Babies!! #FarmlifeFriday

Happy Friday, everyone!! I am so excited about all the babies in my farm right now! So far I only have vegetable babies but we are hoping to have some chicken babies, too!!

My garden is looking rather splendid these days! We’ve had some really warm days and a lot of rain last week so everything is nice and happy. I have zucchini, yellow squash, a variety of tomatoes, bell peppers, jalepenos, a “Mexican” pepper that I am hoping isn’t just a fancy name for a jalepeno because I have 4 of those already, cucumbers, artichokes, cabbage, red potatoes, basil, and some lettuce. The coolest part is that I started all of these from seeds! I did all the work. I didn’t buy any of the vegetables in the garden. And look!! Baby squashes already!!! This makes me so happy!!

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I did buy some flowers for the garden. I love marigolds and I have seeds but they take a while to sprout and I wanted the instant gratification. I have some on the outside of my garden as well as throughout the inside, just to add some flare. And I think marigolds will deter some bugs but promote the good ones, like bees!

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I have another cinder block planter on the left side. And a new banana plant. A guy at the local farmers marker was selling those for only $5 a couple weeks ago. How could we pass that up? We also bought a taro plant and 2 elephant ears from him for a whopping $1 each. Did you know they produce a potato-like veggie you can eat? They aren’t just pretty decoration. We’re happy to try something new.

The other babies on the farm could be chicks! We have a broody hen. Broody basically means she wants to lay on eggs and hatch them. Broodiness has been bred out of chickens but sometimes the urge strikes, kinda like baby fever I guess. You can put them in a secluded area without hay or eggs for a while and try to break them out of the habit, but we figured why not see what happens? The worst that can happen is that none of the eggs she’s on are fertilized and then we just try again with other ones. (Yes, we have a rooster, in case you are wondering how the eggs would have been fetilized).

We noticed our girl was not leaving the nesting box. I’m just going to call her THE French girl because Lagertha and Frenchie look identical and I am not sure which one is broody. She would get super pissed when we came to collect eggs and make herself huge and yell at us and peck us whenever we got near her. At first we kept taking the eggs out from underneath her because we weren’t sure we wanted to try to have her hatch any. But after about a week of taking the eggs she wasn’t going to give up. So last night after she went into her coma-like sleepy state, my daughter and I moved her and her eggs to a cozy box in the garage.

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When I first put her in the box the eggs were on the opposite side of where she is, and the darn automatic light was on in the garage, so she decided to eat rather than lay on the eggs. When she was done she was laying where she is now and I went out and put the eggs underneath her. She’s still there now so this is a step in the right direction.

A funny side story, like I said before about not knowing which girl is which, I think I tried earlier in the week to put the other French girl in the hatching box. I brought her and different eggs into the box but she refused to stay in the box. I left her and went to my yoga class and when I came back I couldn’t find her. I was like, “She abandoned the eggs? And disappeared!? What’s happening?” I finally looked UP a bit.

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She found a nice roosting spot on our tool shelf. HAHAHAHA!!! So I put her back with everyone else, and when I did, I looked in the nesting box and found the other French girl (the current broody one). OMG! I told my husband I have to mark them somehow. Maybe a ziptie around their feet.

Anyhoo, so far we’re on day 2 of laying on these eggs. I will have to continue to Google how to candle the eggs to see if they are in fact fertilized. I am no expert at any of this so this is going to be a really fun adventure. Updates as they happen so stay tuned!!

Spa Day!! #FarmlifeFriday

Judging by the title you were probably thinking I was going to post all about a super wonderful spa day that I had to combat my back injury, but nooooo!!! This spa day was for one our girls, one of the chicken girls.

I noticed Hei Hei was getting a little overly poopy on her hindquarters so we gave her a bath.

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Chickens really do enjoy a bath. She didn’t fuss at all and didn’t even make any noises.

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I even used the blow dryer while she stood there and enjoyed it.

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She was having a marvelous time until it was time to be picked up and taken outside.

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She flapped violently while simultaneously pooping…allllllll over the bathroom and my husband. So not only was last Sunday a chicken spa day, it was a clean the entire bathroom day.

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This all goes in the “Things I didn’t know before I became a farmer” handbook. 🙂

Daisy, Daisy, Bo-Baisy #FarmlifeFriday

I’m always trying to think of fun titles!

Not much happening on the farm lately. Daisy is back to laying every day. I read that you can’t expect young hens to have a regular cycle at first because their bodies are still trying to figure out just what the heck is going on. So it makes sense that Daisy would have a little dry spell and then back to it. Most eggs were brown and perfect until…

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She laid a shell-less egg! How weird and cool!! It was soft and had a little break at the top, but I managed to hold it carefully and save it until later to show my daughter and husband. It’s normal for this to happen, again, because Daisy is young. She has the right food, oyster shells, and her own eggs shells to eat so I’m not worried. She took off from laying the next day and then back at it.

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Her last two eggs have been pointier than before, but I guess eggs are like snowflakes; no two are the same. It’s so fun to see how different each day can be.

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I threw one of our carved pumpkins out in the run before it started to rot. They could care less. I have some picky eaters. They ate the cooked pumpkin, didn’t eat the canned pumpkin, and didn’t eat the raw carving pumpkin. Oh well.

I’m hoping our ONE girl duck decides to start laying soon. I’m thinking it will be spring before Hagrid starts. Who knows about the French girls. Chickens are weird! 😉

We Have EGGS!! #FarmlifeFriday

This has been a great week! Our chickens are finally laying eggs!! Not only does this mean we won’t have to buy eggs in the future, this also means we have been able to cheat nature (birds of prey) and keep our birds alive long enough to lay. This is huge considering all our loss since the beginning of this venture.

About a month or so ago, we watched our hen Lagertha, lay a white egg and then immediately turn around and eat it. We weren’t sure what to think. We checked the coop and there was an egg in there as well. We were both excited and disturbed. Up until this week we hadn’t seen eggs after that day. We hoped our girls weren’t laying and eating the eggs.

We knew Lagertha was of age to lay, obviously, but we didn’t know about Frenchie, her “sister”, because we got them as sort of a package deal when we picked up Carl. “You can have Carl annndddd these 4 chickens if you want.” We didn’t even think to ask their ages.

The only age we know for sure is Daisy because we’ve had her since she was born. We knew it was getting close to her time to start laying.

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We’ve been checking the coop everyday, just in case, and finally!!! Daisy laid an egg! A nice, healthy, brown egg!! We were so proud of her. I checked the next day and nothing. Then….

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Two more beauties! But now I’m confused. I know it is possible, but it’s unlikely that Daisy laid two eggs. Since Lagertha’s previous eggs were white, we were assuming these were Daisy’s. I don’t think Hagrid (our Jersey Giant) is quite of age yet, but I know the French girls are. So I did some research. Turns out Hagrid’s eggs will be brown and it’s possible for Faverolles eggs to be white or brown or any color in between. So… We’re still proud of Daisy but we’re also proud of our French girls for finally getting with the program.

I found one more egg just this morning hiding under some hay. We finally have egg layers!!!! And the eggs are great. They are yolkier than store-bought eggs but that just adds flavor. And I’d say they are medium to large size.

Now we just have to wait and see if our one female duck starts laying.

The Flock! #FarmlifeFriday

Before I get into all the gory details of farm life I thought I should introduce you to our flock.

This is Daisy. She is a Red Ranger hen. She is our only surviving hen from our very first flock of birds we started earlier this year. More details about death in another blog…the gory stuff I mentioned. Daisy isn’t laying yet but should soon. She was the runt of the original flock but has grown up quite nicely. She is our Queen Hen. (not the best photo of her but its what you get for now)

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This is Hagrid. She’s a Jersery Giant. We bought her at a poultry swap but we hadn’t planned on buying birds so we didn’t have box to transport her home. No worries. She rode home on my lap and we had that chance to bond. She is MY girl. We cuddle daily. She was smaller than Daisy when we brought her home but is now bigger than Daisy. She isn’t as girthy yet but that will come. Jersey Giants are the largest breed of chicken and can be up to 14lbs. The photo is showing the time that she walked in the back door and was hanging out in the kitchen.

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This is Carl. He is our first rooster. He’s an Amerucana. He’s still a young rooster but already has chosen Daisy as his girl. Hagrid is his side chick. Our daughter and Carl bonded and she’s holds him the most out of the three of us.

20160822_194106This is Ragnar. He’s a faverolles rooster. He and his girls were a package deal when we got Carl. He sure does like to hear himself crow! He is older, based on his severely ugly toenails and the size of his spurs, but was welcomed into the flock. He and I have a ritual when I feed everyone; He gets a tiny bit extra straight from the cup. Just a fun way to bond.

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Ragnar’s girl is Lagertha (Get it? Like from the show Vikings). She is also a faverolles. She is pretty skittish but still a great girl. More about her near the end.

Our last chicken is Frenchie. She had a man, Rolo, but he is one of our departed. (We named her Frenchie because in the show Vikings, Rolo marries a french chick. We like to do silly things like that). Frenchie is my hard-headed girl. She is always the last one in the coop and likes to take her sweet time. She is also very skittish but coming around.

Since our faverolles girls aren’t very friendly, I don’t have too many photos of them alone. This is the group of 4 a few days after we got them. Ragnar (left), Rolo, the departed (top), Frenchie (bottom left), and Lagertha (bottom right).

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Then we have the ducks. They are all Pekin ducks. Based on how noisy one is, we are guessing she is our only female. That makes us a bit sad because we were hoping for an abundance of duck eggs. But we’ll see as time goes on. The ducks are so fun. They get along with the chickens well and all sleep together peacefully. They love to eat and swim. I could watch them in their pool all day long. We have only named one, Peewee, because he is our runt. He’s the one with the silly looking feathers. More on him in a later blog.

The photo is from yesterday when I was refilling their pool. They were so excited for the fresh water that they jumped in with only an inch or so of water. Peewee is the one outside the pool.

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Getting back to Lagertha…something fun we did this morning was fix a warty looking thing on her back. We had noticed it since we got her, since she is lacking feathers thanks to her boyfriend, but decided to cut it open today and see what was happening. We carefully sliced the zit/wart thing open and pushed. First some puss came out so we immediately knew what it was. She had ingrown feathers. I held her while my husband used tweezers to extract about 10 tiny, coiled up feathers. Then we lathered her up with antiseptic and sent her on her way.

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Come back next week for more farm fun!!!

#FarmlifeFriday!!

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When we lived in Arizona we had ducks and chickens. We loved it! It was a crazy adventure of life, loss, and hilarity. It was one of the things we looked forward to most when we moved to Virginia. So now we’re back into the farm life and one again it’s full of life, loss (more than we’d like), and hilarity. Come back Fridays for my new posts with the hashtag “Farm life Friday”.

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