Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gettin' It Done

Yep, it has been quiet around here.  Mainly because now, in addition to working full-time here, I work full time elsewhere.  And it's a lot.  But I know many of you do it as well, so I have faith that I can too. 

But that aside, all that explains is why it takes so long to post.  With the winter just dragging, it was so hard to find any days to do anything.  This weekend, though it was rainy, I got things done...finally!  And did it feel good.  :)

Firstly, the chicks that we incubated in the 4th grade class hatched on Thursday and Friday.  Most of the incubation period went well, however the incubator had hit a high temp of 108 one day and I was unaware that it had happened.  By the time I found out, it had been there all day.  Though the chicks looked unaffected, it absolutely affected the hatch.  Out of the 15 eggs that were left to hatch, only 7 did actually hatch.  Other eggs had chicks that fully developed, but their belly buttons didn't close, which I assume is because of the temperature spike.  Honestly, I HATE losing chicks that far along.  It hurt.  I brought home 5 of the 7, having given 2 to the teacher's son, but one of the ones who did hatch had a belly button issue and did not survive.  The little one died today.  The four remaining are happy and seemingly healthy, and I hope they will be ok. 

This pic was taken yesterday, before the fifth one died.
In here is an Ameraucana cross, 2 Delawares, and 1 Leghorn.  We will see how they turn out.  They are very cute little fuzzybutts.  Curious and funny, I am enjoying them quite a bit.

Rooming with them in separate pens, there are the Cornish Cross
And the Delaware cross

Having them side-by side has been so interesting.  The Delawares are so active and flighty, and the Cornish Cross are so....not.  Though I know how Cornish Cross act, I have enjoyed watching them in relation to a "real" chicken.  So funny.  Whereas if you startle the Delawares they'll jump and flutter away, you can startle the Cornish and they do a whole mob thing and jump on top of one another--if they move at all.  It's really been a kick.  As of tomorrow, both of these groups are 3 weeks old.  I am enjoying this experiment, and hoping for some good results. 
Yesterday, while running around rain drops, I trimmed Max's hooves

One good looking boy!

And Stewart's hooves as well.

Who's a peanut-brain?  Stew's a peanut brain!  Yes he is!!
Trimming my boys' hooves is challenging most of the year, because 1)it's difficult to take them through the girls' pen when they're in rut and not have an "incident" (and they're not in rut now, but Stew went for it anyway) and 2) because of Stewart's sheer size.  Stew has topped out at 180 pounds, and is so strong that he went for the feed in the milking stand and damn near took the milking stand right over--twice.  He's a giant.  A gentle giant, but giant nonetheless.  And he's a peanut brain, so that doesn't help.  But I love that boy--he's a good, good man.  A bit feed-aggressive, but sweet as can be in every other way. 

Max turned 1 on St. Patty's day.  He's still fairly small, which I think has to do with the fact that Stew steals his food a lot of the time.  He could also be a slow-grower, though, only time will tell.  Luckily, the fact that he has horns makes up for his smaller stature.  Stew does bully him quite a bit, but Max has the horns, so he gives it right back.  And Max is as gentle as can be to me, so I have no problem handling him ever.  I got very lucky with both my boys.
In addition, I took pallets and put together another kidding pen...
Scrap wood and pallets--can't go wrong!
 ...for you know who.

Dulcinea is bored.  So, so bored.
She's getting there!  T-minus 8 days and counting, and I'm almost ready.  Hopefully she is, too.  She's pretty big, but Dulci has always been wide, so it's hard to tell in that way.  I can really only say that she's bigger than normal, and that's a good sign.  I believe I have felt the kids kicking once, but she refuses to stand still to really let me feel.  The big giveaways have been her attitude--which sucks more than normal--and the fact that she seems to be developing an udder--but she did that last year as well, and she was a liar.  Yesterday, however, I noticed that her tail  ligaments seem to have dropped.  Dulci is usually flat and broad on the back end, but yesterday I could see that her shape had changed and could feel the end of her spine by her tail.  All good signs.  So here's hoping it's the real thing this time.  It certainly seems that way.
In fact, it was quite a goat-centric weekend.  My husband and I had to replace the doors to the girls' house, as they had eaten the old ones.
New door and a peeking Lilly
Yes, eaten!  I cannot get the girls to stop eating the walls of their house!  It's driving me nuts.  They've made a bunch of holes, and the doors were the worst of all.  Of course, once they make a hole, they just keep working on it to make it bigger and bigger and bigger.  One of the doors had a hole so big, I could have fit Cynthia through it.  It's been a real problem.  I think a lot of it has to do with boredom, since they started doing this during the winter when everything was covered in snow and there was nothing to do.  I think they are bored like little, bored kids.  With nothing to do, they do destructive things.  UGH! 

So the doors have been replaced.  Now I have to find a way to get them to stop eating the walls.  Good luck to me!
And then today I got something done that I have needed to do for a very long time.

I put an addition onto the girls' house.
The three outcasts, happy at last--Dulcinea, Tallulah, and Cynthia the tiny.
Oh yeah!!  Can you tell how happy I am about this???  These three outcasts are constantly excluded from the interior of the big house when it rains or snows, which means they get wet.  This winter, I found myself blow drying all of them several times.  No more! 
 Just a few supplies from the lumberyard, some leftovers from the garage (they have an unplanned skylight, did you notice?), and a few hours, and they have a nice 3foot by 8 foot lean-to that they can run in and stay dry in.  A great thing when Minerva won't let them in the house when it's raining (which she doesn't, because she's horrible) and a place out of the sun in the summer.
It doesn't look like much now, but what a help it is!
Once it's trimmed, roofed and painted, it'll look great.  For now, it'll keep them dry and happy.  I am so pleased with this simple little shed.  It's going to be a huge help. 
Let's see...what else...I lent my mother a rooster, as she was having some problems with her hens.  She's got all girls, and they have taken to suddenly beating up on one of them-a Silkie-just out of the blue.  My mother said that they just go after her all the time.  I know that the boys in my coop tend to keep my girls in line, so I suggested she borrow Elmer, the grey/partridge Silkie roo that Louise hatched last year.  He's not a particularly aggressive roo, and definitely not aggressive to people, but he's a roo, so he should be able to keep the girls in line.  It's been my experience that, though there is definitely a pecking order with chickens, the girls are less vicious about it when there is a rooster to watch over all of them, mainly because the roo always seems to be at the top of the pecking order, no matter what.  I am hoping that my mother will find the same thing and Elmer will solve her problem.  If not, I'll have to lend her one of my "tough guys", and we'll see how that goes!
What else?  Icky did the brave thing and took out an imminent threat the other day.
Yep, he took out these vicious paper towels.  The whole roll.  Because you never know, they may have tried to strangle us all in our sleep.  Thank goodness the boy was there, or this could've ended badly, that's all I'm saying.

And he couldn't care less.
He then went on to "kill" all the throw rugs in the kitchen, and knock the dangerous camera off the counter onto the floor.  Who knows what nefarious deeds that thing was up to!  Just to help him out, Phynn and Charlotte knocked over their waterer, dumping about half a gallon of water onto the floor.  I'm sure it said something rude to them and it was deserved. 

As for me, I'll sleep better at night, knowing these guys are hard at work destroying protecting the house.  Thanks you three!  You are the best! 

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  1. What a nice post! I enjoyed reading every bit of it. Your lean-to is wonderful. I need to build something like that for our deck. LOL I would love to sit out on the deck and watch it rain, but no roof. Have a great day. I hope Elmer gets those girls of your mom's in line. LOL

  2. So much going on. You handle it all well. I stopped incubating years ago because I couldn't handle all the things that go wrong. And I could NOT stop myself from helping them out of their shells. You goats are great! I haul the stand to the boys vs. hauling the boys to the stand. Aren't they a delight to trim with their nice perfume?


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