When got home from work and let the birds out I noticed there were no ducklings. Have looked everywhere, as has mum- she's been calling and searching, but no sign, no calls, and its not as if they didn't stand out. Am gutted
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Sunday, 26 August 2012
First indian game chick
This is our first successful Indian game chick to join our flock
Friday, 24 August 2012
But in checking on the duck inside the chook shed -she who has systematically discarded her eggs for the chook eggs, as they seem to lay in her nest all the time. And to collect the chook eggs from the nest beside her- as they've started laying in there, as she'd leaving her nest less and less.
So this little one spent the night in the incubator (that I now need to clean out- again) and was doing well enough this morning to be introduced to the others in the brooder box.
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Operation save the ducklings
We had been waiting for the ducklings to hatch, guessing that it was around 5 weeks- the ducks seem to have been nesting for ages now.
So turning to a distressed mum (as I conviscated her lifeless baby) I noticed a second lying closer to the nest. This posed more of a fight, as I had to contend with both mum and dad. But it was worth it... this one, though cold, was just about breathing.
So I put it down my top and rushed it to the house. When inside I dunked its beak in water- which swilled out alot of sand and dust. I dare say the little thing would have suffocated, before too long.
Once it had drank, I placed it and the container lid full of water in the inucbator.
I'm happy to say this little one made it out to the brooder baox last night. But I am now watching the ducks and their nests very carefully.
I managed to steal these two hatching eggs from her this morning- she was not happy with me. But I could not let them hatch whilst I was at work, just in case.
So these are currently in the incubator- hopefully hatching and drying safely!
Monday, 20 August 2012
Well I witnessed our boar Smokey mounting this morning. Admittedly he initially attempted to mount the head, but he eventually got there. Only it wasn't Streaky he was mounting, but our little freezer pig, due to be Christmas ham. So guess time will tell
The tanks are in, and just in time
Friday morning 8 am Deon arrived with the excavator, taking a little over 2 hours to clear the area and move the tanks in position. Well we did end up pulling them back away from the shed with the car (as they were a little too close). And Matt rolled the empty one out again and climbed inside in an attempt to pop the top back out- as the excavator had pushed it in. (Some thing that’s been annoying him ever since).
|Matt digs for existing pipe work|
|Final tank moves into position|
|Finding the pipes|
|Ffion & Madog inspecting|
Otherwise this weekend I sold my first dozen “fertilised eggs” to a colleague of a lady I have sold chicks to in the past (and who we bought Madog from). As they have a few broody hens. They said they would let us know how they go, as we haven’t hatched chicks out from under a chicken.
I have often wondered how people sell fertilised eggs. As how can they guarantee thy are fertilised. I know we have a working rooster (we have some hatching in the incubator right now). And the eggs were fresh, they were collected that morning and the ay before. So I hope they have some success with them.
As I just said we have a few hatching at the moment. 2 arrived Saturday, 3 more Sunday and I woke to 9 this morning, with at least half a dozen more “pipped”.
Friday, 17 August 2012
Now the work begins
Well its taken the excavator driver less than 2 hours and the tanks are in place (more or less) and the wholes on the neighbours land have been filled... now for the fun part
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
How does your garden grow?
|Pak choi/ Red choi|
|Cauli plant- already munched|
|Welsh bunching onions|
Pigs are vandals
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Christmas dinner arrives and piggy worries
On the other birds, the Rhodie x's, 2 little ducklings, duckling with the bad leg and last weeks arrival; appear to be getting along fine in the brooder box.
One thing I will point out about birds sharing thier living quaters- it to clean them out regularly and change thier water daily. Alot of bird related diseases come from poop. So I treat my young ones for Coccidiosis for thier first week, even though we use medicated feed. Although this is something that really doesn't affect backyard, free range birds. As we're keeping different species together- I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Our 4 pure Light sussex are also looking good. I am now confident we have 2 roosters and a HEN! But the other, we'll just wait to see if it starts crowing (I suspect it will).
Pig worries- we had a few concerns about our gilt Streaky. We are watching her very carefully at the moment. There were some strange noises Saturday evening and late Sunday that we eventually pin pointed to be her. It was strange as it was a low call, where pigs squeal when stressed or excited. So we had ruled them out pretty quickly.
Thursday, 9 August 2012
I had retrieved these eggs from the ducks nest- under the nesting boxes, in the chicken shed. I placed them in the incubator, as I wasn’t keen to use them- as I couldn’t honestly say how long they had been there. As the mumma duck had not left here nest, whilst either of us were present for about 5 days. Not even for food.
The previous week I had managed to coax her so far out to feed, but I think she was far too aware that I was raiding her nest. So my presence even in the shed had begun to stress her. And I had taken to laying food next to the nest, to ensure she was feeding. This in itself had done little to repair our strained relationship. Something she regularly displaced, as she would nip and ‘chip’ at me if I came too close.
So as chicks take about 21 days to hatch; though using the incubator, ours seem to be 19-21, obviously this little one had been successfully maturing under the ducks care. It will be interesting to see how far behind the other one is.
I also placed another 10 in the incubator a few days later. These should have at least another week. But who knows. Have had to mark each egg, so I know hwat is what. We usually try and hatch chicks weeks appart for ease of housing (brooder boxing). Guess we may just need a few more lights.
As we've been adding the Indian game eggs, as they've started laying (and are not notorious for their egg production or fertility rate). So guess you could say we’re just taking our chances as they come.
We'll just end up with a few more chicks at different ages, along with the ducklings. Especially sinceMumma duck is still sat on 4/5 of her original clutch of 7- they instinctively reject eggs that are not progressing or fertilised, throughout nesting.
Along with about another ½ dozen chicken eggs… I just wish they’d lay in their own boxes instead of her nest.
We have a second duck nesting just outside the shed, but none of the other birds bother her and her nest.
Sunday, 5 August 2012
Sunday has been a poultry day all round.
As commercial poultry these birds would have access to food day and night and be kept in a lit shed, meaning they wopould quite contently sit and feed constantly. Ans as a result are ready for the supermarket shelves in 40 days- ½ the time of ours.
Although I have to be honest, whilst I am always sad to see an animal go. And I know that is what they were bred and raised for- something I reconsile myself with as I know that their life (however short) was probably better for being here. If we had of kept these monsters they would not have been long for this world and it would have been cruel- as their quality of life was dwindling and would probably have died due to the stress on their bodies from their size alone.
But these final birds does mark the beginning of our own “meat birds” (think I prefer the term “table birds”)- A cross between game and dual purpose layers. Hopefully these will be able to free range happily and hopefully be more chook-like.
Today also saw the arrival, and passing of some ducklings. The ill fated batch from the borrowed incubator. As a result this will be returning to its owners by the end of the week.
At present we have one running around contently in the brooder box with the Rhodie red crosses and the 2 w/o duckling with the bad leg. We are waiting on 3, that have pipped and unfortunately the first to pip, struggled to break free. And even with assistance it had begun to dry out, inside the egg and much of it was stuck to the egg or itself. It just didn’t have to strength to survive. So from 20, so far only 5 have had any signs of life. Maybe the settings of the incubator in those early stages were just too high and had already done the damage.
And then this weekend was the annual Sarina Show, so having dropped Rockie and Ronnie off for their Show debuts bright and early yesterday morning.
|Rockie- Light Sussex|
|Ronnie- Indian Game|
But apparently not, guess as the saying goes "you learn something new everyday". So considering they were being compared to fully grown birds, they did very well. But I have to admit this is an experience neither of us are too keen to repeat. Whilst I entered them as a bit of fun, fun was the last thing it seemed for our birds. It was stressful, and clearly something they were neither used to, or comfortable with- confinement. That is without the stress caused by catching them (and to me and the scratches I sustained as a result), as well as transporting them there and back. Whilst this seems a regular thing for many of those locally who keep birds (as well as all around Oz and at home). I guess it just wasn’t for us, I’m happier watching our birds roam, and being birds.
Saturday, 4 August 2012
No fish but lovely day
Also potted my first batch of Augusts seeds. And planted out the strawberry plants and did a little weeding- nearly pulled a few out before realising I had beetroot and fennel coming! So not weeds at all!
|Poor duckling had dried up in the shell|
Friday, 3 August 2012
Fish finder bought and fitted
Thursday, 2 August 2012
Duckling update- we have an injury
So further inspection, it doesn’t appear to be using the leg at all, sort of springing around on one side. But when I’ve picked it up it has some movement and grip in the foot. And moving the leg didn’t seem to bother it.
So it is currently being isolated from the potential stampedes and is imposing on the younger 4 rhodie- red x’s. Who were very tentative of their guest. Initially avoiding the duckling and huddled in a corner (away from the light), as he happily ate thier food and drunk their water. Only it then proceeded to call through the petition to the others and become quite stressed. Eventually deciding to try his luck with it’s new hosts; continually following them around the brooder box, calling, to little or no response.
So when closing up the shed last night (I took one final look) and moved the two chicks from the shadowed (and cooler) side of the box back to the warmth of the light. This morning all 5 remained in the warmth.
So guess we’ll be keeping an eye on our injured little duckling. It appears determined and is coping (so far). I just wish I knew what it had done and how, suppose it’s just one of those things.
In other duck progress 2 of our females are attentively sat on little nests. Chirping and even nipping if we get too close, unless you are offering them grain. One is inside the hen house (under the nesting boxes) and becomes quite stressed when we try and collect the chicken eggs. Particularly as they appear to lay in her nest!
The other incubated eggs (in the friend’s borrowed incubator) are due this weekend (guess this really will be the final test). As Matt remains sceptical as to whether we will see any hatchlings, since the incubators many variants may have compromised them, and as the settings were too high it may have cooked the eggs in the early stages- so still a case of wait and see. We noticed the problem when we placed our digital thermometer on the egg trays (their raised in the box) and it read 39 degrees (point something), where the incubators own thermometer (at the base of the incubator) still only read 36. We have no idea what problems this may cause, since eggs are not supposed to be in an environment over 38.
Also in my assessment of the incubator I felt there was little head room for chicks in the hatching tray. We temporarily put the Rhode Island x chicks in there to clean out ours, and ducklings are bigger.