Thursday, December 10, 2015

5 Months...

Time has flown by this year...

I just finished reducing my flock from about 40 to 21. Woot!

My current number/breeds are as follows: (ahem)

1 (mystery) bantam I named Little Mister

2 Ameraucanas
2 Barred Rocks
2 Phoenix
2 Olive Eggers
1 Barnyard mix
1 Tolbunt Polish
1 Silver Laced Polish
1 Buff Laced Polish
1 Spitshauben
1 Black Tailed Black bantam
3 bantam mixes
2 EE bantam

(I've still got three bantams to sell, though aside from two of the mixes, I haven't decided which will be the third.)

Other fowl:
4 Bourbon Red turkeys
1 Black Spanish turkey
2 Embdens geese
2 Buff duck
3 Khaki Campbell ducks (selling)
2 Muscovy ducks (suspect one is a mix)

Once I get the ones I want to sell gone and get our turkeys down to a pair (hooray for holiday dinners), our feed bill will dramatically decrease. Yes! I already see a difference in the amount I feed. I was going through 2 bags of layer pellets, plus a bag of starter/grower every two weeks, plus a bag of scratch a month. The past two weeks are almost up, and I still have most of the one bag of starter, and about a half a bag of layer pellets. Looks like I am going through a bit more scratch as the turkeys are gaining weight, but I can deal. I mean, we are planning to eat them, sooooo.....

"Why did you sell half your chickens?" may be the question of the day.  The answer is quite simple, really.  Firstly, for having so many hens, I didn't get a good number of eggs.  I had over 20 hens able to lay, but I would never get more than 9 a day.  Ridiculous numbers, if you ask me, and with the other young hens not expecting to become production breeds, we had to make a change.  Secondly, I needed the room.  My large coop is only big enough to comfortably accommodate about 20-25 chickens. As it stands, I will be close to that capacity when the large fowl grow and integrate with the large coop, there will be 16, and if I plan on adding more, well...  At the time I needed room.  Before getting on the selling binge, there were 29 in the large coop.  Talk about cramped.  Then the little coop is supposed to be for my bantams.  I will need another coop at some point for breeding purposes, but I'm not really in a hurry for that.

The goats are little pigs, that's for sure. If eating the "other" fowl food wasn't enough, Mary has figured out how to get the chicken feed straight from the coop (#goatshaming).  What's that?  I haven't introduced the goats yet?  Well!  Let's remedy that right now!  We have two young Pygmy girls Mary and Bootsie.  Bootsie is the grey one and Mary is the blue-eyed white one.

Socks is still doing well. She's been moved outside in her own hutch (formerly known as the brooder).

<b>What else happened in the last five months?!?!</b>
Uhhh...  Well, we sold Oreo, the donkeys, one of the turkey toms, many chickens, and one of the geese (if that wasn't mentioned before).  We still plan on buying a cow at some point, but it might be a little further in the future than I originally anticipated.  I expect to get the pasture secured with a decent shelter so the goats will stop pooping on my porch, and so the cows can get out of the rain/wind/cold/sun/etc.  The goats already have a house out there, but Mary and Bootsie have figured out how to get between the two yards, and Mary can get out of the pasture and back again.  It's crazy.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chickens to Hatch, For Sale, What We Have (Chicken wise)

Our current numbers as of right now holds at 39 chickens.  This includes chicks and layers.  The problem I am facing is lack of room. Why? I have too many non-layers with more coming.

 Art and one of his lady friends.

Up for the night

29 in the 'bator! All are showing signs of life. 

There is also an order of chicks coming in two weeks.  My, oh my.

This is where the "For Sale" comes in.  The first on the list are the several cockerels. I have 4 known roosters, and only about 23 laying hens.  The numbers are bad, so two are up for sale. Add in one a few weeks old, and a possible other the same age, but not certain yet on the sex, but both are listed for sale.

The 7 bantams are around eight weeks old-ish.... I listed three for sale.

If I lose all the ones for sale, that will bring my total count down to 32. Those four little babies the Phoenix hatched are going to be grown out to see what colors I get. I'm going to try to sell all the chicks that hatch out of the incubator. Maybe if I don't end up putting them under Myrtle.  It looks like she's trying to go broody again.

.... plus the donkeys get annoyed when the chickens demand their food...

I put Donald and Daisy up for sale too. I have too many ducks, 10 to be precise.If no one buys them or the roos, they will be butchered.

The geese are still too young to sex, though I fear I may have two ganders and only one goose.  If that is the case, I will either have to sell one, buy another girl, or eat him.  Hard choices....

Turkeys are doing well, too. They are still taking up my brooder, and I'm none too happy about it, but we can only do so much on a weekend, I suppose.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What's going on?

It's hard to say EVERYTHING that has happened since April....  I'll try to get it all down.

Some chickens (and a ducks) have left, some have been added.  Okay, quite a few have been added.  The goslings are getting bigger, a broody hen hatched a clutch and has gone broody again.  Another hen has started being broody, the cow is getting bigger, and the donkeys have damaged the pasture fence to the point of needing repairs, and we now have turkeys.

Let's start from the beginning:
Starting with Snow White (the cripple from the park), she is no longer with us.  It became so hard for her to move around, we felt it was more humane to put her down than force her to suffer any more.  She is now at peace.

On to sweeter news, we added two Muscovy ducks to our flock.  I think the hen is a Muscovy mix, which means she won't lay any eggs.  She's sterile, so she is strictly a lawn ornament.  The boy is just here to keep her company.

The goslings are all white now, and so pretty.  They have to be my favorite of the fowl.  They come up to me willingly to check what I'm doing.  They talk to me, and they are just sweet animals.

Anyone up for Duck, Duck, Goose?

I traded the Cayuga (the black duck in the above picture) as well as an EE for 2 pure Ameraucanas from show stock, not that they will be entered in fowl shows or anything...  I have no pictures at this time, but I will try to remedy that soon.

Turkeys!  We have four Bourbon Red turkeys.  They are DH's little ones, so they are in HIS care.  I still enjoy watching them run around the yard.  DH still needs to build them a pen to keep them from flying around, but that's his responsibility.

I suppose we have a free form of entertainment with my niece and nephews visit.  Very animal friendly, they get a good sense of responsibility and fun from caring for the animals.  They also understand the dangers of having a calf near when holding a feed bucket.  :D

The result?.....
Best Fowl Farm EVA!

On to broodies and new chicks....  Two weeks ago, I had 26 chickens (not including Myrtle's young'uns), but I have to go back further for the chicks.  Remember the Barred Rocks, Sex-Link, and Tolbunt Polish?  They are about 18 weeks old now....  18 or 19.  The newest addition are two pure Ameraucanas, mentioned above.  They are about the same age as the Barred Rock group.  When I put them in, they get picked on, but not horribly so.  

I went out to get some pictures of the Ameraucanas, and this little guy greeted me.  :)

The adolescent group (made up of 14 chicks now) usually hang around this little corner of the yard.

Thanks to the donkeys, Jack and Jim, the fence is low enough the other side is literally just a hop away.
 Those Polish are getting some major poofs.  :D  Can you tell which one is the cockerel and which one is the pullet?
 I'll give you a hint.  This is the boy.

 Here's the boy again, (Labelle II is in front, though a bit out of focus).
 Labelle II
 Boy, oh Boy, he is beautiful.

 Labelle II will be fun too.  <3

The Ameraucanas are blue.  One is a little darker than the other.  They should lay blue, strictly blue (no green whatsoever) eggs.

This little guy is an EE.  I am wondering if SHE is actually a HE...  I haven't heard any special crowing from any of the other cockerels so it's still hard to say.

Moving on to the BABIES, the itty bitty babies in the brooder.  I went to a local breeder who has Bantam EEs.  I have been wanting some, but didn't feel like it was a good idea to buy them from a hatchery.  I ended up coming home with 8 bantams.  The lady was left with a single bantam, and she popped it in for free.  It is a Black Japanese Bantam.  They are so pretty when they get older, I am so happy to get them.  I doubt I will be keeping many of these babies since they are straight run.  It is likely I will get several cockerels, which is why I brought home so many.  Sadly, one of the babies died, and I'm not sure what happened.  She was fine the night before, and I found her the next morning laying in the back of the brooder. 
Bantam EEs (none of the Japanese...  It didn't want to hold still.)

 A few of the other chickens.  Myrtle (top) and Lavender EE (bottom)

 I love just sitting out with my flocks.  They all come up to me, either expecting some company, conversation, or food.  Okay, they wish it was food more than any other....

 The turkeys also come up quickly.  They prefer not to be touched, but I think it has more to do with protection.

Daisy, Daisy 
give me your answer do!

    On to the broodies....  A couple months ago, a Silkie went broody.  I put her in her nest with six eggs.  A few days before the expected hatch date, she decided to kick out ALL of the eggs, and one of them had pipped.  The others went to the incubator, and since Myrtle went broody (you saw her above with her two chicks), I gave the chick that pipped to her, along with the two chicks that survived in the incubator.  Out of the three, one was eaten by a chicken snake....  I killed the chicken snake, so we now have two chicks in the coop.  

    Last week,  a Phoenix went broody.  I put five eggs under her, knowing I will have to move her if someone else decided to go broody.  
 Well, someone went broody.... 
Well, next thing I know, the other Phoenix went broody.  

It took a bit of thought, but I came up with a quick fix since the turkeys are in my brooder, the ducks are in the spare coop, the little coop is at capacity, and the big coop is out of the question.

 It works.

Bandit is no longer with us.  He has spurred me for the last time, so we ate him.  To replace him as the main rooster, enter Rocky, the 3 year old Barred Rock rooster.  He is pleasant to be around, and he will at some point become the sire of of the next Barred Rock flock, a well tempered, dual-purpose breeds to stick in the freezer at slaughter age.

 As I stated earlier, the cow is getting bigger.  Oreo is listed for sale for $900, which is $200 less than his half brothers and sisters went for at the auction recently.  He is an excellent breeding prospect for anyone looking to add a good meaty bulk to their herd.