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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 02:08 AM   81
NDH
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I decided to wait and test out the incubator for a couple days first, make sure the temp is calibrated right etc. And mt speckled sussex eggs arrived today so tomorrow I will set them all together
Our muscovy drake went missing while we were away last weekend . But today we found 3 duck eggs so I will add them to the incubator and hopefully we can hatch the last of his progeny.

Pita I've heard small goats are actually harder to keep fenced as they're more prone to jump



 
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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 13:15 PM   82
PitaKat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDH View Post
Pita I've heard small goats are actually harder to keep fenced as they're more prone to jump
My neighbor, who had goats for years, was the one who told me that, but I have no first-hand knowledge. Unfortunately, it may just come down to the individual goat! I guess we'll have to wait and see when we actually get goats lol.

Sorry to hear about your drake I hope you get a great hatch rate.



 
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Old May 7th, 2017, 21:55 PM   83
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Howare your meat birds coming?

We had an abysmal hatch. None of the sussex eggs were fertile (I'm getting replacement eggs in spring), neither were the duck eggs. Of the other 24, 14 were viable at lockdown which isnt too bad. I left three in that I wasn't sure about, and they turned out to be rotten (thankfully they didnt explode)
One chick hatched a full day early and 6 others pipped on time. But overnight two of the pipped eggs died when the humidity dropped and shrink wrapped them.
Then two hatched the following afternoon and 15 minutes later my parents arrived andwe went to show them the chicks and one had managed to get its head stuck in the tiniest gap between the tray and the wall and drowned in the water below Another chick hatched that evening.
The following morning the final pipped egg hatched just as I woke up to check on it, and half an hour later when my daughter got up I showed her the new chick and discovered that the second oldest of the chicks had also drowned! so we have 3 chicks, a Welsummer cross and 2 Araucanas. we named them Goldie (yellow/copper welsummer), Platinum/Plati a very light Araucana whis probably lavender, and Titanium/Titan, a grey(blue?) araucana. Titan also has splayed legs I'm correcting.

This afternoon we're buying some australorp chicks to make the most of our brooder, and tomorrow we're picking up a blue australorp breeding trio so today I'm finishing building their coop. Might also pick up some 3 week old barnevelder chicks tomorrow but its an extra hour of driving so I'm undecided.

Oh and 2 weeks ago one of my ducks showed up with 10 ducklings in tow! So we do have descendants of our drake after all. One died (my 5 year old accidentally killed it ) and we've told them we will keep 2 girls and the other 7 we will butcher in about 3 months.



 
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Old May 13th, 2017, 16:43 PM   84
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Oh NDH, I'm sorry about the hatch rate and your chicks that died! Your 3 that lived, are you raising them in the house or did you give them to a broody hen?

Sounds like that mama duck did a good job though! Glad to hear that your drake has left behind some decedents.

Did you get the barnevelder chicks?

We had some broody hens hatch out 10 chicks from 17 eggs, and then 2 chicks died (one I think from being too cold, and one I think from getting crushed), and another has disappeared. Unfortunately my broodies aren't great mamas, there are 3 of them and they care more about who has the chicks than if the chicks are cared for They leave chicks outside the coop every night, we have to catch them and put them in. We're down to 7 chicks (it'll be a wonder if any make it to adulthood). I plan to keep the pullets and butcher the roos.

The meat chicks are coming along very nicely. We haven't lost any of them yet. They're not growing too fast (though they are definitely growing faster than my orpington chicks are!) and are quite active. We have them outside in chicken tractors now, and they really enjoy the grass. They have feed, but as soon as they're on fresh grass, they're eating that! I'll be keeping a rooster and 3 or 4 pullets to integrate some meat-type genetics into my flock. My husband is building me a chicken plucker, should be a lot faster/more pleasant than plucking by hand!



 
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 19:21 PM   85
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Our chicks have been in a brooder in the shed - instead of heat lamps we are using a "brooder hen" heat plate which has been working really well. Means they can still get suggly warm whenever they need to but are adapting to our outside winter temps right off the bat (it doesn't freeze here so not too cold)

We got 8 Australorp chicks the same age, though they aren't growing as fast as the three we hatched, 2 have leg problems (one went entirely lame and we thought we'd lose her, but a little TLC and a week inside and she' pulled through with a limp, and now another one has a bum leg too but since they can still get around we won't be culling them) and one is a frizzle so obviously not a pure bred. One turned out to be blue though which is a bonus.
I've ordered a small batch of meat chicks (just 6, they are sooooo expensive here!) to see if it's something we can actually do and is still financially viable before investing in more. We would also need to build a chicken tractor before getting more than 6 as we have a tiny pen we have been using as the nursery when we want to get the chicks out on grass, and our broody had her chicks in there before she integrated them into the main flock that is just big enough to use as a tractor for 6 broilers.
We need to build like 8 tractors all up but need time to do that... lol. For sure we need two built this month though so I can start gardening as our free ranging chickens are driving me nuts lol. Going to use the tractors to separate breeds.

We're on kid watch for the next three weeks. One of our goats was definitely pregnant when we got her and we have no idea when she was bred - but July 4 will be 5 months since we brought them home so around there is the latest we should expect her to kid. So excited to start milking, and any bucks will be butchered so we're excited to have another source for meat.

We went on the annual farmgate tour our local area puts on every June and visited a few awesome farms in the area - pasture raised pork and chickens (for eggs not for meat) and a sheep dairy that makes cheeses, and keeps a couple of Jersey cows for their own purposes and for making yoghurt to sell in the off season (since sheep only are milked for 6 months) We also saw an organic garlic farm and an essential oil distillery. Very fun even though it bucketed down all weekend.
It sure got me dreaming big though and I'm really having to reign it in lol. I love where we live and I want to be happy here for at least 5 years so I have to be realistic - especially since 90+% of the workload will be my responsibility and I have young kids too. But maybe next year we can talk to our landlord about getting a couple of pigs, and encourage him to do intensive rotational grazing to improve his pasture etc.
In the mean time I made a list of things I want to achieve this year (building chicken tractors for layers and meat birds, getting a beehive, planting fruit trees and edible perennials, putting grape and passionfruit vines on the fences, etc) and of course getting my garden fenced off before spring so I can get planting.



 
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Old Jun 14th, 2017, 15:00 PM   86
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Some pictures of my free-range meat birds



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Old Jun 14th, 2017, 17:14 PM   87
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beautiful sight to see chickens that normally never see the light of day on grass



 
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Old Jun 15th, 2017, 13:24 PM   88
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Aww, they are lovely



 
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Old Jun 16th, 2017, 07:57 AM   89
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So we've been talking since we moved about seeing if we could buy one of our landlords cows "one day" but that's an awful lot of meat and we don't even own a deep freeze atm. Well yesterday I was talking to a friend and she randomly mentioned that her husband brought up wanting to buy part of a cow. So then I put my feelers out and I've found 3 more people who would be interested in sharing a cow. Our landlord is quite happy to sell one to us but we have to make all the arrangements for butchering ourselves (as we expected) So now I'm waiting on quotes for mobile butchers so we can get the ball rolling. I'm so excited! The next best thing to butchering/having butchered your own cow you raised yourself is buying one off your landlord, born, raised, killed and cut up right here on the land I live on My landlord doesn't intensively graze or do anything to improve the soil fertility so it's not going to be the absolute best quality meat possible, but it will sure be a heck of a lot better than anything I can buy without paying top top dollar for.

Next step is setting up a co-op with the same friends to order our pantry goods in bulk, and then I ought to be able to be pretty much done with grocery stores. I'll still need to buy my fruit and veg from the markets until my own garden is productive (and even then I know I am a long way off growing much) but not having to depend on a weekly grocery shop is going to be such a huge thing for us



 
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Old Jun 16th, 2017, 08:03 AM   90
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Also when feeding the goats this morning I always check my pregnant doe's ligaments since I have no idea when she was bred and the ligaments can tell me when she's close. They were definitely getting a lot softer! It could happen this weekend (or he could go another week I have no idea at all really LOL) and I'm suddenly feeling very unprepared for baby goats. But super excited at the same time,



 
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