We’ve been enjoying a most wonderful spring so far!
Not too much rain to speak of, however. Hopefully we will have our usual rainy May. In the meantime, our last little wandering piglet went to his new home. We saw his new family at church and though he has already escaped a few times (HA~ what a surprise!) they said they think he will be a great addition to their farm. I’m glad.
I also took delivery of a new batch of chicks. We have about 25 hens that will be slowing down in their egg production come this fall though most of them will only be 20 months old. I have a few friends who are interested in chickens that will lay every other day but the rest will be advertised on Craigslist. I’m sure there are families out there who would be happy to have chickens that are not too past their prime.
This is a mixed batch of Red Sex Linked (also called ISA browns, Golden Comets or Red Stars), barred Rocks, and Welsummers. I usually get Black Sex Linked but another friend swears by these Reds so I’m going to give them a try. My requirements are that they begin laying at 20 weeks, lay fairly well through the winter and don’t molt out until fall (instead of August as some chickens we’ve had). The Barred Rocks I’m raising for a neighbor who is not set up for chicks. And the Wellies are one of the chicken breeds that lay very dark, chocolate brown eggs. There are only 6 and these are (yet) another 4 H project for my son.
Of course right about the time I received the chicks in the mail, two of our hens decided to go broody. They each have about 10 eggs under their copious feathered bottoms.
I don’t mind.
One can’t have too many chickens, right? (Don’t ask my husband.) Besides, my hatch rate for hen incubated eggs is only about 50%. And we’ve had years where all the new chicks were roos. So I’m expecting only about 10 new chicks from these faithful hens. And they might all go to the stew pot. We already have 3 roos as it is.
Our 4 H leader and her husband dropped by to help us weigh and place ear tags in the pigs that the boys will be taking to the fair. I thought the weighing was going to be a rodeo but our 4 H leader is AWESOME! Willow still charges the fence when she hears her babies squealing in alarm. (We’ve talked and talked, she and I, but she just can’t help herself.)
I had already lured the fatties into a small area of the chicken coop (they are so easy……they just can’t turn down a cookie!) Then our leaders husband gently picked up a piglet by the hind legs so it’s front legs are just barely touching the ground. And we quickly placed the ear tag. Then he lifted the piglet up and stepped on the scale. We grabbed a weight and the piglet was let down with his brothers…..quickly as can be. No fussing. No charging the fence on momma’s part. Slick!
I was happy to note that the piglets were 72 and 66 pounds. The “back up” piglet was the smallest at 55 pounds. Not bad for 9 weeks! Willow did a great job!
Since Willow has been without nursing piglets for awhile now, she is really starting to look like her old self. She’s still a bit thin but I’m sure that will resolve quickly without the extra out put of calories. She will receive a tiny bit of extra rations until she’s at a heavier weight. Then when she’s completely dry and a little stouter, we’ll put the weaned piglets in with her and they will live together until fair time.
I’ll still have yet to put a pencil to the finances of having our own breeding sow. So far it’s been a good experience; a bit of a learning curve, but good just the same.
“Does this blue go with my eyes?”
Today’s count: 38 eggs, 2 gallons milk
Weather: Sunny with slight breezes out of the north and a high in the 60’s. Lows in the upper 30’s. Perfect.
Tonight’s supper: Pork steaks on the grill, potato salad and watermelon. (Also adult (only) beverages in the form of tequila, lime juice and Cointreau. Yay!)