A family farm

Monday, January 30, 2012

This week ...

This week should be the week we hatch our first turkey poults. I'll have to stop turning two of them after tomorrow. We've been candling them about once a week. In fact we candled several yesterday because Alex was over. It was quite funny with Chris, Alex and I squeezed into the closet looking at the chicks in the eggs. We were hoping they'd be moving like they were the other day, but no luck. It was disappointing. Kellie got to see the chicks moving in their yolks, but not Alex. We have his mom's incubator right now, and I'll be putting the eggs that aren't ready to hatch in that incubator while I put the hatching ones in our incubator. That way I'm not making a mess of Alex's mom's incubator.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

turkey chicks

We candled all of the 14 turkey eggs we've been collecting and putting in the incubator tonight. Well, we didn't candle the egg we picked up tonight. Chris and I looked at eggs that had been in the incubator for about 10 days and watched a rounded figure inside the shell dance around. We called Kellie out to us to see the dancing chick inside the eggshell. What a sight! When we hatched chicken eggs, I recall seeing something moving inside the egg, but it wasn't near as obvious as the turkey chicks. Even one of the eggs that hadn't been in the incubator for very long and was just a red blob with veins was moving around. Only one of the eggs that you could still see a figure inside seemed to be sleeping. Apparently we woke the rest of them up. The earliest eggs from Jan. 6 (two of them) and the egg from Jan. 8 were nearly impossible to see anything other than a little room at the very tip of the egg and the air pocket.

In other turkey news, Georgie started working on building a nest on the old drain field right next to our house. Yesterday Chris said she was digging in the dirt, but was having a hard time doing it because the ground is nearly frozen. I remarked to Chris today that I was surprised at how big the hole was that Georgie had dug, and he said it wasn't that big yesterday so perhaps she made it bigger today? We walked over, and he said it was bigger. He said we should keep our eye on the hole because she probably will try to lay eggs in it. So far she has not been broody at all, wanting to lay on them. I find that odd behavior. You'd think she'd want to lay on them and keep them warm. After all, we have to keep the incubator temperature at a stead 100 degrees to hatch these chicks. I don't think a frozen egg would hatch. I don't know why her instincts have taken over. Hatching fowl has been interesting. Right from birth chickens start scratching and pecking for food. It really is amazing how this all works. I mean, without a mother to teach them how do they just know how to behave? It really is quite something. It amazes me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Alienation - A CHAOS Novel by Jon S. Lewis

Well, I just finished reading Alienation, a CHAOS Novel by Jon S. Lewis, sent to me by BookSneeze. It wasn't the easiest book for me to get into, but I had just finished reading two other books that were very big on the action and adventure, and I was really in the mood for something else. This was a page-turner, no matter how much trouble I had getting into it. There was action nearly every other page. If I had been a kid that was into reading a little bit, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the book from cover to cover. As it is, I didn't think it was bad. The story line was great, and not having read the first book, I wasn't lost, yet this book didn't rehash much from the previous book. It was nice to be able to step into the story even though I hadn't read the first third of the series. I also liked the comics and drawings both in the beginning of the book and at the end, although it's also nice to make up in your mind what you think a character looks like. I think this would be an easy enough read for any kid around the age of twelve. Big kids, if you like to read what your kids are reading, you will also enjoy the book, provided you like action and adventure and stories of what may seem impossible. I do recommend this book for other readers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Farm in Winter

I haven't been on the blog in quite some time ... In fact, we've had a Christmas and now it's next year! Finally, the weather has turned to January. We're struggling with keeping the buckets of water from being frozen over, but other than that, Decker's Acres is going pretty well. We are concerned for our turkeys, however. Sometimes they just seem so stupid! Georgie is laying eggs now, and we have about a dozen going in the incubator. Of course, when they hatch, we'll have one a day hatch, as that is how we are getting the eggs. Georgie is a Blue Slate, the daddy, as far as we can tell, is Quagmire, a Narrangansett. Either way, they'll be pretty birds. We do have a Blue Slate tom, Donatello, but he's not dominate. He's the self-blue color and is just lovely! Anyway, the other day, when the weather turned, Georgie thought it would be great fun to stay out in the rain. She got herself all wet, and then the temperatures dropped down into the teens. She's fine, now. Then Foreman, our Red Bourbon tom, thought staying outside, perched high up on a beam would be a great way to spend the night as the snow blew around him. Duh! Lucy, our Red Bourbon hen, also likes to get out and roam the farm, but she hasn't acted dumb yet.

The goats are doing well. Betsy kidded today, but had problems and the little buck died. He was a cutie. I couldn't tell you if Lillie or Ginger were preggers, however. They should be. I witnessed the act, and later that week, Freddie showed no interest in them. Jade is going to have to get out of the bachelor pen. She's had multiple opportunities, but putting her back in with the girls isn't a good idea either because she keeps the other girls from eating. She's a bit crazy. She's always bleating. You'd think there was something wrong with her because generally a goat that loud and obnoxious has some sort of health issue. Not Jade. She's just loud. We've had her for almost a year now, and she's always made her voice heard.

The chickens are laying pretty good. We have about 25 pullets, and they are really stepping it up! The barred rocks lay well, and one or two of the ISA Browns do as well, but it's the young Americaunas that are really bringing it on! So with the 35 or so hens we have, we're getting about ten eggs a day, at least half of them are green or blue. The Marans and the Wellsummers are starting to lay as well, and usually once a day there's a dark brown one in the mix.

Well, enjoy the pictures! It's back to work I go!