|Clyde, Travis, Sterling and Travis rejoice over a new little peeper
Mr. Pat and the Garden Team, who care for the chickens, saved up a couple dozen fertilized eggs and Mr. Pat brought his incubator in to his office in the Garden Center.
“February 14th Due Date” said the sticky on top, and sure enough, tiny beaks began tapping away on Valentine's Day.
So far we have about 20 hatched and several more to go. It takes about a day for the little peepers to get out of the shell, a lot of work for your first day on the job! They'll stay in Mr. Pat's office under the heat lamp for several more days and then move to the Hen Hilton Extension where they'll grow strong and replace the chickens we've lost to various causes–racoons, owls, hawks, and the like–since our original 44 took up residence.
The chickens were our first foray into self-sufficiency and the only one to make it so far, although hay is almost there and we're using up our excellent pork from our three lady pigs we raised up last year. (Actually we did grow all our own hay for about and year and a half but once the drought really took hold the grass just said, “Unh-uh!” and retreated far down into the soil.)
So eggs we have, and they are wonderful. They should be even better with the fall and winter rains we've been blessed with, because the hens will find more tasty bugs and seeds than they've been able to do the past summer and before.
And that's not the only babies on the Ranch! We have one new little bully calf and two heifers on the ground. We'd hoped for four in all for this year's calf crop, but it's looking like Mama #4 mis-fired. She did fine last year so we'll breed them back in a few weeks and see what happens. This makes four breeders, last year's calf crop of two bullies and two heifers, this year's three, and a few more we acquired.
Soon it will be time for pigs again, and we'll be planting orchards in the next few weeks along with our spring garden. March will probably bring some ridiculously cold weather but we hope for nothing like last year, when it was 11 degrees for most of a whole day!