Today I heard from my friend in Brainerd that her doe delivered babies today! These are from our own Mister Cellophane who was studded out to her girl, Jersey. These are purebred Jersey Wooly bunnies, and we get pick of the litter. I'm excited to see what they look like, but momma bunny is being protective of the nest and won't allow photos yet. Completely understandable! We'll just have to wait! I'm hoping to get a doe out of this litter to pair back to Celery. The litter that Celery studded is due on Memorial Day and I'm hoping to get a doe from that litter to pair back to Mister Cellophane. Then I'll have two pairs of Jersey Wooly rabbits.
I went through my brother's recycling pile to find he'd raided our parents' garage and smashed up all the old bird cages I'd been collecting. What a butt. I salvaged what I could and brought them home. I plan to use them to try to make some kind of chicken coop with more space. Now if I could just find something to use as a base for me to build the house part... A shelving unit, a cupboard, a baby crib, a dog house... I'll have to keep my eyes open for something to come along.
The kids had fun finding five dozen eggs hidden outside at Grandma and Grandpa's house today. It kept them busy for quite a while actually. The only complaint came from little #5 who lamented that they only found real eggs and no plastic eggs filled with candy... as though the candy in their baskets wasn't more than enough.
This morning there was one egg pipped. As of this evening, still only one egg pipped. I can hear them chirping from their eggs in the incubator. I'm hoping for several to hatch tomorrow.
For some reason I only put three eggs in the incubator to hatch next week, but all three are candling as duds. As of right now, I'm going to say there will be no hatch next week. They were the ones we were hoping to get a cochin chick from. I think it's the location in the incubator, because the front left is farthest from the heating unit and the egg turner motor (which also produced heat), and the eggs in those spots always feel colder when picked up.
Today I set ten new eggs into the incubator. I did put a couple dark ones with speckles, one especially dark one, one that came from the French Black Copper Marans hen, one blue and the rest varying shades of brown, tan, and pink tinted. It'll be interesting to see if we get more colorful chicks from the plain looking eggs.
I'm not too bummed about the dud hatch next week. I'll be gearing up for that mystery box of assorted rare chicks from the hatchery anyway, so I'll have my hands full. And if we get Polish chicks I can sell them instead of whatever I'd typically be hatching anyway.
The week after that (5/5) we're set to have ducklings hatch! They're candling alive and well so far. Only three duck eggs that week. More the next, and none the following week (what I put in today). I'm not sure what I'll put in next week. I guess it depends on what gets laid this week. Today we got a neat speckled brown egg. I'd like to put that in the incubator next week. It looks like a Welsummer egg, but I don't think we have a Welsummer hen in the flock. We have Brown Leghorn hens (white ears), and we have a Partridge Cochin (similar pattern), but I don't think we have a clean legged hen with those colors. Is there another breed that lays brown speckled eggs?
The French Black Copper Marans hens have stopped laying since they've been confined to the coop. I suspect it's because it's too small. Four to five adult chickens my butt! It's cramped with three! I can't imagine locking three or four in there over winter when you can't properly clean it out because everything freezes under layers of snow. This is why I'm going to try my hand at using mostly recycled stuff to build a better coop myself... Since Tony is working five days a week and we have to do all of our shopping and appointments on his days off, he just doesn't have the time for another project. I guess this one is on me for now.
I still need to finish winter sowing, but it's already time to get the potato towers back up and running. I have to move them to somewhere further from the barn to try to prevent a repeat of last year. Stupid chickens kept eating the potato plants and then dying. I don't want to risk my new babies from the hatcheries this year. Off the potato towers will go to somewhere further out so it is less tempting to the birds. I wish I had more time and energy (and man-power) to get all of these things done in a more timely manner. Seems the kids suck my energy all day and I'm inspired and energized after they've all gone to bed - when it's dark and I can't really go to anything outside, or make much noise inside. Some days they feel like being helpful and are awesome, and other days it's a constant battle to break up arguments and bickering and whining all day. Exhausting.
Next weekend my Mom has invited me to a bit of a ladies retreat with my two aunts and two female cousins. I'm not one for going to the cities. In fact I feel completely out of place in a big city. I hate being around so many people. But she assures me it will be fun, and in the end people regret what they didn't do more than what they did do. I need to stretch my comfort zone anyway. So I guess we're supposed to go on some 3-D ride, and a bar that does crafts, and stay at a hotel that has a kitchenette in it. I'm going to so my best to have fun, but chances are I'm going to need a stay-cation when I get home just to recuperate from being around people and away from nature for three days.