Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Hen Crippler

Just how big do chicken eggs get???
This egg topped the scales at 4 ounces !!!!
We were working in the yard and heard a BIG commotion in the chicken coop,  later when we went in to gather eggs we found out why !!!
If that poor hen never laid another egg I would understand why.  We also had a mini-egg layed the same day that was 5/8 of an ounce. So the following photos...


Yup it was a double yolker (one broke), the mini-egg at top of picture had no yolk and was runny so I flipped it, the dark coloring is from the sausage I cooked first. And yes it was delicious! 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Unwanted Houseguest

Well our new additions to the flock have become quite a stir to the henhouse.  A week ago monday saw a new birth .

Mother was very attentive to her chick, which again I had to help out of it's shell.

Sadly none of the other eggs hatched.  We had put 11 freshly laid eggs under the hen after her first attempt at hatching  resulted in complete failure.  Upon opening a couple eggs after 48 hours later, I found fully formed dead chicks.  I can only wonder at the cause.  Did they suffocate in the shells?  We had frequently checked them for sounds of peeping and tapping and heard none.  Our hens eggs are very hard shelled and the lining is pretty tough and rubbery (that is except for the Grey Leghorn eggs which are just the opposite and sometimes just picking them up from the nest, fractures thier delicate shells).  Why do I have such a high failure rate on setting hens?


The 21 day old chicks were doing well and being very well cared for by their mother.

Here is the one I had to help out of it's shell, I believe it is a Americana-Isa Brown cross.

This one seems to be pure Americana.

And the last one I am unsure of.

All of the other hens gape at them through the fence, but poor old Snaggle Beak seems to be the most frequent visitor,  she peeps at them and looks longingly at them and trys to get into their pen continuously.

Big Red also seems to be quite interested in the chicks.

We have also purchased more chicks, 7 Silver-Laced Wyendotts, 4 Barred Rocks and 4 Grey Leghorns.
(One of the Barred Rocks died recently).

Anyway after we let the hen and and out of their enclosed nestbox to roam with the others, we noticed that she became less and less attentive to her new chick.  As it would try to get under her she would step on it to get away from it, until it was forced to try to ingratiate itself with the other hen.  She sometimes accepted it as her own, but other times chased it away.  We tried putting the mother and chick back into the enclosed nestbox after the other hen pecked it hard on the back drawing blood.  But the mother hen almost stomped it to death trying to get out.  So we had to do something drastic.

We had to bring Little Peep into the house to care for it. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring is Coming

Spring must be comng.

We are getting a few warm days and it's possible to get out and enjoy the sun ( something we haven't seen much of in the last 6 months),

Aden and Ethan sitting in the shade, their fair skin can only handle just so much direct sun without sunblock.

My son Eric came over to work up or new garden spot.
After the plowing was done, Owen decided that he had better supervise the OLD MAN, and make sure he did it right.

Evidently he wasn't getting through to Dad and had to take over.

I guess if you want the job done right, you just have to do it yourself.

Did I mention we are going to have a BIG garden this year?

This small leg of the L shaped garden will be used for planting a test plot of sorghum, wheat, oats, buckwheat and an assortment of grass, clover and other hay type plants. Since it is the most deer traveled area of the property, I am hoping to keep them here and away from the rest of the garden area by planting a sunflower barrier betweeen the two and surrounding the rest of the garden with sunflowers too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Well It's Been A LONG Winter

Harley NOSE you are still there!!! 
It has been a long time since my last post and all I can blame it on is getting addicted to Facebook games.
It has been my downfall. 
So I will try to briefly update the situation around here.

We used up all of our firewood last month and had to buy 2 face cords so far.

I contracted the sale of some Easter bunnies at a local pet store and set about breeding 2 of my female rabbits to time the bunnies sale age with the time for delivery,  and had fantastic results.
Each doe had 9 bunnies.

These little ones were born Feb. 10

All survived our harsh winter temps.

and are ready for delivery.

It was hard parting with all of these cute little guys. They were all sold yesterday, 12 to the pet store and 6 to a local farm supply store.

We went from this...
to this in a couple of weeks.  The chickens were very happy to get out of the coop and free range. All except for two......

Here are 2 hens sitting on some eggs and last sunday this is what we found.

only the one hen's eggs hatched 3 chicks and the rest were discarded after 48 hours.
I had to help the yellow one out of it's shell. Mom had almost half of the shell picked off, but the tough white membrane was beyond both her and the chick.  All it had was a very tiny hole through it with just the tip of its beak out.  Even I had a tough time tearing it and freeing the poor little exhausted chick.  I didn't think it was going to survive, but it did, and seems just as healthy as the other two.
We re-set the other hen with eleven fresh eggs, hopefully we will have more chicks.

Here is Dutchy, my 1 year old pet mini-dutch rabbit.  I found his walking vest and took him out for a stroll in the nice warm sun.
Two of our rooosters came to investigate...


Dutchy wasn't afraid of them but decided to check in with me anyway, at least until they went away.

After his walk I removed the vest so he could clean up before returning him to his pen.

My grandson Owen loves his walker and the freedom he has in it.

And here he shows me one of his toys before he plays one of his favorite games,
"Make Grandpa Pick It Up".

My wife decided to give Owen a ride on her bike, he fits nicely in the basket and really enjoyed himself.
I followed them with my electric cart to make sure he didn't put his hads close to the moving parts or try to climb out.

And here is my other two Grandchildren, Ethan and Aden.
Grandma spent a lot of time trying to get this picture...
about 2 dozen others look more like this......

Yesterday we also ordered 100 Vantress Cross meat chickens.
After the success with the 25 we raised last year she was determined to raise more.
The day old chicks will arrive April 27th. and reside in the "Pallet Palace".
We will have to move the rabbits outside and make the place safe for the chicks by covering the inside walls with chicken wire.

My son Eric came over last weekend and cut down some trees for firewood next year. So we have to get busy and remove a couple off the old garden spot.  And start cutting up firewood....again!!!

Wifey also plans on having a large garden this year in a new spot that we have been covering with manure all winter.  She has just begun to start seeds indoors. 
I plan on trying to plant a hay and straw patch behind the orchard. 
Wifey is still talking about getting a couple of goats this summer, so we don't plan on mowing the orchard this year.
"We", are also hoping to have a roof on the barn before fall, build a goat shed in the orchard, finish the "Pallet Palace", put a roof on the front porch, and an addition to the back porch.  Where "the Wife" plans to come up with the time and money is beyond me, but we will see...........

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What a Load of Crap

It's after Dark...When the 2 old cripples get to work.
We don't have to wear garlic or load up silver bullets...
The smell of what we are shoveling keeps all intelligent creatures at bay.
You won't find a "Twilight" creature within miles of here!
'cause we're cleaning rabbit cages and whats under them, out tonight!

As I said all INTELLIGENT creatures stayed away....These girls were taking FULL advantage of their first day out of the coop in weeks and made more work for us, trying to herd them up and get them inside for the night.

And here is the nights haul, I spread it on our garden spot the next day, taking full advantage of our January thaw to get things done.

Now I suppose we could have done this earlier in the day but we were blessed with a visit from our nephew Chuck's daughter.  Now I suppose I could have done what Danni does and put our visitor to work.  Especially since we had her out in the Pallet Palace earlier in the day....

But all I forced her to do was hold our most FEROCIOUS Rabbit, the dreaded Mini Dutch, DUTCHIE.
And of course we made her put up with the TERRIBLE TWOSOME.....

"Pet Me" BEAR and "Kissy Face" Harley

Until she finally passed out from over exertion......

Sunday we had more company....

Ethan and Aden, our two favorite munchkins.
Of course we let their mom and dad stay too.

Then Monday it was back to this guy....

My son,"Eric the Terrible's" Mini-Me .....Owen