the crowing hen

my life as a farmer

babies, babies, everywhere!

We’ve received word from the vet that a form of sinusitis was at least partly to blame for our poultry losses last month. While relieved to know something, it’s hard not to feel impatient to learn what the missing pieces of the puzzle are. In any case, the chickens continue to recover, put on weight, and … hopefully … resume laying normally. Customers at the Machias Marketplace have noticed that there have only been a few boxes of eggs from our farm as opposed to the dozen or fifteen that we’d been averaging each week. Our dark egg layers are not laying at all, which is particularly vexing because I have standing orders for Welsummers and Marans. I thank friends and customers for their patience and understanding.

Despite setbacks, much continues to spring forward. Pip, Priscilla and Hobart have a daughter that the kids dubbed “Peppers” but because of the lovely sounds she makes, I’m calling her “Peepers”. She’s a beautiful little Pilgrim girl gosling and I have to admit to being a little bit in love with her.

Her sister, sadly, did not make it and I was terribly worried about her being alone … but the Cosmos worked things in such a way that two little fawn Runner drakes were in need of a home and she now has two staunch buddies to snuggle with. (These drakes will be available for adoption in the future if anyone is interested!)

waterbabies

Our Barred Holland eggs continued to hatch well and we had another five hatch at the end of the week. This is the end of the eggs – until next year, when our own Barred Hollands will be laying eggs that can be incubated to spread this wonderful, endangered breed to new locations. Rooming with the Barred Hollands are some lovely, active Black Javas, another old and rare American breed that I would really like to help reintroduce. Sadly, our two Brabanter chicks did not make it, and after experiencing their delicate physiques and constitutions, I won’t make another attempt with this breed.

Our Icelandics have surpassed my wildest hopes. Frigg and Freyr are smaller than any of my other chickens, meaning they need less feed. They’re insanely hardy – you should see the weather they’ve been outside in! And Frigg lays an egg almost every day. The first three eggs I put in the incubator all hatched and the chicks have gone on to a happy new home. I have two more upcoming hatches of about 8 chicks each coming up. These birds can vary dramatically from one to the next in coloration, crest or no crest, and even the comb type can vary.

Tonight, I popped an Ameracauna pullet in with the Marans and another with the Welsummers. In ten days’ time, I’ll start pulling eggs for incubation. These cross breeds will lay an olive-shaded egg and are popularly known as Olive Eggers. I know I’d said I wouldn’t do any crosses, but Easter’s colored eggs got the better of me … I want green eggs!

Our goats are doing great. I keep staring at Annie, trying to see if she’s expecting kids or just getting a little chubby. Eve also has had me guessing – one day I’m sure she is definitely not expecting, but then on another day she’ll look puffier than usual.

Our bucks settled into the buck barn without too much fuss, but the enclosure is a lot smaller and I’ve noticed they’re putting on weight from lack of activity. The Silver Fox rabbits are living there, too, and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that we’ll have baby bunnies in another couple of weeks.

silver fox rabbits

We’re also waiting for the guinea hens to start laying but every time it snows, it sets them back again. Guineas won’t lay until the weather has met certain conditions (for cold, daylight length, etc.) for a minimum amount of time. I have a big order for guineas, and we also plan to hatch out a number for ourselves again. Here are some of last year’s babies.

keets

Walter, our baby Columbian ram lamb, continues to make gains. The kids think it’s an absolute thrill to feed him. Myself, I’m getting tired of being butted in the knees as he looks for an udder. ;)

Walter and Arden

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2 responses to “babies, babies, everywhere!

  1. Virginia 04/08/2012 at 11:57 pm

    You tell such good stories.So sorry for your losses but so happy other things are going well.Every time I see the chicks,goats,rabbits or what ever else ,it makes me want all of them.I am hoping for you some warmer weather .it snowed a bit here this morning and then turned to just rain .Very cold damp rain it is.Writing this while I have a lull here at work.Didn’t get to have Easter dinner but will have it sometimes this week.Couldn’t say no to the double pay for the Hoilday.I hope you and your loved ones had a peaceful and blessed day . Keep up the good work with your post. Hugs Virginia

  2. Catherine 04/09/2012 at 5:54 pm

    Aawww…look at all the sweet babies, and those green eggs are such a pretty color!

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