Monday, March 10, 2014

Week In Review

We had a guinea casualty yesterday. Keegan noticed one of them hopping around the yard on one foot and let me know that it was hurt. We managed to corner it in the turkey coop so I could catch it and check it out. The poor thing had a severely broken leg. We had to put it out of its misery. My heart breaks to know that it was in such pain and I hope that it wasn't suffering for long before we found it. I wish I knew how on earth it managed to break it like that?! It is hard to tell. The guineas have started wandering farther and farther from home, always coming back, but who knows what kind of trouble they are getting into while they are gone. Brad has caught them in the road on several occasions and I hope that they don't get hit by a car!

Now that the guineas have stopped being so loud and alarming at the slightest little thing, I am much more attached to them and would like to keep them around! I never really noticed how pretty they are until I got a close-up look yesterday. They have such pretty eyelashes and are really attractive birds once you get over the shock of the white face, Mohawk, and horn on the top of their heads. They do need to get better at the tick control issue, which is a big reason that we got them to begin with. Keegan found 2 ticks on Ari (our little tick magnet) yesterday so they aren't doing as good of a job as I would like. Hopefully the remaining 9 will keep out of trouble and eat lots of bugs. Perhaps it would be a good idea to go ahead and  incubate some eggs just to make sure I'm covered? The eggs are fertile btw! I'm so excited!

The 10 baby chickens that hatched are doing well and have more than doubled in size! I can't believe how fast they grow! Their wing feathers have already come in so they will soon be out of the cute sweet baby chick stage and on to the awkward teen stage. These are the feistiest but most curious and trusting chicks we have ever had. They remind me a lot of turkey poults. When I put my hand in the brooder, rather than running away, the chicks run toward my hand and bite at it. No doubt thinking that I have food. These are the first chicks that I have hatched in the incubator rather than buying at the feed store or having them shipped. Apparently it really makes a difference in how they react to us. I hope they are this friendly and accepting of us when they grow up!

The tomato seedlings are about 3 inches tall and have 2-3 sets of true leaves. Time to transplant soon! The peppers are still germinating. It seems to be taking them forever, but then the tomatoes were much quicker than most plants and coming up. The oregano still didn't sprout... I will never order from that company again. I had hoped that it was operator error (even though I know I did everything the way I was supposed to) but too many seeds never even germinated despite any changes or extra effort on my part. They were duds and I wasted a lot of money. Lesson learned! Baker Creek from now on.

In other news... Brad and I got hitched on Friday! The thought of planning (and paying for) a big wedding had stressed me out for faaaaarrrr too long. I'm not a big fancy wedding type of person anyway but I was doing it for Brad's sake. Friday was our anniversary anyway, marking 6 years since the first day we met and I fell in love at first sight. We decided to make it official at a very small service. Maybe one day we will renew our vows and have a big celebration, but until then I am just happy to be married to my soulmate. Married... wow... 10 years ago I would have said you were crazy if you would have told me it would ever happen! And that I would be this happy about it! It goes to show that there really is that one special person out there for everyone. I've officially claimed mine and have the papers to prove it!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

No Longer Lacking Eggs...

We are overrun with eggs! Less than a month ago we had people asking us for eggs and had none to give. Now I am having a hard time keeping up with them long enough to crate them up and give them away, let alone get things situated well enough to sell them! My whole kitchen table is filled with eggs!

The chickens have ramped up production from less than 2 eggs a day about a month ago to 8-10 a day now. Considering that we have 15 hens, the numbers could be a bit better, but I already have no place to put them all! Keegan and I (mainly my wonderful son, Keegan) did a deep cleaning on the chicken coop over the weekend so the girls have a much cleaner, healthier place to live and lay. This really helps with the cleanliness of the eggs since the girls don't have dirty feet walking around in the nest. I don't wash my eggs because it removes the protective bloom and allows bacteria to enter the egg. Washed eggs also have to be refrigerated while unwashed eggs can be stored at room temperature. Dirty chicken feet mean dirty eggs that can't be sold.

Another source of our egg overabundance is the guineas! They have been laying for about 2 weeks now. Of course, they don't have a coop so finding the eggs is a bit more difficult. Keegan has been doing a great job of finding the nests and collecting the eggs. It hasn't been too awfully hard though. The guineas really aren't that bright. They have started several nests right in the middle of the yard. Out in the open with no cover at all. From time to time I will find a random egg laying the yard like the guinea just squatted where it was, laid an egg, and then went on with its day like nothing happened. Because there really isn't any way of knowing how long ago their eggs have been laid since they move their nest every time one is found, we have not eaten any of their eggs. I am really fighting hard the urge to put them in my incubator though! I am not interested in having more guineas than the 10 I already have, but I really love hatching babies! It is kinda like an addiction. I need to see if there is anyone close to me interested in buying guinea keets so I have an excuse.

My turkeys have been mating for a few weeks now, but sadly I have yet to find an egg. Those eggs I know I can incubate and sell. They won't be sitting around on the table wanting for a use. That's how it usually works...

In the mean-time the animals will soon be having a smorgasbord of scrambled eggs to clear the dirty eggs off of my kitchen table and get a clean start. It makes me really miss the pigs! They were happy with raw eggs. The rest of them are a bit more picky. Oh well :) Good unprocessed nutrients, vitamins, and protein. Better than store bought feed any day!