Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mail order birds

Thirty chicks arrived this week from Sand Hill Preservation Center. Add eight more purchased from the local fleet store, and that makes 38 peeping fuzzballs in a kiddie pool on our porch. The unseasonably cold (ok, maybe it is seasonably cold) weather we've had the last few days has forced me to add a second lamp to the brooder, wrap the sides with tar paper and cover the top with two tableclothes to help keep in the warmth.

So far we've had no mortalities, although I did discover that one of the pullets I bought from the fleet store is missing an eye. I should have inspected them more carefully. Then again, maybe it's for the best, as nobody else likely would have wanted her. It's not a big deal, we've got several chickens on our farm with physical challenges. She can hang with the other one-eyed rooster, or the rooster with four broken toes.

It's been raining pretty steadily for a couple of weeks now. I haven't spent a lot of time in my garden, which is need of some hoeing. My snap peas are about 8" high, and my lettuce and rutabagas are just showing above the soil. My carrots, beets, dill and potatoes have yet to make an appearance. The apple and plum trees are in full blossom, which makes me wary about the cold weather. Cold weather means no bees, and no bees means no fruit.

We ate one of our butchered chickens last week. I put him in a crock pot with a bit of water and taco seasoning. We cooked him all day and had chicken tacos for supper. We cooked him for so long the bones had started to dissolve. Mmm, extra calcium!

I am long overdue on shearing the goats, they are looking very scraggly. Whenever I've found some time to spare for shearing, it is either raining or the wind is gusting to 35 mph. My barn is not lighted so I must do the shearing outside, otherwise I can't see the difference between fleece and skin. This means I have to find a day with no rain and no high winds. A spring day with no rain and no wind in western Minnesota is rare indeed.


Erin said...

I definitely hope the bees are out soon, I know how much those apple trees mean to you! That's kind of funny about your chickens, you have your own little "special needs" class of chickens, it's probably a good thing they got you for a mama!

Mama Pea said...

Hey, we get our chicks from Sand Hill Preservation Center, too! What nice people to deal with.

You've got too much rain and we've not enough. If only we could even things out! But you're so far ahead of us garden-wise. Oh well, I just have to be patient. No sense putting stuff in when it's just plain too cold for it to grow.

Leigh said...

I'm glad to be reading such good things about Sand Hill. We've about decided to focus on Barred Hollands, and they are one of the two places I can find that breeds and sells them. But that will be for next year. Good news that you haven't lost any chicks.

That is worrisome about the bees. Maybe you have some other pollinators around who are in action(?). In the year we've lived here now, I hear lots of buzzing, but have yet to see one honey bee. We seem to have more bumbly types. Honey bees are another project for next year.

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

Cute peepers!!

Jo said...

Hi Erin -- I saw a cloud of gnats and a toad today, so it can't be too cold out. Yes, we certainly do have special needs chickens at our farm!

Hey Mama Pea -- This is the first time I've ordered from Sand Hill. I love the variety they have, and I'm willing to deal with a few roosters along with the pullets. But over the last two days we've suddenly lost six of the chicks. I don't know what it is, they just suddenly lose strength and then die. We'll see what happens in the next day or two.

Hello Leigh -- Yeah, I was stoked about the chicks too, until we started losing some (see my note above). Don't know if it's bad chicks or my fault. If I lose too many more I'll take more drastic action. Don't know what yet, but something!

Hi Liz! Yes, they are very cute! Spring is the time for cute babies on the farm. :)

Karen said...

Hey! Have Simon call Phill to set up a weekend for him to come out!