Sorry for not posting to anyone who actually reads this blog. Things have just been so insane and difficult, with the cold, sick baby, same baby turning 1, husband being ill, me being ill, did I mention the ridiculous cold wind snow and ice?
Some of the new babies, this is the 1st batch of 30
The brother and my husband built a fantastic brooder, by adding new parts and altering an older style model that my uncle was nice enough to gift us on the condition that we actually make use of it. Given that it is currently housing 82 or 83 chicks yeah it is getting put to very very good use! The princess turned a year on the 6th. Much hilarity and happiness ensued. She has some delightful new outfits for summer and next fall, a butterfly that talks, and two yes two ride on toys. One is a super cool noise making airplane that she utterly adores, the other a simple bright pink Case IH push tractor that JD and I got for her. Currently she is experimenting to see if there is a way she can make use of both at one time.
We've also been battling the head and chest cold from he double hockey sticks. Poor princess caught it earlier in the week. A doctors appointment had us upping her dose of tylenol, and temporarily adding in some ibuprofen on days that she couldn't quite keep her fever down. She and I are slowly on the mend. Very very slowly. I'm still sneezing up a storm, and she is horribly congested. Running the humidifier at night seems to help greatly. The husband has also been battling Lyme's disease. After several months of not feeling up to snuff, and just generally being miserable he finally went to the doctors. Several tests, consults and such later it was determined he had a combination concussion and early stages of Lyme's going on. A couple weeks of taking it easy and some heavy antibiotics and he is creeping back to being his usual self.
Other issues around here, some varmint has been killing a bird or so a night for weeks. We finally figured out one of our culprits is a vicious barn cat, grabbing birds and yanking them through the wire. So we have been rebuilding the coop space trying to eliminate all points of possible entry. We thought we had the issue resolved, as we went over a week without losing any of our girls or boys, only to find a buff Cochin had been killed 2 nights ago. Now more alterations will have to be made, so as to try and keep any more birds from going in the wrong direction. The boys are also putting together 3 new chicken coops. What with the purchase of 80 some new birds, and wanting some nice breeding stock, more coop space is a definite necessity. Within a week or 2 we should have three very nice 10-12 x 20 or so coops built and ready for stock.
There is death. The brother of the husband's favorite uncle passed away yesterday. I didn't know him well, the brother that is, but the husband's uncle is a lovely man, and I greatly love him, I feel horrible for the family. Here on the farm we had our own tragedy of a poultry sort. Elderly Lady Pea passed away in her sleep. She was a delightful old bird, but Mr died a few winters ago, and she was very much getting up there in birdie years. Still, while with livestock one expects to lose some every now and then, whether to illness or age, it is an unpleasant reality. Jade took her far up on the hill away from the barns, the ground is frozen solid so there was no way to bury her. Our reality of life the last few weeks has been altered also. Jade's grandfather, whom is a delightful man, underwent routine knee replacement surgery. He ended up in the ICU in an induced coma after suffering several heart attacks. A stressful week later he had open heart surgery. He is now slowly mending but is still in ICU. On the bright side they are slowly bringing him back to reality and we pray he will make a full recovery.
In other news we are looking into incubators. I believe we will sometime this week, if the knee deep and rising snow fall ever abates, clean and rebed the turkey tractor and until we can build the new coop move the blue rooster and all the blue hens, my black mottled and the single white girl into it, build them a nice little nesting box for now, and start getting some eggs for it. I've learned not to get my hopes up with livestock, don't count your chickens before their hatched sort of thing, but I can't help but get excited for the springs babies!
What a new year it has been. Birds getting moved, rabbits getting their hutch adjusted, slipping and sliding about on flows of ridiculous ice. Peg is learning to stand and cruise. Walking is just around the corner, heaven help us. She gets into things already just zooming around crawling. We are sure to have our hands full.
Part of the flock
Monday, I cleaned out the chicken coop and nest boxes, they were a week or more past due. The floor was just plain nasty. That being said my version of just plain nasty isn't really all that bad, I just like my coop as clean as I can keep it. Mucking it out took less than an hour, the floor has a full bale of shavings from Runnings on it, and the nest boxes are full of chaff hay. I'll probably need to clean them out and rebed them as the pullets and cockerels I moved up from the turkey tractor seem to think it is a swell game to yank the stems of hay out.
My beautiful mottled girl
Another project that was undertaken by my siblings and I was the rearranging of the pullets, cockerels, Laura, Reggie and the peahen. I was having a misery of a time trying to get up to the small barn the pea was kept in. So, Alan, Becky and I moved all but Laura, Reg and one small bit of a pullet up into the main coop. There was the expected scuffling and pecking as the order was reestablished. Laura, Reggie and the single moved into the grow out portion of the rabbit hutch. That is, by the way, working out surprisingly well. I think perhaps the solution for where to put the bantie pair is to build them their own hutch like coop.
Nesting EE hen, she lays fantastic huge eggs
After that we all trekked carefully on tip toes up to the pea's barn. Peafowl are friendly group creatures and after the loss of Mr P she'd been on her own. We caught 'er up and moved her down into the now empty turkey tractor, got her a pan waterer and a feed stand and several chunks of hay. She is now very happy and chortles to me when I come in to feed or water.
Some of the youngsters with my Wyandott and a Cochin
The husband and I are looking for incubators to get started on hatching chicks. We'd like to hatch out our own Cochins, and some production layer crosses. This will mean we need to build ourselves some brooders for after they hatch and some more coops, as we have to sort the cochins from the rest of the flock. A friend of ours is helping us sell eggs to friends of his, so we have a little income from all our girls. IF we can hatch out enough cochins we'll keep what we want and sell the rest to get a bit of buy more birds money. (Granted we also plan to buy more young birds anyways, but it is nice to get a bit of money first).
Miss Peahen, perfectly happy
Today, I already have chores just about finished. I'm going to borrow the parent's Durango. as the brakes in my Jeep went around the bend, and go get my hair done and do some grocery purchasing. Peg's other grandparents are going to watch her for an hour or so to give me a baby squawking free shopping and hair doing experience. I haven't had my hair professionally done since I was pregnant with Peggy over a year ago. The thought of a nice wash, trim and layer is just divine! Thank you darling husband for suggesting I go pamper myself for a little bit!
...My least favorite season. Chores take just so very long. All the waterers are frozen at least once a day, generally right thru. The livestock need so much more high energy feed. For the horses this means a bit of grain for the young, old, hard keepers etc. Fortunately we only have one youngster, and Sunny is needing a bit this year. I think his teeth need floating. With the chickens it means a extra scoop or two of scratch feeds added in on top of their normal fare. The scratch is at least the cheapest of their foodstuffs. Egg production is fortunately holding steady. Thanks to a dear long time friend in the city now that we have a bit of a back up so to speak we will be having a ready costumer base for eggs. He's already got more than I have sold... The ice is just awful as well. Horses are stabled at the moment with no going out in sight. There is no way they can get down the hill and back up it with out either them or I slipping and falling. It is definitely better to prevent injury and vet bills or worse broken legs, which in me would just mean a god awful mess to deal with, and with a horse of 1200 plus lbs, even with the little 400 lb ponies, a certain death sentence. We love our livestock and I do what I can to keep them from avoidable health issues.
I'm a cow person, farmers daughter. Love my cattle and family. I wait with great anticipation every year for August to roll around so we can take the cows out to the fair.
Other than that I love just about anything that gets me outdoors.
Particularly rodeo and bull riding. They're probably the two greatest sports in the world!
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