Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chick Count!

The final chick count: 7 healthy babies! Not the best hatch rate (I set 22 eggs), but it was my first time incubating, so I'm just happy I got any at all! The babies ended up hatching early. A couple hatched Tuesday night, and the rest hatched Wednesday.

I got a pretty good assortment of chicks.

This one is really pretty...yellow and gray mix. I wonder what it will look like when it's fully grown.

And this one. I have to admit, I'm kinda freaked out by the brown face. I'm not sure why it freaks me out, it just does.

The black one on the right is the smallest. I think it might be a bantam cross. It is LOUD. The sucker never stops peeping. Last night I put it in my sports bra to keep it quiet. Don't judge me. It worked.

My mom was thinking about taking a couple home, but I was kind of attached since I only got 7 to hatch. So, I gave her the next best thing. I sent her home with my incubator and some chicken eggs so she can hatch her own! :-)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I'm still recovering from our wonderful holiday, so I'll post about it another night! Right now I'm playing catch-up for the craft show on Saturday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Early birds!

We have babies! Yes, babies! Three of them! The first one to hatch was the yellow chick in the back. This chick popped out so fast, it wasn't the one that hada pipped earlier!
The red chick hatched shortly after.

Then there were two more pips.....

And a few minutes ago, out popped this little one!

The first two are in the brooder. Of course my heat lamp bulb broke as I was setting it up. Thanks Murphy. I have a regular bulb in the lamp, but it's not warm enough, so I set the heating pad under the chicks (with a towel underneath and a towel on top. There's a little stuffed animal in there with them, which they are both burrowing under!


The third chick will go in the brooder in just a little while. He/she needs to dry off a bit first. :-)

We have a pip!!

To answer Linda's question from my comments of the last post, yes, chicks peep before they hatch! They have an air cell in the egg that they use to breathe when they're getting ready to hatch.

And guess what?! One chick has pipped his egg! A pip is a small crack in the shell that is the first part of hatching. The chick will pip and then rest for a bit. Next comes the zip. Zipping is when they start at the pip and crack a line all the way round the egg (looks like they're unzipping the egg). It can take a while from pip to hatching, so I'm not sure if I'll have a chick by the end of today or by tomorrow.

I apologize for not having pictures, but I just couldn't get it clear enough for you to see the pip.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We have lockdown!

Today is day 18 for the eggs! I candled them 2 nights ago and found 13 still viable. Lockdown starts today, so there is no opening the incubator (to keep the humidity in) and no more turning. Tonight David heard peeping coming from the incubator! The little chicks are getting ready! I'm so excited to see what they look like!

I ended up removing the two green eggs that had been refrigerated. They were supposed to hatch on Thursday (of last week), but they never did. I cracked them open today because I wanted to see what they looked like. One of them quit early, probably on day 8 or so. The other one had a fully formed chick inside. I'm not sure what happened to make the chick die, but it's pretty disappointing.

I'll keep you updated on these 13 though!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saying hello!

Meet Remmy, a three year old boxer boy. He's going to be staying with us for a while. We're going to foster him. He was picked up as a stray and taken to the humane society. He's been there since October 14th. He got neutered and was all ready to go to a new home but he got diarrhea.

Bad diarrhea. They couldn't adopt him out like that, and his time was just about up. A friend of mine (who is a boxer owner and active with animal rescue) contacted a boxer rescue group who agreed to sponsor him if she could find a foster home. That's where we come in!

We're going to take care of him and try to find the root of his issues. We're thinking at this point is colitis (like irritable bowel sydrome) which is controllable with diet.

Do you see his scar? He was once a stud dog for an irresponsible back yard breeder. Apparently his collar was too tight and begin to get embedded in his neck. Poor guy. And his ears are not in very good shape. Probably a bad crop job combined with fly bites.

This boy has had a rough life, though short (he's only 3). But he's sweet as pie. Loves to give kisses and get hugs. And he's fairly calm for a young boxer. And he's cute. Right? A little cute?

How could you not want to kiss that nose?

Saying goodbye!

Savannah left to go back home today. Guess who tagged along? Mammoth! I decided to sell Mammoth because I just don't have the room to separate him, and he'd need a buddy as well. He went home to live with Savannah and a few Nubians. Bryce, their owner, was celebrating his birthday today! Happy birthday! The big 1-4! While Bryce was here, he was nice enough to collect eggs for me. He saw my two buff orpington roosters, and I told him if he could catch them he could have them! My hens are a little overwhelmed with so many roos.

Guess what? Bryce caught them! He's quick like that. I found a box for the roosters so Bryce wouldn't have to hold them on his lap the whole ride home.

Bryce even said I could breed June to Mammoth next year if I want. Cool!

Keep me updated on the goats, Bryce!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two weeks to showtime!

I realized this morning that I have 2 more weeks until the big craft show. Holy cow! That means I really need to kick it in high gear if I'm going to have enough stuff to make it worth while. I've been knitting every night, and this weekend I really need to get to work sewing my felted sweaters into purses. Even though those purses take a while to make, I can sell them for a good price, so it's worth it.

Remember those felted nest bobby pins I made? Well, I made miniature versions of the nests and put them on rings! I love them, and I really think they'll sell. David's not sure, but I hope I can prove him wrong!

They're pretty cute and not too big or bulky on your finger.

Now for an egg update. There is no update. The eggs were due to hatch yesterday, but there's no change. There's still a small chance they could hatch late, but I went ahead and opened the incubator this morning and turned the rest of the eggs that are due on Thanksgiving. I figured there was no reason to neglect them just because I'm waiting on two long shot eggs. I am still holding out hope though. Besides, they don't stink. After 3 weeks wouldn't rotten eggs start to stink? Hmm. Time will tell!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Catch Up Post

Saturday night David's parents and brother came over and brought fixin's to make pizza for dinner. The kids had fun helping out with the toppings.

Please excuse the messy kitchen. On second thought, it's a well-lived in kitchen, so it's supposed to be a little messy. ;-)

Yesterday when I got home from work, I installed the cat door. It was easier than I thought. Cut a hole in the door, and insert the cat door. Four simple screws later and it was in! Hopefully the cats will learn to use it. I've put Chilli through the door a few times since yesterday. I know Jack can use one, because we had one in our old house. I don't know if Tucker has ever seen one. Maybe we'll hold a Cat Doors 101 class.

Oh, and today is day 20 for the two test eggs in the incubator! Those were the ones that had been refrigerated. I'm crossing my fingers that they're going to hatch. I hope there's some activity tomorrow!! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The last girl is home! Today I picked up my second ewe, a registered Romney. She's bred and due to lamb in the spring.

Isn't she cute? I love Romney faces. I need a name for her. Any suggestions?

When I brought her home, Darla came right up to her and seemed to be glad there was finally another sheep. The goats hadn't exactly welcomed her.

I'm pretty excited for the Romney girl to lamb, because there's a pretty good chance that she'll have natural colored (see pictures here) lambs (hopefully she'll have twins). If I remember correctly, her breeder said her sire was a natural colored ram, and she's bred to a natural colored ram. The breeder also said you can get either color (white or natural) from any sheep, so it's possible if she twins she could have one of each! Exciting!

While I was taking pictures, Kylee was making friends with Savannah.

June preferred to watch from a safe distance.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Planting Garlic

I planted garlic a few weeks ago but forgot to blog about it! I think I planted it the last week of October. I was hoping to get it in the ground earlier, but it just didn't happen. I used store bought garlic, so hopefully it'll grow! I've read that store bought garlic is sometimes treated to prevent sprouting. I've also read that other people successfully grow the store bought stuff. We'll wait and see!

I dug a nice trench for the garlic next to my swiss chard.

I used the biggest cloves from a few bulbs of garlic.

Plant them about 2" deep and about 6" apart. Make sure to get the root side down. :-)

Then I covered with soil...

And used my built in soil tamper, my foot! I've read that the row should be covered with straw or another kind of mulch to protect the bulbs from the cold weather. I haven't gotten around to that yet, but I will try to remember to do that soon. I'm thinking a nice layer of leaves will have to do.

I'm crossing my fingers that early next July I'll have home grown garlic!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 8!

Today is day 8! That means there are only 13 days left until the eggs are supposed to hatch! Oh, don't forget about the two Americana eggs...they're way ahead. It's already day 15 for them! They've only got 6 days left. Who knows if they're viable, because the shell is way too dark to candle!

I did, however, manage to successfully candle most of the other 18 eggs in the bator. A few of them had some spotty shells, so those were harder to see.

I took these pictures this morning so I could blog about it. I used a few of Squash Blossom's eggs because the shells were much easier to see through because they were so light.

*Oh, and I made my candler for free. I'll post pictures later, but it's just a regular lamp (table sized) with a "daylight" bulb and a shoebox with a hole cut in the bottom (to fit around the bulb) and a hole in the top (to put the egg on). It's probably not the greatest candler, but it works and it was free!

Here's the first egg. You can see the initials "SB" so I could keep the Squash Blossom eggs identified. You can see a dark spot in the egg, which is the chick's eye. You can also see a healthy network of veins around the embryo which means this is a viable egg! The embryos even move around when you put them up to the candler! I tried to take a video, but it was just too dark.

Here's another egg. It looks different than the first one, but I think it's still viable because I'm pretty sure it moved. You can see the eye under the letter "S". Also, I marked each egg with an "X" on one side so when I rotate them I can tell which side they need to be on.

Here's another egg that looks like it started developing really well but I think it has the "ring of death" around it. See the red line around the egg? This happens when bacteria gets in the egg and the embryo dies.

Here's another shot of the same egg on the opposite side. What really worries me is that dark splotch on the bottom right. I am going to post pictures on a chicken forum and ask if they think it's the ring of death.

I haven't gone through and written down how many viable eggs I think I have, but I'm going to do that soon. I'm more of a "wait and see" kinda person, especially because I'm not a candling pro and I don't want to get rid of an egg that might actually be ok. Except for that ring of death egg....they say those are really good at exploding. Yuck.
There's lots of information out there about chick development. Here's a little illustrated chart that's pretty neat. Here's another site with some great pictures of embryos!
13 more days!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Darla's "After"

Much better than the "before."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Darla Gets a Brand New 'Do

Darla got sheared today because she was one big wooly mess. I decided to try it myself, even though I knew my clipper blades were dull. And were they ever. It took way longer than it should have, but I got it done!

Thanks to Devin for taking the first two pictures!

Darla was very calm and well-behaved, which helped me do my job. I need all the help I can get, because I don't shear very often, so it's hard!

I finally finished right as it was getting dark. I clipped her ears with my hand shears, and discovered that she's missing good chunk out of her right ear. I wonder what happened? Dog bite?

And, she's LOVELY!

I'm thrilled with her! I got a really good deal for her, and now I'm almost wondering what's wrong with her. I know the breeder said she just didn't grow quite as long as he'd wanted. That's ok by me. He's into showing sheep, and I don't know that I'll show her.

I'll trim the leggings by hand tomorrow. It was getting too dark to finish! And I'll get more pictures of her.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Meet Darla!

I went today to pick up my Southdown ewe from the breeder's place. She's a registered yearling Southdown ewe. She lambed this past spring, so she was bred as a lamb. This spring will be her second lambing. I got her from the breeder I've always bought sheep from. My sister and I bought (well, our parents paid) our first 4-H market lambs from him about 18 years ago! That's crazy.

She needs to be sheared because she wasn't done this spring. I need to check my shearing machine, because I don't think my blades are sharp enough. I haven't used it in a couple years. If I can't do it myself, I'll have to find someone local to do it. There should be enough time before it gets too cold for her to grow in enough wool to protect her from the weather this winter.

I did trim the wool away from her eyes so she could at least see! She should be lambing this spring. The breeder said he had her in with a Southdown ram, but a Hampshire ram hopped the fence, so we'll see what the lambs are!

We worked on the shelter today too. We got 3/4 of the way done. We just have to cut one more section of wall and then paint everything. And I finally hooked up the electric fence. The goats had been standing on it and pushing it down. The girls got shocked within the first few minutes! Rude awakening!

And I harvested some turnips from the garden! I think they're so pretty for some reason!

Hope you all had a great weekend!!
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