A lot of people are surprised to learn that most goat kids (except the few that are naturally polled (hornless)) start growing horns a few days after they’re born; but that most people don’t want their goats to have horns. So, the horns are typically removed when the kids are babies using a process called “disbudding” (see “Disbudding Goats” for more on this).
A wooden “disbudding box” is an essential tool for keeping the kids relatively still during the process, and since goat kidding season has started – here’s an easy to build plan for one (the picture below shows the finished box with [...]
Continue reading Goat Disbudding Box Plans
Well, the original “dates” that our Nigerian Dwarf does Hot Tea and Jewel Box went on didn’t work, so we took all four of the girls on new dates on either November 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Based on past experience, my best guess is that Hot Tea will freshen at 145 days, Jewel Box at 146, Tinker Bell at 146, and Honey at 147; so we should be seeing kids on March 25, 27, and 28. If they’re pregnant this time, we’re going to be very busy that week welcoming kids.
We utilized the services of bucks from Wild Wind Farm again; specifically Hot Tea, [...]
Continue reading Nigerian Dwarf Kid News – Again
Two of our Nigerian Dwarf goats, Jewel Box & Hot Tea, went on dates this weekend; so more kids should be arriving in spring. Jewel Box (click here for her pedigree), went on Friday, and we’re expecting that she’ll deliver kids on February 28th – 146 days after her “date”.
Hot Tea (click here for her pedigree), went on Saturday, and we’re expecting that she’ll also deliver kids on February 28th – 145 days after her “date”. Nigerian Dwarf does tend to take the same amount of time each year to freshen, and for Jewel Box that’s 146 days while for Hot Tea it’s 145 days.
Their dates were both with Old Mountain Farm [...]
Continue reading Goat “Dates” = Spring Kids!
The Buckeye chicks that our broody hen hatched are now 10 days old, and three of the chicks have survived. It’s fascinating to watch mother hen raise the chicks – I thought raising day-old chicks was great (see Raising Day-Old Chicks), but watching how she handles it is even better.
The chicks hatched in the broody box in the coop (see Building a Broody Box), but we then moved them into the Eglu coop set-up within the chicken pasture. We weren’t sure how much protection the little peeps would need from the larger chickens; so we separated them into their own coop and small run [...]
Continue reading Broodies Buckeye Chicks – 10 Days Old
Broody Buckeye Hen – Sitting For 10 Days & Counting
As of yesterday, our broody Buckeye hen has diligently been sitting on 15 eggs - for 10 days. She gets out of her nest box only to eat, drink, and relieve herself; and has only once signalled a desire to leave the broody box (see Building A Broody Box). We let her out and she took a quick dust bath in the pasture; and then climbed right back into the broody box and back onto the nest. So far, she’s exhibiting all the behaviors of an excellent mother hen, and we couldn’t be [...]
Continue reading Candling Broodies Eggs
I’m so excited – one of the Buckeyes has gone broody!!! Raising the Buckeyes was a great experience (see Raising Day-Old Chicks), but I was hoping the Buckeyes would retain their instinct to go broody, and raise their own young – I’d rather they perpetuate the flock (why should I do the work if they’ll do it naturally?). So, when one hen showed definite signs of broodiness; Randy quickly constructed her a broody box inside the coop.
How To Tell If She’s Broody
In many chicken breeds today, the instinct for raising young has been bred out; because “broodiness” was considered undesirable in factory laying hens. However, some of the [...]
Continue reading Building A Broody Box
The more I learn about chickens, the more I think they are truly remarkable creatures. Just before laying an egg, the hen adds a protective layer called “bloom” or cuticle to the outside of the egg. This coating seals the shell pores, prevents bacteria from getting inside the shell, and reduces moisture loss from the egg – all designed to make the egg last longer.
Unfortunately, because of conditions at some large egg operations, commercial eggs are washed right after collection to make them appear clean and presentable. Of course, this destroys the protective egg bloom. To try replacing natural bloom, [...]
Continue reading Egg “Bloom”
One of the Red Comet pullets laid her first egg, so we can’t be far from having good eggs again. It’s amazing how a few chickens change your perception of grocery store eggs. They don’t taste right, they’re watery, and they look anemic too. The eggs from backyard chickens are sooo much better.
The combs and wattles on all of the pullets are starting to turn red, but we think it was this girl’s egg because she’s redder than her sisters. If these chicks were six weeks old when they arrived, then the first egg appeared at a little over seventeen weeks. It was a little sooner than expected, so we’re quickly switching over to layer [...]
Continue reading First Egg!
Thirteen Weeks Old
I picked up one of the chicks last night, and did a double take. She was a lot heavier than I expected – those sneaky little girls are growing up!
We don’t know exactly how old they are (they were a surprise with the new coop), but think about thirteen weeks. We got them at five weeks, and first kept them in an old Eglu while we painted the coop interior. At eight weeks, we slowly transitioned from the medicated starter feed they were being fed to non-medicated grower feed, and didn’t observe any problems.
At nine weeks, they moved [...]
Continue reading Growing Pullets
Randy did a terrific job building a new nesting box for the hens, and Spice had to check it out.
New Nesting Box and Spice
We put it in the corner of the chicken’s pen and added golf balls to give them the right idea.
Installed Nest Box with Golf Balls
The Golden Buff hens got the message right away, they love the new nesting box.
Ginger Checking It Out
Will, Gold Dust, Ginger, Eggnog, and Babs posing in front of the nesting box.