Sunday, February 25, 2018

Toms Calling and Adding Muscovy Hens

Today is a spinning-my-wheels kind of day. I have a list of things that need doing as long as my arm and absolutely ZERO inclination to start any of them. The cure would be to simply pick a project and start it. Simple, right? It surely would be, if I had any motivation to put thoughts into action.

Part of my funk is Mother Nature's ridiculous mood swings! Yesterday was a gift; 60 degrees and sun. The snow and ice thawed to bare ground in spots through the yard. The geese and ducks were in heaven, playing in the open water of their small pond. Turkeys are beginning to have loud disagreements with one another over who is going to make babies this season. And our lovely flock of free-loading chickens are beginning to lay eggs again! The goats took advantage of the unusually warm day to venture into the pasture to soak up some sun. This morning we woke to temperatures in the single digits. Seriously. These 50* shifts in temperature are getting old.

I took advantage of the warmer weather to spend some time outside and took some pictures to share with you all. Our group of turkey hens sat to one side of the porch while the boys had a discussion. The loud disagreement between Aquila and Lazarus made me smile. It was a sure sign that Spring is on her way. We have high hopes of hatching a couple clutches of turkey poults this season. Of all the birds on the homestead, the turkeys are my favorite. Because they are used to us (and because they have never had cause to fear us) they are quite tame. The toms tolerate being handled; several of the hens absolutely love it. They are usually content to sit in a lap and be petted. :)

On the goat front, Sean woke me at 6 am to let me know that once again, Bailey had a thick discharge coming from her tail end. "Finally! I think today is the day with Bailey. Do you want me to stay home?" he asked. That was good news. We haven't enjoyed a decent night's sleep in nearly two weeks. "No. Go ahead to work. Bailey kids easily. I can handle it." I replied, relieved at the prospect of sleep somewhere on the horizon. Sean left for work.

I checked Bailey through the morning, waiting for her contractions to begin. They did not. Not only that, but the discharge stopped and disappeared within the first hour of my watch. I checked on her each and every hour, hoping that she was indeed, in labor. She was not. Another sleep-less night anticipated, but such is homesteading.

Ilsa (left) and Anya (right)

Sean and I visited a neighboring farm, Lone Spruce Farm in Dedham, Maine. Our mission was to purchase two female Muscovy hens to be companions for Boris. This winter has been very hard on the animals. While the Mallards and Black Swedish ducks have borne it well, we lost our Muscovy females. It makes us sad, but more importantly, Boris has been lonely for the past month. When we saw an advertisement for a couple young hens, we answered it. And, so it is that Ilsa and Anya have come to join our homestead. Until the weather breaks for good, for their safety, they are being housed in the downstairs portion of the bunny hutch in the potager garden for now. This will allow them time to become comfortable with their new home and its other residents (including us), to learn where the food comes from (again, us) and where the water is, and to settle in before being let loose to roam as they want to in the duck yard. We hope that they will choose to lay eggs and hatch out a nest or two of Muscovy ducklings this year.

Thanks for visiting with us, Friends.
Sean & Sonja

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