It is a wonderful Sunday update as we are even closer to having everything back to normal from the flood. Violet and Ferdinand are home now, and we are so so very happy to have them back. It just didn’t feel like the farm without a milk cow here. Tundra is glad to have them back too, and to have more animals to protect and watch over. He seemed to be bored with just the chickens all this time. Hens
More hens are laying now, and it has become clear that some of them are definitely in a full-blown molt as they are looking pretty strange as they lose and replace their feathers. It has been nice to have more eggs available, and we have been able to begin selling to one customer. AND one or two of the pullets from the Brahma group have started laying now. We are positive one of them is the Buff Brahma, Rachel, and the CochinX, Ruth, may or may not be laying. But it is very exciting to have some of them starting to lay. I expect the Dark Brahma hens to follow in the next few weeks. Then we will definitely be getting enough eggs to sell again.
The chicks from our first ever successful hatch are 12 weeks old now. We can now tell which are pullets and which are cockerels. We have been keeping an eye on them all, and we rated them at 8 weeks and then again this week. After this week’s ratings we made preliminary decisions of which are keepers and which are not. We are selling 3 of the pullets to a friend, they have obvious defects that keep them from going into the breeding program (split wing and crooked keel). And I have a list of the cockerels that are for sure being butchered. Ideally, we would like to integrate the pullets and the 2 cockerels we choose for the breeding program into the large flock of adults at about 14 weeks. We hope that by introducing the cockerels to the roo before they mature it will help keep the fights to a minimum (it worked with our last cockerel roo integration, and Pepper and Boaz are still happily living together). But it is hard to know for sure which cockerels we want to use for breeding at such a young age. We have it narrowed down to 4 right now, and are hopeful that in the next few weeks we can get that down to two and integrate them with the big flock. We will keep the other cockerels in the growing out pen until they are ready to be butchered at about 16 weeks. Rabbits
Fuzz was supposed to kindle this week and didn’t. She is an experienced, proven doe, and was bred with Homer, our experienced and proven buck. But we bred them right after we moved them back home. So maybe the stress of the evacuation and then coming back home had something to do with it? We don’t know.
So we bred both Fuzz and Ebony this weekend.
The garden is officially finished and put to bed for the winter. We put straw over the asparagus and strawberries. Our area is so very windy that just using straw does not work. So we put bird netting over the straw and held it down with a mixture of ground staples, rocks, and some extra boards. This ought to make it last.
Now we wait and dream about next year’s garden. 🙂 And while I am waiting, I have a new garden book to look over. It is called “Good Bug, Bad Bug: Who’s Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically” by Jessica Walliser. It looks like a great resource book, and very easy to use. So I am excited to use it and learn more about what pests might plague our garden and how to deal with them.