Tag Archive | pets

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!

 

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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

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.

Chickens with Bumblefoot

Growing a large family

 

*Graphic Pics in this post. Warning for the faint of heart*

Never in a million years did I think I would be a chicken keeper! Never in a million years did I think I would love birds! Never in a million years did I think I would have the knowledge to perform a surgery on a chicken! But all of those things I can and do.

Having chickens are really not for the faint of heart. Yes they are very easy to take care of…until there is a problem.

One of the first major problems I had to encounter was bumblefoot. And I have had to deal with it on several occasions with the same 2 bozos.

Growing a large family

Thing 1 and Thing 2. These 2 seem to get it like they get bugs in the leaves. It’s crazy.

Basically bumblefoot is an infection. If they land on something and cut their foot, it could lead to bumblefoot because of all the dirt that they walk around in. Almost like a staph infection. Signs of bumblefoot are swelling, redness, a black or brown scab on the bottom and sometimes limping or holding the leg up. If left untreated it could be fatal.

On this particular day, I had, not 1, not 2, but 3 cases of bumblefoot. Thing 1 had one of her feet and, always trying to one up her sister, Thing 2 got a double case!

So I gathered my team of homeschooling homesteaders, my supplies and got to work.

Growing a large family

This is your basic supplies for bumblefoot: Epsom Salt, Honey, scalpel, vetricyn wound spray, gauze and vet wrap. As you can see some of this you will have at home. The rest I picked up at Tractor Supply. You will need a bucket or bowl so you can soak the chickens foot.

Growing a large family

Sorry for the foggy picture. I used this activity as a photography lesson for Cailin.

First, you need to get warm water in your container and add some epsom salt. I don’t measure the salt. I just pour a little and let it dissolve. This is just to soften the area around where the surgery will take place. Hold them there for a minute or two.

Now comes the fun part. Keeping them still on your lap so you can perform the surgery without hurting them.

What I do is put a towel down on my lap, then I take them out of the water and lay them on their back on my lap. I have one of my daughters immediately cover their head with a towel. Chickens can’t really see in the dark. So the towel simulates this and keeps them calm. Once in a while they will kick their leg. But usually I have my youngest daughter holding on to them so my hands are free.

Growing a large family

This was a very mild case of bumblefoot. I probably wouldn’t have known she had it, had her sister not been limping and I decided to check both of them. But for this post I am going to show you the most severe case I have had.

Growing a large family

As you can see Thing 2’s right foot is extremely swollen.

Bumblefoot~ Growing a large family

That black spot is what we need to cut out. That is the infection. Again this is the worse case I have ever had on our homestead.

Growing a large family

You take your scalpel and cut around the edge of the black scab. You shouldn’t see blood or any fluids coming out. It is literally just a scab that is holding in an infection. You will see the scab start to come loose from foot.

Growing a large family

Once you cut away the scab, you need to scoop and squeeze to make sure there is no pus still in there. I very rarely get extra pus out. But at this point you have an open wound.

Growing a large family

Spray with wound care, put a little honey on the gauze and place over the incision area.

Growing a large family

Wrap with vet wrap. You will want to change the wrap at least once a day. If you see it has fallen off, then soak in warm water to kill any germs and repeat with meds. You may even need to use some medical tape to keep it on. Within 3-5 days it should be better and can remove the bandage.

Growing a large family

 

This post is partying over at the Simple Homestead Blog Hop

 

 

Cayuga Ducks

I have 2 Cayuga Ducks on my homestead right now. I love these ducks. I have 1 male and 1 female. I named them Hook and Dark Swan in honor of the show, Once upon a time.

Hook is such a sweetheart. He is one of the ducklings we hatched.

Cayuga Ducks~Growing a large family

He likes to chase after our feet and nibble at our boots. He is also very spoiled by his Mama. He always waits for his food because he knows I let him eat out of the food container. He is also very curious of everything, like my camera.

Cayuga~ Growing a large family

The male Cayugas have more green coloring on their heads than females do. Also you know a duck is a male because they will get a few feathers that flip back towards their head near their tail.

DSC_0406

Male Cayuga~notice coloring on head and flip tail feather

Females are also more vocal. That is how I knew my Lucky Duck was a girl. Now my female Cayuga isn’t as vocal as Lucky, but very much has the features of a girl.

Female Cayugas have darker beaks and are mostly black with very little variation in coloring. Also the biggest giveaway is no flip feather on their tail.

Dark Swan is more standoffish when it comes to people. But if you have food or treats then watch out. She pushes most of the chickens out of the way to get to them. She is more calm and doesn’t freak out when you walk near her, which some males have a tendency of doing.

Cayuga Duck~ Growing a large family

Female Cayuga~ no flip tail feather and the coloring is more on the feathers and less on the head.

For a year, I told my hubby that I wanted Pekins. They were the best ducks for my homestead. But one day, I was reading a duck magazine and when I read about Cayugas and the amazing thing they do, I had to have them.

Cayuga Egg~Growing a large Family

That is the best first egg I have ever gotten. Only the first egg comes out black then they start getting lighter in color. My one Cayuga female has been laying for a few weeks now and has laid more eggs than some of my chickens. Ducks will out lay them and keep laying during the winter.

Another exciting moment was when I found the egg in the nesting boxes! Most of the time ducks will just lay an egg where ever they want and you have to hunt it down. Not with my girl! She has laid every egg either in the nesting box, coop or run. It makes my life so much easier! Hopefully she can train any other girl ducks we get to do the same.

Duck eggs are best used for baking. It gives it a much richer taste. Some people will use duck eggs just like a chicken egg. But then others say it has more of a game taste or is much saltier, depending on your breed. I personally have only use them for baking.

And of course this……

Cayuga Eggs in Incubator~Growing a large family

 

My Hubby is going to kill me.

 

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FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop

From the Farm

The Chicken Chick

Simple Homestead Hop

 

Have fun chasing squirrels, Justice

I am not sure what is happening around here with my dogs. But it seems like this is the year for sadness.

A few months after Hubby and I moved in together he brought home 2 little kittens that the kids found at daycare. We named them Smokey and Bandit.

About 2 months before our wedding, I decided I wanted a little dog. Some how we ended up with a cocker spaniel named Justice. He did not stay little.

Fast forward 2 years, I still have the mind-set that I want a toy type of dog. We bring home Gucci, a toy poodle.

A month later, we buy a big property in the middle of the country and Hubby decides we need a big protector dog. So a month of looking leads us to get Duece, a great dane.

The end of June, we put Duece down. He was having hip problems and so much pain that he couldn’t sleep and whined most of the time. With him being such a large dog, we had a vet come and take him to put him down. My hubby and I have so much guilt about not being there with him in the last few minutes of his life. And it honestly haunts us, especially my hubby.

We got Harley, our golden retriever puppy about a month later. And we really thought we have our 3 dogs again.

We never thought this would be the year that we would lose 2 of our fur babies.

Growing a large family

A few weeks ago, Justice just wasn’t acting right. He lost all his energy, he was wheezing and breathing heavily and stopped eating. I called a vet in the morning and by that afternoon, Hubby and I were sitting on the floor saying good-bye thinking this is it. He couldn’t move and his breathing was bad. Then a few hours later, he was fine. Slow moving, but he was moving. Vet came out and said nope he’s just old. A week went by and Justice was getting worse. Because of our guilt with Duece, I took him to another vet who said he had congestion and ran some blood work which said there was an infection. So antibiotics it was. But a week later and he is still not showing any improvement. Hubby and I had said we can’t let him suffer. Let’s get through this weekend so everyone (extended family has become very attached to him) could say good-bye.

But he didn’t make it until the weekend.

Hubby found him yesterday while the kids and I were out. Hubby called and said don’t come home, I don’t want you to see this. When we did go home, Hubby was still burying him. I offered to help, but he said not until he had him covered where I couldn’t see him. I am a farm girl now. And homesteading has toughened me up. But it was sweet seeing my hubby treat me like that.

A little while later, the kids and I went out and put my flowers on his grave. Today we are making a marker for it. It’s only right because he was family too!

RIP Justice! You were the best dog ever. You loved and protected me and our family more times than I can count. Your thrill of riding in the car, or getting treats will always bring smiles to my face, especially when thinking of your little nub of a tail wagging behind you. You were our first son and will always be in our hearts.

 

This blog post participated in the Simple Homestead Blog Hop