Friday, March 12, 2010

Baby Chicks, Gardens and Goats

Chicks hatched this morning

This morning we were blessed to have 3 baby chicks hatch.   We had started with 8 eggs so it wasn't a great hatch but we were pleased none the less.   Last year I purchased hatching eggs so this was the first year we've hatched from our own chickens.  A couple weren't fertile to begin with when I candled them.  Don't know what happened to the others.  The ones that hatched were really pretty.    I was blown away with the coloring of the 2 darker ones.   This was a cross with a blue Orpington rooster and a buff Orpington hen.   One looks almost orange and the other chocolate.   The silver one is between two blues.  

Chicks are so much fun.   They haven't learned to be afraid and come right to you.   I think they are looking for a mother and you qualify if you bring them food and water.   They are so curious and so very chicken already.  They peck at each other and the smallest speck on your hand or a dish.      We cleaned out the incubator and added another 8 eggs to it. 

I started planting vegetables today.   I got pea's, spinach, lettuce, radishes and collards in.    Last year I missed most of the planting season so it was great to be on top of it this year.   I've been using the old hay from the goat house for mulch and also in the compost bin.   I am doing a few area's of no till beds using hay as well.    I need to get pictures as it progresses.   I am hopefully optimistic about using this method as it's just so much easier and better for the soil structure as well.   And it's a great use for all the wasted hay from bedding etc.   Goats are notorious about wasting hay so it feels much more tolerable knowing it's helping improve the soil.

I tend some years to get carried away with trying too many new vegetables that I don't use in the end so this year I  decided to stick for the most part with the things I use regularly... tomatoes, peppers of all varieties, onions, pea's, beans, pototoes, celery, spinach,  cucumbers and eggplants.   I think that's about it.   I also have an area out by the road I'm preparing as a no till bed.    I am going to use that area this year for lots of squashes and pumpkins.   I must have seeds of  4 or 5 varieties of winter squashes  and 5 or 6 different pumpkins so it will be great to have a large area to just let them roam.    I did bid on some walking onions on ebay tonight.   I've never tried them but they sound great and low maintenance to boot.   I'll post a picture if I win for any one that hasn't seen them before.  

Then next problem to contend with is the chickens in the garden.   I think they will have to go into the goat yard until the seeds sown have germinated and become established.   Last year the few things I did get planted the chickens pulled up the same day or the next day.   I love having them free range but they can really wreck havoc on a new garden.

After planting I went to work on the goat house.   I put down both lime and  dry stall for the ammonia smell from urine and laid new hay on top.   I smelled so much better; cleaner.     While I was doing it I looked at Passion who I was sure wasn't pregnant and I am now not so sure.   She wasn't having any part of Elvis while he was here but I think that may just have been while we were watching because she looks like she's getting bigger.   I won't know for another month but I do believe we'll be having two does kidding instead of just one.   I had been thinking  I may sell her as soon as Tina kidded and just yesterday I said I might put her on Craigslist now instead of waiting until Tina kidded.   I am really delighted  and hope she is in fact pregnant.   Time will tell.

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