Sunday, October 30, 2011

27 minus 1

Our final chick count was 27 hatched, 26 of whom have survived. Our little one that passed was born with congenital deformities of his legs and feet, and was unable to walk or stand much, and essentially just failed to thrive. I guess that it's a blessing, really, but I always feel bad losing a critter, even if it is for the best in the end.

On the bright side, I got my naked neck frizzle! We have at least one little Turken chickie who is starting to grow some whirly wing feathers. Happy. :)

We discovered my little dream baby when Scarlet and I were undertaking "butt patrol". Pics of the baby (not butt patrol!) are forthcoming. Right now the poor little monkey is rocking back and forth in a corner, actively trying to repress the memories of his first aggressive bum-cleaning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


That's more than half of the eggs in our incubator that have hatched so far! We haven't lost a chick yet either, though we have one little guy who is struggling, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Four more in the incubator have substantial pipping. I hope that they bust out of there soon!

Meanwhile, the smell coming off of the incubator is gnarly. It's not a rotten egg smell, per se, but it's still pretty nasty. Please hatch, bambinos, so Mama can clean that thing and put it away. :P

Monday, October 24, 2011

On the edge of my seat...

waiting for my babies to hatch. They've started peeping well, and so far two have small pips in their shells. I need to go to sleep, but I don't want to miss a thing!

How nuts would it be if I went to bed and woke up to every last one of those 42 eggs hatched?


Monday, October 10, 2011

We have a goatie dooooon!

Our poor Fritzen girl has just come down with a mild case of mastitis. :(

Fritzen & I, on our first go with the Henry Milker.

Thankfully, it is "sub-clinical", meaning that it is both less uncomfortable for her, and easier for us to treat than "full-blown" mastitis.

She presented with reduced milk supply and increased tenderness upon milking, which made Bill & Liv suspect mastitis. A paper mastitis test strip confirmed their suspicions. To err on the side of caution, we threw out the past two days' milkings. Boy does that suck!

We'd been looking at beginning the dry-off process for our milkers anyway, since they are both likely already pregnant with this spring's kids (on their schedule, not mine - d'oh!) and need to focus their energy into growing babies and keeping a good amount of meat on their bones this winter instead of milk, milk, milk.

So Fritzen is officially drying off now. We will continue to "pump & dump", just to keep the milk from further backing up and clogging the works. We're also treating her with an udder balm and teat dips, and will be talking to our vet for further instruction with regard to either treating her with injectable antibiotics and/or orifice flushing.

It's kind of insane, the sort of stuff that you end up having to do with and for livestock that is soooo beyond the scope of what you'd normally think of doing for a "pet". Giving intramuscular injections, for one. We had to give Chardonnay i.m. antibiotics last January, right after we first bought her, because she had a severe case of hoof rot. That was awful. Thank God for Bill being tough enough to do what had to be done, because I don't know if I could have.

That was a particularly tough case anyway, being that she was a) new to us, b) weeks away from delivering twins and c) didn't have a lot of muscle in which to insert the needle. The poor lass was not in great shape at all when we first got her, but we managed to help her find her way back to health, and learned a heck of a lot about veterinary medicine in the process.

Hopefully Fritzen's health hiccup will be nowhere near as serious, but we're prepared to do whatever we have to to make our girlie well and comfortable again.

The Trap is Set... a manner of speaking.

We've had a few "intrusion" issues here lately. #1 is the jerk-o's that keep messing with our garbage cans. Their idea of fun is to take our can and bring it a mile or so down the road and leave it in someone else's driveway, or knocked over in a ditch. It isn't a critter doing it, we suspect that it is a group of bored teenagers.

Problem #2 is that someone, perhaps the same folks behind the garbage can shenanigans, have been helping themselves to items in my husband's boat. We had a gas tank full of two-stroke fuel go missing. God knows what the people who took it plan to do with it, but if they we're going to put it in their car, the joke's on them!

Problem #3 is that something has been coming into the chicken yard and has killed one chicken, and did some serious feather-plucking to another.

Which brings us to the eluded to "trap" - a game camera. Bill picked one up today that will hopefully answer at least a few of the questions that we have about who's helping themselves to our property and livestock.

And now the question is - how do we keep these jerk-turkeys from stealing our game camera? Oy...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Here we go again!

A brand new batch of eggs just went into the incubator. 42 this time, which is as many as the egg turner can hold. This next batch will have a more diverse mix of babies, including purebred Australorps, Lorp/Polishes, Lorp/Turkens and (please, oh, please) Turken/Polishes. There'll of course also be more Americauna/Lorp & Americauna/Polishes, which are what this most recently hatched lot all were.

I'm seriously praying that we get at least one Turken/Polish frizzle out of this batch. He/she should look a little something like this -

Turkens seem to be a love 'em or hate 'em breed, and I just adore them. They are so dang awkward looking! But a frizzled Turken - you have to admit that that's one cute little chickie.

Fingers are crossed that we get a good hatch out of this latest batch, since we seem to have a lot of interest from folks wanting chicks, pullets or meat, and should be able to sell or eat every last one of these little peepers.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Banner Day in the Bog

We had two harsh realities bearing down upon us this week that spurred us into frenetic activity.

Number one was the unexpectedly early arrival of our chicks. The babies that we were expecting tomorrow instead started hatching Friday at around dinnertime. So far 12 have hatched, 11 of whom survived. We have at least one more trying to hatch, and can hear the little peeper in his shell but see no pip marks at all yet.

So, we had less time than we'd expected to get their brooder set up, and to clear a house/run in the coop for their eventual lodging. Making room for the babies in the coop of course meant that the rooster that we'd been putting of harvesting, Mr. Meanie, had now officially seen his last sunrise.

Bill & Liv made fairly quick work of Meanie, and gave their thanks for his sacrifice and a small prayer for his soul when they buried his head up under the big Alder tree. The rest of him is simmering in a stock pot this minute.

In addition to pressing chicken issues, the number two item on our list was another which could not be delayed or ignored, the onset of frost. Ye Olde Farmer's Almanac says that our first frost is due this coming Friday. So to hedge our bets in the event that Mr. Frosty showed up early, I picked just about every last little thing in the garden today. Tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, coriander, celery and carrots all came out, ready or not. 99% of the tomatoes are green, so they'll be sitting in the front window for a spell until they're ready for saucing. If only we'd had another 2 weeks or a month Indian summer, my 'maters would have gone bananas. :(

Liv & Carly started the apple picking today, but didn't get terribly far. I think I'll have to finish that up later this week.

So we butchered a roo, harvested the garden and finally sold Leap, our last bunny from the litter born in February, all in a day. Now if only I'd been able to finish picking the apples and could've shimmied a cheese making in there somewhere, my chore list would be all wrapped up, farmy-wise.

Who am I kidding? My chore list is never finished. I'm exhausted, my fingernails are still caked with dirt from digging carrots, my back is wigging out and I still have to ledger and put away today's eggs, make the kids' lunches and do a load of dishes before bed. Some days this farm gig is rough. :P

Today's Take-
Goats Milk, 60 ounces
Eggs, 15
Chicken, 4 pounds (after plucking & gutting)
Tomatoes, 15 pounds
Pumpkins, Sugar Pie - 4 pounds 4 ounces, Cinderella - 9 pounds 6 ounces
Carrots, 6 pounds
Apples (haven't weighed them yet)
Odds & Ends - baby zucchinis, baby straightneck squash, Amish pie squash, peas & coriander.