I met with the County Sanitarian today. It was a very informative meeting and I am glad I went. We talked about some of the things I do here on the farm and there are things I need to have a license for, such as if I want to sell online or sell salsa or pickles, I need to have a license for that and process it in a certified kitchen. I can sell at the Farmer's Market, however, without a license unless it is acidic foods like tomatoes, salsa, pickles, etc. which again requires licensing. Since most of my veggies are in infancy stage, I have time to get that lined up and in order before it is time to can everything.
The puppies are getting big. So fat, in fact, that I am surprised they can move at all! Maddie is doing a great job mothering them and I am very happy with her. We also got a 3rd kennel donated to us that is 13 feet by 7 feet and has come just in time as Cheyenne has found it nearly impossible not to chase the hens! I hate putting her in the kennel but it is also tick season and she and Maddie are bringing them into the house. Thankfully it will pass and we will be able to have our house dogs again! Well, almost. Maddie will go to her new home as soon as her puppies are weaned.
The plant starts are doing well. Every rhubarb I planted has sprouted! I am happy to say I have had nearly 100% germination on everything, with the exception of my Sioux Tomatoes which seem to be sprouting on their own time. I'm not giving up on them yet! I am hoping to build my raised beds around Memorial weekend and hopefully get my plants transplanted in early June. Then I get to hold my breath and pray we don't have crazy hail or destructive wind or anything else that can harm the vegetables. I will be on pins and needles until harvest!
Baby chicks are no longer babies. They actually are 8 weeks, 3 days old now. I can't believe how big they are! They are mingling with the hens quite well. I've seen them even picking at the hens' food even though they have their own chick grower crumble. The hens have become wise to the fact that the chicks have crumble and discovered they can access the chicks' feed if they get up into the rafters and fly down into the chick's room. In another 4 weeks or so we will be able to take down the chicken wire that is keeping the hens (mostly) out of the room and let them all eat together from the community buckets. I need to get a couple more roosts built as well. It's kinda cute to see the chicks roosting on the "Big Girls Roost"!
There is so much more going on but I will save that for another post! Good night!
They have arrived and not a moment too soon as we have just been issued a Blizzard warning! I am SO GLAD they arrived a day early!
I received the call from the post office at 7 a.m. and rushed to get the chicks home. I quickly realized that one brooder was not going to be enough for 75 chicks (we actually received 80). So, we ran to town to get supplies to set up two more brooders, each for about 25 chicks.
We used plastic 5-foot diameter wading pools. We constructed a guard out of hardware cloth and covered it with sheets to protect the chicks from drafts. We suspended brooder lamps from the ceiling using hooks and chains. Each lamp had a 250 watt red heat bulb. Each brooder has 1 gallon water and 1 24-inch feeder tray. We used pine shavings as bedding. We were going to use newspaper but the paper was so slippery and we worried about leg injuries.
It took several trips to town and about 6 hours to get everything settled before we felt we could take a break. There were 3 chicks in the bunch that are rather lethargic and probably won't survive, but since we received extra chicks, hopefully it will balance out.
My son was especially excited to see two Turkens in the brown-egg-layer assortment we ordered. I almost ordered them separately for him. They are true "red necks" according to my son. They have no neck feathers and look like turkeys but they are 100% chicken! We are trying to come up with "red neck" names for girls since both are females.
I am wiped out but the day is not over yet. The younger twins have hunter education classes all week for 3 hours each night. SO, no rest for the mama, yet!