Saturday, July 31, 2010

Monster Egg!!!

All the little babies are well and thriving. I put them out on the farm really early and I was a bit worried. But they're fine! And growing like crazy. Hopefully we'll be able to tell the girls from the boys on the Wheaten Marans. Those little stinker Ameraucanas will take a lot longer.

My old dog Blue helps me keep an eye on the chicks.

Feed, water, check for eggs. Today we gathered a dozen eggs!! Including one of the biggest eggs I've ever seen. It has to have three yolks in it. Here my son is holding a large size egg from the store and the Huge Egg from Boo.

Now, that's an egg!!!

So pretty and delicious! I love my chickens!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hatch is done.

Our latest hatch is history. We ended up hatching all 10 of our Wheaten Marans eggs, although one died a few days afterwards. We also ended up with 7 adorable Ameraucanas: one blue, one splash, and 5 black. After living in the Dining Room for a week, all are safely abiding in the Chicken Tractor on the farm. Last night was their first night and I'm headed out in a minute to check on everyone.

We lost one of our precious Splash Silkies yesterday. Wendy just couldn't take the heat. I noticed the day before that she looked a little puny. I tried to get her to take some water and to spend some time outside. She always wanted to stay inside the sweltering coop. Everyone else just mills around outside during the day and hangs out in the shade under the coop. She never would and I assume the heat and humidity inside the coop finally did her in. So Cole buried her next to all the other animals.

What else has been going on? Blackjack laid an egg with two yolks. That was kind of cool! And I have a new idea in the works. Stay tuned for more info!

Oh... and we might be starting a Christmas Tree farm on our propery. How fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A new chick

After dinner tonight and before dishes, Cole and I were talking to our daughter about the importance of telling the truth. (Unfortunately a familiar talk we've had many times before!)  Suddenly we started hearing "Cheep, Peep" from the laundry room. Sure enough, an Ameraucana chick had just hatched out of its shell. The incubator is chock full of eggs so there wasn't a whole lot of space for this little one to move around and detach itself from its shell. Soon enough it was free and resting. Being born into the world is hard on a little chick and they generally take a teeny nap to recover.

She's resting on and amongst her friends, just waiting for them to join her. Several of them have the start of cracks so hopefully this little one will have some chick friends come morning. And by that time, I just know she'll want to get out of there and come to the Big Dining Room to play.

Finally... a blue egg!

The wait is over! After several long weeks of sweet-talking and begging her, Martha Washington finally decided it was time to start laying and gave us two beautiful blue eggs! And my cochin Blackjack started laying too. In fact, I found one blue egg and one brown egg snuggled together in the nest box and one blue egg and one brown egg snuggled together on the floor. I guess they like laying their eggs in the same place.

It's very exciting to look in a coop and find eggs. Super Eggciting!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rainbows and Marshmallows

We have had some little visitors the past few days. Human this time! We spent one night at the farm and had a storm, a rainbow, and a bunch of marshmallows.

They even liked my chickens!!!

What a great weekend! Next time, maybe an adult or two can come along!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rooster Explosion no more.

Three days ago we separated the little chicken run into a Rooster area and a Hen area. We just had way too many roosters and my little hens spent the entire day hiding, ducking and running. I've tried unsuccessfully to give my roosters away on Craigslist, but I thought this morning that it might be worth another try.

I put the ad up along with a picture of my white silkie rooster who is fluffy and cute. Sure enough, a few hours later, I had two cars pull into the farm anxious to take my roosters off my hands. Thankfully both wanted these particular breeds for their farms and I feel fairly confident that my roosters were not headed to the soup pot. After a lot of wrangling, crawling under the coop, coaxing, biting, squawking, and tears from my daughter, 17 of my roosters were successfully packed into two separate cars and off they went!

We kept Frosty, our big splash roo. My son would completely disown me if Frosty ever left the farm. We also kept Stormy because he is the first chicken we ever hatched, runs the show, and is very easy to handle. I forgot about Midnight since he was hiding under the coop at the time and out of sight, so he got a Huckleberry Farm pass this time. I realized I forgot about him when I looked down and he was on top of a very unhappy hen. Unfortunately everyone had left by then and we were stuck with him. For now, Midnight... for now.

I hated to part with my Giant Cochin roosters but I only have one hen and didn't need them. They were good boys. Good bye, Lemon Drop and Mr. Fancy Pants! I kept Butterscotch.  He's docile and frizzled and frankly too cute to give away. One of the people said they'd pay top dollar for him, but since I was giving them the other roosters for free, I figured their version of top dollar might not be the same as mine. So Butterscotch stays.

It's a lot quieter on the farm now. I'll miss all my boys but I think they are going to good homes and most of them left with their friends so they won't be too lonely. After things quieted down, the hens gradually started poking their heads out and looking around. Then they started coming out. Yes, ladies, it's much safer than it used to be! Enjoy the sunshine!

My eggs in the incubator should start hatching any day and now I have a much better idea of what to look for regarding gender. At the first rooster sign, all I can say is Adios, Rooster! I have a few select, pretty, gentle roosters for crowing purposes (honestly, what's a Chicken World without the lovely sound of crowing!?), and that's all I want. Hens 'R Us from now on.

Oh, hello!

You never know what's coming next when someone in the family yells, "Wow! Come see this!" on the farm. It could be just about anything. Yesterday morning, my husband exclaimed that when he went outside. On the pond and in the trees were a whole flock of white birds. We have no idea where they came from or why they decided to visit us, but they were lovely! Are they cranes, egrets, herons? What is the difference? I think I'm going to assign that to my son to figure out!

Our resident flock of Canadian Geese did not agree with us that these birds were a welcome site. In fact, from the sound of it, the geese didn't care for it one bit. But since they have no financial interest in our farm, we take their opinion very lightly.

You just never know what the day will bring on the farm. And that's what makes it so special.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The destruction continues

Unfortunately the Tree Destroyers were back at bright and early this morning. What I had hoped would just be a little road carved out on their property has become a big brown cleared area. It looks terrible and they were still at it when we left today. Cole said they might replant something in the cleared areas which would be wonderful since it would at least look green and not brown. Hopefully it will be over soon and we can get accustomed to the new look and not notice it anymore. I'm tired of it!

Sorry.... I couldn't bear to take a picture of it today.

A man and his tractor

My sweet husband informed me yesterday morning that a tractor was being delivered that afternoon to the farm so we could "try it out" over the weekend. Hmmmm.....try it out, huh? Not one to spoil his excitement, I smiled and said, "Great idea!" So we headed out to the farm to take delivery of our borrowed tractor.

And then here it came.

Tractor off and Cole on! Ready for a little Tractor Education.

Got it! Now let's take it out in the pasture!

What does this do??

And then he was off! He looks at home, doesn't he??

After a quick inspection by the children and a plea from Colin to "please, can I help?", my boys took the big Orange Machine for a spin.

Since I couldn't pry him off the tractor, I headed inside to start dinner. However, my plan changed when I looked out the window and saw Farmer Cole off in a pasture just mowing away.

A few hours later, he was still at it and the kids and I decided we would just cook hot dogs over a fire when the man finally got tired of being on his new tractor. He did a great job though and the areas he mowed look tidy and nice... at last! Now onto the other 90 acres.

First thing this morning, he was out of bed and on his tractor. He also found several uses for the Front End Loader I didn't think we needed. Had to prove me wrong!

Come Monday morning, I'm pretty sure we will no longer be "borrowing" this tractor. We will be it's new owners. Oh, joy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Don't take those trees!!

Our farm is surrounded by woods. Not only are they beautiful, but they give us complete privacy from everyone. We knew that most of it is owned by a forestry company and we've been hoping that they just leave it alone for years.

Well, that didn't happen. Yesterday, someone started clearing the area in back of our second pond. I could hear the trucks and the sawing and then the trees started toppling over. Broke my heart. Quicker than I imagined, they had cleared a whole road right at the edge of our property line and the trucks were rumbling back and forth. What used to be beautiful green trees is now an ugly brown road.

Instead of feeding and watering the animals like I was supposed to be doing, I just stood and stared. I couldn't take my eyes off the trees disappearing before my eyes. They sure don't waste any time. As I was leaving, they were headed off in the other direction. I'm scared to go out there today and see what it looks like. So sad.

The only good news is that I came home and looked up who owns the exact property that was being cleared. Fortunately, it's not the pulp wood company. It's a private citizen and they only own 18 acres. There's only so much damage they can do, but I still hate it.

I wish it had been at the front of our farm where we never spend any time. They did it in one of the places we see most. Hopefully they are finished and the peace and quiet is restored. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sundown to Sunrise.... it's all beautiful!

The sunset last night was lovely and so was the sunrise this morning. Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful world you've created for us!!

Last night....

This morning....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Boo laid an egg! Boo laid an egg!

Finally!!! I've been looking and looking and looking and looking and then.... there it was! A beautiful, big, chocolate brown egg snuggled perfectly in the nest box, just like it's supposed to be. The entire family did a Happy Egg Dance. Thanks, Boo! Now if Martha Washington would start laying, I'll have blue and brown eggs. Yippee!!!

Peep, peep! Welcome to the farm, Chicks!!

Bright and early, I called the post office to see if my chicks had arrived. I was suprised when someone actually answered the phone and even more surprised when Mr. Post Office said that they weren't actually open but I could come around back and pick up the chicks. Off we go!! And I said a short prayer that there wouldn't be any dead ones.

The box rode home between the children in the back seat and the entire car filled with chirping. Soon enough we were home, opening the box, and making sure everyone was moving. They were!! Woo hoo!!!

We quickly put the chicks into their new mail bins homes, showed each one the food and water, gave them a small sip, turned on the heat lamp, and done! We tried to put similar breeds together. It's obvious though sthat they will quickly outgrow their mail bins. I'm going to need to come up with another idea fast. I've never had this many little ones at the same time. Plus in three weeks, the chicks in the incubator will start hatching. Less than three weeks actually. Hmmmm.... still working that out!

Fifteen sweet little Easter Eggers... they will lay colored eggs of some sort but we won't know for several months until they actually start laying. They look like baby chipmunks, don't they? Adorable!

Five Giant Cochins and five Brahmas. Both breeds have feathered legs and I can't actually tell which one is which at the moment, but they will have different combs soon and then I'll know!

Five Partridge Rocks and five Dominique chicks. So cute!!!

These are supposed to all be girls which thankfully will eliminate the guessing game as they grow up: are you a boy or a girl?  I have WAYYYYY too many roosters right now and they are getting older and more irritating. Do they really need to date the hens all the time??? And by date, I mean they jump on the hen's back; she squawks and tries to scurry away; he starts biting her neck feathers; she squawks louder and eventually manages to escape; my daughter is screaming "Leave her alone!!!"; the hen desperately tries to find somewhere to hide... you get the picture. Not a lot of fun for us bystanders, or the hen for that matter. I may keep a few select roosters just so I can hear them crow but the rest will be headed to new homes as soon as I can find some!

Welcome home, little ones!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The incubator is completely overflowing!

I now have 33 beautiful eggs in the incubator. Aren't they lovely? This time I'm not even in a hurry to get the chicks. The eggs are just so pretty. I cannot wait until all my hens start laying! I'll have this and more when my Easter Eggers lay their beautiful multi-colored eggs. And, yes, I am this excited about chickens and eggs! I'm a Chicken Girl!!!

This morning I was in the Ameraucana and Marans coop and I heard the Egg Song. Surely that means that eggs are near! All the hens were just singing away. After doing a little research on the Egg Song, I've come to appreciate the intricacies once more of God's Master Plan. Who knew hens sing before and after they lay? Not me! Are they singing because it hurts or because they're proud? Or a little of both? Even my roosters were singing along today. Too funny.
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