First off, I promised to share both triumphs and embarrassment as I write this blog, and boy do I have an embarrassment.
Maybe it's my impending senility or my uncanny ability to wreck a bowling ball with a bucket of grease, but I managed to dig up and destroy the internet cable we had buried in the yard while planting the raspberry bushes. To Michael's credit, he did not curse me...to my face anyway. Rather, he maintained his calm and spent the day running a new wire. I sure hope our raspberries come in gorgeous, because I'm going to make him his very own raspberry pie.
We're still awaiting the first peeping sounds from our eggs in the incubator, and I find myself obsessively peering into the window every time I walk by it. I wonder what the dogs will think if/when they do hear little peeping sounds coming out of if. This will be a great experiment as I have three groups of youngsters coming in to the farm in three different methods. I intend to watch closely to see which birds are the most successful. This should help me determine the best ways to maintain and grow our flock.
Method 1: Incubation from fertilized egg, imprinting and hand rearing.
Method 2: Allow broody hen to incubate, hatch and raise chicks on her own (obviously the most natural method).
Method 3: Ordering chicks by mail from our favorite hatchery, Ideal Poultry in Texas. We have 24 birds (Buff Orpington and Barred Hollands) coming in May.
Now on to the nitty gritty and shameless call for free slave labor:
The demand for compassionately produced eggs is without limit, it seems. And there are certainly enough people in our area who could use the free eggs to help ease the ever-increasing financial burden of feeding their families. To meet this demand we need a new/larger chicken barn or an addition to the converted shed we are using now. If you or someone you know is a good carpenter/handy man type interested in a little volunteer work building it we'd sure love to have the help.
Unless we are able to maintain a larger flock the ideal pasture conditions we strive for, this year's hatching will be our last until after our senescent birds die off. I won't toss Henny Penny into the pressure cooker just because she's a bit long in the beak. I figure she's done her job for us, so we should take care of her when she needs the favor returned. This limits the size of our operation due to the cost ineffectiveness of this practice but it is the more compassionate practice, and that's the entire point of this project anyway.