Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Turkeys... So close and yet so far!

Birds in the basement is NOT my favorite thing.  They smell and create LOTS of dust and dirt.  You end up having webby things hanging off all the beams and anything stored down there has a thick layer of dust.

Turkey poult at about 1 week

I do enjoy watching the little ones playing and learning to run and fly.

The brooder is pretty good sized as there has to be enough room for the birds to move about.  Birds that are in tight quarters often end up  fighting and picking on one another.  This does not yield healthy birds.  Last Sunday, April 19th, we decided that the turkeys were big enough and feathered out enough to graduate to an outdoor coop.  I was so excited.  I was going to get my basement back!

There are 20 poults, so JoAn and I caught half the poults at a time and moved them in a cooler out to the coop.

Turkeys at 3 weeks

They were so happy to have a bigger space and more room to stretch their wings.  They chased one another and played hop on the hay bale.  The hoop coop they are in was placed on part of my garden for fertilization purposes.  It was also placed so that it could easily be seen from the house windows.  As I sit typing here I can see them running and flying around and around the hay bales. It is more entertaining than television!  I can see them at night from our bedroom windows.  They love to go!

Then on Sunday evening,  the turkey eggs in the incubator started rolling around and there was even a few pipping holes visible.

The turkeys started breaking out of their confinement!  By Monday night eight new turkeys were hatched!

Michelle and Thomas carry down their new poults to the brooder

The kids were like proud new 'parents'!  Thomas had managed the incubation.  He was maximally successful.  Eight of eight eggs produced healthy poults.  These are bourbon red poults and if one was to buy them, they would cost at least $12 a piece.  Bourbon red are a heritage breed and are an extremely healthy, tasty breed.

The still wet babies laid under the lights to warm up and dry off.

The little guys were so cute as they peeped.  Their whole bodies moved, even down to their little tail.

Thomas sat down and researched debate and kept an eye on his new responsibility.  

The egg tooth is visible in the top of his beak.  (Looks like a white dot) That is what they use to break through the egg.

Turkeys are a cute that only a mother can love.

They do look better as they dry and fluff out.  At two days old they started to eat and drink.  Prior to that they have enough nutrition from their egg that they don't need anything else.  That is why hatcheries are able to mail chicks successfully without any food or water in that first 72 hour period.

Here are the poults at three days. They are all fluffed out and happy.  They are walking easily.  No more three steps and then fall over.  Definitely, a lot cuter now.  We have them on a towel so they don't start eating the wood chips before we get the grit into them.

Say hello to our newest farm members.

I will probably have to have birds in the basement for at lest another month.  Oh well!!!
I guess that's farm life.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Catching up on What's Already Happened on the Farm

Turkeys playing 'king of the mountain'

Life has been happening fast on the farm.  By the time I sit down to write a blogpost, it feels like everything I was going to write about is old news.  This is one of those posts for the out of town family, that likes to see pictures of our family and others at our gatherings.  We have a lot of fun and good fellowship!

Miss President had her 7th birthday.  We enjoyed getting to spend the day with her.


T-Bob and Elizabeth took on the project of curing the bacon.  I always enjoy seeing the children working together.  I am looking forward to seeing the final result from this project!!!

Elizabeth thoroughly rubbing the cure into the meat.

Easter Sunday was a wonderful time of good fellowship at church, followed by a big gathering out here at the farm.  There were 29 people here, and lots of food!

The Miss President and Sadie were happy to see Grandma arrive, and gave her a BIG hug!

The boys spent a lot of time playing with the Lego's and other building toys in the family room.

There was homemade rolls ( regular and gluten free) broccoli casserole, broiled asparagus, fresh and cured ham, fresh apple sauce and a plethora of other savory and desert dishes.

The Almond Joy family joined us.  It was nice to have lots of girls and young boys to join us.

The young girl cousins wrote up a 'play' that was mostly singing and reciting.  Elizabeth helped with their organization. Thomas  did his prose piece that he uses in speech competitions, "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig!"  The rest of us gathered to watch.

Dad enjoyed watching the children and spending time with family and friends!  We did get a little pinochle in during the evening.  It was a lovely day,

Well, I hear turkey poults peeping their stressed cry, so I am off to make sure everyone is OK.

I will write again soon, about all the new life on the farm!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The New Brooder House and the Broiler Chicks

Spring is trying to come!  The snow has melted and the pond is ice free.

The hens have created their own private swimming hole.  They have worn away the grass and scratched out a hole.  The runoff has created the 'pond'.  We will be moving them back to the field as soon as possible.  They are trashing the yard, although they are tilling up my garden area in their spare time.  That is very helpful.

We had moved the chicken coop from the old house to the farm.  The guys moved it in sections.  We decided to make it into a brooder house for our young birds.  The chicks came on Thursday March 26th.  So last weekend the men worked hard putting the brooder house together.

While the guys were working, Dallas and the turkeys kept us entertained.  They don't like each other.  When Dallas is tied up, the turkeys come over and try and attack him.  He knows he is not allowed to hurt a bird on the farm.  He keeps his distance and just barks shortly and keeps looking to the house for someone to come out and rescue him, by chasing the turkeys away from his house.  He is the innocent party in this.  HOWEVER, when he is off his rope and the turkeys are out, Dallas runs circles around them.  They try and get him and he just runs around them over and over.  Some of these turkeys are for Easter dinners, so I hope they don't get tough with all this exercise!  LOL

My DH and Paul, up on the roof

The one part of the old coop that didn't get moved was the roof.  The guys had to build a new one from scratch.  We ended up with a metal one.

Once Dallas got bored with the turkey game, the turkeys returned to supervise the work.  They are the most curious birds and can get in the middle of many projects, which isn't always helpful.

The chicks arrived at the post office Thursday afternoon.  I was always taught that mail is sacred and can only be opened by the addressee.  Apparently, there is a different rule when the package contains chicks.  The package was sitting on the counter at the post office making a large chick racket.  Every time someone came into the office, the clerk would open it up and show them the birds.  

Just like this.  They are very cute.  We had set up the brooder the night before and had the food, water and lights on to welcome them.  

Elizabeth unloading the chicks.

The weather turned cold with the arrival of the chicks.  We ended up putting a heater out there also.  Michelle and Elizabeth unloaded the chicks one by one.  We ordered 100 Freedom Ranger chicks and we received 101.  They were all alive and seemed in good health.  They were chirping like crazy.  You could hear them from quite a distance.

Marbles, the cat, came over and tried to break into the brooder house.  I am not sure if he was simply curious or hungry.  We didn't want to chance it, so he was moved along.

One of our two flocks has some broody hens, and all the hens from that flock came tearing over to see when they heard the chicks.  The flock with no broody birds in it, never gave them a second look.  I looked out the door and there were all the hens on the steps of the brooder house.

We built the little brooder inside out of hay bales and boxes stuffed with hay.  We put insulation over the top to hold the heat in.  The building is breezy and it is drafts that kill baby chicks.  We were trying to keep them warm and draft free.  Chicks should be kept in a 90 degree F space the first week.

Elizabeth took a picture of a chick.  
 The chicks  started eating and drinking right away

We have found Freedom Ranger birds to be very hardy, strong and good starters. They take 9-11 weeks to get to 4-6# dressed out size.  But unlike the Cornish Crosses they are very active, and fly well and are happy to get their own food.  We don't even put food out during the day once they are feathered out. All 101 survived the first 48 hours.  That is a time when you frequently lose a couple birds.

The birds have had a real physiological challenge and so far they have survived.  I DON'T recommend this.  I checked on the birds last night and it was very cold in the building, but the chicks in  the brooder seemed OK.  I kept dreaming of chicks all night and seeing very low temps on my iPod all night (in my sleep).  I woke up this morning knowing that we HAD to get those chicks into a warm spot or they wouldn't make it.  My DH threw together a wooden brooder and we set it up in the basement.  Elizabeth and I went out with a warm 'cooler' and loaded the chicks up and brought them in.  I think it was just in time.  There was actually some ice formed in one of their waterers near the edge of their broody pen.  That seemed to indicate that it wasn't really 90 degrees in there.  They had icy little feet when we picked them up.  I felt bad.  Now they are in the basement, in a cozy corner and so far they seem to have survived their irregular care.  Now we know for next time.  I anticipate them only having to be indoors for a week or two.  Then back to the brooder.  It can't keep snowing forever, can it?  Spring has to come!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mango Happenings

I was recently informed that I had once again slipped in my blogging habits.  I really am without excuse, just busy as usual.  Here are some of the things that have happened in the last month.

There have been some silly moments.  A red mask bought at Salvation Army has brought a lot of surprise and laughter.  Car likes to play with Elizabeth!

All the critters, including the barn cats, which now number seven, have survived the cold without any issues.  A couple of the roosters may have had a bit of frostbite on their combs, but no other problems.  It was bitter cold this February which is very unusual for Ohio.  We had days when it barely got to zero.  Anytime it warmed up close to thirty, the snow fell and then the temperature dropped back down to zero.  I think Minnesota may have sent their January weather to Ohio.  They are welcome to take it back!  This week the temperatures have finally warmed up into the forties and fifties.  Yeah for spring!!!  The colder and harder the winter, the more spring is appreciated.  Southern folk just don't have that same hard earned appreciation for spring as those of us in the north!

The boys enjoy wrestling and doing boy stuff.  Not always sure what that is, but they seem to like it.

The children saw some really cool pictures of snow sculptures with glow sticks lighting them up.  They decided to try it, only to discover that glow sticks don't work in sub zero temps.  They came in and decided to attach them to the ceiling fan blades.  They found that that was totally neat and definitely better than looking at them in the freezing cold!

One project that had been on our list since we bought the property, was to take this tree down.  It had some limbs that were over the house.  It was a silver maple.  A branch had fallen off once before we bought the house and knocked over the chimney and damaged the roof.  We decided that we didn't need a repeat performance.

A tree company that had brought us logs for years when we heated with wood at the old house, was looking for work and we had them take the tree down.  They had all the fancy equipment.  The snow pack on the yard made it so that the big equipment didn't tear up the yard.

They finished up by grinding out the stump.  Having this tree down really opened up the view to the back of the property.  So much nicer than looking at a tree trunk out the family room window.  Also, now I have wood to try and grow mushrooms on.  One of my projects for the spring and summer.

Elizabeth did a couple junior speech events.

Last week we spent three days at an NCFCA speech and debate tournament.  This is a different league than the children usually compete is ( usually we do CCA).  Thomas was really wanting this experience, as he wanted to try Lincoln Douglas debate.  In the past he only had competed in Team Policy Debate.  In Lincoln Douglas it is two people debating a values resolution.  This year the resolution is whether freedom or equality should be more highly valued in economics.

Thomas had never tried Lincoln Douglas at all.  He had never even done a practice round.  He had read a book and watched three rounds on you tube.  He lost his first round due to inexperience.  He is a fast learner though.  He ended up breaking into the semifinals!  That means he qualified for regionals.  We will try to get there.  It will involve a trip to Oshkosh, WI.

Elizabeth and Bethany.

This past weekend was the AWANA Grand Prix car race.  It was well attended by many parents of the clubbers, and the gospel was preached clearly!  The kids seemed to have a great time.

The children design and race their little cars.  They send them down a track and everything is timed by a computer.  Excellent sportsmanship was demonstrated by all the kids!

Not sure what was up with certain 'adults'!  My camera seems to bring the best out of Tammy!  

The snow is about 2-5" deep, despite the rain and warm weather.  The warm (45 degree) super moist air creates fog.  Elizabeth was wanting to explore and take pictures.  She thought it looked like 'fresh made lard with trees growing out of it'.  Yes, she was barefoot in order to climb the tree and no, she doesn't have a coat on.

Can you see the child wandering in the fog covered fields?  She loves being outdoors!

T-Bob was also fascinated by the fog.  He had to stop and take some pictures that he could share with his cousin in the Philippines. We were heading out to his basketball awards ceremony.  It was very amazing to look at the fog, but not so pleasant to drive in.  It was a real 'pea soup' fog.

T-Bob was recognized for his hard work on and off the court.  He was a co-captain on the junior high team.  He also shared what he had learned through the team devotions.  Thomas decided to go to debate practice instead of the basketball awards. He was also commended for being a hard worker.

This pretty much summarizes the last month.  There has been the normal life events and lots of planning for the spring, summer, and fall.  We have to figure out what we are going to raise in both the livestock and plants departments.  The busy season will soon be upon us.  We are enjoying the last bit of winter quiet.