Happy Wednesday Homesteaders! It’s time for an update!
It has been a busy week on the homestead! A week filled with new life!
This spring we have had a huge case of the broodies. At any given time there are a half dozen or more hens wanting to set. Being broody not only makes it difficult for the hens that want to lay in the nesting boxes, but it is perilous for the person gathering the eggs. I have been pecked enough this spring to last a lifetime. With one exception all of the girls that have gone broody this year are pullets (first year layers) and so they are untested as mothers. Every time you give one eggs or chicks you have to watch closely because you don’t know if they will be good mothers or not. One Monday I purchased four (day old chicks) for one of my broodies and another hen hatched out eight chicks, unfortunately there was one casualty. Everything seemed to be going great until the hen with seven chicks abandoned them after two days.
The funny thing about this hen is that I originally gave her and another hen in the nesting box beside her six wooden eggs each to make sure that they would continue their brood after moving them from the large chicken coop. Both hens settled in nicely so when I went to put the fertile eggs under the hens I noticed that she had stolen all of the wooden eggs from the other hen. There is a barrier between the nests so how she pulled it off is a mystery. Being more focused on putting the fertile eggs under them than the egg theft issue I put six eggs under each hen. A few days later I was surprised to see one of the broody hens out and about more than is usual when they are hatching eggs so I opened the nesting box to check on her eggs. What eggs? The other hen had stolen all of the fertile eggs too! Unfortunately she did break one during her endeavor, but I have to marvel at her will and ingenuity. Needless to say I was surprised that she abandoned her chicks after all of her efforts to hatch them.
I began gathering all of the supplies to put together a brooder for the little orphans when I had a crazy thought. Would the hen with the four chicks adopt the other seven? The chicks were hatched on the same day so they were the same age and she had taken the four that I gave her so well that I decided to go for it. That little Cochin hen is a rock star! She took all of those chicks and is a great mama. When I go out to check on them I love seeing all of their little heads peeking out from under her. Not all farm endings are happy endings, but it is so gratifying when you get one.
Our three little feeder pigs are growing like weeds. It is not uncommon to see them laying in their food bowl or their water bowl. They keep me busy making sure that they have water on these warm days. They have a barrel with nipple waterers, but so far are refusing to use them. Pigs, what do you do!
The goaties are doing great! I got a farm workout this week when The Goat Expert, Deanne Clark, came to trim their hooves. I had to hold them, which is more difficult than one would think. I was wrangling uncooperative goats for about an hour. Needless to say I was a tired gal after that experience.
Blue Belle is growing like a weed and now believes that she is a big goat. News flash she is a good sized heifer who escapes her pen whenever I let the goats out to browse. Then she runs around kicking up her heels and terrifying everyone and everything in her path. Caught her heading towards the road the other day and redirected her back towards her pen. The issue here is that she thinks that this is a big game while I unfortunately for her I do not share her perspective. Hubby is off next week so hopefully we will get her moved down with Traeger so they can form a bovine community.
Hazel and Humphrey are certainly enjoying the lovely weather. They have been sleeping outside for a couple of weeks now. It is funny to watch Hazel interact with Traeger and Belle. She is so fearless!
Have a great week!