Thursday, April 29, 2010

History with a Slice of Humor

The best years in human history:

The modern bathtub was introduced in 1842.

The telephone was invented in 1876.

That meant that there were only 34 years in all of human history, when you could soak in the tub without being interupted by a phone call.

Hen Cam and Goat Cam

I know there is a lot of talk about how bad the internet is these days and I can agree there are some places that are just not good or "right"! That said, I don't have a problem finding enjoyable, good-clean fun on the net! I have more of a problem finding enough time to do half of what I'd like to do on line! There is a WEALTH of good stuff to find and here's a couple you might like to check out! (Buffy, Marge and Lulu - I don't know if there are only the 3 or what. I've not seen them on the cam yet and they weren't on the perch in the "inside coop" cam) (Pip and Caper are twins!)

I did see a lop eared bunny in the chicken yard. I didn't see what his name is. But I'm sure you'd like something to discover yourself, right?

Have fun and enjoy the cams! Even with dial-up they did very well!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


It's getting to the time for the eggs to hatch! The last 3 days of incubating, the incubator needs to go into "lockdown". The eggs are no longer turned, the humidity is raised and the chicks can orientate themselves to start pipping the egg in time for hatching!

The eggs are typically laid on their sides instead of standing up in an automatic turner if the incubator has one. The humidity is raised to aid the chick in escaping the shell and membrane. If the chick starts drying out and the membrane gets tough the chick may become glued in the shell and unable to fully hatch and die. I don't have a turner and have been doing my turning by hand using a shortish metal "basket" to elevate one side and then a few hours later switch to the other.

I have the eggs in some little plastic mesh baskets in the incubator now, readying for hatching. The baskets give me 6 sections which is great. I have all the banty eggs in one basket so that the tiny chicks are separated from the large so they can get hatched and get some strength before moving around much in the incubator. I think the smooth plastic mesh will be more comfortable on their little tummys. Last hatch, one of the chicks tore his yolky belly and died on the mesh screen in the incubator. So I'm trying to avoid that happening again. The mesh allows air flow so should work well.

Now for my problem that I didn't think far enough ahead to avoid.....the last chicks are still in the brooder and using the heat lamp! I started turning it off during the day and they are fine with that. I'm hoping I can move them out of the brooder and keep them in the house in a cage for a bit longer. I have a ferret cage I've used for the chickens (transporting) in the past. (I got it at a garage sale for $5 and figured at the time it would come in handy for something!) I'll set it inside the play yard the 3 goatie kids are in. (Got the play yard at a garage sale too for $10!) It's good to have options when I forget a detail in something like this!

I'm hoping that I can leave the 2 lame chicks in with the newly hatched. They don't move around so much but they do eat and drink well so they may be helpful to the new chicks while allowing them more time. I tried the vit/mineral and bandaid therapies on them but couldn't get their legs up under them right. I'm now debating if I should offer them on freecycle for someone who might like them or to keep them for now. I am responsible for them so trying to decide what is in their best interest. I can maintain them as layers (if pullets) in a chicken tractor over the summer but their winter care would be at issue. They wouldn't be safe in a goat pen, they would be picked on by the able bodied chickens, etc. So Winter is my concern. NO offense, but if they stay, it may be that they go to be butchered with the excess roos so what is most humane for them is what is the ultimate decision. Farm life isn't always easy or "pretty". Sometimes manure happens and we need to make these decisions. Winter would be a cruel death sentence in a flock here in the North country.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Too Far From the Farm

"i have chickens that i reared from eggs,they are now producing eggs now,i do not give them any thing other than corn and odd titbits,no anti wormin or anything,my question are the eggs safe to eat.?"

This was on a poultry list. Sometimes I find it a bit incredible and yet it's far far from the first time that I've heard/read this type of question! I find it sad that so many are growing up without the basic experience and knowledge of the food we eat and of life in general.

I've tried all my adult life to provide info to those who would like it regarding "all things farmy". I think we ALL need to do this. Maybe we don't all live on a homestead or farm, but there's a lot of interesting info to be learned to expand our view of life in the other "lanes". If we all took more time to learn more, we'd be more educated in our food we put on our table, be it home-grown, home-raised or purchased from a farmers' market, roadside stand, orchard, or the store.

IF we were to all learn more and the TRUTH about our food and how meat, eggs, milk, etc is raised and processed, we wouldn't have so many misconceptions that PETA/HSUS and the animal extremists want us to think which "feeds" their agenda. Don't forget that a major part of their agenda is actually the income that so many of them lavishly enjoy "off the backs" of others!
I think those of us with livestock, backyard chickens, an interest in agriculture, etc need to "answer the call" to do what we can to help teach others about the things we enjoy and maybe take for granted!

As to the person's question, YES, you sure can eat those eggs and they are WONDERFUL! It's amazing that something so small as a chicken can make an egg from wandering around the yard and scratching, along with a bit of other feed supplemented to them. It's also "what to do with leftovers" as they'll LOVE your "throwaways"!

Candling Eggs

This incubating is FUN! That's all there is too it! I am totally addicted. I've also found something else to do at the end of Winter when I'm needing signs of Spring. Nothing says Spring like crocus', daffodils, and CHICKS! This could easily become a cure for cabin fever in this house!

I just bought a $4.99 Energizer 1 watt led flashlight for candling and could even see in the Maran egg in my incubator. The air cells were interesting due to the eggs having been shipped vs my own eggs where it's centered. This has been pretty fun and I've learned a lot about something so simple as an egg! All for a little flashlight I found NEW at Goodwill! We have a big Goodwill near us that gets a few new things in now and then and the prices are great. This flashlight has been the best find so far.

When you get some time, google "hatching eggs" and "chick development". You'll find tons of interesting info and could easily spend a few days surfing! Just be sure to mark the ones you like best in your favorites. Don't disregard the home schooling sites in this as I've found they have some of the best and more interesting info! I even found hubby doing this when I was away from the computer!

I did wonder if I should try candling the robin eggs on my electric meter! lol I wonder if maybe that would be taking it a tad bit too far but wouldn't it be good for the robin to know if she needs to stay there in the pouring down rain or if she should give up and try again?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Credibility in Advertising

This is an excerpt from an email I received regarding goats that are in a dog shelter needing adoption.

"CATHY, Young F, Goat, Pet ID: 45401
GAYLA, Young F, Goat, Pet ID: 45402
STEPHEN, M, Goat, Pet ID: 45403
Cathy and Gayla are young female goats and Stephen is a mail. They will be all be available for adoption on 4/24. They are all cute as can be, very sociable - sweet and friendly. Cathy is brown, Gayla is white, and Stephanie is on the the left - she's the slightly larger adult goat. "

There are times that even on line and in an email that we need credibility! Why don't we make an attempt to get our vocabulary straight? I don't expect perfection, but we need to be credible!

There are are times I have to shake my head and wonder about people, such as when they use phrases such as "for sell" instead of "for sale" and "I want to sale my...." instead of "I want to sell my....". There are other blatant mistakes too.

These types of mistakes DO make a difference. It does affect our reputation, reflects on our education, and leaves a lasting impression.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Interesting Farm Facts

* One acre of soybeans can produce 82,368 crayons.
* The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.
* There are 47 different breeds of sheep in the U.S.
* One pound of wool can make 10 miles of yarn. There are 150 yards (450 feet) of wool yarn in a baseball.

* The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed 86 pounds.
* Mature turkeys have more than 3,500 feathers.
* Turkeys originated in North and Central America, and evidence indicates that they have been around for more than 10 million years.

* Cows can detect smells up to six miles away!

* Like snowflakes, no two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots.

(Excerpts from "FarmersFeedUs")

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Phew, I found a NICE, used refrigerator with GOOD capacity and for only $135! Capacity is "everything" with milk goats! It will be here Friday and then I can quit living out of ice chests! Thank heavens I have them and all those ice packs that came with hubby's IV's that I couldn't part with!

I'm definitely ready for the calf too! The does are producing well and I'm giving milk to the chickens, cats and dogs because I don't have a refrigerator to keep it cold enough. So I'm working on keeping it all consumed in 24 hours.

While there wandering the used appliances, I happened upon a nice upright freezer for $100. Yes, I did buy it! I have 2 bucks who need to do freezer camp and the sooner the better! The savings of feed will help pay for the 2nd freezer and I'm so use to having 2 that being down to 1 has been horrible. If I was not so into greezing my own meat, some milk, sale items we use and such I might be able to "do" just 1.

Interestingly, the place that I've bought other appliances from and these are coming from use to have a full room of used refrigerators. Now with the economy as it is, they can't keep used in stock! He'd been completely out for a couple weeks! But, finally I can get this situation dealt with in an more affordable manner and just in time for putting my efforts into gardening! Living out of ice chests is a time waster along with a pain in the posterior! It's not efficient, but it's a good lesson in how time consuming daily life had to be for our ancestors who didn't have the luxuries and technology we do. I'm frugal and don't mind some inconveniences but there's a limit. It does make a major difference that I'm not working!

Now, where am I going to put that freezer?

Hatching Eggs

Just some rambling thoughts on my plans with hatching the chicken eggs and your input is always appreciated, of course!

I'm half way through this hatch and FINALLY figured out candling and saw some embryos! I was so eggcited! (Pun intended!) Now I'm REALLY getting excited! One that I was successful at candling was the dark Maran egg! That made my day! I found an Energizer 1 Watt LED Light! It's a smallish flashlight and BRIGHT! The glass is smaller than a regular size so much better for keeping the light on the egg itself. I could detect the air cells, embryos and even saw some veining. It wasn't completely dark either! I paid $4.99 for the light and it came with batteries too! Much cheaper than buying a candler light for considerably more money and paying shipping too! I LOVE a good deal!

I'm going to do another clutch of chicken eggs after this one and that might be the last for the chickens this year. It's too nasty and cold here during the Winter and I don't want young and small birds trying to survive it. I'd like them to be close to or fully grown so they can make it through comfortably. Chickens can stand some pretty cold weather but they need to be healthy and to be dry. We're building them a new coop!

I am hoping in the next hatch to be able to get some pullets along with a replacement roo from my Favorelles and also more Cochin chicks. I'd really like another Cochin roo but am hoping that one of the cochin eggs (not mine) in the incubator can be the roo prospect. I'm hoping I can find some Favorelle eggs for next Spring to bring in some new bloodlines and hopefully improve on the birds I have. Then I'll have a new roo that way too.

The Favorelle roo learned some pretty bad behavior at his previous home and was allowed to continue it. He's not wanting to back off now and respect my space. I even tried to cage him and have him learn that I supplied his food and water and I'm not so bad. Instead he attacked me everytime I opened the cage and managed to spur the back of my hand badly. It swelled badly and immediately infected even though I grabbed my milking clean up and cleaned it out. He's going to be replaced and become roo-stew! I will say I've never seen a roo who can jump you and be flipping circles in the air all tucked into a ball except his spurs going. He was like a wet cat in a cat fight! Carried around by the feet to show him he needed to shape up only meant he was going for my legs with his beak and he was trying to propell himself upwards to right himself. He didn't back off the bad behavior and just "take the ride". Like all animals, if we don't teach them to respect humans and at least be civilized (preferably mannered too) they end up as bad citizens. Shame on us for not doing our part as owners!

After I finish the next chicken hatch, I'm hoping to be able to try a couple dozen guinea hen eggs for some guinea chicks to sell. I'm not seeing them on Craigslist for sale in my rural area so hope they would sell reasonably easy. Then I'd have a reimbursement for some chicken feed or the incubator or such.

So there's my thoughts on my 2010 egg hatching. Of course it is subject to change as I can't turn down a GREAT deal if it would come across! I'd have to consider it at the least!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Last Hatch

No, I'm sure not done hatching even though that sounds like it! I thought I'd share some photos of my last hatch that I finally got reduced in size so they hopefully load reasonably well. I've added 2 other posts also with the incubator and the eggs incubating which also have pics and go with this posting. I hope breaking it up a bit helps!

This is one of the light Brahma chicks. Disappointingly, only 3 of these hatched out of about 16 eggs. I was so hoping at least 5 or 6 of them would hatch with hopes I'd have a couple cockerels and few pullets. Now I'm really hoping that, as they grow, there are at least 1 cockerel and 2 pullets!

These are a couple of my Cochin chicks from my eggs. The chicks stay in the incubator for a good 24 hours to dry and to finish absorbing the yolk sac which provides their nurishment the first 24+ hours.
The orange is a piece of the "sham wow" type of material. I got this at the dollar store for kitchen use to clean up spills. It picks up and holds water really well so I used it instead of sponges for the lockdown. It worked great and they were able to get across it well. They did eventually stay on it as I think it was more comfortable than the wire of the incubator.

This little Cochin is having a well earned rest and is drying out pretty well. They weren't really fluffy until the next day when they were able to stand better and stretch their little bodies. The red heat lamp warmth seemed to give them a boost when they got into the brooder.
Now they are growing like the proverbial weeds and feathering out on their wings, tails and some on their backs.

Incubating The Last Hatch

No, I'm sure not done hatching even though that sounds like it! I thought I'd share some photos of my last hatch that I finally got reduced in size so they hopefully load reasonably well.

The red plugs go in the vent holes in the lid for the last 3 days which are "lockdown" with humidity raised and no more turning, just a LOT of vibes for them to be strong and healthy in their hatching.

Two thermometers! The above came with the incubator and has fallen apart! so much for a piece of paper stapled to a piece of plastic! Below is a battery-operated thermometer with hygrometer to measure the humidity. I had just added warm water so the humidity is a touch high but stabilized soon after. Yes, the eggs are written on. I hear it's the thing to do! ;)

I imagine some of you also incubate some eggs so will have seen new chicks. I find the whole process and outcome very interesting and know you might also.
The next post is the hatch!

My Incubator

This is the box from the new incubator, a Little Giant. It's a cheap model but I decided it would be a good start for my induction into hatching chicks!

I didn't get the egg turner or fan. (pic below) They didn't have them in stock and I didn't really have the $ to invest at that point. I also didn't know if I'd really enjoy doing this or what. So I'm starting out very frugally.

I've had a couple kind people send me eggs in a GREAT deal I couldn't refuse. I hope to get better now that I've done a hatch and buy specific breed eggs and upgrade my incubator.
And, I'm ADDICTED! This has been so much fun. I have the chicks in a brooder in the house. They are 2 weeks old and growing feathers. They are getting use to us but still a bit more flighty than I want them to be. They have that little red hen syndrome of THE-SKY-IS-FALLING when I start to do anything with my hands in the brooder.
Yes, I've started and now how do I stop? This is sooooo NEAT! I've started that 2nd hatch (note above) and it's fun to look on line and see the development stages and tend the turning of the eggs, monitoring the temp and humidity, and the vibes I send the growing chicks when doing so!
Anyone need any chicks?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Turophilia (Cheese)

Did you know.....:

~ Turophilia is a love of or obsession with cheese.
~ Cheese takes up about 1/10 the volume of the milk it was made from.

~ In 1936 the first American blue cheese plant was founded by Felix Frederickson in Faribault, Minnesota.

~ Consuming cheese immediately after meals or as a between-meal snack helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Certain cheeses - aged Cheddar, Swiss, blue, Monterey Jack, Brie, Gouda and processed American cheese - have been shown to help prevent tooth decay. Calcium, phosphorus and other components in cheese may contribute to this beneficial effect.

~ Richard Nixon liked ketchup on his cottage cheese.

~ More than one-third of all milk produced each year in the U.S. is used to make cheese.

~ The oldest evidence we have of cheese making dates from about 2300 B.C. from the residue in an Egyptian pot.

~ Parmesan cheese probably originated in Parma or in Tuscany in the 11th century. Boccaccio mentioned it in 1364.

~ Philadelphia brand cream cheese is one of the oldest American packaged foods; it went on sale in its protective wrapper in 1885.

~ The United States produces more than 30% of the world's cheese.

Define Crisis!

It's the refrigerator croaking!!!! This is NOT a good time of year for this! The does gave me 23# of milk this morning and the refrigerator croaks!

What to do.....

I have bottle babies so they get some!
The dogs got eggnog with their kibble.
The cats got milk in the house and in the barn.
The chickens got some with soy meal and fine cracked corn mixed in. Then I found the bucks were eating this! Good! They got a second bowl full!
I put a plastic container of milk in the freezer for my snack later. I'll do the same for breakfast. (I don't eat right away when I get up anyway.)
Ummmm...... I wonder if that will take care of it for the day?

Tomorrow I'm going to buy a refrigerator! I hope they can deliver it Saturday as Monday might be a loooonnnngggg wait with fresh does and the freezer is already full!

Oh, and I better call "the guy" and tell him I'm ready for the calf! I have her pen started. I need to run a bit more electric fence and couple more fence posts and make a shelter with pallets. The grass is coming on good so by the time she's wanting to graze she should have a decent "plot" of grass out there.

Thank heavens it wasn't after the next 3 dairy does freshen!

12 Step Program for Canners!

Are you a home canner?

Are you totally enthralled with your canning and the luscious foods you preserve? Are you willing to can anything you can get your hands on? Have you gone to canning year-around? If any of these apply, you might want to consider this 12 Step document!

Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our homes had become filled with mason jars.

Step 2 - Came to believe that more toys and gadgets could restore us to sanity.

Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the Canning2newsgroup. (A yahoo group for home canners who can't quit!)

Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our recipes and vowed to share them with others.

Step 5 – Hid from our spouses, to ourselves and to other human beings the exact extent of our canning gadgets.

Step 6 - We're entirely ready to have the enablers on the Canning2 remove all the fears of steam canning.

Step 7 - Humbly asked others to give us back our empty jars.

Step 8 - Made a list of all items we had canned, and became willing to make more of the good ones.

Step 9 - Made direct gifts of canned goods to people wherever possible, except when it would deplete our large stash of jars.

Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were low on items, promptly search freecycle, craigslist, and canning pantry dot com.

Step 11 - Sought through asking, begging, and pleading to improve our gardens, praying that we would have lots of produce to put up.

Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other newsgroup lurkers, and to encourage steam juicers in all our newsgroups.

Now that you realize YOU are also an addicted home canner, I want you to know I'm here for you! I'll enable you all I can!
After all, we all have to have a quirk and why not one that is so wonderful and helps our family enjoy good dining?! I'm glad that I have so much wonderful company in my efforts to do such a good thing!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Define Fun!

What constitutes fun for you?

I spent time outside on a nice day (Monday) and got to look at and compare the kids from my 3 American Alpines! Spirit has American Alpine kids and Kendra and Claire the first generation of mini Alpine kids. I took Buttons and Burglar (Kendra's twins) outside with me and they got to romp in the yard, enjoy a beautiful day and visit the other kids. It was great and the kids were all having fun in the sun! Kids are truly olympic calibur gymnasts! Oh can they jump, twist, and fly around doing so many athletic stunts. They can run and do a stiff-legged boing-boing-boing with their shoulder leading and head turned partially back. And, the EARS FLY! They savor every moment of it too! I just wish a digital camera could do justice to trying to get some of the "magic moments" with them airborne and gyrating around! I did get a picture of Chelsie (Boer doeling) landing!

I was excited to see what I would get in the first generation of the mini Alpines and now I'm REALLY excited to see what they become. I really REALLY like all 3 sets of twins from the 3 sr does! I'm glad I have another 5 full-sized does to present more mini kids to examine and try to make breeding plans.

Now, I have a major dilemma! How many bucks is one allowed to keep each year? I really don't NEED 5 bucks but it might take that for a year with the mini Alp breeding and to breed the Boers too! I may just have to grin and bear it and let some go! But I have to make sure I'll have bucks to breed all the necessary does before doing so!

I also have Daisy, the Boer doe, and her kids to enjoy also! The triplets go visiting with the Alpine kids and have fun in the sun and fresh air. Naps in the sun sure seem to be enjoyed too! Chelsie in the photo is one of Daisy's triplets and just adorable!
It sure has been FUN watching these kids and there's more fun and kids to come!

Egg Supply Tidbit

I read on a homesteading group that a 4-H Poultry leader told the 4-Her's this:

"one day without food = one week without eggs,
one day without water = one month without eggs"

Then on another homesteading group it was stated thus:

"We've found 1 day without food = 3 days no eggs
and 1 day no water = 3 days no eggs"

Interestingly, people will take info from one group and go to another! I don't know which came first or which is accurate. I do know that it shows how crucial food and water are even to our poultry! They can't "perform" for us if they aren't fed and even a day "fasting" is detrimental!

If we happen to be one of the people who are selling hatching eggs or wanting our own eggs for hatching, we also need to realize that we are feeding that tiny embryo in the egg from conception to it's adult life! To be a healthy, vibrant egg with the ability to hopefully provide a viable chick we need to feed it from the time the egg is formed in the hen as the yolk is the first feeding for the hatchling!

So we much provide food and water and fresh is of course the best and what should be strived for to have the most "perfect" egg a hen can bless us with!

I know I'd hate to go without my wonderful eggs again! Plus I want my hens to be healthy after a season of laying and going into winter! They can't give their all and then survive winter if they don't have proper nutrition!
It's amazing that there is so much to ponder over a simple egg!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Kids on the Farm

How cute is this? Talk about a mirror image....

Claire finally got around to presenting 2 of the most adorable kids one could hope for Sunday afternoon! We have twins - a buckling and doeling! I was thinking she was going to have a full litter as she was HUGE! Claire has a tendancy to have a big belly anyway. It's also a sign of good rumen volume. The twins weigh 6 and 5 # and are both Sundgau. Sundgau is their Alpine coloration/pattern.
The buckling has a small white tip to his tail and the black triangle in the ear is solid and "sharp" looking (more pronounced). The doeling has a black tail tip and her black ear triangles are frosted, so a bit "muted" in look.
They are now in the house with Buttons and being bottle fed. Buttons is working hard to teach them her gymnastic routine and they are apt pupils and trying hard in the jump upon the little stool. They have stumble off perfected!
They are such fun! They and Claire are doing wonderful. She had a rough kidding in 2009 and I debated long and hard if I was going to breed her, give her a year off or retire her. That was her 2nd kidding and to a standard sized buck. I decided to breed her to my ND buck, Nipper, who is MUCH smaller than she after learning that ND's crossed on standard sized dairy does really do produce smaller kids. So I did breed her but was determined to be present for the kidding. She's sailed through with flying colors and is doing so much better than last year. I'm MUCH MUCH relieved as I adore this doe and knew the guilt I'd carry if I was wrong in my decision. She's also in 24 hours milking out over a gallon a day! We're 48 hours out now and this morning's "milk" was still considerably yellowish so still a high % of colostrum with a transition to milk. (I've added fresh colostrum to the freezer for emergencies in the future.)
Burgler has been sent to the barn. He's too rough for the new kids and he has been escaping the play yard pen here in the house. He needed more room to spread his wings and perform his gymnastic gyrations! He has Becca and Bandit for company and the Boer triplets are joining in on their fun in the yard during the day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter! Here's a little humor to help you achieve that!

Raw or Hard Boiled?

I read this and find the concept interesting. Now I need to hard boil some eggs so I can play with my eggs! I thought I'd get it posted with hopes you still have some Easter eggs left if you want to give it a try too!

How do you tell if an egg is hard boiled or raw?

Spin them.

Supposedly, if they are hard boiled they will spin "cleanly".
If they're raw the yolk will supposedly throw the spin "off-kilter".