Jan’s Farm Update 8/20/2018

Happy Monday Homesteaders!  It’s time for an update!

First, I want to give a shout out to Christal whose wonderful chocolate chip sour dough bread I am enjoying on this fine morning!

Secondly, no more promises about being more consistent as my life seems to be perpetually in upheaval and I don’t want to disappoint our followers.  But, I do appreciate everyone who follows our blog and Instagram and will continue to provide content and photos when I am able.  Thank you for being a part of Little Red Hen Farms!!!

So, you might be wondering if we caved and let our hens set.  We did!   Actually we already have a clutch of nine and another of eight.  Presently we have two hens with chicks, two hens that are setting on fertile eggs.  I traded one of my broody hens to another homesteader who was so excited to be hatching her own eggs.  I on the other hand was ecstatic to get my last broody out of the coop.  If only it were so.  No sooner did I send that sweet broody girl to her new home and another Cochin hen has taken up residence.  Why fight it!  If I can find another source of eggs I will move her into a brooder too.  If not, maybe I can shortcut the process and purchase some day old chicks to sneak under her.  Sigh…..

Although many of my original chickens were hatchery chicks I find myself getting spoiled as we have so many quality breeders in our area.  The newest additions to Little Red Hen Farms are a trio of Swedish Flower Hens.  They are beautiful, colorful birds that lay a nice light pinkish egg.  These come from very good breeding lines and while they do lay lovely eggs, to be honest they are more or less lawn ornaments.  I have given one of my broody’s some of their eggs so I am excitedly waiting for hatching day to see how they do.  If I could start a breeding program on a small scale that would be fun too, but I am waiting to see what the hatch rate will be.  Stay tuned…..

Now I have to relay some sad news about our rooster Reginald.  He woke up without his crow one morning, but acting normal so we thought that maybe he had just been too busy the day before and didn’t give it much thought.  Then the next day he was separating himself from the flock and we knew that something wasn’t right, but he still did not have any outward symptoms that would be useful in a diagnosis.  By the third day his comb and wattles were noticeably darker and he was opening and closing his beak.  We looked up chicken diseases and his symptoms resembled those of gape worm, so we medicated accordingly.  Although he showed some initial signs of recovery they were very short lived.  On day four we re-medicated for gape worm, no improvement.  Again we scoured our books and the internet to see if we could match his symptoms.  Since he had been wormed our only other options were viral and bacterial so we treated with penicillin, which did not improve his condition.  At this point we isolated him as anything viral can be spread and he would either overcome it or succumb.  Unfortunately our beautiful Reginald succumbed.  Although he could be a jerk (spurred me in the leg) he was great with the ladies and will be missed.

Farm Updates:

The feeder pigs are getting really big.  I’m watching them closely because I am on the fence about worming them.  I do not like to use meds if it is not necessary, so daily inspections to make sure that there are no changes in their conformation are a must.  It has been warm here so they are enjoying their mud hole and are the dirtiest little/biggish piggy’s that you have ever seen.

Hazel and Humphrey are doing great!  Their pen is next to Traeger’s so they have some socializing going on.  We have to be cautious as Traeger wants any food that they pigs are fed and vice versa.  Traeger has horns and Humphrey has tusks so whenever we hear the gate moving back and forth we know that they are doing their little dance down in the pasture.

The goats are on morning lockdown now as they seem to get bored when they have the entire day to browse and seem to make it over to the neighbor’s property.  So our new schedule is for them to enjoy some quiet time in their pens in the morning and then spend the afternoon loose and browsing the property.  I am happy to say that they all seem to do well together considering that my goat barns and pens are separate and that some of the goats are only exposed to the others when they go browsing.  I have enjoyed the rapport that I have with them when they are loose.  Those that would tend to be shy are much more outgoing and affectionate when they are out and about.  I don’t understand it, but I will just enjoy it.

On the chicken front we have separated our cross beak chicken (Criss) as her top beak was growing so long that she was unable to eat.  This was a lesson for me as I did not realize that their beaks kept growing.  One morning she was trying to eat scratch out of the scoop and she could not grab it with her beak.   I picked her up to check it out and she was as light as a feather.  Since she has so many beautiful feathers the weight loss had gone unnoticed.  So she has been in the chicken infirmary and is being given the royal treatment as we work to put weight back on her.  We are also trimming her beak back so that she will be able to eat out of the feeders in the chicken area.  She will never have a normal beak, but we now know that trimming her beak is something that will need to done regularly.

Have a great week!

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