It’s been a while since we posted…so what have we been up to at the farm? Actually, we’ve been on vacation in the south of France. Just kidding! Here’s the real roundup:
- Muscovy ducklings (nearly a month old now): growing like weeds – some feathers coming in, gaining good size. Some have been rehomed, including to our friend AMH (love the updates!). The ones still at the farm are spending their days outside in a tractor (eating earthworms and greens along with their fermented feed) and nights inside in their big brooder. The brooder room stays fairly warm, so they’re not using their brooder plate much anymore.
- Chicks: BY mix and FBCM chicks (different lines than the initial breeding group) are almost 3 weeks old and in the gawky feathering out stage. Some have started using the roosts and a few appear to have fairly large combs sprouting…uh, oh! Still inside with heat at night, but will begin spending time outdoors soon (when it’s not rainy).
- Adult Muscovy: egg production has slowed because quite a few of the girls are now broody, including the two extra-protective ducks that are sharing an empty nestbox in the duck coop. One pinched me pretty hard a couple of times – even left marks!
- Adult chickens (main coop): laying very well, despite the rapid weather changes and significant temperature fluctuations. Both roosters seem to be able to co-exist reasonably peacefully.
- American Bresse breeding pen: pullets are laying well, and it appears that the cockerel is breeding them. Eggs set in the incubator a few days ago to assess fertility.
- French Black Copper Marans breeding pen: pullets are laying (but not as consistently as the Bresse); it appears that the cockerel is breeding them. Eggs set in the incubator a few days ago to assess fertility.
- Adult Runner/Pekin group: the ducks are laying well. Set some of their eggs in the incubator a few days ago to assess fertility…and it will be fun to see what the mixed ducklings look like.
- Rabbits: Niamh (proven black Silver Fox doe) and Oonagh (proven black SF/NZ doe) due to kindle around the 14th. Both does have been haystaching. Niamh was bred to Gandalf (lilac SF buck) and Oonagh to our unproven American Chinchilla/NZ buck. We’re hoping for a possible lilac from the Oonagh/Gandalf breeding, but got mostly black and a couple of blues that got our hopes up for a while when we bred Avril (Niamh’s sister) to Gandalf earlier. We’re also looking forward to seeing what kind of surprise coloring we get with Oonagh’s litter: steel, chinchilla, black, chocolate, chestnut agouti – who knows? Oonagh is a large, wonderfully calm doe and ideally, her progeny will inherit those traits.
- Future additions: pigs (still coming!) and dairy animals (possibly small breed goats or sheep). Currently evaluating American Guinea Hog, Mulefoot, and Large Black hog breeds. Nigerian Dwarf or Nubian goats, or milk sheep also being considered. In the research phase – we want to ensure that we have proper containment, feed, and housing for the animals before we bring them home.
It’s been busy around here, and there are always more projects on the horizon. There’s been rain, mud, poop, unseasonably cold weather, and unusually hot weather, but we just keep doing our farm thing. We keep learning, growing, and improving (and sometimes, swearing). That’s farm life!