Happy to be back!

Cooling off!

Cooling off!

 

I am so happy to be back on my blog!  I have been dealing with a few daunting health issues and I have never been more thankful for my family!  My parents were able to come up to help with things when I was unable to do much.  Between helping with my two precious kiddos or feeding and caring for my backyard flock, my parents proved that nothing is as important as family.  I pray that all of you had a wonderful Fourth of July with your families.  I know I did.  I was privileged enough to spend half of the day with my hubby’s family and the other half with my parents.  God has truly blessed me and my family.  Life isn’t always easy or fun, but if you keep your eyes open you will be constantly reminded of all you have been given.

New additions to the family!

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I ordered these from a hatchery and they came in the middle of March.  I ordered two of each kind but the other Pekin died within hours of arrival.  When they arrived I noticed the white Pekin in the picture above had a spot on her side.  I dismissed it as a skin discoloration.  She acted fine and was eating and drinking so I thought nothing of it.  After about a week I noticed the spot had grown quickly and was turning green and I had absolutely no idea what to do.  I was scouring the internet looking to see if anyone had encountered something similar, no luck.  I made the decision to use the knowledge I had from treating my chickens.  I gave her a shot of Tylan (which is mainly for respiratory issues).  I knew it may not work but I had to try because I could tell it was an infection and she was so small I knew it would kill her quickly.  I also coated the infection with vaseline to seal it.   (That was an idea I got from another blogger).  After giving her the first shot she was tired but the next morning seemed a tad better.  I gave her three shots of it total and then I just waited.  She limped around for about two weeks because the infection had gotten into her side under her wing.  She was also picking at it a bunch so I coated it with Blu-Kote and then she left it alone (she quickly learned it tasted nasty….which was obvious from her having a purple bill the next day).  I have been waiting to put them on here until I knew for sure she was going to be OK.  Well, the Tylan worked.  The infection is all gone and her feathers grew in over the area.  She is the sweetest girl!  We have named her Mango after my daughters favorite fruit:)

Miss Maggie!

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This little lady is a sweet hen that I bought from an amish farm down the road.  That is why she has clipped beak.   I personally have never had to do that.  I have about 25 chickens and with free ranging them I don’t have a pecking issue.
She is the oldest hen we have.  She doesn’t lay anymore but we don’t care, Miss Maggie is family;)
Everyone that knows us asks where Maggie is when they come over.  She likes to hang out with us on the deck when we are out there.  She is definately the ruler of the coop!
As you can see there isn’t much grass yet:(  The drought last year killed much of it off.  My chicken’s have been so excited to see patches of it coming back!  I think it is so much healthier if they aren’t so dependent on feed.

Naughty chickens!

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Well, it has been a busy couple of weeks!
A few days ago my husband went out to the coop  to fill up the feed can and came back and said I had a dead chicken laying there.  So I went to the coop to check it out and I look all around and check for signs of what predator was in there.  I am checking everywhere when I spot a grey silkie in the corner…but wait…I dont have a grey silkie.  Then it turns and looks at me and it’s a huge possum!  It is cowering in a corner so I locked up the coop and ran to get super hubby to get it out.  He quickly disposed of the problem and I noticed a huge hole it dug in the corner.  I think I actually locked it in the coop with my poor chickens.   What a day that was!
Well, since then the chickens have been a bit off.   That first night after that about half of them slept under the deck.  Now they are all back in the coop at night but I have a bunch that are now laying their eggs in the goat house.  I had to put a bin in there filled with shavings for the little stinkers to lay their eggs in.

So Thankful!

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The last two weeks have been crazy!  I have been struggling to just keep up with my day to day duties.  We had the oh so nasty norovirus and I have been having migraines…and for those of you who have them like I do, you know how they can really put your life on hold.  
     But in the end I am thankful to the Lord because my family is happy and healthy! 
     I have also been excited because my first batch of chicks hatched from the incubator!  Well sort of anyways.
     I bought two batches of eggs off ebay and unfortunately they arrived on different days.   If you have used an incubator before than you know that the last few days are crucial.  The humidity must be raised for hatching.  Well I didn’t really think the entire process through when I was incubating them together.  I decided to do a dry hatch.  I think overall it would have been perfect except I had to take out the first set of eggs three days early and stick them under my broody silkie hen.  They pipped and peeped at the correct times but they couldn’t get out of their shells because the shells had become glued to their little bodies because there was no extra humidity and I have a wood stove burning which zaps a lot of the moisture out of the air.   
     There is a big rule when you have chicks hatching and that is “Never help them!”.   I didn’t feel like I had any other choice.  So I helped each one out and had to give them baths because they were soooooo sticky.  Poor little things were so scared!  I figured they were all goners, but boy was I wrong!  They are all up and running!  This first batch is Marans.  So stinkin cute!  The second batch will be Olive eggers.   My silkie is so happy she finally hatched something! 

Setting up my new incubator!

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I set up my incubator on Monday (in the kitchen)  and I am praying that some of them hatch!  I felt like I had no idea what I was doing so I spent a lot of time on my laptop Googling on Monday.  I ordered the eggs off of eBay.  I wanted some new kinds to add to my flock and the hatchery I went through for my march order was sold out of some of what I wanted.  I ordered 8 Black Copper Maran eggs, and 6 Olive Egger eggs.  The sellers were kind enough to add plenty of extras!  They all arrived intact so I was ecstatic.  Last year I ordered some off of eBay and put them under a broody hen and that worked out great!  The best broody hen I have is my Silkie.   I can’t recommend them enough!  She is actually sitting on 3 banty eggs as we speak.  Poor girl doesn’t go too long before she has to go sitting on some.

Back to the subject at hand!  I am using the Farm Innovators 4200.  Love it!  So easy to set up.  Plus the foam interior is protected by a hard shell exterior.  There are temp and hygro gauges on the top as you can see in the pic.  I bought it off of Amazon.com for a good price.  I also purchased another temp and hydro gauge made by Meade.  Works perfectly!  I just set the included probe from the gauge on the eggs and then I can compare the different gauges to make sure my eggs are at a close temp of 99.5.  The hygrometer is essential so that I know I am not adding too much water.

Apparently I am ultra paranoid because I also found myself taking our forehead thermometer and swiping the eggs to see their exact temp.

I feel like a new mom who has no clue what they are getting into and tries way to hard to make sure everything is perfect for the upcoming baby.  But don’t worry I won’t be decorating the brooder when they hatch out!

I will keep you all updated on their progress.  I plan on candling them this weekend!

To lay or not to lay…..

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My girls were laying real well for a few weeks but my egg production went down again due to the nasty weather we have had.  I have lost one so far to a virus.  I have been keeping a close eye on the rest to make sure nobody else has it.  I am cleaning out the waterers a lot and checking to make sure the coop is sanitary.  (As sanitary as a house full of poop and straw can be.)   I am considering putting down some DE to help.  If any of you have tried it in your coop let me know how it worked out for you.

Front porch chickens

A few months ago I found one of my hens sleeping in the corner of my front porch.  She is a friendly Golden Comet…they have the best temperaments!   It was freezing out and she was sleeping on concrete.  Yikes!  I know I would be a tad cold.  So I grabbed a milk crate and filled it with straw and my hubby picked her up and stuck her in it and she has used it off and on since.   Because of her wandering nature I have named her Hobo.  Well a few days ago I walked onto the front porch and peeked over in the crate…and I saw three eggs.  They weren’t from the same layer.  So I made sure to pay attention the next day to see who is laying them.  A soon as I heard a hen in the front yard carrying on (bragging about her egg laying capabilities I guess) I ran to the front door and sure enough there was Hobo announcing to the world that she is the greatest egg layer of all time.  Well, that’s how it sounded anyway.  I looked over and saw a big brown egg from my girl.  I also happened to notice that there are two more hens waiting.  A Rhode Island Red and a Black Australorp.   So my question was quickly answered and now the three of them lay in there everyday.  I am hoping that word doesn’t get out about the front porch, because I really don’t feel like hosing it off everyday.  Here is a pic of the corner crate and the eggs my girls left me.  Today there are four eggs so I have no idea who laid that one.  So I suppose the mystery isn’t completely over!

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