Tag Archive | chickens

I love Springtime

I love the holidays. But I LOVE springtime more than the holidays.

Especially when it is chick days at all the local feed stores.

I told myself that I would be good.

I tried really, REALLY hard. But if you read my last post I was going through a funk. And I needed some joy.

Well baby chicks and ducks give me joy! LOTS OF JOY!!!

So we ( meaning me) have been adding to our flock.

We added 2 more Pekins. I know one is a girl for sure. And I am hoping the other is a boy. Right now I am 75% sure it is.

Pekin Ducks~Growing a large family

Then I added 6 Lavender Ameraucanas. These were straight run, meaning boys and girls, so I bought all 6 in hopes I have at least one girl. These chickens lay blue eggs. I love these chicks. I bought them from a local breeder. And they are the friendliest chicks I have ever had. We use to enjoy morning coffee together until Hubby said they had to go outside. I was sad to see them move. But now they are free and they run up to me and after me. I just love it. I know there are some roosters in there and it’s going to be so sad when I see them go. But luckily I have a local connection to get more.

Lavendar Ameraucanas~Growing a Large Family    Lavender Ameraucanas~ Growing a Large Family

Next came, my birthday present. All 29 of them! I order 27 female chicks from a hatchery. They sent me a free chick and an extra. But then I lost a few to stress, so now I have 26. All different kinds of chickens with all different egg colors. That is really my goal this year, I want to taste the rainbow of eggs from my backyard.

Last (for now), I had sold my car and was cooped up in the house for a couple of weeks. So when I got a new car I was gone! I somehow took a field trip with the kids to all the feed stores and ended up an hour away at Rural King. And they had barred rocks, like my Midnight. We had to get some. I thought we had 8 and it was actually 9; 3 Barred Rock, 3 Gold Sexlink, 1 Rhode Island Red, 1 Phoenix and 1 Egyptian Fayoumi. And a few days later, my daughter and I went to local farm event. And she ended up making friends with a family selling Jersey Giant Chicks. I paid for 1; we came home with 3!

This is Roman. Roman was suppose to be a Rosa, but tricked us all.

This is Roman. Roman was supposed to be a Rosa, but tricked us all.

As I type, because I had some eggs hatching over the weekend, we are up to 87 chickens. I know that I can’t keep all 87, but my hubby is worried that I don’t understand that. But I swear, I am in the process of listing and selling some of them.

Because I gotta make room for my next batch shipping in June!

 

April is here

I feel like screaming too!

I feel like screaming too!

 

We flipped another page in our calendar. Can you believe it’s already April!? But it’s here and so far is looking like a slower month for me. I truly need that and will try my hardest to limit activities this month. Since January, I feel like all I have done is run errands, go to doctor appointments or have some kind of activity to get the kids too. My spring break wasn’t even a break.

I am an introvert. So by nature this kind of schedule has been hard for me. But one of my new years resolutions was to be more present for my kids. And so far I have been doing it. I’ve been saying yes to activities and not coming up with excuses why we can’t go. My anxiety has been under control which has been so nice. We’ve been enjoying life.

But this mom needs a little slow down. I think that is good for everyone. No matter what kind of person they are.

I want to dig my hands in the dirt. Hang out with my chickens. And complete some projects I keep putting off.

I also feel this is a good time to get our eating and budget habits back on track. I have to admit since the holidays I feel like it’s been nothing but sweets, candy and fast food. I told you life has been crazy! But now it’s time to get back on track. With hubby’s kidney problems and our daughter’s behavioral problems, good food is very important. I have noticed a lot of behavioral issues popping up with my girl. So time to catch it before it’s out of control.

Last month, I made dinner menus for the next 3 months. So I am ahead of the game there. I also got the majority of my grocery shopping done for the month last week.

This week I am focusing on organizing and few areas of the house. While also learning how to live without some of my major appliances.

YUP! The well broke. I tell you what…you can tell it’s April because it just poured 3 days into it. We have sand mixed in with our water. And of course it happened on a Sunday. Hubby tried to fix it but couldn’t. Looks like we are looking at a new well.

Like Hubby said we take 2 steps forward and 5 back.

A couple of weeks ago, we finally got the majority of our building project done that we had been working on for months.   We were planning for some other projects and business is going good. We were feeling accomplished. And now this!

My mom was here when it happened and said man, ya’ll can’t catch a break. And it’s true. This is part of living on a homestead. Fix one thing and another thing needs fixing. Mom and I walked through and talked about how to fix the fence until we have money and time to replace it.

So we can take showers. But I can’t run my dishwasher or my fancy washer. Luckily we bought a cheap old washer and will use that. I have to use bottle water for cooking or drinking. Recycling truck is going to love us this week. We are only washing pots and pans. Everything else we are using is disposable. It’s killing me. I all about reuse and limiting our garbage as much as possible.

OH well! (Pun intended) It is what it is. A few days or so; won’t kill me……I hope!

 

Love and Loss on a Homestead

Barred Rock Hen~Midnight~Growing a large family

 

 

Having a homestead brings so much joy to your life. You care for the animals and become attached. Some even become family.

But with love and joy, there are also heartache and loss.

We loss 2 of our hens a year ago because of a poisonous plant.

Then we loss 2 of our dogs to old age.

And today we loss another hen.

She was egg bound. I tried everything on the internet I could find to help her. I even turned to some Facebook homesteading groups. But nothing would help.

I made the decision to just put her back outside with the others. I knew she would inevitably die, but I thought if I knew my time was coming, I would want to die being me. So I let her live out her final days being a chicken. Lounging in the sunshine and pecking at bugs and scratch on the ground.

I will miss my fat girl. She had the funniest waddle and was always everywhere I was because she knew Momma had treats.

My hubby and I had made the decision to put her out of her suffering today. Actually he made the decision that I should do it. So she must have known that it would be hard for me to do it. Her being my favorite and all. I found her this morning quietly gone in the run.

My only regret is not hatching more of her eggs and keeping some of the babies.

RIP Midnight.

This blog post is partying over at Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Best January ever

Growing a large family

 

I feel like I have accomplished so much in these first 3 weeks of January.

I turned 34! My birthday was quiet and uneventful. So YAY! to a drama free birthday.

I have stood up for myself and told 2 important people in my life that they will not disrespect me or walk all over me or my family anymore.

We started back to homeschooling and I feel like we are doing pretty good. Some days are better than others, but yesterday was the best yet. I felt like just in that one simple activity so much was learned. We talked and discuss while they used their hands to create something so wonderful. It was definitely a proud mommy moment.

My youngest daughter has been working with a wonderful therapist for the last month. Up until now she has resisted any kind of therapy, but she has really connected with this therapist and I truly see a difference. Then this week, the therapist got us in for an appointment with their psychiatrist. And let me just say, WOW! Where has he been my whole life!!! When our therapist asked how it went. I told her she was a life saver. He just knew what he was talking about and none of this well it could be A or B or Z. He nailed it and talked to my daughter not just about her. Wonderful man!!! I am beyond thrilled because it has been a long 10 years of trying to find a diagnosis.

As I am writing this, I am sitting here looking at my 4 brooders. That’s right~count them FOUR brooders. First one has my baby chicks that hatched on January 2. Second one has a week and a half old Pekin duck with a couple of chicks flying in and out. One chick has really taken a liking to my lonely duck and is very protective if any of chicks come in. The third is full of Cayuga Ducklings about 4 days old~19 of them to be exact. And last but not least~ more Pekin ducklings. These are 4 days old. I have 19 of them also. Most of these will be sold with the exception of the chicks and 4 ducklings. I sold 15 ducklings at the beginning of the week. So my new little business adventure is very productive. Keeps me busy that is for sure.

Growing a Large family

I am also setting up the incubator so I can set 24 eggs for a Valentines day hatching. Or as I like to call it The walking dead hatching. We aren’t big Valentine’s Day people. It’s just too close to Christmas and my birthday. I will probably just cook a nice steak dinner, so why not also hatch some babies!

I also have a couple of pre-orders on some female chicks that I am keeping. Just trying to add some interesting chickens to the flock. My first order comes the end of February and my last order won’t be here until first week of June. Who knows what other kind of trouble I can get into between now and then.

Growing a large family

This post is partying over at the Our Simply Homestead Blog Hop

The low down dirty, stinky truth about hatching chicks!

As soon as we got our first 6 baby chicks a couple of years ago, I knew I was hooked and adding more. Which is why I bought 6 more! Then hubby and I realized there wasn’t a coop as nice and cheap as I would like for the amount of chicks I bought.  He got mad saying I put the cart before the horse (or something like that). So we had to scramble to build a coop.

So ever since then, I promised him that I would not do that again. I want to know what I am doing before I run out and do it. I want all the known facts. So I read all about incubating for the last few months. I wanted to make sure my eggs thrived and the chicks were healthy.

But I am here to tell you about the things that people have left out. The things I never knew or read about. The things I had to find out the hard way.

The low down dirty, stinky truth and nothing but the truth about hatching chicks!

It’s so exciting seeing your first little crack in the egg!

DSC_0672

 

Until you realize that little chick is going to take HOURS! So you keep getting up every 5 minutes for the next 24-48 hours checking on that one egg. Yup! I have done this 6 times and did this every time.

When the chick does hatch, it is not the prettiest thing. It’s covered in slime and has an umbilical cord attached. Just like a newborn baby. The inside of the egg-shell was actually really cool. My kids thought it was awesome to be able to see the blood veins in the egg-shell and to see the different layers.

DSC_0676

And once your chick has hatched it is tired and will lay there like it is dead. Just flopped down face first! Don’t worry it’s not. This is how babies rest. And on that note, get use to it because this is how they will sleep for quite a few weeks.

Once the baby hatches, you have to leave them in there for at least 24 hours or just until their feathers are dry.

While your baby dries, it will gain strength and play tag with your other eggs. The eggs will get bumped and moved; possibly even rolled from one side to the other. Don’t panic, this is doesn’t affect your eggs hatching.

 

DSC_0675

 

Now your little baby is dry and ready to come out. Fantastic! But beware of the smelly incubator. When you open it up, it’s enough to make you gag! Everything has been baking! And baked umbilical cord is not a good smell! Just saying!

Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch. I usually leave my eggs in the incubator until day 25 or 26. If no more hatches by then, I call it and throw away the dud eggs. Now is the fun part, cleaning the incubator.

You have all the bad eggs, the broken eggs shells and membranes, the disconnected cords and maybe some poop. It’s great fun! I recommend doing this outside or in a separate sink from your everyday sinks. I have a laundry room sink which is quickly becoming the chickens sink. I use it for giving them baths, washing their dishes and now cleaning their incubator. I also recommend a pair of rubber gloves. Just to take away some of the yuck factor. And I use baby soap on mine. It’s what I use to clean them with so I figure its safe, plus it’s what was sitting there the first time I did this.

It’s going to take a good amount of arm muscle to scrub some of the stuff off. Once your done, dry it the best you can and then let it sit out to air dry.  Its best if you can leave it out in the sun because this will really take care of anything left behind. You are ready for your next time of incubating.

Turken~ Growing a large family

Now that I have told about all the gross things of hatching. I am going to give you a tip that I have yet to follow. I have read several places online recommend putting down some rubber shelf liner. It helps the babies gain their footing and aren’t slipping everywhere, but I would think it would help with the clean up also. Maybe keep the bottom from getting so stained and allow easy clean up by just throwing everything on top away.

So what are you incubating next? Because you know even after all this, you will be incubating again. The babies are too cute and seeing a life form and be born is amazing.

Once you hatch, you never go back!

This post is partying over at the Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

blog-hop-button1

 

 

 

 

My Ducks made me sick

Cayuga Egg~Growing a large Family

 

All my life I have been a lover of ducks. When we moved out to this property, Grandpa use to say we can get some chickens. And I always said, no I want ducks. I just love them so much! Well as everyone knows I got ducks last year and ultimately ended up with 2 females and a male. My females are laying all these gorgeous eggs and I have been baking up a storm with them. Then the first incident happen.

I was making brownies and of course tasted the batter. Within a few minutes, my throat got itchy and swelled and my lips were tingling. But I thought it had to be the new spices I used on my pork chops. I have used duck eggs several times before.

Then I made a batch of cookies with Dakota. As soon as I ate one, I had the worse pain in my stomach. A few days later, ate another one and the pain was back but this time I threw up once.

Next, I made some cookies for the kids and I didn’t even eat one! I just licked a small amount of batter off of my finger and within an hour, pain. I couldn’t even cook dinner that night.

Well you think by now I would have learned my lesson. But I made brownies Monday night and I was up all night throwing up and the pain…..oh my god, unbearable! I almost told my hubby to take me to the ER. I mean I birthed 2 babies and 1 with no epidural and that didn’t even come close to the pain I was experiencing. The crazy part is I was at the doctors that morning. And we both thought it was my anxiety flaring up. But I thought that was strange because it would hit when I was at home watching TV and relaxing. What do I have to feel anxious about?

So this last time, I put 2 and 2 together. I know I should have taken notice with the first incident. That was bad enough. And it explained why all the medicines I took to help stomach symptoms weren’t doing a bit of good. I needed to treat an allergic reaction. But I had no idea that is what it was.

The next day after all these events, I would feel wiped out and still had soreness in my stomach. I would take the day to rest and that would throw the rest of the week off. Let’s just say I am not happy about spending my holiday season on the couch. I feel like I missed out on so much activities with my kids. But now that I know, I will take better caution.

Now I have 3 ducks and at least a dozen eggs a week that I can’t use. So I am selling them. NOT my ducks, the eggs. I made that clear to my hubby and he said he wouldn’t have asked me too. I have a lady that buys them for her dog because he is allergic to chicken eggs. It will be a way to pay for my feed.

I just hate to think if I had gotten brave and tried to eat one scrambled. I may not be around to write this to you.

 

This post is hopping at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop

Holiday hatchlings

Well I did it again. I couldn’t resist watching little baby chicks hatching. So I got out my incubator and put some eggs in to see what would happen. At first, I put in some of my Cayuga eggs, but they weren’t fertile.

And then I put a dozen chicken eggs in there, only 1 was a dud. So I waited another 2 weeks and then I got this result.

Growing a large family

 

9 out of 11 eggs hatched. They hatched the middle of November.

I’m not trying to brag but the coloring of my chicks are beautiful. Since I don’t specialize in one breed of chicken, mine are considered mixed. But let me tell you. They are pretty!

Chicks~Growing a large family

 

It was also a good lesson in genetics. We keep playing Whose your Daddy as their feathers come in. I was a little disappointed in the fact that I only got 1 turken out of the bunch. But that’s okay because we have another hatching coming up on New Years Day.

I just put 31 eggs in the incubator. I was going to try some of Lucky’s eggs but she was hiding them from me and I found them too late. So I put 15 of my own, 15 I bought from a friend and 1 from the neighbor.

 

This post is partying over at The Chicken Chick Blog Hop.