Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hatching my Own Chicks

We started hatching our own chicks again this year, and here's out first batch!

Here is one of my favorite chicks with my first turkey! Since I have a lot of breeds of chickens and many roos (some of my own hatchings) and 4 breeds of turkey toms and 2 types of hens - I have no idea what I am ever going to get.

This chicken looks like proof that Fang, our polish rooster, might be a daddy!
This chick has the "eyeliner" look that makes he look like an Araucana, but she hatched from a brown egg!
Here's my little turkey again.
ANd this is Thursday, she hatched by herself in a different batch.

Wylie E. Coyote

I like Wylie E. Coyote. He keeps the ACME company in business, and he's endless hours of ridiculous fun.

I don't like real coyotes, though I suspect they love me. I've provided them dozens of chicken dinners, even a turkey or two, lucky dogs. No sheep yet, but we caught this little stinker eyeing them the other day. These guys are usually out at dusk and dawn, often taking advantage of thunder storms, because our dogs are wimps and come running in. They are watchful and wait for the pups to be away before they hop the fence and make themselves at home.

but this was before dusk, broad day light. Larry took Athena, Atlas and Moose over to see if they would spot him, but he saw us first and started to run.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Turkeys, Turkey House and New Trees

I hatched my own little turkeys!! If you think 21 days feels like a long wait to hatch baby chicks, turkeys take 28 days. One more week to wait for those eggs to hatch. But I finally hatched my first two turkeys. Now I want to get a bigger incubator, so I can hatch more than three at a time. One egg was a dud, but the other two made it. With 2 breeds of hen and 4 breeds of tom, I didn't get a straight breed. These both look like they have a little Bourbon Red in them, and I am suspecting one is Bourbon and Black Spanish, and the other is Bourbon and Blue Slate. Since I have 8 Bourbon hens, the likelihood is that Bourbon will be common. I do need to settle on one breed, and stick with them moving forward. It'll probably be Bourbon, but I'd like to try Blue Slate or Royal Palm, since they are more rare.

We got our Turkey House built, but it isn't complete. Still some more trim to put up, In have to finish painting the trim, and we need to shingle the roof. I'd also like to put in a window for light and for venting. We did put in the egg boxes this weekend, the only trick is... the turkeys don't want to live there!! So until we start to raise young turkeys in there who will stay, it is the home to Fang, and my Blue Andalusian and Speckled Sussex hens - until they get their own homes!

I bought a bunch of young trees from the conservation district - and I planted a wind break for the orchard. I didn't do such a hot job of staying in straight lines (I kept turning around to plant the back row, so it went off the portable fence line, instead of the orchard fence line) Anyhow, in 20 years, this should protect my orchard from losing fruit and flowers in the wind!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Surprise Lambs

I kind of had a suspicion that we weren't yet done with lambs. At least I did the math and it said that we might not be done. Since Archie left in mid December, that means our two ewes who haven't given birth (Gertrude and Pebbles) have until mid May before we can really declare them infertile for the season. So when Larry said there was a surprise in the barn, I said, "Gertrude had a lamb?" She was acting funny that morning. And there they were, two little scrawny little things. Since it's been months since our last lambs, and it's hard to be in the Christmas pop culture spirit, I didn't name them holiday themed names. I saw the little ewe lamb, and the name Sprite just came to me. Which made me think, what could I name a ram that goes with that? So I thought long and hard, and couldn't get past those little annoying guys from the movie, Willow, and named him Brownie.

Here is little Brownie checking out mom, while she eats some oats.

and this is little Sprite, having a rest after filling her belly. Both are doing great, running and jumping, and trying to play with the big lambs, who are eat least twice their size!

In the meantime, I posted this video of Gertude being Gertrude. She's a feisty one, and very protective of her lambs. Moose is afraid of her, as has been most pet dogs we have had. She gave Hobbes the what for on many occasions, and has knocked Moose across a stall once or twice. So I share with you, the Gertude stomp. Most sheep will stomp to tell you they are mad and don't want you to come closer. Most of them don't do it to me at all anymore, as they are not threatened by me...but once Gertude has lambs, you better watch out! Enjoy!

On a sadder note, we may lose a lamb. It won't be the first, as we have had 2 stillborns this year, as well as a very young lamb get strangled in some cord last year. But Frosty is a couple of months old, and looks like he has tetanus. We gave him some penicillin, but he is stiff as a board. He can't stand, and can't lay down properly, and his mother has sort of abandoned him. She still looks for him, but refuses to let him nurse. His jaw is locked, so we are trying to bottle feed him some water. but it doesn't look good. He's stuck on his side, and he's miserable. I don't know how to help him at this point. The book says 80% fatality rate, not sure if we could have caught it any sooner, and not sure how to prevent it, either. He did have a small cut on his leg from squeezing through the fence, though Larry thinks it's from our castration process. either way, torn about what do to, and thinking it might be the merciful thing to do to kill him. But that's really not easy, especially if the penicillin might kick in and he might turn around. I just feel awful watching an animal suffer.