Friday, November 21, 2014

Turkeys

Gonna miss these bigs guys

Well, our turkeys are processed and in the freezer. Top tom dressed out just over 23 lbs. Can't hate that. The smallest hen had a twisted gut apparently. The guys doing our butchering found it when they cleaned her. That certainly explains why she wasn't quite as thrifty as the other 5. She finished out just shy of 16 lbs though so I am still pleased with her size.

The other two toms were also 20 lb birds, one weighing in at 19.92 lbs and the other at just shy of 23 lbs. The two remaining healthy hens finished out 16.7 and 17.7. All in all I'd say they grew quite well for this being our first year doing Thanksgiving birds. We have already decided on a couple things we will do differently. For instance, we are planning to spend the extra dollars and buy all toms for our butcher birds. The amount of increase lbs per bird works out to be worth the extra cost. Also, towards the end we found the toms were pushing the smaller two hens out of the feed. We're also planning to order earlier and get BB Whites. We want to see if we notice any difference with them. I'm very grateful to have a husband who supports me in my poultry business endeavors. 

These guys are insane

Yesterday morning, I found my only white guinea had been killed over night. She hadn't gone in the coop one evening and had not been thriving since getting snowed on. I had already planned to move all of the birds out of the smaller coops into the larger ones. That sealed the deal though. Instead of waiting until the turkeys were butchered and using their tractor, which had been moved in the barn, I moved Laura and Sir Reggie to the peacock barn, and the 7 remaining keets and the lonely pullet down to the main coop. There was the expected scuffling as pecking order was settled with the older laying birds, but all was calm this morning. 

Next on the project list is to clean up a few more sections in the old heifer barn, and build some horse stalls, and at least one more small coop for the cochins. Life is progressing nicely.

Remember to have a safe and happy holiday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let the cold begin

I'm a girl and yes I'm earning my mash now.

Its not even really winter yet, and I'm already sick of it. Cold and bitter out while doing chores. The water is nearly always frozen. I have to break the ice on the top of the paddock trough every morning. Not sure how I'm going to keep it thawed and full this winter. 

We had my buddy of many years, Mike, bring us a pair of round bales. Nice 5x4's of mixed grass hay. The first one is out in the paddock now for the horses to have constant hay while they are out in the weather during the day. Some days no matter what is out there it will be just too nasty for them to be out. For now though they can each have a bit of time outside. 

Diamond got to go out this morning for an hour. She is such a ham when I turn her free. She bolts straight out across the front line, then goes into this bouncy floating trot that despite her diminutive size eats the ground like a race car. The second she sees the bale though she stops and just gobbles hay. Typical pony. Sunny on the other hand just meanders to the hay and starts eating. Typical big horse.

We're laying too!

The pullets are nearly all laying now. The white cochin that we had doubts about being a hen is indeed a hen. She is in the nest box nearly every morning when I go in. Its funny to go in and see this fluffy white puff in the box. Its really not easy to tell its a chicken. The first day I honestly thought my EE hen that is white had gone back to laying. However, when she greeted me at the door most enthusiastic for her feed I realized the pullet had gotten down to business. I love finding the brown pink and green-blue eggs every day. Some of them are no bigger than a joint on my thumb. So adorable...and still tasty.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Not sure


Where todays kids are learning to drive...Fast and Furious maybe? Or perhaps Tailgaters Unlimited? 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In a Snap

Little lady bug looking for a winter home

And just like that over night the weather has shifted. Warm and gentle yesterday has turned to cold and bitter this morning. Where doing chores yesterday was a delight, cleaning coops and stalls a lovely way to pass the time Peg napped, today cleaning stalls was hurried and chilly. I'm definitely going to have to get the husband to get me a pair of good tight work gloves on his next pay check, or my hands are libel to freeze. 

On the bright side, I did get all of my coops clean and freshly bedded. I've got to call the guy who agreed to do my turkeys again and see if Friday of this or next week would work for him. 

At least the sun is shining and the house is snug and warm. These are the days one truly is grateful for a large hot cup of coffee!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Weekends

If weekends are restful for other non farming folks...please...don't tell me about it :)

Pullet eggs

The husband's new job has him working 4 days on call one, off for the weekend. The last couple weeks he's worked Monday thru Thursday off Friday to Sunday. So needless to say all those odd and end chores that didn't get done the last year or so, well we've been banging thru them lickety split. Friday, we built a new door for the old heifer barn where horses and ponies and chickens and cows and and and will most likely be spending the winter. The old rolling door had long since gone the way of old wooden things, and was no more than a missed memory. Now, complete with new rollers and a fancy handle and latches, there is a new heavy one in its place. 

Hawk at Jade's grandparents

Saturday we took a much needed albeit short break and went over to the Cherry Valley Toy Show. Jade is an avid tractor collector and just loves the shows. He's become good buddies with several of the dealers. As usual he came home with a few nice collectors edition models that he didn't have, two of which he'd never seen. And our little girl got given her first honest to gosh can play with it toy tractor (well skid steer but close enough) Troy, a fellow who the husband always talks to for ages and buys at least one cool thingie from, couldn't resist her little flirting giggles and grins and gave her a little model from the popular Johnny Popper book series. She loves it and hates to give it up when she's chucked it into something she can't be near. We also spent Saturday doing some tidying around the barns. Moved some baling twine into garbage bags, shifted feed into barrels seeing as the f****** rats have been chewing into all of my scratch and layer mash bags. 

Sunday we went visiting after a busy morning of chores and cranky babies. Spent a couple hours with my favorite Aunt and Uncle and their children then came home to crash and sleep for a start up to another busy week. 

He gave me some great shots

The weeks busy doings: clean coops, clean barns, care for the teething princess, feed all the critters twice a day, gather cute as button pullet eggs, clean barns and coops and barns and coops and nest boxes and feeders and waterers. O and laundry...ever...so...much...laundry....

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Here and There

The ladies workin' hard.

The Princess is finally napping again. She took a 10 day sabbatical from all things nap like. Wouldn't nap no matter what you did. Now she is down and dozing happily.

We lost almost all the young chicks to a fox one morning. 5 are left. Three pullets and two roos. They got moved into the main coop in their brooder to try and prevent any more tragedy. Farming isn't Disney. It's flesh and blood, loss and gain. The fox doesn't get along with the hound, and he sure doesn't cuddle up to the chickens for a nap. We'll be swapping coops more in the coming weeks. The five remaining babies will go in with Laura and Reggie, and her first grow out batch of guineas and such will move into the big coop with the main flock.

The turkeys got moved into the relative safety of the barn as well. With the weather turning they were miserable outside. Now they have the peace and quiet of the barn walls, with much less wind, and no rain falling on their gentle heads. I'll miss them once they become our dinner, but next year another group will fill their place, hopefully with a few breeding birds that can stay for years to come.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Growing chicks

The group, give or take a few they were moving a lot

The chicks I got from Ray are doing fantastic. I'm having to clean the brooder 2-3 times a week because they are such messy little monsters. They are going to get used to being handled at this rate. I have to scoop them up and stick them in a cat carrier that I use for poultry etc while I clean all the dirty shavings out of the old watering trough they are in and give them fresh and clean their waterer and feed trough. 

Pretty sure this is a pullet, and one of my favs

They are turning into beautiful birds. I am fairly sure that I have 5 or 6 roosters in the batch, 16 total birds. I'm pretty happy with that if it turns out to be the case. One may get to stick around as if it is a he he is absolutely gorgeous. The others well they will be bound for our dinner table. Some if they are nice enough I'll try to keep around until the swaps get started up again in the spring. Time will tell.

If I'm figuring right, pullet on left, roo on right

Thursday, October 16, 2014