Tuesday, June 16, 2015

To my love, and awaiting new life on the homestead

I'm going to start today with some recognition for my lovely wife, the Lady of the House. Today it's been a year and two days of marriage, almost ten years of being together. Without her support in my life not only would the homesteading blog not exist, the homestead wouldn't exist. A lot of what makes my life good is, or is supported by her presence and encouragement. And obviously, without her we wouldn't have our lovely Critter. Really though without her I never would have started homesteading even with the opportunity. Even without that, she's my favorite person in the world, so here's to as many more years together as we can. Below the cut I'm going to go into the rest of what's going on in our world.

Aside from that though, we do have some going on around the homestead despite taking time to enjoy ourselves, and the rain slowing things down. First and foremost, we gave up on one of our hens going broody and borrowed an incubator from Kathy Harrison of the Just in Case Book Blog. She's not updating anymore but she has a lot of information that's very helpful for everyone, not just homesteaders. Either way, she had an incubator sitting around she could loan us and was kind enough to let us. This is our first time using an incubator so the survival rate of our chicks isn't likely to be perfect, but we shall see.
As you can see, we have quite a collection of eggs from our hens, and eggs from a friend. There's quite a variety of eggs in there, and we hope to have a lot of different looking birds strutting around in a few weeks. It would be very convenient if one of the hens did go broody so we could slip the chicks under her during the night, but the Cinnamon Queens don't tend to go broody which is actually part of their benefit for most producers. They just lay and lay and lay without wanting to make babies, just more eggs. It's definitely an interesting difference between the dual purpose and the laying breeds. Between the two I'm starting to think that having both around is going to be valuable for us. Even laying breeds are edible if they turn out to be male, but we do need someone to sit on eggs since honestly taking the work to just turn the eggs 3x a day, and keep them humid is more work than I want to do. Add to that teaching them to live . . . yeah, let the hen do the job even though I haven't gotten through it yet.
Speaking of not having to do the job, the chicks are doing just fine out on their own now. They really want to have their mom take care of them, and she's done with all of that. She isn't beating them up but they are starting to be introduced to the pecking order. It's a very literal thing with chickens, and right now the chicks are learning they are the bottom rung of society. They have however put me on a timeline to finish up that proposed new coop. 10 birds is too much for the coop we have them in, it just is. This weekend, I'm going to be taking time this weekend to get done what I can. I'm also going to be moving the chickens up to closer to the house, specifically between us and the woods because that's going to do more to protect us from ticks I imagine than where they are now which is mostly on gravel. Worse comes to worse I'll have two coops around and can shift birds as I need between them. 

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