A family farm

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Growing Turkeys

We have one more egg to hatch! That will make twelve! This was a pretty productive process in all. We started out with around eighteen eggs, and through candling, we narrowed that number down to thirteen. One chick died (not Miracle Max - she's still growing strong!), and one egg didn't hatch. We have eleven chicks right now, the oldest being Miracle Max and the youngest being the two that hatched yesterday. Miracle Max is almost three times the size of the young chicks. All eleven chicks are in a bin on top of my dryer in the house. Even with the heat lamp, it's still too cold out for them to be outdoors. We clean the bin out every day. If we didn't my mud room would stink up the entire house!!!!

And finally, Camilla (one of three white Amercaunas
we hatched last year - they are all named Camilla)
checking out the view from the deck ...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Miracle Max - a turkey story

Thursday at around midnight our first turkey chick hatched. Friday morning we had a 2nd - we're calling him or her Miracle Max. See, Friday evening we went out to eat, celebrating accomplishments of our kids. When we got home, we plugged in the heat lamp in the chicken coop. The box we're using is a plastic bin with a hand-made wire top. We put the two chicks in the box and went to watch a movie. We checked on the chicks when the movie was over and Miracle Max was all flopped over, laying on its side. Its eyes were closed and it was barely breathing - and when I say barely breathing, I mean taking a gasping breath every couple of minutes. We brought the box into the house and cleared off the dryer in our mudroom. Water spilled over and puddled near the head of Miracle Max, making its situation look even more hopeless. I took hold of the first chick that hatched - Number 1 or Riker if you will (named after William Riker from Star Trek, the Next Generation) - and started taking out the paper towel from the bottom of the box. I started to mop up Miracle Max with the wet paper towel, but Chris asked for the limp chick. I was snapping at Chris as this was going on because I was so upset that I had single-handedly killed one of our first chicks. I had been so excited that we were at 100% for hatching so far. I also hate when one of our animals, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant the creature is on our farm (except pests), is ill, injured or dying. This chick looked like life was something that it would never experience. Anyway, Chris took the chick and placed it in the incubator. There was a 3rd chick in the incubator as well, and I hated that Chris was putting this dying chick in the incubator sucking all the hope of a good life out of the 3rd chick hatched. I ended up putting Riker in there as well because it was too hard to try to clean the box and hold a shivering chick at the same time. I got the box all dry and clean and went to get Riker. I noticed that Miracle Max was alternating between taking a gasping breath and a real chest-rising-and-falling breath and that the breaths were coming more frequently. I put Riker in the box and went to get a thermometer so I could better regulate the temperature. Once that was settled, I checked on Miracle Max. I couldn't believe my eyes. This chick was taking regular breaths, its chest rising and falling pretty regular. I told Chris that this chick was breathing better. I also said that I'd still be surprised if it made it through the night. About five to ten minutes later Chris told me that the chick was opening its eyes and moving around. Soon it was standing. By the next morning it joined the warm and toasty brooder box with Riker where it took its first drink and at a bit of food. It was truly a miracle - Miracle Max's miracle. See, while I was snapping at Chris, he was praying for the chick to live. I'm an idiot. God is not to be underestimated. He even cares for the smallest, insignificant little creature. Imagine how much he cares for me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

First turkey hatchling

This is the first bird that was laid at the farm that we hatched!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Little Henri

I thought I'd post a picture of my little peahen. We're pretty sure she's a she ... Henrietta Matisse. She practices laying on a nest and all. Her brother (died) used to fan his tail all the time. She only very rarely will stretch her tail feathers.