Today a couple of the birds braved to cold winds and blowing snow, but most of them just stayed in the barn. I can't blame them.
While collecting eggs today (20 chicken eggs and 3 duck eggs) I found a nest stashed behind the old brooder that the kids had been missing. An additional 10 chicken eggs and 15 duck eggs were recovered. That makes today's egg total 30 chicken eggs and 18 duck eggs. The old nest ones will be float tested before they go into the kitchen and because we don't know how old they might be they will not be included in our hatching eggs that we offer for sale.
Taking advantage of the snow day, I decided today I wanted to get on my winter sowing. I'm slowly running out of time to get it done. I've never put it off this long before. We made a little mini chain of stations and got to work. Little #5 pulled the containers out from where they were stashed and handed them to #4. #4 peeled off any labels and removed lids before handing them off to me. I'd drill all the drainage holes in the bottom and then hand them off to #1. #1 had a litter pan with bleach water and sanitized each container before handing them off to #3. #3 cut each container almost in half with a little hinge left so it could be closed once it's planted. And when we were all done, we worked together to put all of the sanitized, cut, drilled, and ready-to-plant containers back into the stash area.
I'm hoping to start winter sowing tomorrow. Now it's just the easy parts - Label the containers, write out labels for inside the containers, add soil, add seeds, close with duct tape, photograph, and put outside. Since I've already pulled a lot of seeds (from the collection) that I want to work with this year, it's just a matter of labeling and planting really. I'm hoping I have enough containers. I think my seed selections may still be overly ambitious for the space I have, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway.
I moved all of the 4/14 hatching eggs to the hatching incubator. I'm trying something new this time. I saw on one of my hatching groups that you can use the mesh onion/garlic bags to differentiate eggs. I put all six of my blue eggs in one, all four of my dark brown eggs in another, and then left the thirteen regular brown eggs on the incubator floor as I normally would.
Because our two breeding roosters are a French Black Copper Marans (Doodle) and an Easter Egger cross (Sherlock), the blue and dark brown eggs each have a 50/50 chance of producing chicks that will either go on to lay eggs of the same color, or be f1 olive eggers. If we keep them back for our own flock, next year we can hatch out green eggs and have a chance at getting f2 olive eggers. When you breed f1 and f2 olive eggers you get a rainbow of color possibilities as far as egg production goes. I would love to have a rainbow collection of eggs every day. This plan is still three years in the making, but I think it's great that we already have the genetic base to make our own rainbow egg flock in just a few years with selective breeding.
New eggs will go into the incubator on Sunday. I'm planning to set some duck eggs and some more chicken eggs too.
In sad news, today #3 informed me that the colony litter has been destroyed. The rabbits attacked their own nest and killed all of the babies. I'm heartbroken. I'm defeated. It's been over seven months since we've had a successful litter. The rabbits that should have had litters 4/9 are showing no signs of nesting. I'm about to give up and sell out. I'm spending around $130-$150 a month on food to keep these rabbits, and we're not getting any return. I think it's time to downsize.
If anyone is looking for rabbits, let me know. They're almost all proven breeders, I just can't get them to lift or participate lately. Hurry before I change my mind...