While we thought we were done for the year, we had a surprise lamb born just before Thanksgiving. The little girl, we’re calling her Melody, was born to Monarch. Monarch’s mother is Frances. Frances has always been our best ewe. After a stillborn lamb last year, this is Monarch’s first live birth. So far, she’s been very protective and an excellent mother.
We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and look forward to moving into the Christmas season.
After about a month of keeping the baby ducks closed up and bringing them food and water everyday, we’ve finally opened them up to the pond with the three adult ducks we already had. This is going to be a big help because we won’t have to bring them water multiple times a day, though we’ll still bring them food once or twice a day.
Here’s a video compilation of their first time on the water. The ones zooming about under the water were so fascinating. They clearly loved it.
Our first ever home-incubated batch of ducklings hatched this week. We got 24 eggs from our friends Kim and Andy. I was able to fit 23 into my Brinsea. The eggs go for 28 days, with lockdown (no more turning) after the 25th day. These eggs started hatching exactly on time, and they all came out quickly, over the course of less than 24 hours.
We’re very excited about this breed, too. They are Ancona, a wonderful dual-purpose (eggs + meat) duck.
They’ll be inside for a little while, but we’ll get them on the pond as soon as we can, probably with a protected water run like we’ve done in the past.
Owing to the our generous friends Andy and Kim, we’ve finally got ducks back on the pond (Ancona). It’s been a trying several years, with weather and predator issues hurting our efforts to reestablish our flock. It has been at least two summers since we’ve had waterfowl on the pond with regularity.
I got a couple of dozen fertilized eggs to hatch in my Brinsea and they were thinning a bit so I also got three adults, a drake and two hens. I’ll update progress on the eggs, but I just started them today and they take 28 days (7 days longer than chicken eggs). This puts their hatch date around June 26. I’ve never hatched duck eggs, so I’m interested in the new challenge.
The ducks took quickly to the pond. I’ve got a fenced “water run” for them until they figure out how to get in and out of their new home. That should keep them happy and safe from predators.
It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting nicer, Spring sports have started and we’re beginning to prep the garden for initial planting. Except for a few Spring cold snaps, we’ve had an incredible run of nice weather.
The garden starts out pretty rough, having been left to it’s own since the Fall and over Winter. The first step is to remove all the old plants and rake the garden in preparation to be tilled.
I then bring over last year’s barn muck as compost.
Then I use the 5-foot tiller on the back of my tractor to work everything in and cultivate the soil.
We’ve been doing this for a number of years and the soil is getting so nice. It will definitely be ready for planting this weekend.
Happy gardening everyone!
We had two calves born in March, a bull born to Sweet Mamma (our Dexter) and a heifer born to Buttermilk (our Dexter-Belted Galloway cross). We named the bull ‘Lucky’ because he had lax tendons when he was born, and we didn’t think he’d make it. On the advice of our veterinarian, we gave him a BO-SE (Selenium and Vitamin E) injection and helped him nurse for several days by literally holding him under his mother. He’s really bounced back and his legs have strengthened and he looks almost completely normal now. The heifer was named ‘Marshmallow’ by our 5 year old. She’s all black. He explains this by saying she’s like a burned marshmallow.
It’s a little early, but our first pair of spring lambs were born to our ewe, Frances. The boy and girl lambs were born a little before 5am this morning. Jamie woke and had the maternal instinct to go out early and check on them and there they were.
Luckily we’re in the middle of an unseasonably warm spell — our high temps were close to 60° today. It feels like Spring already.
Frances is such a good momma. She let the little lambs latch right on for nursing this morning and is so protective of them.
Happy New Year visitor! Our existing rabbit hutches were pretty worn down and in massive need of refurbishment. They are “outdoor” hutches that we’ve moved into the grow tunnel each winter for the last several years. This year, I decided to build a set of “indoor” hutches to put in the grow tunnel so we won’t have to move them back and forth each year. In the spring, I’ll refurbish the outdoor hutches.
This was pretty easy to build. I may actually build a two-cage version if we need a couple more openings for rabbits, but this frees up a lot of space for other purposes, too, like chicken/duck brooding.
We wish the greatest happiness on everyone for the New Year!
Actually, it’s not. It’s been rainy and very warm. Temps today may approach 70° F, which is pretty remarkable.
Our animals have enjoyed the warmer weather and the green shoots that are staying around for longer. We’ve also not needed to burn nearly as much wood yet this season, so hopefully we’ll have plenty to stay warm through the early Spring.
At least it’s looking like Christmas inside the house. The children were thrilled to find some presents under the tree.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! See you in the New Year.