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Friday, March 4, 2011

Farm Notes: Spring & Chickens

Every year around this time I can't help but to giggle at the scattered placement of Spring's first nudge... daffodils, sprinkled all over our property with no apparent rhyme or reason as to their placement. We have random patches of them in all of our pastures, in our yard, alongside the road, in the middle of our driveway. Who knows how they were planted in those spots, however many years ago, but I look forward to their appearance in late February every year. It means that Spring is just around the corner.

We've been busy in these last few weeks buzzing around the farm, making preparations for Spring activities and projects. The sunny days and warmer temperatures have helped us along also. The horses are starting to shed their winter coats (it'll be a while yet before the donkey does though, they usually take their time with that task), and the chickens have begun laying more eggs in response to the longer days. We have seedlings sprouting for the gardens, and the beds have been expanded this year to accommodate more plants.

Other stuff:
  • We have a Facebook page! It is just getting started so please hop over there and give us a "like". We apparently need 25 likes to be able to secure our username over there, so tell your friends while you're at it! You can find it here.
  • New baby chicks are in our future! We're adding three more this year, Ameraucanas, and they should be here (hopefully) Monday. We have them reserved at the feed store where we got our Rhode Island Reds and Black Sex Links last year. It's easy to be tempted into buying too many chicks (because they are SO CUTE!), but we are carefully staggering out our flock so that we don't end up with an entire chicken yard of non-laying hens in a few years. This new group next week will bring our count up to nine (eight hens and one rooster), and we'll add a few more next year as well.
  • Speaking of chickens, I took our rooster to the vet this past week. I got a lot of weird looks, but I took him for a couple reasons... 1) to meet the only vet in town who works on birds/chickens, and 2) to have her show me first hand how to best trim our rooster's spurs and wings. I had called the week before and was very specific in what I needed, and they were more than happy to accommodate me. We agreed on a price for my lesson ($40, not bad) and I showed up with a rooster in a box on Monday. Even though we handle him regularly, I didn't know what to expect from him on a "field trip" but I'm happy to say that both me and the vet were impressed with his manners. He even stood on the exam table by himself for a few minutes without being held. The vet was also impressed with his size and condition for only being 11 months. All said and done, I learned how to properly clip wings (not that we keep them clipped, but in case we need to, I now know how to do it safely), how to hold their wings properly (which I didnt realize was so important), and how to keep his spurs filed down (which can be easily done with a Dremel tool). Not to mention I also got to meet the go-to vet should I have any problems with our chickens (since its not the horse vet or the cat & dog vet we use for the other critters).
I think thats about it for right now. I've spent the last 36 hours sleeping and being sick, which unfortunately meant I had to take a day off from work to recover from whatever truck ran me over while I wasn't looking. Hopefully I'm on the tale end of it now so that I can enjoy the weekend and maybe get a few things done. If nothing else, I want to get outside and see all the signs of Spring popping up. 

What kind of pre-Spring activities are you guys up to?

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