Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Runner's Chicks are Hatching! & Farm notes...

How cute is this... Runner, the Bourbon Red turkey hen, was all broody so we let her set a nest of chicken eggs..and they are hatching! Three perfect little puffballs so far...but she didn't want me peeking so I had to butt out.  Hopefully we'll have pix on Monday (I usually try and take Sunday's off).

We had been taking up her eggs - but she was soooooo broody.  We felt it was too early and the weather too unpredictable to let her set a clutch of turkey poults (who are much more delicate then chicks). So the day she sat down on just one of her own eggs I just gathered up all the hens eggs and stuffed them under her.

Hen's eggs hatch at 21 days, not the 28 days poults take to hatch, so she was mighty surprised when the pippin' started. She was looking under her belly at the eggs while I was watching and suddenly saw me, squawked, fluffed up her skirt and sat back down. She had four doomed clutches last year so I think she finally got it right.

Can different species hatch other's eggs?

Sure! As my pal says, "Its a good use of a broody" to put whatever eggs you have under a gal who is determined to set. Mama raised clutches always do better and its much less work for you. And as the ever so wise, Harvey Ussery says, "...a mother hen is a lot smarter than me when it comes to raising chicks.."  So just let them do the job.  (BTW, that's a great article - check out his site for everything you need to know and more!)

Bear in mind the different incubation times tho - a 35 day set over muscovy eggs may be a might long time for a little hen used to 21 days. A fellow farm wife told me she had a duck set hens eggs once. I guess that little duck just couldn't understand why her babies wouldn't follow her into the water. Otherwise, it works out just fine.

Farm notes:
* Still nothing from Little Nibbles....she's still huge
* Debbie's littles are starting to eat real food; Deb has a lot of milk in the mornings.
* Penny the goose seems like she is getting close to setting. The old timers say geese start to set their nests after Easter weekend. We'll let her and Cindy set a few. Secretly I'd love a field of geese...but The Big Man hates them.... drat!
* Work work work all day yesterday prepping the soil in the upper garden; applied lime waiting for it to start raining. Also plowed up a couple strips in the far front field.
* Dash is still acting weird, as is Mollee (who we couldn't find until late last nite); and Miss Duck. I wish Miss Duck would just sit down... Dash must have a nest somewhere hidden and we can't have that. The great duck caper may be commencing tomorrow.. we'll secretly follow her, superspy like...
* Dinner chick update pix. I believe they are just about 2 weeks old... do you think they'll be ready at six weeks??

Happy Easter everyone!!!


Chai Chai said...

Lime? Do tell.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

RE: Lime
Goes with the tequila!

heh heh heh.... just kiddin'

I'm working on a soil improvement post..hopefully for Monday. The short answer is that our clay soil improves dramatically with lime/limestone.

Normally I dont like to use a lot of chemically stuff.. but this really does a great job and technically I think is more of a mineral.

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

I don't know what to substitute for plain ol' lime - and a garden can't do without it..... I agree with you. Nothing better than a broody for hatching out chicks. A broody will hatch out a rock if you give her enough time! I hope I NEVER have to incubate - broodies do a way better job and it's WAY less work for me. Can't wait to hear how this story end up! Great fun - you are always an inspiration.

wickett6029 said...

So sorry the Big Man doesn't like geese--we always had them when I was growing up. I like 'em too, as it doesn't seem like a farm without them.

(I'm definitely with you on the pig thing though--I absolutely HATE pigs, mainly because I was raised on a pig farm....'nuff said.)

Have a wonderful Easter :-)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

B2B, I love that you said a broody will hatch a rock! However, some of mine are a little silly. I have some banties that just won't sit still.

Wickett, dontcha just laugh when people say that pigs are soooo cute. Ha! I love the old farmer saying that the stink "smells like money to me." Good thing I love bacon more than I hates them pigs!

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Oh honey - right now I WISH I had that problem. I've got FIVE confirmed broodies and two more that I'm sure are heading that way. They are driving me insane. I've got eggs under two that I blocked off from the others - the rest of them are setting on golf balls. When the eggs start hatching I'll slip a baby under each of the others at night to give them something to raise so they will get on with life! AND I BOUGHT NON BROODY BREEDS DAMMIT! It gets worse every year...... *sigh* I'm just sure these chickens will be the death of me.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

And I bought broody breeds! Sheesh! These chickens are the dickens... We are waiting for the next gal to sit as we have a bucketful of eggs.

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