Since the last blog, we acquired another duckling. Little Gaetos is an Indian Runner duck, I am fairly certain this is the full sibling of Nicey and Charlie Brown, the offspring of Omelet and Quiche from an egg they laid before we bought them. Either way, Gaetos will be Happy Feet's companion growing up, since Happy Feet is much too small to introduce to Nicey and Charlie Brown (who are getting bigger by the day). They hit it off right away and are now best buddies.
With our first incubator hatch completed, we swapped the brooder around. The goslings and 39 chicks have been moved to a brooder out in the barn. There's a red heat lamp over it that's on at night to keep them warm. Some of the birds can fly up to the edge of the brooder and hop out, but none seem willing to go adventure beyond a foot or two from the brooder.
That leaves eleven chickens and three ducks from our original batches in the basement brooder. Why leave some in? Well, we're still in for a few more cold nights, and just in case anything fails I want to be absolutely sure that my prized selections aren't left out in the cold (literally). Chicks still in the indoor brooder include two Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben, one yellow cochin, two black cochins, one blue (blue splash?) cochin, Ralphie the Brown Leghorn (super friendly), one Buff Laced Polish cockerel (he is available for sale if anyone is interested), one Black Sumatra, the Columbian Wyandotte pullet that was nearly plucked to death, and a tiny little chicken the same color as Ralphie but much smaller - no idea what it is, but it's tiny and it's fast moving. Plus of course Nicey and Charlie Brown the Indian Runner ducklings, and the Rouen cross duckling that's nearly full grown now.
Out of the 25 eggs that made it to the hatching incubator, 18 eggs hatched, one chick died, leaving us with a total of 16 chicks and one duckling. That's a 72% hatch rate, but a 68% rate if you only count survivors.
I cleaned the brooder out and put the next two eggs in. They were the first two eggs from Quiche and Omelet when they arrived. They're set to hatch today, but have not pipped yet. Patience.
This morning one of the people who had wanted three bunnies from the colony litter backed out. Two quickly found homes with other people, but one more is still left looking for a home. Out of twelve bunnies, I still need to find homes for three bucks. One solid black, one black with a white dot on the forehead, and one black with a white foot. They are $15 each or two for $25 if anyone is interested. They'll be ready to go to their new homes next weekend.
This evening I'm again at my parents' house, dog-sitting for the weekend. It's nice to be away from some of the kids for a while, but at the same time, I know housework isn't likely to get done when I'm not home to do it. I'm sure I'll have a lot of catching up to do by the time I get back Sunday evening. My biggest worry is leaving all the animal chores to the girls... Will they remember to refill the water buckets in the brooders? To turn on the brooder light in the barn when it gets dark to keep them warm? Will they remember to feed the dog and the cats? To refill the kiddie pool for Josh and the ducks? I'm hoping they do.
I did call them to touch base and remind them of some of the more important things. I'm still anxious, but I'm naturally a worry wart. Maybe this will be an opportunity for them to shine. As of bedtime when I called to say goodnight, they assured me all animal chores had been done for the day, and that the two duck eggs in the incubator had not pipped yet.