May 27, 2009

May Snowstorm!!!

We had a snow storm on May 12th!!!
The temps didn't get terribly low, and there was enough snow to create a layer of insulation.
Some of the plants did lose a few outer leaves but no serious damage.

THEN, a week later, we had a night with more severe frost temps!!!
Some of the roses lost the majority of their leaves, and look a bit bedraggled now.
We have had a cold spring, and it is time to begin summer!!!!

More Chick Photos!!

Yes, another photo of chickens!!!
Soon, I will be overwhelmed with yard work and will be adding photos of plants instead of chickens!
By August, you will wondering if I have been feeding my chicks at all!!! :)

I've been talking about the 'ordered chicks'... new breeds I am trialing
I did hatch chicks from my flock's eggs. The hen set on eggs and I also had a few eggs in my incubator. Here is a photo of her combined family:

May 24, 2009

I love a Mystery!!!

I love a mystery!
Well, not mystery novels... but a 'ranch mystery'!
Everyone realizes that 'genetics' and proper selection of heifers and bulls in our commerical beef cattle herd is important, and there has been many years of 'cross-breeding', sire selection, and breed change in the beef cattle industry.
On a much 'less important' scale, breeding and genetics has been a big part of my Jersey cattle, and the goats. Also, the chickens!
I explained below about my attempts to keep my mother's and grandmother's chickens.
My mom knew her original breed was Austra White... but we had no idea what the greyish hens originally began as!
However, I now think they were Blue Andalusians. I did not realize that a fair percentage of B.A. chicks would be black and/or white/splashed.
NOTE: my chickens are far from 'pure'... as I have had a closed flock for nearly 12 years, and before that my mom and grandmother may have had misc other breeds in their coops.
Here is a typical grey hen (about 1/3 to 1/4 of my chicks hatch like this):
(Interesting observation: I have a very low percentage of grey roosters... I will get 1 grey or grey/splashed rooster out of approximately 8-10 young roosters, from straight-run hatch.)
Here are a few of my chicks:

I will try to add a few Blue Andalusian chicks to my experiments so that I will have young hens and roosters next year. DEFINITELY GLAD I HAVE THREE COOPS I can use next spring!!!

May 5, 2009

Now on to larger 'babies'!!!

We have baby goslings too, but I don't have photos of them yet.... There are still 3 geese hens setting on nests, so if they hatch soon, I will take photos of all the goslings!!!
My camera has been 'misbehaving', so this is the only photo I have of the goat kids.
Yes, they like to get in the hay feeder... my hubby is very patient and forgiving!!!! :)
Here is what John enjoys:
Quite often, a cow's calf will inherit her 'markings', her appearance.
These are two of my husband's favorites:
You may notice the cattle have white faces. These are called 'Black Baldies' and are the result of crossing Black Angus cows with a Hereford bull. We don't have too many of these 'baldies' left and now use all Black Angus bulls. But they do have interesting and amusing markings!!!

The turkeys....

I have turkeys!!! Several years ago, my sisterinlaw raised turkeys for the family.... so I decided it was my turn to raise the turkeys.

I will say this: it has been an experience!!!

But they have been lots of fun, along with the work. They think I am 'Mama' and follow me around. One comes up and wants to be stroked like a kitten.

Babies everywhere!!!

*** Spring is fully underway, and we have babies everywhere!!! ***

First, the chickens... because this year I found chicks were available of the breed my Mom had in the 60's!!! :)
We thought the breed was lost, and for the past 20 years, I have been trying to 'maintain' and 'regain' traits typical of the breed. I would keep hens and roosters that displayed desirable traits, and I think we were doing as well as can be expected.... considering that both Mom and I had brought in other breeds of chickens in the years since the originals!!!
I think it would be most accurate to say my chickens LOOK close to the original Austra White breed, but probably the genetics is quite mixed!!!

The original breed is Austra White... and here are some photos of the 'purebred' chicks I ordered. They went under a setting hen, who was expecting to hatch eggs, and all are happy! The photo was taken yesterday, and the chicks are 6 weeks old. The hen is black and just above the waterer... hard to see. Notice the chick on the left of the waterer has greyish legs, and the chick on the right has yellow legs.
Here is a pair of my chickens... showing typical traits of the breed. Note the hen has grey legs and feet and the rooster has yellow legs and feet. I also have saved black hens. The original Austra White breed is a cross between a Black Austrolorp hen and a White Leghorn rooster. So I also saved black pullets that demonstrated traits of that breed, as well as a few solid white roosters with large combs that looked like White Leghorns.
This spring I have hatched some of my own eggs... and here is a photo of two chicks.. one is white with a few black specks, and the other will grow up black.
I also ordered chicks of the Black Austrolorp breed... and put them under another broody hen.
I left two of her chicks... which will be black chickens from my eggs. This will be a great opportunity to compare how 'my black chicks' compare to the purebred Black Austrolorp chicks!! In the photo below, my two chicks are slightly lighter in color, and are the two on the far right. The other 11 are Black Austrolorp chicks I purchased.
This hen has 11 chicks:
Currently, I have 58 chicks .... plus an incubator set with eggs, three more 'setting hens' to set on eggs, and I have ordered 25 more Austra White chicks!!!
Anyone want to come visit for homegrown fried chicken this fall???? :)

Home grown chicken tastes so different than 'town' chicken...
I suppose it could have something to do with the breeds used, as well as the diet the birds receives, but whatever it is... it is very much worth the work!!!