First set of Ducklings!!

It is always exciting to see the little ones, whether it is ducklings or peeps. These little guys are the first ducklings we have had in several years. Their mom ( a Muscovy duck) had to sit on those eggs for 35 days(28 days most other ducks), wow, and what a nice nest she made. (Looks more comfy then my couch!)

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She did come off the nest once a day to grab a bite to eat and maybe a drink, but she was quick to get back to them. Towards the end of the setting period she did not get up, so we set a small bowl of water and a handful of feed for her in the house she chose for her nest. Then one day we heard them. She was talking to them and they were answering her. We blocked her and the ducklings in so they could get to know each other before venturing out to the outside world.DSCF0604

Seven cuties, at least for the first couple of days. Something seems to have taken one of them, I hope it is not the fox we have heard about.

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Momma taking a head count

We have raised different kinds of ducks through the years and always seem to come back to the Muscovy breed, they seem to be pretty self-sufficient and easy to raise. Have you ever raised ducks?? If so what kind??

 

Bunnies of all Sizes

A beautiful sunny day for letting the bunnies out to play.

6 weeks old bunnies

6 weeks old bunnies

(If you are wondering what the water bottle is for, it is just so you can get a better idea of their size)

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The rabbits above are practicing their posing for the judges at the up coming shows.( The Britannia is a full grown rabbit.)

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(note the water bottle, again to help you understand his size)

They are so soft and fun to pet. It is know wonder that our daughter has 50 with more on the way.

Have you played with a bunny today?  HAPPY EASTER Everyone!!

 

Broiler Chickens

My husband went to the feed store and brought home these little guys.

I thought this might make a good, weekly series on the raising of meat chickens. Yes, these are Cornish Rock Broilers, they are a hybrid breed of chicken designed for fast growth. They are currently 2 1/2 weeks old. They cost $1.39 per peep and a 50 lb bag of feed cost $15.49. We keep them in an area that contains a heat lamp so they don’t get cold. My husband feeds them Meatbird Crumbles a feed with 21 percent protein so the birds will grow strong and healthy. At the end of approximately 8 – 10 weeks we will have birds around 5 lbs each when dressed out.

Thru the woods with the dogs

The day the snow started here in southwestern PA we decided to take the dog on a winter walk.

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Missy and Sci

We first went down the road and around the corner. Which is easier said then done, well my collies were easy it was the hound that was out of control with excitement. She had my husband going in circles and then she jumped like a deer over the guide rail. After my husband got in front of the collies she seemed to do better.

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Willow

( Sorry the picture is dark but note the sky and clouds I didn’t at the time, more later)

Once we got into the woods we let them loose. After we climbed the hill some, my husband called them back to give them a treat (deer jerky).

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We found they follow better when they know we have jerky. It was good exercise climbing the hill then heading down over the other side.

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Made it to the top, What a view!!

 I even found some green along the way.

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Pretty, just don’t know what it is.

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Wow, I have to remember this tree, I have many projects I can use moss in!!

Willows nose led her astray, but she was back in no time. (I think she remembered the jerky) Just as we were getting to the bottom of the hill it started to snow (remember the clouds, that must have been a front moving in) And snow ( 7″ ) has been on the ground since. With the bitter cold and snow, we haven’t been able to get out again. But I know we will, because there is a tree full of moss calling my name and 3 dogs that enjoy the run.

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Chicken Moving day

Chicken Moving day

In the fall of last year my husband purchased some Silkie Chickens and had them in a temporary pen till a larger more comfortable pen was renovated to suit there needs. (It used to be a rabbit shed) Now, we moved the Silkies to the new coop. They seemed to like it and didn’t even mind when we reintroduced a hen that went broody in late fall. But they weren’t so sure about her youngster. It’s the Lavender one in the back. When the hen went broody my husband stuck a couple Guinea eggs under her and one hatched. But we haven’t told the little one that she isn’t a Chicken. It’s fun to hear her reply to the roosters crow with her “Buckwheat, Buckwheat”.

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This guy decided I was more interesting than the Guinea.

Well at least till the flash went off.

We are planning for the new peeps already. My husband wants to start raising a Heritage breed that will be good for meat as well as eggs, so far he has narrowed it done to 2 kinds the Delaware or the White Wyandotte. We hope to breed them and let the Silkies hatch the eggs. It is always fun to have peeps around and it is even more fun to watch the hens raise their own, even if they don’t look like them. Chickens are a wonderful addition to the homestead, in more ways than one.

Winter Days

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“Red” (our cat) calmly sitting on the hose bracket………. Now that’s a well-balanced cat!

Alex & the ducksAahhh fresh greens, hey give me that, save me some!!  You could almost hear them discussing who should eat which piece.

100_2861Let’s get the last blades of grass before the snow comes!  ……After moving this guy and girls down to the lower pasture they quickly started munching on the last bit of green.

Missy winter 2014

Missy, Missy, Missy, it is -6 degrees and you are shedding your coat!!!   Well that’s one way to make sure we bring you in tonight! (Missy will be 10 this year) This is our one and only pedigree, all the other dogs we have or have had, have been rescues. Missy is a very lovable and well-trained dog. When we first got her our youngest daughter (who was 9)and I took her to obedience training almost every week for 2 years. Which means Missy rides in the car very well. My daughter did it as an elective for homeschooling. First she did basic obedience ,than advanced, agility 1 & 2, then finally Canine Good Citizen classes, which Missy passed with no problem till we got to the part were my daughter had to leave the room for 3 minutes while a stranger held her leash. This was taught in case you had to go to the restroom while you were visiting somewhere. Well, be a herding dog, Missy did not understand why she couldn’t go round her up. She did finally understood that it was OK and passed the test. I would recommend all children take classes with their dog, it gives them a good understanding of how to communicate with their dog because as our trainer told us on the first class “Dogs don’t know “English” and that’s what we are here to teach them.” Our daughter has another dog and it understands English, also.

Grooming Missy has always been more my job. Since we first brought Missy home we trained her to stand and always played with her feet. After a week or so we started brushing her on the grooming table or in our case the dryer. When you brush a collie you are supposed to brush their fur from back to front. That makes them look a lot fuller. You are to trim their legs part way up and keep their paws trimmed so they look nice and round. While I am at I always trim her nails.  I make sure I trim the fur from the bottom of her feet, this helps to keep her feet from becoming packed with snow. And even though she is not happy about it she stands and even turns the other way when asked. Collies require a lot of grooming and look beautiful when brushed regularly.  If you are not comfortable doing it find a good groomer that can do a good trimming for you every couple of months but for the most part a regular brushing should keep them looking beautiful.

Busy day having fun with the winged ones

Busy day having fun with the winged ones

This young lady is our newest surprise and has sure made herself known, she is a Golden Comet hen. What makes that interesting is that she is a Hybrid chicken and they usually do not set on eggs. Well one day my husband went out to the coop and found her clucking and acting broody, and the next day she was protecting the eggs and setting on them. So he thought let see what se will do. So we set up a nice broody pen, and gave her some fertile eggs, a friend gave us to set on, since her eggs are the ones we sell. Well she went right to work. She never seemed to leave the next and 21 days later they were they 6 of the cutest little biddies you ever saw. Now that they are 2 weeks old we moved mom and her peeps to the chicken tractor so they can enjoy some grass and bugs. Mother hen and peeps seem to enjoy the bigger area.

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Mother Hen sure does a good job calling her peeps over to the food. (above)

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This is the chicken tractor the mother hen and her peeps are in they seem to enjoy the extra space. (above)

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This old pool we bought at a yard sale for the pigs to swim in on hot summer days, well since the last of this years hogs are off to the fair I thought the ducks and goose would enjoy it. And they did. I enjoyed watching them and then this one jumped up on the side and paused as if to say “Ready or not here I come”!!