Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ducking Hatching: First of 2015

With the kidding season behind us, it is time to turn our attention to hatching birds. We need to hatch some chicks, ducks, guineas, geese, and turkeys this year. We won't have many chicks for sale this season. We have so many requests for eggs from new Customers that we are increasing our flock. We will have ducklings for sale; these being Mallard, Black Swedish, or an occasional cross between the two. I have orders for 16 guinea keets to fill, and when those are completed, I would like to add a couple of each of the chocolate hens, violet hens, and pearl hens to our group here. With only two geese (and only one of them capable of laying) it would be lovely to add another couple of hens. And, I would like to have an additional couple of hens for both our slate blue and red-breasted bronze turkeys. Once we have cared for our needs, anything more than that will be available for purchase. That is a lot of hatching- especially when we don't own an incubator!

Like everything else on the homestead, we try to raise our birds as naturally as possible. This means working *with* our broody hens. At present, we have a Wyandotte sitting on a clutch of chicken eggs upstairs in the barn- those should hatch by the end of June. We have an Australorpe sitting on a nest of 20 Guinea eggs. Those should hatch in another 3 weeks. Two broody ducks are sitting on nests of duck eggs. And, our gosling is sitting on an assorted nest of duck and geese eggs- her choice. She kept stealing duck eggs and we let her keep them. We'll see what comes of that!

Over the past couple days, our first clutches have begun hatching. Our first nest of eggs only produced two chicks for us. Harley duck had been dutifully sitting on a nest of 5 eggs. One duckling hatched, but did not survive the night. A second hatched the following day, but Harley flew the coop, taking with her two eggs. (I spotted her in the goat's field. I suspect she was moving her eggs to a safer location, in her mind.) Sean found a second duckling wandering around in the coop unattended and brought it inside to keep company with the first. Harley has been spotted, but she was once more missing-in-action and a third little duckling was wandering around inside the main coop. We are three for five with this clutch of ducklings. We are hopeful that tomorrow, Momma Harley comes home with the last duckling in tow. If that is the case, we'll offer her these back and let her raise and care for them until they go to their new home. If she is disinclined, they will stay in the house for a bit and then get introduced to the main coop a bit later. It is never boring!

Tomorrow, we are going to be at the Belfast Art Market in Belfast with the Farmer's Market at Waterfall Arts on High St. from 9am-1pm. I am so excited for our first market... and a little nervous. But, I am looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making some new ones this season. If you are in the area, be sure to stop by to say, "Hi." to Sean and I.

Thanks for popping in tonight, friends.
~Sean & Sonja ♥

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