no bumble foot (we checked). $45 later, a pair of ducks in a dog crate in the truck bed, and we were headed home.

We were told that the female was about a year old, and that the male was about two. In both pics, the female is on the left. She's much smaller than the male, and has a smaller mask. The male is HUGE. I'd guess he weighs around 12 or 13 lbs. the female is maybe 2/3 his size.

These birds are like no ducks I've ever seen. They sorta remind me of turkeys, with their long tails. They are super quiet, hissing at most. They also raise the crest of feathers on their head when spooked. The meat is supposed to be outstanding, and I've read a number of articles where it was compared to veal.

Muscovys are also supposed to be excellent mothers, and that's our hope, as we'd like to have this pair produce meat birds for us.

For now, they're quarantined in one of the chicken tractors. We'll observe them for a while to make sure there's no obvious signs of illness or bugs. Eventually, we'll integrate them into the flock.

I gave them a tub of water, and they were in it within about 30 min, and turned it black with dirt. I think they spent most of Saturday preening/cleaning. Poor guys. One good sign... I saw the male mount his new lady-friend more than once. They settled in pretty fast!

Still debating names. Considered going "chocolate" themed, since they're both brown. KitKat (Kit and Kat) is in the running, as are variations of M&M (Mick&Maggie, Merle&Molly, etc).

For now, they're "the new ducks".

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Just when we were feeling like hicks

 On Saturday we stuffed 5 hens in a dog crate, loaded them up in the truck, and headed to town. We were taking them to my friend Paula. Her first chickens!

We were getting lots of funny looks, and feeling especially hick-ish... Until we saw this.

Yep. That's a goat. A BIG goat.

Made us feel better. Lol.

Friday, March 22, 2013

POTO makes my Friday complete

Rocking out to the Phantom of the Opera 25th anniversary soundtrack today. Ramin Karimloo is a god. That man sure has an incredible voice.

I highly recommend the DVD (or bluray) of the 25th anniversary performance. Outfreakinstanding. In the top 3 of my favorite flicks EVER, and very possibly takes the number one spot. If you have Netflix, it's currently available as watch instantly. Check it out.

The soundtrack sure does make my Friday move a bit more quickly.

Big weekend ahead. Taking some chickens to my buddy Paula tomorrow. Looking forward to both thinning the flock AND getting Paula started with her first hens. Yay!

Happy Friday, all!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hubby's weakness strikes again. Chicks!

LJ's weakness for cute little baby critters, and the simple fact that I didn't say no (though truthfully, I like em too!), and we have new chicks.

Instead of allowing the gals to set this spring, we're replacing culls, given away, and sold hens with new stock. Still gonna end up with fewer birds, which is the end goal, after all.

The little lady in the pic is, if I remember correctly, a blue laced red wyandotte. Also have two more marans (for the darker egg colors), two jersey giants (because LJ wanted them) and two egyptian fayoumi chicks (because they're tiny and weird, and thus hubby couldn't resist). Reading about fayoumis, I found this quote on Wikipedia... "...if left to their own devices on a free range basis they can fend for themselves in a nearly feral manner." Great. That could be good, or very bad. *sigh* So, once again, there are chickens in my bathtub. 

Upside of buying instead of letting the ladies hatch eggs... We know what we're getting, we don't have to feed useless roosters until they're up to some sort of butcher weight, and hand raising will get us new hens that aren't completely feral like the several of ones hatched last year. No joke, last year's gals are INSANE. If we have to catch them (because they're out AGAIN), they scream bloody murder and a couple of them BITE! Not pecking... I'm talking bite and twist. Stupid birds. 

Anyhoo, it's kinda nice to have babies in the house again. Feels like spring. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Duck duck duck goose... gander

Soaking up a little sun last weekend. From left to right, Crusty, Olga, Sven, Broccoli, and Beef(y). Goose Chalet and the new Duck Hut in the background. (My new duck hut is AWESOME... More on that later).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What happened to my goose babies


Gone are Affie, Baby Girl, and my big bitey jerky gander Bitor. I really loved him, for all that he was a bitey jerk. He had one hell of a personality. Sweet Girl passed a couple months ago, and we couldn't find a mark on her.  We figured there must have just been something wrong with her, but perhaps that had been a bobcat too.

Took precautions, weren't good enough. Damn cat came within 30 yards of our house. Don't know why it went after the geese instead of the ducks.  We ended up moving what fowl were left (the 3 ducks) to the pen next to the house.

Hubby went out and bought a furtaker's license and a bobcat card.  We'd determined it was a bobcat due to pics on game cams we'd set out.  Over the first weekend he had it, he got not one... but TWO freaking bobcats.  Both females.  @$#%@#$%#$  A friend of ours is a rather good hobby taxidermist, and we're gonna get his help to cure the pelts. 

I've decided that I won't have any more farm critters that are "pets".  We can't make our critter areas absolutely impenetrable.  Don't ask why or berate that I don't.  It's just not currently feasible, and I'll leave it at that. 

RIP my little goose babies.


Friday, February 22, 2013

We HAVE to get rid of some chickens!

Too many chickens. The ladies are really ramping up, and we're getting anywhere from 8-14 eggs a day. Craziness, and it's only gonna get worse as the days get longer.

Planning on culling a several of the poor producers and escape artists, and will be giving a few more to my pal Paula. That should take us down to nice small(er) number, and we'll be able to let Bellina and perhaps another hen hatch a couple batches of replacements this year. We're even considering buying some good dark maran eggs to pop under Belly when she goes broody. Fun fun fun!

Oh, and Paula... LJ will be on a new shift here soon, and I'll have some weekend time free. Totally willing to come help you dig your ditch. :)

Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Update: more to come

We're busy. Busy busy busy. Hubby is changing jobs, we're trying to get the other house ready to go on the market, balancing farm and work and sleep, new critters, heartbreak over lost feathered friends, and on and on. I'm going to make a real effort to get a few posts up over the next week. I've even been catching up on the blog lives of blogging buddies and finding a few new blogs of interest.

Hope everyone out in the blogging world is doing well!

I leave you, for now, with a pic of our two new geese (because all of my goose babies are gone... More on that later) and our ducks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RIP Affie Girl

LJ found Affie dead in the pen this morning. Apparently she was next to the fence, all curled up like she'd normally be for sleep, but missing her head. :( She was my darling girl, and the only one of our original geese that I considered a pet. The very same goose that nearly committed suicide the day we brought her home as a gosling, horking down a piece of shaving that we managed to dislodge before she could choke to death.

Gotta love breaking into tears while at work. Not awkward at all.

I'm heartbroken.

We'll bury her tonight, and I will be beefing up the goose pen by headlamp and putting out game cams to see if we can figure what did it. :(

We'll miss you sweetie pie.