Sunday, January 27, 2013

Candling Day

Friday night we had candled all of our eggs. Candling means that we took one of the eggs into a dark room, and shined a really bright light into it so we could see what was going on inside the egg. We did this with ALL of the eggs in the incubator. One at a time, with the ducks first. Every time we would put a duck egg up to the light, the little forming duck inside would wiggle around and squirm. It was probably the second most awesome thing I've ever seen in my life, the first being seeing my own kids wiggle and squirm on an ultrasound. DS was there watching as well and he was just so excited to see these little "blobs" moving around inside the eggs. 

We've got just under 2 weeks left before we should have a bunch of tiny animals running around in tubs in the bathroom. I'm really hoping that we can get our new coop built soon because we're running out of roost space in the coop! We sure didn't think out the whole "what if we get more" (also known as Chicken Math) thing well. We're going to build a big 17'x10' coop soon. The coop itself will be 10'x10' and then we will have an area where we will be able to store feed, to put our processing equipment, our chicken/rabbit first aid kit, have a "sick bay", and possibly a brooder box for any eggs we hatch. HOPEFULLY we will get some broody hens and they will do it for us. I'm not holding my breath too much tho. ;-)

We will candle again right before we go into lock down, which is the last 3 days of incubation. By then we should be able to tell for sure which chicken eggs are going to hatch, and which ones we should just take out. We're very excited about out new "fluffy butts," even tho most of them will be for eating. It will be interesting to see what we get, that's for sure!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Update on Gregg and assorted other oddities.

So, Gregg was REALLY limping around badly outside, and he was getting chased all over the place, and I just felt horrible for him, so I bought him inside for a few days. He was fairly immobile in the chick brooder, tho it was big enough for him to turn around and move a bit, he preferred to stay rather still. Gregg spent a couple of days inside with us, getting extra love and treats, and today we checked to see how his leg was doing. The swelling is almost completely gone, and he can walk on it again. I decided that he needed to be with his Lily duck, so we put him out there. Lily and he reunited, and then Steve had to chase him around for a bit so he would remember that he's the "2nd in command" drake.

We also got our seeds today! I was so excited! Sixteen year old me would have NEVER thought that I would be so excited about chickens, incubating, and growing a garden in my 30s, but here I am! I'm LOVING it! I wish I had more space so I could have more ducks, chickens, and more garden, but this is what we have, and eventually, we will get a bigger place. As my mom always said "Ya gotta work with what ya got little one!" and she is completely right!

In other completely off the wall news! We are going to be remodeling a few things around here, FINALLY! Sam has okay'd some wood laminate for the laundry/dog room, the kitchen, and the dining room. I'm hoping that for around $2000 we will have a completely "new house!" I think the flooring will be the most expensive part. The most time consuming part will be mudding all the walls, patching any holes, and then sanding before we paint. Since we live in a modular, the walls all have this textured wall board. It's either mud over it, or find inexpensive wallpaper and wallpaper over it. I'll take my chances with the mud!

It was also a sad day on Ivy Hill. One of our friends is going to have to have bypass surgery, and had to sell off all of her birds. We went to Wilmington to pick them up and have distributed the majority of them to their new homes. One have one more person that is supposed to come tonight to pick up the remaining birds, and  they will all be gone. :-(

I'm going to be sure to hatch her some chickens and ducks when she gets better. I know they won't be her originals, but, at least she will have some babies to love! :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 8

Today is day 8 for our duck eggs, and day 1 for *some* of our chicken eggs. When our friend brought us the mallard duck eggs, she also brought some chicken eggs. They had already been under a broody chicken before she brought them, so, we figured "why not?!"

So, in 21 days, around 09 February, we are hoping that we will have some little ducklings and chicks! I'll be sure to post a lot of pictures!

In other news! We got a gift certificate to Seed Savers Exchange for Christmas from my Kris (my sister), and we finally got around to ordering seeds! We've got some new tomato seeds coming! I'm really excited about them. One of them is called the German Pink, and the fruit can be up to 2 pounds each!! The other tomato is called the Mexico Midget, and it says it produces "hundreds" of 1/2"-3/4" fruits all season! Kris wants some pictures of the garden, and of course I told her that I would send her some home grown, home canned goodness. :-) We got a few other seeds as well, and as soon as the potatoes are out, we will be ordering 5 pounds of seed potatoes to plant as well. We're very excited about this years garden. We've planned on putting a fence up, and making another 4'x4' spot for some herbs. This fall I planted close to 100 flower bulbs to help attract bees and beneficial insects. We have a friend that lives a couple streets over, and she said that she could put a honey bee hive in our yard, and pay us "rent" in honey. It would definitely give us experience in honeybees! I absolutely think that it needs to happen!

We've got to put about 2000lbs of sand into the duck and chicken run. Not only does it have NO grass in there, it gets super muddy when it rains, and there is a lot of holes starting. Two of our ducks have sprained their legs by falling in the holes. Of course, it doesn't really help that there are only 3 ducks for the 3 drakes. So, today we decided that we were going to get rid of the most aggressive one to one of our friends that lives WAY out in the country, has quite a few ducks, and a pond! After catching Gregg to make sure he was okay, his ankle was very swollen and warm. We're hoping that doesn't mean that he broke it. :-/

That's all we have for now! We should be updating again real soon tho! :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

And so it begins!

So, the other day, I finally put some eggs in the incubator. I am SO excited about having some ducklings I can't stand it! LOL

Today was actually the end of day 2. I turned the eggs 3 times today, moving them around the incubator just to make sure that they were all getting adequate heat. We have 26 more days to go for ducks, and in 5 more days, I will add a few chicken eggs. Today, if I were to candle (meaning use a light to look into the egg) it would look something like this:

I didn't candle mine, and I won't until about day 14. It's fun to know what all is going on in there. 

I'll keep everyone informed about how the hatch is going!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So exciting!!!

     So, the other day our friend Pam got a new 200 egg capacity incubator and was begging for eggs to incubate from anyone and everyone in our local barnyard group. So, we chipped in and gave her 7 chicken eggs, and 2 duck eggs yesterday. This morning I sent her a text asking her if she had set any of them yet, and if we could bring over a couple more duck eggs to toss in. She said that was fine because she hadn't set any of the eggs yet. So, we took her 2 more duck eggs and 3 more chicken eggs for a total of 10 chickens and 4 ducks. The deal was that she would give us back all the duck eggs because she didn't want the ducks, and she would keep half the chicks that hatched. I told her that it was a fair deal and that I looked forward to having some new "fuzzy butts" in the house.

     Well, when we got there, she surprised us with her old incubator! I was so shocked! I thanked her profusely and we sat and visited for a while before she had to take her daughter to a doctors appointment.

     I've got it plugged in right now to get the temperature set correctly, and if all goes well, we should be able to put some more duck eggs in there, and some more chicken eggs as well!!

     We're so very excited about hatching our very own eggs!

     We also planned out the garden for this year. We're adding 2 more watermelon types, one of which Sam wants to try growing vertically, a couple different tomatoes, one of which being small cherry tomatoes, and some dry beans! We should be starting seeds here in the next week or two, so that will be exciting!

     Gretchen also turned into a Gregg, and the friend that we got him from is certain that he is a full runner duck. He has turned into a BEAUTIFUL black/grey/silver color! Another one of our friends has a fawn runner and wants to breed them to see what colors we would get. I told her that when he's old enough to breed that would would put them together for a few weeks and we would set some eggs! Of course, now we can hatch them in our new incubator! :-D

     The same friend that wants to breed runner ducks with us also gave us a new rooster as well! He's about 3 months older than Robbie and has a full tail! He's not show quality because he has white in his tail, but he is a beautiful bird! Sam named him Scrappy because he is a feisty fella! He's also a Buckeye. I can't say enough nice things about the breed. They are very adaptable. They're friendly. They're dual purpose birds, so they can be used for meat or eggs. And they're just beautiful!

     Here is a picture of Scrappy

     Isn't he a pretty boy?! I just love him.

     That's all we have for now! Hopefully we will have some more for you soon!