Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Exciting Days at the Farm

Well we have several exciting things happening around here.  Well my sebbie goose is laying an egg every day!  And this am I had 3 ducks eggs!  WOW these girls are really getting into gear for spring.  A local feed store has also asked me to hatch 25 chicks for Easter time for them.  I  have a chicken swap in Oregon coming up the day before Easter.  I will be going down to sell chicks, ducklings, extra adults, hatching eggs etc.  And of course picking up a few too. =}  I also have a chick order coming from a new hatchery, called Farwest on March 16th.  I ordered 60 chicks. 

I have so many chicks now that I may actually have to stop putting eggs into the bator!  What a novel idea!

We bred the rabbits on Feb 9th and so in a couple of weeks should have baby bunnies too!  Lots of Easter goodness around here!

I have decided to sell the quail I hatched last weekend because they are just too cute to butcher.  I have a buyer lined for them already.  She is a regular customer of mine.

Tally ho!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Day at the Funny Farm

Ooops!  Did I say that?  I meant a funny day at the farm!  te he  Well, this morning my duckies were roaming the place and having fun in the sun; guess what I see when I look out the window?  They are running around like something is spooking them.  Well I look around and find it is one of their own scaring them!  Recently the geese pulled the plastic label off of our propane tank on the BBQ.  I couldn't find it and thought the wind blew it away.  But here one of my ducks had gotten her head through a small hole in the label and and the rest was trailing behind her like a cape.  Superwoman was running as fast as she could to get away from it, but it wouldn't give her any space!  And then all the other ducks were running away from her!  It was a pitiful site, but I tell you I was laughing pretty hard!  We tracked down superwoman and took off her cape.  I think she was much happier being a normal duck again! =}

We now have 2 ducks laying eggs daily!  That means Luca and one of my blue hens are laying.  Or the two blue hens are alternating days.  Either way I am getting lots of duck eggs to put into the incubator!  YAY!  Fuzzy Easter ducklings here we come!

If you all remember back a while I bought two sebbie geese and thought they were both boys.  Well it turns out that Baby Nibbles is a girl!  She is laying eggs!  She has laid 4 eggs now and 3 are on standby to go into the incubator!  I left one in her nest.  Very exciting!  I have 3 girls and 2 boys in my sebbie flock now. That makes a much better ratio of boys to girls.

Today I was changing coops in the rain, so I have one wheelbarrow with the dirty stuff in it and one with clean.  The bale of hay in the clean one was going to get wet, so I covered it with a blue tarp.  So here I go from coop to coop with my wheelbarrow in the blue wedding dress and the geese are chasing me every step.  It is mating season so these 2 boys are on high alert for any funny business!  They nibbled on the wheelbarrow and tarp and hissed at it when it moved and Glad even tried to bite the wheel once. =}  Silly geese!

I currently have 35 eggs in the hatcher and some are hatching as we speak.  2 olive eggers out so far.  These are all my eggs, so there are olive eggers, polish, giant cochins, cuckoo marans, frizzles etc. 

I have done some research about being a reputable breeder/seller and want to introduce some new practices to my farm.  The first will be to start vaccinating my chicks for Mareks.  I lost a few birds to this in the past and it is a nasty chick disease.  If I vaccinate the chicks, they should be safe.   The other change is that I am going to try to get NPIP certified.  This is a disease testing done by the state once a year.  It proves that your birds do not have pullorum, which is nasty disease that I have not experienced.  Having this certification will let others know I have a clean flock and may open some doors to more buyers. 

This week has been very busy with selling and shipping hatching eggs and selling chicks locally.  Have a great week!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lots of Birds!

 This weekend a bevy of birds hatched at my house!  I hatched 19 quail and 27 chicken chicks.  Whew!  My kitchen is full of boxes/cages of chicks.  It has been a busy weekend.  Here are some pics of the new birds.
 Here is the first one that hatched.  They are so tiny, about the size of your thumbnail and about the 10th of the size of a chicken chick!
I modified a bird cage that we had to hold them.  I put cardboard on the side and bottom because at this stage they can fit through the bars.  They are doing great!
Here are a bowl full of them when I moved them from the hatcher to their cage.  They remind me of large bumble bees!  They run everywhere instead of walking and stumbling like a chicken chick.  These are jumbo coturnix quail and I was raising them to eat.  They get big enough to butcher in 8 wks!  But I am thinking they may be a bit small to bother with.  I think I may stick to the rabbits. 

I also had 27 chicken chicks hatch in the following breeds; giant cochin, olive eggers, cuckoo marans, buff polish and frizzles.  They are very cute and only 1 egg didn't hatch.  Here are some pics from them.

 This is Puffalump! It is a blue or splash giant cochin.  Isn't he adorable??
I have birds coming out of my ears!  te he  But they don't take up much room when they are little do they? =}

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Olive Egger Project

I am attempting to make a breed mix that will lay olive colored eggs, aptly named Olive Eggers.   To do this I am breeding my Easter Eggers (green egg layer)  with my Cuckoo Marans (dark brown egg layer). 

 These are a couple of my Easter Egger girls
 And here is my cuckoo marans rooster.  His name is Raptor. 
Here is one of their cutie pie babies!
Here is one from the last hatch that looks like it will be a blue barred!  YAY!
One really cool thing with cuckoo/barred birds is that you can sex them as soon as they hatch!  It is pretty reliable.  The boys have a solid white dot on their heads and the girls only have a dusting of white on theirs.
This should be an interesting project.  Both parents are from hatcheries.  But the marans have decently dark eggs anyway.  Here is an example;
I don't have any adult olive eggers yet to show you what color their eggs will be, but later this summer I should.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Guinea Pig, Hatching Eggs and Silkies, Oh My!

Well my friend Celia and I took a "chicken road trip" over to Seattle area.  We stopped in Bothell to pick up a good quality Buff Cochin rooster for her flock and another stop in Bothell to pick up a free guinea pig for Celia's daughter.  The pig's name is Hammy and she came with a cage, food, a ball to play in etc.  Her daughter Hazel is enjoying the new pet. Next on to Monroe, to our Silkie breeder's place.  This lady has collected show quality silkies from all over the U.S. to make up her breeding flocks.  She had several young birds, chicks and hatching eggs for sale.  Celia bought 2 doz of her hatching eggs.  And we bought all of her young birds and chicks between the two of us.  I ended up with about 35 birds from her and Celia about 23.  We had Celia's car full of chickens!  It was a fun and productive trip.  Here are some pics of the birds from the trip.

These silkies are so poofy and cute, they are hard to resist.  I will pick the best from the best to make up my breeding flocks and sell the extras.

Farm Updates

It has been really busy here at our little farm.  We are collecting lots of eggs.  Sometimes up to 30 a day!  I am saving most of my purebred eggs to hatch and sell the babies.  But I had to reduce the amount I was saving because my incubator got full!  Some exciting news is that one of my duck hens is laying an egg every day!  They look fertile and I am going to incubate them.  Sadly the 2 sebbie goose eggs did not turn out to be fertile.  My incubator now has 123 eggs in it (plumb full!) so I had to move the 85 quail eggs into the hatcher a few days early.  They go into lockdown tomorrow. 
Aren't all those little spotted eggs cute?  I didn't candle them because the spots would make it difficult to see through the shell.

We had a little bantam white cochin rooster that was being too rough on our young group.  So I separated him in a kennel in the garage.  Well my son David fell in love with him and has taken him on as a pet.  His name is Pee Wee.  He is a friendly little rooster and we are often carrying him around the house. =},

Mille Fleur d'uccle Trio

Last spring I sold a bantam Mille Fleur d'uccle trio to someone.  Now I have bought them back! =}  They are nearing 1 yr old and should start laying from the winter break soon.  They are beautiful little birds!  I will try to hatch their eggs.  The pics are not very glamorous because they are still in the quarantine green house.

New Bobwhite Quail

I bought 11 bobwhite quail from the same friend as the rabbits last week.  Shyanne and I quickly built a short little cage for them.  Quail are naturally very skittish and try to fly up when spooked.  So if you have a very tall roof, they will gain speed and break their necks when they hit the ceiling of the pen.  (They don't seem too smart...)  So their cage is only about 10 inches tall for this reason.  There are 8 boys and 3 girls.  So I will sell a few of the extra boys.  They make the cutest cooing noises!
 Here they are!  The boys have white cheeks and the girls have brown.  David says they look like baseballs with legs!   I put some tree clippings in there to naturalize their pen and give them somewhere to hide when scared.
The Christmas lights were because we were finishing it in the dark. =}  The wheelbarrow is currently holding it up, this is a temporary measure until we build some legs for the cage.

New Rabbits

I bought some registered, show quality American Chinchilla rabbits.  I bought 2 does (girls) and 1 buck (boy).
These rabbits are used for pets, showing and/or meat.  We are going to raise them for meat.  The adults get to weigh about 20 lbs!  Each doe should bear 8-12 babies and in 10 wks they should each be about 6 1/2 lbs.  If we have extra babies we may sell some for pets or showing.  I know some of you may have a hard time thinking of rabbits as meat animals, but they are actually one of the most efficient animals in food to meat conversion and very easy to breed and raise.
 This is Elijah, he is our buck.
 This is Sarah, one of our mommies.
And this is Becca, another mommy. They are all in temporary cages until I get their cages cleaned, set up and a roof built over it to protect them from the weather.  That is the next project around here.....