We’ve had such a busy week, that I haven’t had to chance to write in my personal journal, let alone this blog. But, here’s a “brief” summary of what’s been going on.
We’ve been having warmer weather, including temps in the mid 40’s! But, just when it starts to get muddy and looking like spring, we have cold temps again, plus snow flurries. Saturday saw a high of maybe 30*F, and it got down to 5* overnight, like that’s what it is out there now at 6am on 3/29.
Since my last blog entry, 22 of the 46 chicks went to new homes, but I still have 24 left, including all 8 from the first hatch of 2015. I’ll probably grow them out for a few more weeks, possibly until they’re 10 weeks old & I can tell who’s male and who’s female. They are eating their fermented chick starter like crazy, enough that I usually have to refill their feeder 2x a day. But, they’re also growing like they should, much better than some of the chicks in the past. I still have both the nipple waterer and regular chick water “fount”, the latter of which has to be cleaned out at least 3x a day, as they’re continually scratching grass pellets into it! It’s crazy that here I am again having chicks inside and not raised by a broody hen, even though that’s my preference. I’ve been trying to be a “substitute broody hen” by giving them some “bird seed” & freeze-dried meal worms, which just happened to be on sale this past week! By feeding them out of my hand, they are less scared of me, and some of the more outgoing (read: roosters?) chicks now come running when I put my hand in there, expecting a treat.
One in particular that is outgoing is "Muffy" from the 3/7 hatch. I've never seen a female chick do this:
And as the week as progressed, HIS comb has gotten pink already!
Tuesday I had great plans to get lost accomplished on my to-do list, but ended up getting quite a few e-mails about chickens, ending up doing a last-minute Free Shutterfly book, plus had plans for the night.
On another note, the rabbits ate all their hay, and I had none left. So, Dad was gracious and donated part of his day this past Wednesday (3/25) to get a truckload of hay in Bloomville. We hadn’t gotten hay from this farm before, but it was great, lots of green, and a great price at $2.50 a bale, vs $3.50 - $5.00 from other people. They were very friendly, and we chatted about rabbits & chickens for awhile, even though they don’t have either, just cows.
Lately, like on Wed & Thurs (3/25 & 36), I’ve been test breeding the rabbits, as I’d like to get an earlier start this year, but I’m not sure if they’re ready. If they were in a barn or heated place, they’d be ready, but being outside, it’s more challenging to get them bred early in the year. The good news is that the bucks are full of vigor, though “Coco” the older buck is more laid back than his son.
The does weren’t as “thrilled” with the idea of being chased by the bucks, and the red/brown/grayish black doe refused to accept both buck’s attempts. The two fawn-colored does both ran around the cage squealing and squeaking, but in the end they accepted being bred. I separated both of them, and time will tell if the breeding took. The two agouti with white does (mother & daughter) look to be quite “fat”, and although they mostly refused any attempts, I did witness the buck squealing & falling over, meaning that he was successful. But, whether the does actually will become pregnant, I’m not sure. I’ll just have to keep “test breeding” them, like I did last year, until finally they gave birth!
Thursday I ended up working a half day at the Humane Society, but still got a chance to work on my second Cooler Bator for hatching. Friday worked a full day, then had plans for the evening.
Saturday, ended up going into town for chicken compost and some other errands. Then, worked on the plans for the setting my next batch of eggs on April 1st. More details to come later. Prepared three quiches for supper and my work lunches, as I had lots of leftover eggs I’d saved for hatching eggs, written on them dates, coops, etc - so while they’re still fine, not everyone would want to buy eating eggs with that type of writing all over them.
One last thing, and then I better get going on the day. The Swedish Flower Hens & the Catskill Homesteader hens in with them, have been escaping from their yard, almost every day. No matter how many time to try to block up the areas where I think they’re getting out, they find a new one! Because I’m trying to let the grass grow before I let the chickens out, they are delaying that process by scratching up the grass! They sure a great foragers and don’t like it when they’re “confined”, even if they do have one of the largest, most “natural” yard of the breeding groups. It doesn’t help that there’s leftover bird seed on the ground up by the back deck, so that’s a major “calling card” for them, too.
So, now fixing their fence is added to my “ASAP To-Do List”, as the side-hill terrain makes way too many gaps for them to escape through.