Sunday, April 27, 2014


A week of ups and downs. Friday was gorgeous with sunshine and a light breeze. Fortunately I had taken the day off because some fruit trees I ordered in February were delivered. For once I was able to plant them the same day!

Now, to set up a question I have to describe where we are seasonally: the lilac leaves are just starting to unfurl and tulip leaves are poking up, but nothing is anywhere near blossoming yet. So, when I fell in love with the vibrant colors of this flower in town I had to buy it. Within minutes of me setting the pot down in the sunshine at home there were bees and a butterfly at work. My mom says the same thing happened at the farm. So, my question is: how did they know?

The chicks are now two weeks old. Lots of energy. Lots of poop. Some are starting to get chest feathers already while others haven't even started on tail feathers yet.

I watched the first episode of Great British Garden Revival last night and the segment on wildflower meadows sparked an idea. Where my chickens are there isn't a blade of grass growing. I was planning on fencing off a section to let it green back up but now I've decided to try an experiment by planting wildflowers there. It may be too nutrient-rich (thanks to aforementioned poop) for them to prosper, but should be interesting to find out.

The fire is burning, the wind blowing and we have a week of cool rainy weather ahead. It's a good day to stay indoors.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Warm weather on a weekend

Another weekend gone.

Chicks are still growing
2 earthboxes set up

Oldies are enjoying a nice day

Sherlock is moulting gently this year

cabbages getting a bit of outdoor time
It really flew by. I did get the garden cleared off and ready for tilling. I know I was pushing myself too hard though. My energy levels are gone now and I had to take a lot of breaks today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bigger brooder pen

Although most are only a couple days old, they are already starting to hop around. The few that began hatching Saturday (early) are developing pin feathers. So, I assembled a cardboard pen on the living room floor (the only room we can keep the cats out of) and we turned them loose in their new, bigger home.

This is our late-bloomer, hatching Monday afternoon. Because the coloring is unique, it's easy to spot in the flock. I've decided to try to document the growth by photographing it every day while they are inside.

It's a challenge living with so many active siblings. Just try stretching out a leg during a nap and see how long you can sleep when someone pecks your toes!

24 bundles of fluff out of 30 eggs; a great hatch rate for me. I don't candle for fertility at any stage so just take the chance that the roosters are doing their jobs. A blogger I read talked about breaking open the unhatched eggs to see what went wrong. My view is there is no way I'm cracking an egg that has been cooking for three weeks. I checked to be sure there weren't any pips or cracks on the leftover eggs before turning off the incubator. Other than that I'm simply grateful to have so many healthy chicks.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baby chicks!

Such a day! While the north wind howls outside, it's toasty warm and hopping with life inside. I've got eight chicks in the brooder and four more fluffing in the incubator still. From the looks of things, the eggs aren't finished hatching either.

It's surprisingly difficult to get good pictures. As soon as I focus on one, three others charge the camera. They haven't quite got the concept of photo-bombing. Their personalities don't photograph easily either. Like the one who is fascinated by toes.

Precocious here loves attention.

Bouffant because of the gorgeous style.

Sam Vines, how can you look so world-weary at less than 1 day old?

I love watching the subtle colors emerge as their down dries. One of the advantages of having mixed breeds is that each chick looks unique.

Sadly, none of my hens are broody, so these won't have the pleasure of being raised in the coop. On the plus side, we will get to know them much better.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The weather teases

We've had some lovely days with sunshine and warmth. I even hung laundry outside for the first time this year! Alas, Sunday will bring the colder temps back, possibly even some snow. :(

Then cool days and dipping below freezing at night for most of next week. My plan for Saturday is to haul a couple more loads of chicken manure from my parent's old barn to my gardens. Then if it does rain (or whatever) the fertilizing process can begin.

Better news: the eggs I started in the incubator 3 weeks ago will be hatching soon. Today I took them out of the egg-turner and now I can hear peeping! Pictures will follow as hopefully the chicks emerge healthy. I generally see about half hatch successfully, but I never expect a certain number. Anything between 5 and 15 would be wonderful.

On to the weekend!