This week, it’s all about the babies, or toddlers, really, in most cases.
Our last lamb was born on May 5th. Our first lamb was born on December 28th. That’s a pretty good spread for 13 ewes. We weren’t sure this one was EVER going to deliver. It’s really hard to tell if they are pregnant when they are only carrying one. But its a beautiful long legged little ewe, and we’re very happy to be done with the season. Note that mama looks so scruffy because she’s starting to shed her hair. We run American Blackbelly “hair” sheep, which don’t require shearing.
Mama Cuckoo Maran hatched out two chicks. One didn’t make it. So I went down to the feed store and bought a couple of extras for her to raise along with her one survivor. I kept everyone in a brooder for about a week, but now they have the run of the poultry yard, and everyone is doing great. These guys are a couple of weeks old here. Note the band on Mama’s leg. I have 10 marans and can’t tell them apart, so this way I’ll know which one went broody.
I lost a LOT of turkey poults this year. Most of my eggs weren’t fertile, so I mail ordered some day old poults, and then a lot of those died. But we have 8 survivors who are about a month old now, and doing great. Five are being jointly raised by three turkey mammas, because no one knows who belongs to who. It takes a village.
Meanwhile, this hen has also gone broody. We’ve had a couple of battles, as she wasn’t where I wanted her to be, so I put her in this dog carrier (after almost catching her or actually catching her and then having her get away about 5 times). Given the drama (I swear you can tell she hates me in this picture), I wasn’t able to mark the eggs she was on. So the other night we went out and banded the mama’s leg and candled the eggs she was on. All the other hens had been sneaking in and donating to the cause, so there were a lot of eggs in the nest, some fairly newly laid, some quite far along. I sorted them, marked and left her 5, put 5 more that were less far along in my incubator, and saved 4 that looked blank for us to eat.
But when I went to cook with them, I wanted to be sure, so I cracked each one into a bowl before putting it into the recipe, and look what I found. This was a double yoke egg, and one side had started to develop. According to charts on google, this is between 2 and 3 days old, in terms of development. I’m equally fascinated and repulsed. This one went to the dogs. They said, “we eat chicken, we eat eggs. What’s the big deal”?
Duck babies are a month old, and almost look like grown ducks. They have recently ventured out into the pasture and discovered the pond. Everyone is very happy.
Meanwhile, this Mama duck has been sitting on this nest for a month. There are at least 13 eggs in there. But in the beginning she was on and off a lot, and off at night, and we had a few cold nights, so I have no idea how many are going to be viable. It should be any day now if its going to happen at all. She’s tucked into a secret spot in an old woodpile we keep for the sheep and goats to climb on.
And both mama Betty and mama Alice had litters, and Betty has managed to raise 9 kits. Rabbits will routinely have 9 or 10 babies, but usually only 8 survive. So she’s a really good mama! Alice lost two right off the bat, and so only had 7. Betty gave birth to 10, so I slipped one of Betty’s babies under Alice when they were a day old (they were born within 24 hours of each other. And they have all done fine too. So we have 17 bunny babies right now. They will be ready to wean at 8 weeks if anyone is looking to start their own rabbitry. They are about 2 weeks old here.
The bees have been thick on the onions. I have several types blooming right now, as I’m planning on saving my own onion seed this year. These are chives. Worth growing just for the bees.
And its iris season. A brief but oh so lovely flash in the pan. This year I’m photographing every type we have, and tagging the clumps, so we can dig them later in the season. Our beds are very overgrown. There must have been 30 just in this small patch alone.
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2014, where I’ll be at the farmers market in downtown Walla Walla tomorrow morning, with the first radishes and lettuce of the season. The rabbits got the leaf trimmings from the lettuce and the goats got the radishes that were damaged by slugs. Nothing goes to waste on Miles Away Farm!