Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ups and downs of our staggered broody hatch!

Clarabelle's eggs started hatching last Sunday!  She had two hatch on Sunday, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. 

We also had an egg that she accidentally broke.  I left it for a day, but then assumed that the chick had died.  I brought it in the house and candled the egg, and didn't see any movement or anything.  I peeled the top of the shell off at the air cell and saw a perfect little chick.  I was getting ready to dispose of it when the chick wiggled.  I proceeded to wrap the egg up and put it in a make-shift incubator in our bathroom.  The chick survived all day and tried to hatch, but wasn't able to and didn't make it.  I felt really bad, but there wasn't anything else I could have done, and if I had tried to help it anymore I could have done more harm than good.

Yellow are Bantam Buff Cochin and Black are Black Copper Marans
 I also found a lady about 45 minutes away from me that had Black Copper Maran chicks that also hatched on Sunday.  I made the trip with a friend and picked up 3 of those chicks to try to add to Clarabelle's little family!  I introduced them right at dark and was a little worried when she first pecked them and didn't want to have anything to do with them.  I snuck them under her and checked on them several times through the night.  The next day she was much better and they were eating with her and her hatchlings.  After that, she took them with very little problems, just  peck here and there. 

                                         Hey! What are you doing under here too?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Busy Weekend!

It has been a busy weekend here!  Hubby worked on his new building/workshop most of the weekend.  The kids and I helped most of the day Saturday.  We managed to get the floor leveled up and have it stable.  I think the plan is to get another layer of plywood down on the floor and start on the walls this week when he gets home from work. 

Sunday was even more eventful!  I went down to the coop early, and Clarabelle had a fluffy peeper! It was teeny tiny, and ADORABLE!  I shut all the other chickens out of the coop, so she wouldn't be as stressed with the new chick and still trying to sit on the remaining eggs.

 I met a friend around lunch time and we went to pick up two new hens.  It was nice to have some adult time, although I did take the baby with us.  The new girls are very nice, big, pretty hens, although they are molting right now and a little scrappy.  They also aren't laying right now, but should resume when they are finished molting.  They are currently residing in the isolation coop, and will stay there for a few weeks while we make sure they aren't sick or anything. 

I went down after supper to open the coop back up for the other chickens to come in to roost for the night.  We had another chick that had just hatched and was still wet.  Clarabelle is still sitting on the remaining 5 eggs. Since this is a staggered hatch because my other broody hen was killed by dogs and her eggs were a week behind, I am ready to put the unhatched eggs into a makeshift incubator when she decides she is finished.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Devastating two weeks for the chickens. Predator Loss: (May be upsetting)

The past two weeks have been tragic for our chickens.  When we decided to free-range we knew that eventually we would lose a chicken to a predator.  We didn't expect it to be as devastating as it turned out to be.
Doodle-  RIP

Snake in the brooder coop
 First we lost our bantam buff Cochin rooster Doodle, and our buff orpington hen Bertha.  We were unsure what the predator was and tried to keep a closer eye on them during the day while they were out foraging. The same day, we found a snake in our brooder coop and it had killed one of our chicks.  We didn't have any problems for a week, and we thought that whatever had gotten them had come through and gone.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.  Last Saturday, we went down to the coop after lunch and something had gotten another 3 of our chickens.  While searching, we came upon two huskies with one of our chickens!  They ran off, and we buried the chickens.  Two days later, they came back and decimated our flock by killing another 6 chickens!  So in a matter of 2 weeks we lost a dozen chickens. The kids were really upset and the Hubby was prepared to take drastic measures to protect our flock!  I called Animal Control and they told us that if the dogs were on our property killing our livestock or chickens then we could use whatever means necessary to protect them.  At that time we didn't know who the dogs belonged to, but have since found the owners who apologized and agreed to pay for the damages as well as keeping their dogs home in a pen.

We have 11 chickens left, and Clarabelle, our remaining buff Cochin, is sitting on 7 eggs that we hope hatch next week!  Loss is inevitable on a farm, but each one hurts a little.  Many people don't realize how strong yet compassionate you have to be when you choose a life on a farm.  It doesn't matter if you choose to have just a few backyard chickens or have a large commercial farm with hundreds of animals, this life is definitely not for the faint of heart! Many days you just get by on a hope and a prayer.

Clarabelle sitting on her nest

Hello and Welcome! Let me introduce myself, my family and our critters!

Hello and welcome to our little corner of the world!  My name is Lindsey and I am glad that you stopped by!  Let me start by introducing myself and the family.  I am a stay at home mom to four beautiful and rambunctious kids.  I have 3 daughters ages 6, 2, and 15 months and a son who is 5.  It is never quiet at my house until everyone is in bed!  My husband is the love of my life and we have been together for 11 years, since I was 17.  He does an amazing job at supporting us and keeping things running around here!

 We just purchased our land and house this past spring, and have been working on getting moved and settled into our new home!  It has been a crazy journey so far but also a major blessing!  Since our home was a new construction, we have been fighting the rain and the mud trying to get grass sowed and the yard fixed.  We will eventually get it finished.  The hard work is very much worth it because it is ours, and it is something that we can be proud of!

On our little farmstead, we currently have 2 dogs. Parker, who is a 8 year old Yorkie, thinks that he is top dog and this often gets him into trouble!  We also have Zauk, who is a 5 year old Great Dane and is very easy going and laid back!  We also have a 13 year old Siamese mix cat, named Sydney.  Our newest members are our chickens, and we have 11 at the moment with a hen sitting on a brood of eggs.  I also have plans to pick up a few more hens in the next week or so!  We have had quite the adventure with the chickens in the past few months, but that is a story for a different post!

Thank You for stopping by!  I look forward to sharing our day to day story with you!  Please feel free to comment and add suggestions!