They Did It!

We left the last few eggs with two of our broody geese.  Pilgrim geese are supposed to have good parenting abilities – so we thought we’d give them the chance to prove it.

So far 2 goslings have hatched out of 4 pipped eggs and at least one more is in the process of hatching.  Unfortunately, the two that didn’t make it were accidentally squished by the mommas.  I think this is a result of both inexperience and the fact that they both decided to make one giant nest and set together.  Makes it hard to tell where it’s safe to place those giant feet!

So the excitement is tinged with some disappointment, but the two babies are doing wonderfully!  Diamond, our gander, seems proud beyond measure, and even the Auntie goose, Felicity, is very lovey to the goslings as they have begun to explore the big green world.

Pilgrim Goose mothers and their goslings.

Bones & Stone with their little goslings in their giant nest. We are very pleased with our momma geese here at Brown Fox Farm!

 

Advertisements

Downs and Ups

Yesterday was a terrible day.  We had to put down one of the lambs, Belle.  Her joint inflammation was just getting worse and her quality of life was deteriorating.  She could hardly get around & certainly couldn’t run and play.  There was no way she would have made it, and I couldn’t bear to see her in pain.  It was a very sad evening here & I did not sleep well at all.

Today the sky is gray and I’ve been spending extra time with Mona Lisa, the other bottle lamb.  She survived the horrible battle with pneumonia and is absolutely thriving.  But she seems a little lost without her friend.  She’s having a nap after a nice warm bottle so I decided to come in and take a look at the eggs in the incubator.

You see, this week our Pilgrim geese started laying!!  I am always so happy when we get those huge, white eggs.  This year it’s even more thrilling because we are shipping eggs to new homes.  I am thrilled to know there will be more people raising these wonderful birds. 

SO.  In the first weeks the laying is not consistent.  An egg here & there.  But on that first day we found 2 & I decided to pop them into the incubator and see what we got.  I didn’t have high hopes for fertility, because those first eggs have a high probability of being duds.  BUT I just candled both eggs and BOTH are showing development on day 4!!

I am so thankful for these happy moments, they can really brighten a dark day.

Moving!

No, we’re not moving, but the little chicks are – inside the eggs we’re incubating!  Here’s a quick clip showing the movement.  Sorry for the quality, I tried YouTube & FB and they both made the videos look terribly pixelated.  This is the best I could do!

Just watch the right half of the egg.

Don’t Worry Baby

It is very hard to maintain a peaceful state of mind at baby time.  Brilliant highs can topple into dramatic lows in less time than it takes you to blink.  The wonderful possibilities of a long future can be cut painfully short.  Baby time is a time of love and a time when loss can be waiting around any turn.

So when things are going well…  one must revel in it!!

Remember that egg shipment I was biting my nails about a few days ago?  Well the eggs arrived Monday, unbroken, unfrozen, and with 4 extras!  Today I candled, under the pretense of checking the air cells (but really because I couldn’t resist) and I discovered that 10 out of the 16 eggs are developing.

Day 4 in the incubator & we can distinctly see the veins!

Day 4 in the incubator & we can distinctly see the veins!

I enjoy posting on the Backyard Chickens forum & have started a diary of our first shipped egg incubation adventure.  If you are interested in following along & learning from my mistakes, check it out:

BrownFoxFarm’s Incubation Diary on BYC

Pipping!

Tuesday (5/10) I candled the 24 eggs in the incubator & found 22 appeared to be viable.  Thursday was the last day of turning and since then I’ve been checking the temp and humidity as often as possible to make sure we’re remaining in the correct range.  So far so good.

Early this morning (day 20) I went down to check the incubator before going out to milk the goats & sure enough we have one starting to pip!  I am very excited to see how we do over the next couple of days.  I’ll be sure to post more pictures as we go.

Cochin or Brahma egg pipping on day 20 in the incubator.

Cochin or Brahma cross egg pipping on day 20 in the incubator.

In other news, we sent the two Mini Nubian doelings off to their new home this morning.  I hope they have long, happy & productive lives with their new family.  We also have 3 broody hens setting on another couple dozen eggs out in the shed (one Phoenix hen and 2 black Silkie hens).  AND, we are getting over a gallon of goat milk daily.  I’m planning to make a rhubarb custard pie today with our fresh milk & fresh eggs & rhubarb from the garden.  I’ll let you know how that turns out!

Heirloom Seeds & Pancakes from Scratch

I want to thank all the people who visited our blog and signed up for our seed giveaway.  There were enough seeds to send some to ALL those who entered the drawing!  YAY!  I love being able to pass on good heritage garden varieties to gardeners who will put them to good use.  If you signed up, be sure to check your email & I’ll be getting your seeds in the mail right away.

On to pancakes!  I use to make pancakes with those boxed mixes – just add water.  Well, a few years back I found a recipe that seemed simple enough.  I tweeked it a little to get the texture & loft we like in our flapjacks and we haven’t ever looked back!  They are yummy and filling and just the thing to warm up a coooold spring morning.   I thought I’d pass on the recipe & give you the chance to try homemade pancakes for yourself.

1 1/4 c. milk
3 T. butter
1 Large egg (or 3-2 bantam eggs)
1 1/2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1 1. salt
1 T. sugar
cooking oil
(fresh blueberries or chocolate chips are a yummy option)

 

Warm milk & butter over low heat just until butter melts, remove from heat.  Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour cooking oil onto griddle & begin preheating to 300-350 degrees.  Whisk egg(s) into milk mixture – temper egg if the milk is hotter than “pee warm”  Whisk liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.  Pour by 1/4 cupfuls onto griddle.  If adding chocolate chips or berries scatter over top surface of the pancake as soon as you pour batter on griddle. Flip pancakes when the rising bubbles burst & remain slightly open.  Serve hot with syrup and/or butter – or just eat plain from the griddle!

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Silkie Hens – Best Incubator EVER.

When my son chose to raise Silkie chickens last year for his 4H poultry project he picked them first because of their looks, second for their famously gentle personality & lastly for their broody nature.

Well, let me tell you, the chicks were more work than your average breed.  Their fluff really holds on to poo.  So each day for the first few weeks in the brooder you must check their feet & bottoms for “pasting.”  We spent a lot of time washing little upset chicks with warm water & gently drying them off.

So why would we choose to do it again?  Let me show you…

We are very proud of our little Silkie chickens.

This hen would not take no for an answer. A sweet chick of her own is her reward!

In late December she tried to hatch a clutch of eggs, but it was just too darned cold. So last month she started again, with just 3 eggs.  Late last week I found one egg had been broken when a big hen tried to stuff herself in behind the little silkie – the chick inside was almost ready to hatch & didn’t make it.  Of the other 2 one was pipping and the other making noise so we waited.

The next morning was very cold and the pipping chick was almost completely hatched, but we brought him in to the incubator to warm up (and that is our little Uno).  The final egg remained with the hen.  By this past Tuesday I thought it might have been a dud and planned to throw it out to give the hen a break, but ended up leaving it until the next day (yesterday) and I am so glad I did!  Because at lunch time the kids came running to say the egg had hatched!

We are very proud of our son’s little hen.  These Silkies are really proving themselves to be tough & dedicated.  They don’t lay an awful lot of their own eggs, but they sure will hatch anything you set them on!  We believe this chick is from our Dark Brahma hen bred by a Red Breasted Phoenix rooster.

How Does You Garden Grow….

Seed orders are complete! I have ordered from two companies which specialize in organic and heirloom vegetable varieties.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds- www.rareseeds.com

Fedco Co-Op Garden Supplies- www.fedco.com

Both companies have a great following among folks interested in seed saving, heirloom vegetables, and NOT supporting companies like Monsanto which are establishing monopolies on seeds through gene patents. If you are planning to get elbow deep in developing your own sustainable garden plot these are a couple of great places to start!

This year’s garden will consist of a greater variety of vegetables than I’ve planted before.  I’m eager to try a few of the older varieties of corn, carrots and zucchini.  Last year we let some onion go to seed and saved it to start indoors.  We’ll see how well they do.

Next item on the list will be to gather a batch of eggs to incubate!