Friday, May 10, 2013

Checking In

I haven't been posting much, because spring has finally arrived. Or summer. Or winter? In the past three weeks it went from warm spring like temps, to hot, hot, hot! The snow melted quickly, and we sweltered away. Yesterday the temps took a nose dive, with a high of 1°C for the day. I swear it felt like -20°C, since we aren't used to it anymore. Snow is in the forecast for the weekend, but I'm hoping that will pass by. Really? Winter wasn't long enough? Geesh...

At any rate, here's the update.  Nelly is fine.  #1 has been milking her- she has very sensitive teats and can be pretty kicky.  I went to the auction and bought her a calf.
Well, four calves, actually.  I figured she could take her pick of the lot.  She chose 'piss off and leave me alone'.  They all tried to nurse at first, but she kicked them off quite violently.  Mildred, on the other hand, is not fussy at all, and allowed all of them to nurse as they pleased.  We're bottle feeding as well- I don't think even Mildred has enough milk for everyone- and slowly trying to convince Nelly to take a calf.

This little brown calf- Limousin- got sick.  Probably pneumonia, definitely chest congestion.  Even with penicillin injections we couldn't save him.
This black one- Holstein- is Mortimer.  He'll probably be our new stud.  He's doing really well.
These two are Holstein crosses, and were Murphy and Morris.  Morris is now Maurine.  It seems that a certain boy still can not be trusted to make the ID.  He thought the Limousin was the girl.  Oops.
Maurine will probably stay and join the herd.  If I could convince Nelly to keep her, I'd let the two of them go out to pasture with everyone else.  So far Mortimer is having the best luck with nursing though.  We have to tie Nelly and coax the calves to come over to nurse.  After lots of bag balm and gentle coaxing, she has finally stopped kicking them constantly.  I think Monsoon (the original calf) may have gotten a hold of Nelly before she calved, causing the soreness and sensitivity.

The birds arrived on Wednesday.  21 new Bronze Orlopp turkeys (the dark ones), and 12 Muscovy ducklings are sharing one brooder,
while 115 new chicks are in the other.  These are Frey's Special Dual Purpose, a slower growing meat bird.  The second set of four chicks that we hatched are in here as well.  They're just a little bigger than the new ones, and I had to steal their heat lamp from the basement to get this mob to spread out.
The first four chicks we hatched have been moved to a cage without heat.  They're fully feathered now, and could probably join the chicken coop, however they're still small enough to get through the fence, so I'm going to try to keep them caged for a bit longer.

The geese have been moved to the turkey pen, alone, in the hopes that they might decide to try hatching their own eggs.  No luck with the geese eggs in the incubator.  I cracked them all open, and none had started developing.  I don't think we have a mating pair.  Maybe they'll surprise me.

The incubator will be starting round three today.  In addition to the dozen or so eggs I have from our hens, I bought a dozen eggs from a neighbour that I'm going to incubate as well.

Firewood season has begun- slowly working myself into it.  I am so out of shape after such a long winter!  But we're gotten a few loads done, which is always nice to get early in the year before the bugs come out and the underbrush grows in.

#1 has tilled a few feet of garden so I can get the peas planted this weekend.  Husband hasn't plowed yet, as the ground is still frozen in spots.  I could probably start the greenhouses, but with this temperature drop, I think I'll hold off for a bit yet.

We're hauling water for the critters.  It seems the water pipe has burst underground, probably between the chicken coop and the barn.  Turning the water on in the basement drains the well in a matter of minutes, and won't fill a single water dish.  That will be a major repair this spring, first fencing off the area to keep the critters out, then digging down to the pipe to find the leak. 

The pasture is finally greening up, so hopefully we'll only need a couple more weeks of hay. 

Yard clean up, garden prepping, plants to start, firewood to gather, repairs to be made...  it's going to be a busy summer!


  1. WOW! You have your hands full. These two chicks are making me crazy. You seem to have so many more baby everything this year. Am I mistaken? Is the son not looking carefully, or is it that difficult to determine the boys from girls?

    Cows really frighten me.

  2. Glad to hear from you. Spring(winter/summer?) is pretty darn busy time of year but glad all is well. I see you may need this in your future. I hope the link works. I REALY wish I had one when I was a kid so I didn't smell like wet chicken feathers. I can watch this video all day. Crazy like that!
    I'm sure the boys could come up with something like this. There's other types too.

    I'm trying to think of something witty to say about 'a boy' missing the fact that a bull calf was really a heifer. All I can do is snicker. Could it be the son with eye issues? snicker, snicker. Anyhow, both are fine looking animals, actually looks like all will be great addition to the herd. sorry about the one that didn't make it. At that age it's always a toss of the dice.

    Good luck with your weather. Where I'm at in northern California, last week was in the 90's with a high of 96 (35.5 c). My poor garden couldn't figure it out. Most did ok and I didn't have anything that could bolt like last year. Now its back to normal temps for May, thank goodness!

    We understand how busy you are and so when ever you post is fine with us. We just enjoy the updates when we get 'em.

    PS I'm so glad Nelly is fine.

  3. I hope the weather has been more predictable lately!

    It looks like you have your hands full with chicks and calves, and soon the garden will call for your attention too. I admire your energy!

  4. I see my link didn't work. So lets try again. You may have already seen this but I think its so cool I wanted to make sure you did! If this doesn't work look up homemade chicken plucker on you tube. With all those chicks, you'll need something to help out.