The dogs had a massacre a few days ago. We lost six chickens in a day. We're still not 100% sure if it's Arya (the saint bernard pup we keep catching stalking them and carrying/eating dead birds), or Toby (the rescue mutt who loves to chase and grab tail feathers). It's likely a combination of both. We're trying to keep them either under direct supervision or on a tie out, but I don't like having to chain them up, and they don't like it either. The only chicken losses have been when kids let them out and don't watch them. More training is needed.
I tried to track down more Bourbon Red turkey poults locally, but had no luck. I had to place another hatchery order. I feel like a poultry addict. This time we're going to fill space in the order (minimum of 15 birds) with some bantams and some Mottled Houdan and White Sultan chicks. The bantams will eat less over winter and should be a fun addition to the homestead. I'm going to get some Easter Egger bantams and some Birchen Cochin bantams. They both look interesting. Hopefully these should arrive in July.
I've got one more order coming this week. The guinea order (13 guinea keets and three unsexed Dark Brahmas) is set to ship on Wednesday. I think I am going to have Tony put up a divider in the barn brooder to keep the five big ducklings away from the tiny guinea keets.
Tomorrow we're heading back to town. We'll be picking up Celery, who's been staying with Maddy (other rabbit breeder), and bringing home his offspring from the last breeding (a broken black daughter to be paired to Mister Cellophane once she's old enough). We're bringing Little Timmy along for a stud service too.
I've got two meetings set up for Friday to send Sapphire and one of the silver bucks from Calliope's litter off to new homes. I've got people inquiring about Donna Noble and Cheddar too, but neither has actually confirmed interest or set a meeting date.
And in other news, my kids have introduced me to TikTok and I'm enjoying scrolling through random videos- but I'm not making any myself.
The other day we had a late hatching chick in the incubator. It really had trouble and though it pipped it made no more progress. I pulled away half the shell, and after another 12 hours the chick still hadn't come out. I went ahead and carefully pulled the shell off in pieces because the inner membrane had started to shrink wrap and glue the shell to the chick. Poor baby had poop in the bottom of its shell and there were parts of the shell that I couldn't get off without tearing baby fluff off. Poor little "Eggshell" as we've named him/her stayed in the incubator just long enough to look mostly dry. I'm sure baby was hungry, so out to the barn brooder Eggshell went. I hope this one survives. Poor thing had a rough start. The other chicks must have cleaned him/her up because Eggshell is nice and fluffy now with no more shell stuck on.
I'm worried for Nanny. She's the duck out on the peninsula on goose eggs. The two she kicked out of the nest were fertile and had dead goslings in them, but the eggs she's sitting on are well past when they should have hatched now. I don't want to make her think I'm stealing her babies, but at some point she has to realize that they're not going to hatch, right?
The little escapee duckling died the other day. The kids told me they'd done the barn chores and the next morning when I went out I realized they had fed and watered all the rabbits but hadn't done the brooder - so the babies were without food and water for at least 12 hours. It's a hard lesson to teach, but I think knowing they may have caused a death for a little baby may make them understand how important the responsibility is.
We still have several broody hens. The partridge cochin hen gets kicked off of her nest every day for the Pekin hen to lay an egg. When her chicken eggs hatch I'm going to have a lot of half-incubated duck eggs to put in the incubator. I'm wondering if I should start collecting some now, or just wait until the hen hatches her eggs. We also have one Columbian Wyandotte and another hen (the Welsummer?) that are sharing a nest. Sometimes Blue (our splash cochin) joins them. We also have Broke Toes (she's either a Black Jersey Giant or an Australorp) who's taking up a nest box and sitting on eggs. With any luck we should have plenty of hen-raised chicks this summer. I hope anyway. Last year our one adult hen never went broody, and this will be our first year with hens and chicks and barn cats all free roaming. I'm crossing my fingers. Last year none of the duck hen-raised ducklings survived. Here's hoping for better results this year.
Tonight the kids decided they wanted to pitch a tent in the yard and sleep outside. Fine by me. I had checked the weather forecast earlier and there wasn't any chance of rain. Sure enough, as soon as they go to set up the tent the forecast changes to 70% chance of rain tonight. They get all of their stuff out there - blankets, flashlights, snacks - and the forecast says 100% and radar shows it coming. Turns out the old tent has a leak in the rain-proofing up top and the entire tent flooded as soon as the rain started. In the kids came, hauling blanket sacks of books and flashlights and goodies. Might be time for a new tent. Anyone have a nice big tent that doesn't leak that you'd be willing to trade for a couple rabbits or something?