Friday, April 16, 2010

Claire's First Lambing

She had twins. First came a small Moorit colored, just like daddy and then a larger black one with white on its face and black rings around its eyes.
Absolutely the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! Everyone was awed and amazed.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Friends!


What can I say...
The truth of the matter is we are incubating 6 duck eggs and 4 goose eggs ~ thanks to generous friends (along with numerous chicken, turkey, and guinea eggs from our own existing birds) right now anyway...
So, why not? Right?
This is what happened:
We went to my Dr. apt. on Friday and when we got out we went straight to a farmers market over in the Orschland parking lot in Marshfield. It was a very wet day, as all the days over this past week plus have been, and the older two children and I went over to Orschlands leaving Bob tending to our table at the market. Being pregnant I had to piddle, of course. Great excuse for heading to the store!

Everyone knows that it is "chick days" there. Who can keep away from their cute peeping anyway? I went right for the big bins hoping they would have goslings or turkeys at a reasonable price.... but no, they only had goslings and they were about $12 each. So, I would wait for the eggs we have here to hatch and then maybe ask the lady that gave us them for some more if that worked out well and I wasn't too bored with turning eggs and watching temperatures. The type of goose she has is a cross, as I understand, between a large white goose and a Japanese goose which is large, white, with a long neck and a little flap under the chin. She said they will be a long necked large white goose. They sound just lovely!
Incubator tally: The chicken eggs are halfway there as they only take 21 days. The duck and goose eggs were put in a little later and have about 21 days left out of 28. The majority of the turkey eggs are 14 days from hatch at this point. I look forward to all of the eggs hatching, but especially the poults (baby turkeys) since one of my wee female Royal Palms got eaten this past Wednesday (I cried off and on for hours ~ she was my favorite).

Anyway... Miranda found the little ducklings first and fell head over heals for this little black cutie. It was so quiet and sweet up in her arms. So, I took a look. Now, I have to say.... I only had $5 on me so, I wasn't really in the market to make a purchase, had really attempted to keep my hands off, but there we were now both holding peeping little ducklings and then Robert came over from sitting on the 4-wheelers, which were conveniently parked next to the chicks, and he started to hold one of them. Well, you can't just get one of anything and so there we were... box with bedding in hand and Miranda and I each holding a black one and a brown one. The guy in charge of the wee ones came over to help another customer and then I asked him what varieties he thought that each might be (I had been frantically looking over a "duck" book just before his arrival and could not figure it out for lack of pictures). Well, he says: " The little brown ones are most likely Khaki Campbell and the little black ones are just beautiful when grown with an iridescent green feathering, but I'm not sure which breed they are." After pulling the duck book back out we discovered that the KC would weigh 3-4 pounds and could lay 300-350 eggs per year. Nearly one a day! And being a brown bird I knew that Bob would quickly fall for them for that reason as well as their egg laying ability.
Then the search was on for the black beauties. There are two possibilities: The East Indies and the Cayuga. I believe it is the later because that is what is available at Cackle Hatchery (the other is super rare) and while I don't know for certain where these wee ones came from it only makes sense they came from there since the hatchery is only 30 mins +/- away from the store. When we got home I looked things up on the internet and I'm 99.9% sure that is what we have. They are also descent egg layers that lay about 100-150 blue/green colored eggs and weigh in at around 7.5 pounds and are considered a quiet duck. hmmmm.... we'll see.
Both breeds forage quite well and will not require a whole lot in the way of feed once they are a bit older. Ducks in general are quite fast growing, so, the 10 gallon aquarium we have them in for now will not last long ... maybe this next week and we will have to switch them over to the old guinea brooder which is being cleaned by the rain as I am typing. Heehee.

Ducks are supposed to reign supreme when it comes to eating bugs, slugs, and vegetation. So, we will have to keep them out of the garden, but they should help keep the population of bugs down. They will also be a lot easier to put up at night than the Guinea are. We can't really put them up... they just roost high in the barn and we hope for the best. We lost one of them a couple of weeks ago to what we think is a racoon, that has taken 5 of our feathered friends in the past 2.5 weeks. sad. However, the ducks will have a moving house and run area and then be let out when the weather is nice and have fun with the kiddos. I'm sure there will be pictures of Miranda "swimming" with her ducklings in the turtle pool and eventually in the big tub we have set up for the kids to cool down in. (eye roll) That is if it ever stops raining!

In then end we settled for two black and two brown. I have a feeling we will be in the market for more of the KC. I can't believe the nutritional value of the duck egg! Hope Jacob enjoys them as they will be his new fare once we start seeing them later this year ~ that is if we don't have all drakes!
Here is the link comparing the chicken to the duck egg nutritionally: . Nearly everything is UP from the chicken egg and especially the specific Amino Acids that his Dr. said would help him out.
On that note... take a look at this!

Yes, that is Jacob pulling himself up at the side of Miranda's bed! Guess he had to move to a taller object than other "toddlers" might use since he is so tall himself now. It was so exciting watching him. He was really intrigued by Miranda's multitude of dolls and critters she has up there he wouldn't stop until he got the exact one he was looking for. There is NO stopping him! He was giggling and having so much fun!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mr. Wiggles

Mr. Wiggles is such a ham for the camera. Look at that great pose
A guinea has started getting his attention.

Stop drop and roll. I tried to take his pic for several minutes before giving up and doing it from a window. He just rolls about and gets all tangled up in his tie out if I try to take his pic - I just wanted to show how pretty his coat looks on his back. The long haired dappled chocolate is the most sought after variety of Doxie (according to a variety of breeders on the internet).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In Awe

Well, the fifth baby hatched at about 4am this morning. Here is it's newborn picture at about 7am:

Then, here are some amazing pics of the babies at almost 10pm tonight. Look at how much they have grown. The first one hatched a week ago. And his little fuzzy feathers are starting to get dark and I would say he is 3-4 times larger than the one that hatched today.
This is just amazing!

Here is a little movie of them in the nesting box tonight at about 10pm. It is a bit dark, but I didn't want to disturb them with too much light. And at least you get to hear them. Things are still mainly quiet, but I'm sure if they 'talk' like their parents... it won't be long before it is way noisy here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Jacob is getting into his trucks now. Moving them back and forth and all over the room.
On Thanksgiving Jacob was up and down, up and down. At least it was Aunt Cyndi on the receiving end and not me this time. (sorry Cyndi ~ I know how exhausting that is.)

Jacob is watching every move. He is our 'yogi' and had to make sure they were doing it right. (We had brought the TV in to watch "The Sound of Music" and during its brief stay PBS was turned on. It was 'pledge' weekend and a Yoga program was on. Miranda says she loves yoga!) Jacob accidentally turned off the TV with his knee a couple of times and started yelling quite loudly about the interuption in his program. We always felt he was a Yoga Master. Now, we know.
Afterward, he fell asleep on daddy. Just so much work!

Love Bird Hatching Update

And then their were two... (November 29, 2008)

And then three... (December 1, 2008)

And then four... (December 2, 2008)

They are hatching in the same progression as the laying, with a day ~ more or less, between. I guess that gives mom and dad some time to get geared up and used to feeding/caring for a nest full of babies. They are growing at a tremendous rate. The first one is almost triple the size of this last one!
I tried catching mom or dad feeding one of the wee ones, but that didn't work out, yet. I did see them in action though. At this stage the little ones can't do much but roll around and they are rolled onto their back and then mom or dad regurgitates food into their beak. When done feeding they roll back over and then cuddle up with their siblings. They have such sweet little voices.

Friday, November 28, 2008

First New Babies

Our first new babies have arrived at the farm!
Yes, winter is just beginning, however, these wee ones are inside!

Our Love Birds, Peaches (daddy) and Posey (mama) have laid 5 eggs and the first of the five hatched yesterday with what appeared to be a naked chick (never did see much of anything of an egg shell left... bet they got rid of it in the bottom of the cage or ate it). Within a few hours it was dry and fluffy. It lays on its belly and hasn't said a thing yet. But what a gift of 'Thanksgiving' on Thanksgiving Day!

This is Mommy and Daddy. Peaches is toward the front. Posey is closer to her nesting box.

Peaches and Posey arrived to the farm as a gift from friends who decided after getting them they did not want 'parrots'. We could not have been more thrilled. They are quite quiet birds and have a tendency to keep to their nesting box... coming out only to poop, eat, drink, talk (very little) and do what Love Birds do best (throat clear - whisper) we have given them a curtain for privacy now. (now that I have written this they will become quite noisy! ~ right!)

Anyway, within a week of their early November arrival they started laying eggs. At the end of two weeks they had successfully laid 5 eggs. They are so very tiny. About the size of a penny! A couple of days before she had laid the first egg. This picture is from November 7th.

They are both very bashful as far as sneaking a peak at them in their nesting box is concerned. Whenever we open the lid they vacate! This is a picture of Posey's tail. Isn't her color just beautiful and vibrant?! Peaches is the same color that I just painted our Kitchen walls... Ivy Green (of course!). He has such a lovely lighter peach face. On November 9th the third egg arrived and then on the tenth the fourth egg! They sometimes skipped a day. A typical clutch for a Love Bird is 4 to 6 eggs.

Posey is a very diligent Mum. Normally she would vacate as soon as the door was opened, but here I was able to get a picture of her on her precious 4 eggs. Just before we got them our friend had removed and disposed of 6 eggs and replaced them with marbles. I'm sure they had to guess that something was amiss. So, I think she is even more diligent this time around.Here she leaves so we can get a peek at the fifth wee miracle that was laid on the 12th. Then we waited to see if she would lay a 6th... but no. Five is a nice number. And if all survive the first three to four weeks with mom and dad we are going to remove them and start hand raising them. It is going to be interesting, but oh so rewarding! Love Birds which have been hand raised can be very nice companions, sit on your finger, talk with you, take a ride in a car, etc. This pair came with a little 'traveling' cage for just such events and we have read about people taking them on vacations with them as well.

And now they have started to hatch. We peeked in to show the relatives the eggs yesterday and there he/she was... still wet from hatching. A bit before we had heard some chirping. Now, I know why. This was a hard picture to get and the focus is not so good. However, the dark spot you see is an eye. And you can see little shell fragments around. It has little yellow fuzz all over. This wee one was laid on November 5th and hatched on November 27th. (22 days! Wish it was like that with us! Right ladies?!)