Friday, March 30, 2012

MamaPalooza, or Spring is Busting Out All Over!

Ok, so you already know about the three different brooders full of 4 different ages of chicks.  But I didn't tell you that on top of that, there are ducklings shortly arriving.  I had ordered them back in January, and they ship on April 9th.  I may need that box built after all?  In addition to that, how about this for why my hands are full? 

I have not one,
Ginger, who looks like she's resting but was actually yelling at me from underneath her wing
but two, TWO broody geese setting on clutches,

Maybelle, who doesn't yell, but hisses and then hides her face
One broody hen who cannot be convinced to give it up,

Broody Black Copper Maran hen who desperately wants a family
and a pregnant cat, who is about ready to pop!

Way more pregnant than this Ellie, who is due next week
Holy moly!  It's spring, all right.  And we are just multiplying like crazy here. 

Ginger:  As you might remember, she sat down on the 16th.  She had 7 goose eggs under her (all hers), which would not be fertile, as she's never mated anymore, due to her injury.  I removed all of her eggs and put 4 duck eggs under her.  They've since been candled and 3 out of the 4 were coming along well.  She continues to set.  She's currently on week two of her broody period.  She has since laid one more egg that is under her, which I will remove for the same reason as above, but I have to get near the nest to do so.  She hasn't been easy to cope with this time around.  She's been VERY protective, and I have the beak marks to prove it.

Maybelle:  I have no idea when she sat down in earnest.  I noticed she wasn't out as much last week, but I don't know what day.  When I went to look for her finally, I found her crammed on a hole she had dug in the goose house (smart).  Her nest was formed and FULL of down, which means she was serious.  As she didn't give me a hard time like Ginger, I was able to reach under her and see what she had.  She was setting on 9 goose eggs-a combination of hers and Arthur's girls'.

Doing their best ladle impressions
I candled the eggs, and almost all of them were fertile, or some were too new for anything to be seen.  Oh hell, I don't need 9 more geese, so I disposed of them.  I put a few duck eggs under her too, but didn't write down when.  Did I feel guilty throwing the eggs out?  Yep, but I'd feel worse with 15 geese running around, that's for damn sure.  Maybelle has hardly gotten up, which is why the food and water bowls are next to her.  I don't want her starving to death to be a mama.  I have no idea how long she has to go. 

Broody Hen:  Last week, this hen was setting in a box at beak-check time at night.  When I stooped down to see if she was ok, she growled at me.  I laughed, reached under her, and took whatever it was she was sitting on.  None of the eggs were hers.  I figured if she wasn't serious, this ought to break her of it.  Next night, same thing.  Next night, well, you know.  Same thing for a good week, each time she was setting in the nest at beak-check, each time on whatever egg was laid there, and sometimes on no egg at all.  Each time she growled and fluffed.  I finally noticed (duh) that she'd pulled her feathers out of her breast, so she meant business.   Being tired of having her warm up any egg that happened to appear there in her quest to be a mama, I put an egg under her.  She's setting on Hoppy's last egg.  Let's see what she makes of it. 

Ellie:  Ah, Ellie.  Ellie has been a complete mush lately, more so than normal.  Ellie has been tired, and I can't blame her.  Ellie is almost more horizontal than she is vertical.  Ellie's babies kick when you put your hand on her tummy.  Last night as she sat next to me it looked like they were running relay races, for goodness sake.  Ellie has been (to my mind) looking for a nice place to, as my son says, lay her babies.  Ellie (I think) is due next week.  Ellie could be due tomorrow, for all I know.  I am definitely keeping an eye on Ellie.

We are busting at the seams right now, so I've had to create a place to keep track of this stuff.  Behold, the baby tracking center!

Thank goodness for old plywood and chalkboard paint, printable calendars and old Sprite bottles, or this would never have happened.  The calendar keeps track of the week everyone is on.  The chalkboard is for the at-a-glance stuff and reminders, because I'm lazy.  The board's not even full yet, because I haven't written down Ginger or Maybelle's info.  Or Ellie's, though she tends to stay more forward in my mind.  And somehow, in the midst of all of this excitement, I've got to get the seedlings ready and the garden started. 

All I can say is, if I've gone insane before this is over, now you know why.  The paperwork ALONE is enough to keel me over!  Jiminy!
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  1. You certainly DO have your hands full!!! We only have chickens (for now, until my Hubby relents!) but we have 10 Easter Egger chicks coming soon and a broody hen in the coop. We've been taking the eggs out from under her for nearly 2 weeks, so we finally decided to let her keep her clutch from yesterday and see how she does. Any ideas on how to mark them? I'm thinking just a pencil mark. The ladies all squawk and fight over the same darn box, so she could have more than we were thinking of "allowing" her.
    Praying that all your babies and mamas come through alright, and you make it out alive, too!

  2. Good for you for keeping track. I feel for you with the kittens. We did that for years, but when we moved to NE and our first year, ended up with 27 kittens from wild cats that we had to find a home for, I swore never again. You are going to have a lot of ducks this year aren't you? Can't wait to see the mix.

  3. You're a busy bee! Lot's of babies on their ways! Good luck!



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