Friday, April 1, 2011

Dont count your chicks before....

As we flip the calander page to April, we are not starting out on a great note. Yesterday we discovered a dead chick in the chick coop. We didnt think much of it. Hubby cleaned it up, we put fresh bedding down and left it at that. This morning on my rounds, I opened up the coop and pee-eww! it stunk. All the chicks went running out to fill their bellies with food and water. All but the pile in the back corner. I counted at least 6 dead, together in the corner. There was no way I could clean up the dead, clean the coop, and move the chicks back in all by myself in the rain. Just wasnt going to happen. Their old brooder box was available, so I transferred all living chicks to the brooder, inspecting each one as I did. They dont look sick. Hubby's thinks they froze to death, which would explain why they were all huddled together. To say the least, the brooder is small, has a heat lamp and they should be warm. This weekend will call for some cleaning out of the little red coop. Just covering our bases in case it was a virus or something. We have 42 chicks left. Out of 51. There is a saying that goes something like "dont count your eggs before they hatch". well I am ammending it to say "dont count your chicks until they are grown...and not even then" Speaking of grown chickens, we have 19 hens in the big coop. 2 additional hens are completely free. Two Rhode Island Reds we named Rosie and Josie. They were molting when they came to live with us and we kept them in a seperate coop since the other hens would peck them bloody. Rosie and Josie had never laid eggs as they were molting. While hubby and I were cleaning out the barn last weekend, we found 3 eggs. They had to have come from Rosie or Josie, since they are the only true free range not caged hens. Rosie and Josie never bonded with the flock, and refuse to go in the coop with the others. Instead they sleep with the ducks. Yesterday Hubby and I went in the barn to get some straw. Inside a Rubbermaid container Rosie or Josie had made a nest of straw and there sat 4 eggs. I guess now we are going to play find-the-egg game. I am super excited that they are laying now. In a few months we will need to cull out the flock, and they were on my list to go, since they werent laying. Now I can remove them and they have secured their future with us. Every morning I open the back door to do my rounds. Rosie and Josie come running to me. They follow me to the big coop and wait outside while I go in. They follow me into the goat pen, paying no mind to the goats. They follow me to the shed, to the geese, to the chicks. And they follow me into the duck pen where they take their breakfast with the waterfowl. At night its the same routine so you can see why they are some of my favorites. I can pick them up, they eat out of my hand, and I have to admit I like having an entourage following me about. Everything else is going smoothly about the farm. We got snow two nights in a row (which I think is the cause for the deaths around here). Tonight's forecasst doesnt look any different. Hubby and I checked in on the baby bunnies last night. One is incredibly fat, and the others look like they are starving. Normally I dont like to interfere with nature, but I am not about to lose baby bunnies too. We fed them all (except fatty) on Mama. It is incredible to watch them suckle and latch on. They squirm and do acrobatic movements but never let go of the teat. There is a runt, who I doubt will make it. I am hoping she does, but I have learned not to count my baby bunnies either... A pot of coffee is brewing and a hot shower is calling before I have to go to work. I am going to snuggle on the couch with my coffee and lastest book. Just for an hour before I leave... PS

I had to add some happy pictures..check out the bean and pea seeds we started...


And our 6 meat birds who are living in the laundry room until thier brooder is available again....

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