Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Well, there has been so much going on lately -- I simply haven't had time to try to get a new post up here on the blog. Summer is short when it is filled with projects!

However, I tried to remember to take photos as the days passed, so I could eventually get them up here to update all my friends:

First, after an eternity of waiting on her nest, one of our broody ducks hatched a chick -- a chicken chick! We knew the duck eggs under her weren't fertile, so we snuck a couple of chicken eggs into the nest while she was up drinking, so that something would hatch for her.

Mama duck with baby chicken. The chick is standing off on the edge of the nest because it was so very hot this day.

Once the chick was hatched, we took the chick away to the brooder, and eventually, after a couple more days, took the rest of the eggs away from the duck. Broody duck hens are so funny-acting, they are hilarious. They hunch down and squawk constantly (when up, not when on the nest) and made a huge dash just to get up to get feed and water. I should post a video.

This chick was from our sole California White hen (the only white bird we have). It's papa, however, is a New Hampshire.

After a few more days, the broody hen we had in the chicken house hatched out 11 chicks. These are from an assortment of eggs, both from the older RIR hens, the hens from last year which are RIR/New Hamp cross, and from the California White (crossing with the New Hamp). So she got a variety of colors. And after three or four days in the brooder all by itself, the duck-hatch chick was glad to be put in with a "family".

The little chick standing outside the nest is the duck-hatched one from above, a couple days older than the hen-hatched chicks. This photo was actually taken before all of them hatched out, so the rest are less than one day old here. We keep this group in a approx. 3' x 4' enclosure in the chicken house itself, encased in chicken wire, so the cats don't bother the chicks until they are older.

Here are some of the rest of our birds, up on the roost for the evening. Noticed how the California White hen stays off to herself at the top, preferring to roost on the ledge of the window or door instead of on the roost!

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Our Iowa Blue pullets are coming along extremely well! They are a much lighter breed than our RIRs, and much more "flighty" but they are very good grazers/scavengers, and tend to stay out of the chicken house as long as possible in the evenings before roosting. They love being out and about. They are also much much quieter than the RIR breed. The photos I have of them are not very good, but give you an idea as to their size:

The garden is coming along well. I don't have any really good photos of it to share, but will post this one taken from the opposite direction of all the other photos I have posted of it so far.

Steven is trying some cool new ideas for the garden layout, putting a few stalks of corn in each hill of either squash, melons, or cucumbers, etc. Lots of companion planting. We have harvested onions, strawberries, peas, green beans, and a few tomatoes.

During the hot streak we had of 7 days around or over 100 degrees (it was miserable) Steven spent a good deal of his time trying to keep everything watered and cooled off. That included a lot of work on getting the windmill going, because the cattle herd (part of our land is leased to a cattle ranch) drinks the entire stock tank down so fast on hot days!

I almost forgot! We did finally obtained a nice Cayuga type drake:

He does have a crest, which we don't care for, but we can breed that out of our flock. Our Cayuga hens seem to like him. :) So now we've gone from no drakes (in May) to three drakes, so we will probably be eating a couple of them soon. (the other two were not Cayuga type, so weren't exactly what we wanting for breeding).

Well, we plan to have company tomorrow evening for the 4th of July. Mostly family, but also some friends, over for a cookout of hamburgers, hot dogs and a good game of softball. Should be a blast. Hope everyone that reads this has a blessed and safe holiday.


Marci said...

What a great blog and website. I just thought I would share 2 things with you. The URL you put on your blog for your webpage has an extra "d" in it right before eden. On your webpage, when you click on the store link, it takes you to the poultry page.

Just thought you would like to know. You are doing a great job!!!

Tracy said...

Marci - Thanks so much for the help! I think I have them both fixed now. I really do appreciate readers helping me "proofread" what I'm doing - because it is very hard to create and also check your own work. :) Much appreciated.

I have lots of the farm webpage that I need to correct -- wish I could find some extra hours in the day to work on it. Have a great summer!