The farm house

The farm house

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 20...Welcome Spring!!

Well here we are!! The first day of Spring!! A frigid albeit sunny one at that. Last night I stayed up late hoping to hear a chick peeping from inside the such luck. I fretted thinking I may have a bum hatch. But wait, it's only day 19!! No more turning twice a day for these chicks. So this morning I believe  I saw a small peck on one egg and a bit of rustling. It does get quite noisy in there when some egg start rolling and knocking into others!! That could be later this evening and tomorrow morning. Hubby has yet to "fashion" a special lid for my brooder so that when the chicks get a bit bigger they won't be able to fly out so easily. So he did not want to hear any peeping just yet!

Day 20 8:55 am
As you can see in the photo, nothing special happening . Not all the eggs due to hatch are visible.
Above is a pic taken this morning of some herbs that I am growing and of course what house with knitting or yarn about is complete without a feline friend about? That is Sally on the couch absorbing some rays. I love this room as it has wonderful natural light. On the table that is not visible is about  a half completed  1000 piece puzzle. I love doing puzzles as it is very much like meditating, much like knitting but the brain is thinking at a different level. It is also an exercise to encourage and continue the practice of patience which seems to escape many...

Knitting studio/nursery
In the background there are geraniums that I brought in from the garden last Fall. They are flowering. There are 4 total and one of them was from 2 summers ago!! So, don't think I'll be buying hanging baskets this year. I've decided to start herb farming. I have some in my garden but this year, there will be plenty and if all works out, I can sell some to the lovely people who buy my eggs! I really need to finish cleaning my coop and the nursery are for the hatching chicks but I would prefer a few more warmer days.

There is always something to do to knit and listen to the incubator. Enjoy the day my friends!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Week To Go!

Day 14!! One more week to go and chicks will be peeping away!! A strange thing happens in the incubator about this time. The temperature increase on it's own! That is caused by the fact that there is life in there generating it's own heat. Today is a cold day and they are in my studio which is heated. I usually keep it cooler in there but... So this morning I had to slightly adjust the temp.

I forgot to mention in my last post that the Canada geese are slowly returning!! I have yet to see a Robin. Poor things, it's freezing again and not a worm in sight for them to eat! Also, I witnessed for my very first time, Laszlo turkey doing the mating dance! The stomping feet, very impressive. No eggs yet... My friend has Muscovy ducks and they are not laying yet either. She swears that when they start to lay, Spring is here.

Take a look at this photo and can you tell what's wrong and what created it and why I don't care if it stays as such?? Right in the middle section, the stitches ar loose and wonky. This was created by knitting that section with wool that was previously knit and then wound up without it being steamed to relax the fibres. As it's for myself, I figure after washing and blocking, it may fix itself...we will see. It is the back of a vest for myself so, no big deal. I have been knitting a shawlette with laceweight yarn and it's killing me!! Super slippy and I'm not using Addi's either. I think fingering weight will be the thinnest for me after this experiment! Now I must check on water for the critters as it's so cold, the water may be frozen....come on Spring!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Weekend...

Before I get into the explaining of the funny and not so funny, it's day 11 of chick watch!! Half way there!! Soon my studio will be transformed into a nursery. It's cute for a while and then it stinks. More on that later.

Not funny: On Saturday, my shearer showed up. He was in the area and wanted to know if I wanted my sheep shorn. Not yet I said as I wanted to invite some folks out to watch. Also I hadn't asked Vanessa  from Booth Boys Farm if she was planning on bringing her flock over like she did last year- she has 1 more sheep this year. And then I said it: My other sheep haven't arrived yet. Hubby says I don't like what I just heard. So, he sulked because I did not consult the addition or purchase of more livestock. His chief complaint is money- nothing else. So, he sulked, made me feel bad while I went about my business.

Funny: On Sunday, guess who helped get the barn set up for the quarantine and lambing pens? Yup. He came out and repaired and installed and threatened the rams that if they break out again they would become chops!

So, 3 Shetland ewes will arrive either Easter or weekend after! They are not bred. So I am adding a white one, a dark brown and alighter brown- one has a blue eye!! There will aslo be Romneys but I may have to wait until after lambing...

Not funny:Meanwhile, this morning I discovered the horses had taken out the electric fencing where I feed them. Upon further investigation, it looks like someone probably got run into it and then it was pulled. Good thing I had nothing planned except take more litter out of the chicken coop!! Luckily the ringleader has a great fear of the snakey looking fence that lay on the ground and no horse dare tread beyond...even if it wasn't live!

Funny:- still waiting !

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 8- First Trimester Over...

As the title says, now into the 2nd stretch of human intervention in the reproduction of chicken. Here is what the inside looks like now:

It truly is an amazing process.
So why not let the chickens hatch them? Awesome question with a few answers. Some hens don't want to sit on eggs. Yup, we've messed around with hybrids to produce a breed that can lay consistently but has 0 mothering instinct. Some breeders and I'm talking the show quality stuff, discourage it in their flock.

Some breeds do go absolutely nutso and will sit on just about everything which creates other issues.

A couple years back I had a pair of buff brahma banties.

Cutest little things and they would sit. One of them decided she was going to hatch something. So, I let her. What I learned was I should keep her somewhere away from other chickens and away from other eggs as she stole more and would hop onto other nests... she ended up with about 20 eggs under her, set at different times!! So, she hatched one out and it ended up smothered due to no space under her as she was still hatching out the other eggs. So I took a bunch and put them into the incubator. I did not trust her after that. That hatch was the first time I've had to deal with deformities in chicks.

So if I have a hen that goes "broody" I allow it but under controlled circumstances. They also don't lay while sitting, so, no eggs for 21 days and then if she's a good mom she won't lay for another 2 months while she is raising her chicks. Sometimes, a hen disappears and comes back with chicks in tow. When you have many chickens and some are not of a particular look that attracts your eye, you may not notice it's missing. The real bugger about hatching either in an incubator or witha hen is you end up with roosters!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 5 and also Day 1of Chick Watch!

Confused yet? My 2nd batch of eggs ordered from DC Heritage Poultry in Shawville Quebec finally arrived after being delayed by the storm. So a dozen layer eggs are now incuabting.. I had a heck of a time adjusting the temperature after the addition of these eggs ,so here's hoping something hatches. Yup, those are the risks...

If you candled an egg from the 1st batch, you would see veins developping. We are more than halfway through the first trimester. Time flies when you are a chicken egg. "We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?" S. Parkes Cadman I could not agree more.

The meat birds will need to be ordered at the end of the month. And still no turkey eggs!! The rams broke out again and hubby is not amused. For a smaller breed, they can knock just about anything down or over!! Ram tough like the slogan goes...

If my ewes are bred, as accidents around here happen, they will be lambing mid April...By then there is supposed to be a few more additions.But given the way things happen around here, I play it by ear and hope for the best.

Today is a nice partly sunny day and I have eagerly awaited the milder temps...Oh please warm up some more!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day One of Chick Watch- March 1st.

Look at these amazing colors!!

It's March, and the eggs are here!! I ordered a rainbow basket selection of hatching eggs and was not disappointed when they arrived! Patricia Saunders of CCL Farm is who enabled me this time. By the way CCL stands for Crazy Chicken  Lady, so isn't that a perfect match already?Check it out at

So 2 dozen eggs arrived a bit delayed due to the weather and all but 1 are in the incubator. There are risks when using shipped eggs: changes in temperature, too much movement, being dropped. So only time will tell what becomes what.

After opening the parcel, I was surprised to see the precious cargo was packed in popcorn. What a wonderful idea and it worked very well. All but 1 egg arrived undamaged. I of course inspected the eggs, took note of what was what as Patricia put initials on most of the eggs so I may know what to expect. Then the eggs were left to warm up to room temperature before being put into the incubator.

The damaged egg was not very damaged and I chose not to include it as it would probably become what we chicken folk refer to as a "leaker". Sometimes an egg may have a small fissure, enough to eventually leak the contents out, usually after a week or so and the results are not good. An egg that may be partly developped and smelly! Sometimes you can't tell which one it is until you find drops on the shell...To avert that, the damaged egg was removed.

The new incubator with large windows!
On to marking the eggs. Each egg has been given an X with a marker. The eggs must be turned at least twice per day so this is how you know if they all have been turned. Given the shape of eggs, some lay flat before than others. The really dark eggs have a really dark x as the marker used for the others did not show up well on the darkest eggs.

When putting eggs into the incubator, you lose some of the heat that has built up inside the incubator. Also, you are adding something that is slightly colder than the inside temperature of the incubator so the temperature must correct itself. While observing and adjusting the temperature, I was knitting a sock. Hermione's Everyday Sock by Erica Lueder. I found it on Ravelry and managed to get most of it done while watching Brideshead Revisited....Oh to live in a huge manor such as that.!..not my favorite though. Clonalis House in Ireland is one of my all time favorites. I can actually see myself living there!!Back to the sock. I am using Indigodragonfly and making the calf larger to accommodate myself! I hope to have enough yarn...

Meanwhile, the eggs were "set" last night so today counts as day 1 of chick watch. 21 day is how long it takes, so figure on March 21st or so for chicks to appear. I won't be posting much about the eggs for some time as there is not much happening on the outside of the egg.
I wonder what else March has in store for me...