Archive for February 25th, 2013

February 25, 2013

Candling eggs

Did I mention we are incubating eggs?

We bought a “table top” incubator last weekend. With the price of the chicks we like being so high, replacements aren’t gonna come cheap. I don’t plan to have a dozen different types of chickens, we’re hardly chicken purists, though it did start out that way. I do love love love the wyandotte breed so I thought it was more economical to incubate our own. I don’t know if we’ll get a broody hen or not. We had one last year, but the fox got her and that’s a real shame because I’d much rather have a hen set and care for her own.

At any rate, we put the eggs in a week ago Sunday, 39 eggs to be exact. They are a barnyard mixture. Some coming from my own Silver Laced Wyandottes, most coming from a friend to include “Easter Eggers”, Marans, White Leghorn, Golden Laced, and several others. The instructions sad darker shells cannot be candled until the 7-10 day mark. I was looking at them on Saturday (day 6) and thought the whole batch was no good. I saw distinct air sacs but nothing more. We had a little mishap mid-wee with the incubator getting up to 104 degrees. I did a little research on spiking temps and most people said they were okay depending on how long it stayed at that temperature. Most of what I read said at 104 and above, the cells begin to fry. I had no idea how long it had been so warm and the reason it got so high was because our wood stove was working over time and it was HOT in the house. The incubator we have does not self regulate at a certain temp, it’s sort of manual regulation. I didn’t know it would be like that but for the most part, it’s been absolutely fine. We do have the egg turner but not the fan.

Saturday I didn’t know what I was looking for apparently. A friend was over yesterday and she spotted eye balls right away! YES! Rachel and I moved the incubator into the bathroom this morning, took a seat on the floor and went to work. Rachel is an awesome “eyeball spotter”. We placed “x” on all the viable ones, and “?” on the questionable ones. We had 34 viable ones, and 5 questionable ones. I think 3-4 of the 5 questionable ones were green shelled and those are proving pretty hard for us. So, we’ll check everything again in a week and, remove what we think is bad and go from there.

We’ll set two clutches and probably shut it down for the year unless any roosters from this new batch we got in the mail from McMurrary are ready by late summer, and they may very well be, and then we can do another batch or two for ourselves. I really like mid-summer chicks as they seem so much cheaper and easier to raise! Come spring, they are laying age and all it took was just a little time in the brooder. These winter chicks are proving to take more care, though they’ll be laying by late summer. Pros and cons to it all =).

We won’t be doing purebred birds or anything as I do not intend to have a separate coop for all the different Wyandottes we have. But since the golden laced and the blue laced led are all a spin off of the silver laced, I don’t have an issue combining them all for our own barnyard flock.

The photo below is not very clear. It’s hard to get a real good clear photo with details.  I was not able to capture the veins, but the black shadow in the center of the photo is the actual chick. The black dot (eyeball) is the easiest thing to spot, surrounding the black dot is a lighter shadow, which is the body. Neither of which I was able to capture but anyway…still pretty cool, I think =).

Most of what hatches out of this clutch will be for sale. If you’re in the market for a good barn yard mix for laying or butchering, let me know!

Candling- day 7. Brown egg.

Candling- day 7. Brown egg.

February 25, 2013

Triplets for Pejamy

This is Pejamy’s 3rd set of triplets. As a first freshening 2 year old, she had triplet girls. As a 2nd freshening 3 year old, 2 bucks and a doe (who, incidentally, just had her first set of kids as a 2nd freshening 2 year old =) ), 3rd freshening 4 year old twin does and as a 4th freshening five year old (and looking gorgeous!) 2 does and a buck. This girl sure does know how to throw the girls, even out of a buck who has been a heavy buck thrower. They say the female has nothing to do with gender given “x” & “y” chromosomes of the whole scenario, but considering a few of my does and their tendencies, I tend not to agree entirely on that and wouldn’t bat an eye at body Ph or minerals playing at least a small roll.

The buck kid was hogging a lot of the groceries in utero  it appears, but that is generally the case. All three are a very good size and Pejamy sure does now how to grow some lovely kids! The first doe she barely on the ground when I showed up. I had been ding barn checks all morning and knew the night before it wouldn’t be long. She looked pretty content to stick it out over night though which I was thankful for because I think it dipped down to single digits. Saturday was beautiful enough. The sun was out, it was just at freezing much of the day but when that sun comes out, it feels pretty warm! There is still quite a bit of snow on the ground.

I moved her into the kidding pen around 5 AM and gave her a heat lamp. She was pretty happy to get alfalfa all to herself and after about 4 barn checks by 1 o’clock, she decided the time was right. She was cleaning the doe kid -a pretty brown roan- when the 2nd kid was at the helm. I could see though she was having a bit of a problem. She’d lay down and push but nothing, get up, readjust. Finally she had him in a good position but one leg was bent incorrectly (back) and so he was much bigger through the shoulders than what’s “easy “for them to deliver. I didn’t help much. I knew with a little more effort than normal she could get him out that way and his head and one shoulder was already delivered anyway. He’s a flashy robust buck kid and while mama tended to him, the first little doe kid was trying to stand. Those doe kids sure are vigorous. The buck kids seem to be pretty laid back so far, taking their sweet time to decide to get on with walking and eating and such.

The third kid (a doe) was in much the same position as the buck with the 2nd leg completely facing back.  She was smaller and easier to deliver that way though I did help pull just a tiny bit. I actually was going to try to see if I could easily bring that leg around but she ended up pushing past the largest part anyway but then stopped with the kid half way out and just stood there looking at me holding half of this wet kid like, okay, can I have her now? I told her, “Sure, FINISH PUSHING HER OUT, please.” Out with a plop and a mahogany spotted beautiful thing. Three new babies to fill Pejamy’s coffers. What a lucky mama!

The mahogany doe kid’s spots should lighten to white or a mocha brown within a few months.

One of the doe kids and the buck will probably be for sale. When, I am not sure but one of them within a couple of weeks on the bottle, of course. Pejamy has successfully raised triplets before, but she does tend to put a lot of herself in to milk and it can be hard to keep weight on her. I just LOVE this doe. She’s so quiet and easy on the stand, an absolute dream to milk and does a good job putting it in the bucket, so to speak. She has the perfect size teats and good orifices. She’s really just a very nice all around doe scoring well on appraisal, she showed well and she’s proving that patience is a virtue in regard to maturity…slower to mature but worth the wait! And in 4 of 5 freshening years, she’s given us 11 beautiful kids!

1st doe kid

1st doe kid

buck (left) & doe (upper right)

buck (left) & doe (upper right)

3rd kid (doe) spotted (spots should lighten to white or light brown)

3rd kid (doe) spotted (spots should lighten to white or light brown)

does

does

flashy buck kid

flashy buck kid

Em. is next with a due date just a couple of days away. With the weather today (blizzard warnings), she can wait. March will be pretty busy with 4 does due, then a couple in April, a break in May and the rest in June.