Friday, October 26, 2012

Our Buckeye Chickens Are Five Weeks Old!

Our eggs arrive safely!
Today marks the five week birthday of our Buckeye chicks. 

They came to us still snug in their eggs, wrapped in bubble-wrap and nestled in shredded newspaper from Crains Run Ranch in Ohio.  Judging from the box, the Post Office did their best to shake them up, which definitely reduced their viability, but no eggs were broken, and 10 out of 24 managed to hatch and survive their first few days.  I am told that this is considered a GREAT hatch from mail-order eggs. 
Eggs in the incubator with automatic rocker and humidity sensor
22 days later they start to hatch
Then into the brooder to stay warm while they grow
This is the first hatch-ling (shown above) at 2 days old
10 days old (getting feathers!!)

Four weeks old (head feathers coming in)
17 days old (tail and shoulder feathers!)

So, my ten little peeps are in the brooder right now and in the next two weeks they will be ready to get out and stretch their legs.  I  hope to have their coop ready in the barn by then. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winter is Here!

Our Halloween pumpkin covered in snow
I am sitting here at my desk watching fat little snowflakes drift down from the sky.  The trees are already covered with fluffy pillows of the stuff, and where there once were areas of dirt, gravel and pine needles (not to mention hay bales, wood piles, and potted plants) there is now a sea of white.
Kim's motorcycle waits for space in the garage!

Our house with cargo trailer in front
This is my first winter here at Sundog. My first winter ANYWHERE that has SNOW, in fact!  I feel like I could watch it come down for hours on end.  It is mesmerizing.

It has been snowing for three days now, so we have accumulated about 18 inches at this point.  Walking through the drifts to feed the horses and fetch materials from the garage and basement has given me an idea of what the next six months are going to be like, and all I can say is YIKES!

I actually like walking through the snow, as do the horses and dogs.  My boy Cody loves to catch snowballs, and our older hound-dog, Tulip, cannot get enough of "porpoising" through the drifts.  She doesn't seem to need to have a direction.  She just jumps in and keeps going!  The horses dig through the snow with their nose, taste it a bit and throw their head around.  The chicks are too young to go out in it, but I am looking forward to seeing their first responses to it too.

Even the cold is not a problem (so far).  Put on enough warm clothing, and you look forward to the snow!  No, the biggest problem I see is the digging.  EVERYTHING is UNDER the SNOW!  To go down the stairs, you have to dig them out (or you can just sweep the snow off the stairs if you keep up with it, but take one step, and you compact the snow so only digging will work). Want some firewood?  Dig it out.  What to drive down your driveway?  Dig it out!  Hmmmm.  This is going to take a little more planning and patience than I thought, but the good news is that I will get exercise this winter!

We are suppose to have sun again in a few days, so this snow will soon be gone.  However, it was great "practice", and I have already gotten together my list of "must do's" before the real winter storms hit!

I see my last communication was way back in August!  Well, a lot has happened since then!  We have made great progress on the barn, taken down a number of trees that were threatening to fall over onto our house, gotten most of the electrical system repaired, and hatched out our Buckeye chicks!  But I will save these stories for another post.  Looks like I am going to have plenty of time to write!