Sunday, June 9, 2013
The New Batch
I hatched 6 this time. One has a splayed leg though, and didn't make it. Not great. I checked some of the remaining eggs to see what might have been. They were pretty stinky. I think at least a third of them had started developing.
I bought enough eggs from two neighbours to fill the incubator, along with the eggs I had from our hens. That's 41 eggs in and six chicks out. 4 are from our hens, 2 from one neighbour, and none from the other. Both neighbours had washed and refrigerated the eggs before I bought them.
The water dried up a couple of times due to neglect, and one egg had cracked at some point, leaving lovely cooked rotten egg stench and whatever germs behind.
So all in all, five is pretty good I guess. I will try again in a couple of days. I want to get another dozen or so eggs from the neighbour whose eggs hatched.
A week or two ago, I moved the other chicks out to the turkey shack. Bad idea. At least one of the dogs got in when we went for a load of hay. I'm sure it was a dog, as there haven't been any foxes before or since this year. There were two dead chicks laying on the floor when I got back. Not too much damage.
Except... the terrified chicks were all piled in the corners. When I finally got them calmed down and spread out, the dead pile was pretty high. Then we lost a few more overnight, probably from internal injuries. In the end, we lost 48 birds.
Dogs were all tied up for a few days afterward- mostly because I couldn't stand the sight of them- and reinforcements were made to the pen. We used fence post staples to fasten logs to the bottom of the wire all the way around the pen. It'll keep the dogs/foxes from lifting up the fence and going under, at least until they decide to dig. We put rocks around the base of the turkey shack to discourage critters from digging their way inside as well.
Since we've had so much trouble with dogs and foxes over the past five years, we've decided to take drastic measures. We are now llama shopping.
I've been reading lots, but I'm still pretty fuzzy on what to do with it when we find one. Everything says they have heightened sensitivity to dogs and coyotes, but not all make good guards. I have no idea how to pick one out. I considered a livestock guardian dog, since I know much more about dogs, but I'm afraid the pack mentality might take over and I'd end up with a chicken killing livestock guardian dog.
All I know for sure at this point, is that I want a young one to start with, 'cause the only contact I've ever had was when the neighbour's adult male broke loose and came to visit. He snuck up behind me in the driveway and scared the tar out of me.
I'm slowly getting back into routine. I planted a bit in the greenhouses, and just potatoes, peas and beans in the garden. I want to put in a couple rows of beets, and then I think I'm done for this year. I harvested the chives and set them to dry. I picked the rhubarb and made a batch of juice. Asparagus is coming in slowly, so I check it every couple of days. The boys picked about a billion dandelion flowers and I plucked them all and started two new batches of wine.
The boys are keeping me busy, with year end stuff at school and cadets. I volunteered to do some web design for the cadets as well. That's going really well. It keeps my mind off things for a while.
Busy with Mom a lot. It's hard to leave her alone. We have lots of work to do at her place too, but it's harder there. She's started coming over to our place on her own now, by quad. She doesn't drive. She goes with me to drop the boys off and pick them up on their various adventures. We're managing, I guess.
Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my last post. I won't be going back there to reply. Those of you who've lost a parent know what I'm feeling. It's such an immense pain. It helps to know I'm not alone, that you understand. It also makes me feel like such a bonehead for all the stupid things I must have said to people in the past. You just don't know until you know. And if you don't know, I hope you don't find out for many, many years to come. Just cherish the time you have.