What a Great Friday the 13th!
My step-cousin who used to take me to work on Mondays and Fridays, got another job, so now Dad is taking me to work. I only have my permit, and learning to drive hasn't been a priority for the past several years. But I plan on making that one of my "projects" for this year. Anyways, after we took two coworkers to their homes (they also needed rides to & from work), Dad & I picked up the chicken compost, unloaded it and put it away in the chicken yard. There was an abundance, so the chickens will be happy to have lots of treats this week.
Shortly after Dad left for work, Joel came home with the 1 ton of grass pellets, because he wanted to do it Friday rather than "tie up" Saturday morning. So, Mom, Joel & I unloaded & stacked the grass pellets inside the shed. Joel told me that the hay used to make these pellets was "medium grade" and better than most hay they use, so it did have some feed value to it. Not that I plan on purposefuly feeding it to the chickens, but whether they're chicks or adults, they often mistake bedding for food. They certainly have enough of the real food, but for some reason the expanded wood pellets, shavings and bedding hay look like food to them! I figure if they eat a little chopped up hay, it'll be better than eating the sawdust from wood pellets. I've even watched broody hens "teach their chicks" by clucking and pecking in the sawdust like it's food, even when their real food is just a few inches further away!
Plus, I chose grass pellets, because it's more "sustainable", in that hay is far easier to make and re-grow than trees. Granted, sawdust is a by-product of making lumber, but there's already such a high demand for wood pellets for heating homes, that I'd prefer supporting a local company that makes grass pellets, using locally grown hay. I'd just use hay in it's original form, as it is cheaper, but it's far from the "perfect bedding" for a large number of chickens. I like using hay outside, where it'll decompose and get shredded up much better than in the coops.
Next, I collected eggs, then I put the PA coop & Dad’s coop roosters back in with the other roosters; the one small combed (cushion?) black/white/red barred rooster has just “come into his own” - he’s now crowing, and attacked the other small more colorful roo from Dad’s coop. “Tested” the rabbits - the bucks are ready, but the does aren’t yet. Will have to keep trying. It did look like the two young rabbits from last year were bred, as the bucks fell over to the side.
It was the agouti-colored (brown/black ticked) female with white stripe down her face, white paws & white stripe on her shoulder and “Coco” the buck - but nose started bleeding, though, so I don’t know what that means.
The 2nd doe was one of the fawn does, the one with distinct white “rings” around her eyes & darker ticking on her face. She was in with the young buck from last year - red/gray/black with white nose spot & white paw(s).
Time will tell if it “took”, but I’d like to get started early with them this year.
It wasn’t dark yet, (loving these longer daylight hours!) so I cleaned out the poop trays in Dad’s coop & rearranged them a little for better efficiency.
Did feed prep, stirred up chick’s feed, added more hot water to hatcher (3 pips so far!), ate a little supper, wrote in journal. Got changed for bed, brushed teeth & heard “peep, peep” and I was pretty sure it wasn’t coming from the storage room, as I had my bedroom door closed. I took the towel off the lid of the hatcher, and sure enough, the first chick of this 2nd hatch had zipped all the way around and was trying to his its way out of the shell. Of course, I couldn’t just climb into bed, I had to sit there and watch this amazing process, as it just speaks so incredibly of our awesome Creator! So, while I was originally on track for going to bed more “on time” and didn’t make that noble goal, I’m glad I watched that little chick hatch. One cool “trivia” note about this first chick is that I “set the egg” at 9pm on 2/20, and it hatched 21 days later around 9:30pm! I don’t know if I’ve every had a chick hatch so exactly on time! As it pushed its way out of the shell, the top of the eggshell got“stuck” to its head, almost like a little “cap” or hat. Of course, I was tempted to open up the hatcher and “help” it. But, knowing that would put the other eggs/chicks at risk, I was a “good girl” and kept my hands out of the hatcher! However, I couldn’t just leave it and go to bed, because every time I’d hear its desperate “peep, peep” I’d wonder if it was ok. So, I waited, watched and prayed. Sure enough, it finally did, and I, too, was finally able to get into bed. It sure is a wonderful sound to here the peeping of chicks as you are falling asleep!