Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Eggs in the Incubator

After setting the breeding flock in the chicken tractor, we got our first egg today. I set it in the incubator. So August 31st is the day our first fertilized egg was put in the incubator.

Breeders and Chicks

Today, we will present the last members of our little farm: the layer breeding flock, and our last batch of broilers for the 2010 season.

First the breeding flock, they are Black Australops, with a pretty strong and mean looking rooster, and three older hens:

The hens are in the end of their second year. One of them became broody last Spring. We should mark them to identify their characteristics (like broodiness) and breed only the desirable characteristics into the next generation. Something to remember next year I guess. The breeding flock is now in a chicken tractor, with two nice nest boxes. We will collect the eggs and put them in the incubator as soon as they are laid, except if one of the ladies becomes broody (then she will get the eggs).

We also have a new batch of broilers. They are between 1 and 2 weeks old in that pic:

They are in our field brooder. They spent their first week inside the indoor brooder, then they are set in the field brooder for their second week. A few days later, the feeder and waterer are set outside the heated area, and the heat is turned off. In this pic, I just refilled their waterer. They were out of water for a few hours, not good. I swapped the waterer for a bigger one. Their eating/drinking rate increases rapidly, and it is easy to get cough not refilling fast enough.

That's it for all our farm animals. We do have a few pets, such as two cats and a peacock. I will publish pictures of them soon. We also have bats, but these are very difficult to photograph, because they fly fast, and in semi-obscurity.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beekeeping operation

We have 6 beehives, as of August 2010. Here is the full list:

L1, a Langstroth started in 2009 from a package. We harvested two frames in 2009, and two frames in 2010. It swarmed in Spring 2010 (we were moving at that time, I did not have time to manage it properly).

W1, a home made Warré, started in 2010 from a package. No harvest on this hive, but it is doing fine, with two full bodies at the end of the summer:

W2, a home made Warré, started in 2010 from a package. One comb harvested in 2010. This hive is doing well, with 3 bodies full by August. It will overwinter on 4 bodies:

W3, a home made Warré, started in 2010 from a package. This was my best 2010 hive, but I let it starve by mistake, insufficient feeding. The surviving bees were merged with K1. W3 spot is free, and it will be replaced in 2011.

L2, a Langstroth from a 2010 package. It is installed at a friend's house. It is doing OK, with 1 and 1/2 bodies filled.

K1, a small wild swarm from 2010. This is Kristen's hive. K1 never really developed, and it was pushed by a goat, which broke all the combs. K1 will likely not survive the winter, but I will give it a chance by feeding it during September/October.

W4, a home made Warré from L1 swarm. It is installed at a friend's home. Because I did not have the hive ready when L1 swarmed, the top body is actually a Langstroth Medium. W4 appears to be doing good, but is due for inspection and maybe harvest. All other hives were already inspected and partially prepped up for winter.

Total, we harvested 0.7 gallon of honey (without counting W4). It looks mostly blackberry honey, very clear and liquid. We harvested it by slicing the combs with a knife over a strainer, then filtering.
Next year I have requests for more hives, about 3 or 4 more hives. I hope that by Spring 2012, I will have 10 hives that will have successfully overwintered.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Geese, Turkeys, Ducks

We purchased 4 ducks back in Spring 2010, but only three survived. Here they are:
The black duck got cough by coyotes. The white duck was injured, but recovered. So today, we have only two ducks remaining, a Pekin pair:
Four Geese were given to us, apparently one male and 3 females:
Unfortunately, the coyotes killed the male, so now we only have the 3 American Buff females remaining. We also have 4 turkeys, two Bronze and two White:
They are getting big, and I am getting worried about processing. The two Bronze will be ready to slaughter around Halloween, and the two White around Thanksgiving.
That's all our non-chicken poultry introduction. Tomorrow we will list the beehives, we have 6 of them total.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Poultry and Other Residents

Most of these pictures are from May 2010. Here is the poultry flock in their new pen built from a dog kennel:

Here is a peek inside, you can see the ducks, a new addition to the flock:

The star of the flock, Taco. Since she is a girl, I think Taco-Belle would be more appropriate:

Maxie, our dog, patrolling the pasture:

She traded her kennel to the chicks, for a 1 acre pasture.
At the time those pictures were taken, we were working on our deck. After we removed the boards, Kristen found a salamander hiding underneath, so she took a picture of it. The salamander was put in a safe place (a terrarium) during the work, and released back after. This picture was taken just before the release (you can see the new deck in the pic):

I am still browsing through our picture archive. Next I will post pics of our geese.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Welcome to our farm!

Welcome to our farm. We are a small family owned farm located in the Dutch Hill area. Here is a view of our farm taken in January 2010:

At that time, the only occupants were moles, as far as we could tell. The first animals we introduced in the farm were a flock of laying hens that we had prior to moving into the farm. Unfortunately, the coyotes took care of the hens before we had a chance to take pictures. After securing the fence, we got a new flock:
Here, our Grandson is holding one of the chicks:

Here is the whole flock, in our home made brooder:

We also have two goats, Ziggy (buck, black and white) and Poppy (doe):

Sometimes, we have visitors:

More occupants came later to the farm. We now have ducks, geese, broilers, bees, and even a pair of peacock chicks. We also have two cats: Kalie, and Attila. They have learned to hunt for their food on the farm, Kalie on the field, Attila in the barn. We also discovered long time residents, such as a salamander, and a small colony of bats. More pictures to come!