The chicks have arrived! So cute. I really hate that I’ll be eating or selling most of them. In the batch are 3 Blackstars, 3 Aracaunas,
and 10 Blue Laced Red Wynadotte. The batches of triplets are hens and I’ll be keeping one each. I’ll sell the others at the Rumney Livestock Auction but that won’t happen until they are older. The BLRW’s were a straight-run (meaning no sexing — so I’ve got a mixture of hens and roosters but I won’t know what’s what until they’re older). All the roosters will have to go. Not sure what will be sold and what will be processed. I’ll make that decision when I know how many I have.
The BLRW hens though… I’ll pick the two prettiest and keep them for Guapo. The rest, well, again sold and/or processed.
So why did I get so many? Well, there is a minimum order quantity I had to meet. And I want to try my hand at selling rather than just buying. And we want to start buying and processing meat birds. So this is the test year. See what works, what doesn’t, and get primed for next year.
And I want to raise and sell small quantities of BLRW’s. Hence the couple hens I’ll keep for Guapo. We still need to invest in the bigger, better coop but we’re getting there. And I’ve made inquiries into NPIP certification which helps ensure the health of my flock. It’ll take a couple-three more months, but I’m hoping to get my first certification this year.
I also had a panic attack thinking my flock had mites. Beulah has a bare butt and most of the others were missing feathers behind their combs. But not other feather loss or behavioral activity that suggested a problem. However, that was all I could think of. Then I saw Guapo attack one of the girls. I now know why they are missing the feathers behind their combs. Bad boy.
Not sure what caused Beulah’s bare butt, though. She does a good job keeping it covered with her tail feathers, so I can’t verify if it’s started to grow back in. I think it has but I’m going to have to grab her and do a more personal inspection.
Anyway, while I was thinking it was mites, I started to look for medication. I found a powder that can be used on your vegetables AND chickens — mmmmm, no. I didn’t even read the ingredients since veggies had to be washed and I just couldn’t bring myself to put something toxic on the girls. I did find Manna Pro Poultry Protector which seems to be much less toxic but since I don’t think it’s mites, it’s just sitting there. No other birds have experienced a loss of their feathers (well other than Guapo predation) so I”m sure it’s not mites. Hopefully, Beulah’s feathers will come back. Maybe it was a partial molt?
I’ve also invested in more bees. I purchased a 3lb package that isn’t doing well. The only brood I saw was drone, which suggests the
queen isn’t fertilized or that she’s gone. So, I purchased a Russian Queen and installed her this past week. I’ll be checking on her progress today. I also got a nuc and they seem to be going like gangbusters. I think I like nucs better, even though they are pricier. They are easier to install and are an established, healthy hive. With that said, my goal is to get these bees through the winter and stop buying bees!
We’re also working on improving the bee yard. We’re putting gravel in and will cover with stone dust at some point. Should help with drainage as moisture is a bee hive’s enemy.
One of the guineas has gone completely broody. I found a clutch of guinea eggs near the new pen and one of the girls is now sitting on these day and night. I don’t think they will hatch. Pretty sure I have three females for one. And at least one night she ran in the pen to eat and then couldn’t figure how to get back out. So at least one night the eggs were without the guinea body heat. You can barely see Broody Guinea’s head in the bushes in the photo below.
I now put food and water next to her during the day so she can eat and drink in relative comfort. And hey — maybe I’m wrong and some of the eggs will hatch! Now that would be interesting.
Well, time to eat and mow the lawn. Good times. 🙂 I’ll leave you with a picture of my tomato box. Mmmmmmm… tomatoes.