Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Roof on the Egg Mobile and a New Ram

Today Bill and I finished up the roof on the egg mobile. We had to take off the old tarp because it was tattered after less than a year. We've been using recycled billboards now and they are so much stronger than tarps. Would you believe they sent us one that was our laughing chicken green? Kansas City Power and Light uses the same green. Who knew? Thanks guys! The words that show under the roof are "Innovative" and "Dynamic". Just the kind of inspiration I need to see when we go collect the eggs. Soon our new flock should be laying. Our market regulars will be thrilled. They've been lining up for the few dozen we bring and I hate to disappoint people when we run out.

Our new ram arrived on Sunday afternoon. Lewis and Janice Cox brought him to us and I am so grateful because we don't own a livestock trailer. He was especially enamored with Pearl this morning. Here is a picture of him whispering sweet nothings to her. The two of them cuddled all day. So sweet. The lambs should come in February. Oh, to hold a new lamb in my arms. Is there anything better? Sigh.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blueberry the troublemaker.

Getting ready for church Sunday morning, checking on everyone before I go. "Baaa Baaaa BAAAAAA!" What is going on? Blueberry Muffin is tangled again in the electric netting and wearing it like a necktie. How do you catch a sheep without breaking a plastic net? As soon as I got close to her she started dragging it and raking it against the chainlink on the dog kennel. I caught hold of the net, worked my way to her and jumped on top of Blueberry. She yanked and kicked. I wrestled her to the ground and we both took a breather. We must be evenly matched wrestling partners. I eased her head and legs out of the netting and yes, she broke a bit of it, but not badly. As soon as she was free, we both stood up and shook the dust off. Some whole corn lured the three of them back into their night time kennel. I gave them a big flake of hay to chew on until we got back from church. The net could be untangled later. I was just glad to have found her before we left. She would have been baking in the sun with no way to get to the water or rolled tighter into the net. Thank you Lord for watching out for us!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One step forward, two steps back.

Here we are on our 18th batch of chicks this year. That means we've had over 2000 chickens live out happy lives here. Whew! That's a lot of chickens! Recently we've had a frustrating development. The last 7 or 8 batches have had migets in them. It started out with one small one running around under the big guys. We thought it was cute and kept her as a pet for a while and let her run around with the laying hens. Then we saw three and four in the next batch we received. Now we're up to 17 t0 20 tiny sized chicks to a batch and it's not cute anymore. We've tracked the situation, called our hatchery, sent pictures, switched hatcheries and still this is happening. Here are pictures of the last batch of chicks the very same day they arrived in the mail. You can clearly see a difference in size. The other picture is of two 4 week old birds from the same batch. These small guys just don't grow. ....but they love to eat! We've switched hatcheries once again to find a different gene pool. It seems many hatcheries get their eggs from the same source in Arkansas. Ideal hatchery in Texas hatches out their own, so we'll see if the big stuff really does come from Texas.

It's been so frustrating because the summertime is when we usually get our bigger growth and this year it just hasn't been there. The birds are still healthy, but dress out much smaller. I've even given some away on freecycle when they were too small even for our Mini catagory. Such is the world of farming. We let the last batch of chickens grow for an extra week and they did get big enough for some Mediums and a few Larges. The next batch we dress out on Monday looks like it could be a mixed lot. We'll see.

On a happier note, The turkeys are growing like crazy! They love to eat grass and I even heard a gobble this morning. Our list of customers wanting one is growing too. It was a scary thing ordering the chicks without knowing if they would sell, but God is blessing it. They are so much fun to raise. I may see if I can sell them next summer too.