It is working

Yesterday, the Hatchlings and the Orphans were playing nicely together so I let the most gentle Marans out of “Time Out” to join them. She was very kind to them and last night she perched on one end of the perch, the Hatchings and Orphans on the other end after hubby and I had to catch the Orphans and send them up the ramp.

Today has been extremely wet, but the hen and the pullets came out, mostly staying near or under the coop during most of the day. Late this afternoon, Mama Hen was let out of “Time Out” and she is no longer exhibiting the mama behaviors. She didn’t try to separate the hatchlings from the others, didn’t hover around clucking. Tonight, all 5 pullets cooped up and perched together on one end of the coop the two hens together on the other end of the coop.

Tomorrow, another hen will be released, and if things still seem calm, the remaining hens will be released one at a time, hoping for peace in the yard. The orphans seem less intimidated each day.

It looks like one of the hatchlings might be a little roo. Not a very pretty bird, but a rooster here as long as it is only one would be welcomed. They do help protect their hens from hawks and showing them treats.

After some frustration with this experiment, it looks like we may have added 5 more birds to the 6 adult hens. I hope egg production picks up.

Life and Death on the Farm

Twelve years ago, we began talking about adding a dog or two to the farm. Hubby wanted an English Mastiff. I had no idea what they were, but he found a litter due in December in Pennsylvania. When they were 8 weeks old, we drove up and picked up our 22 pound puppy. Two weeks later, driving up again to purchase a beautiful German Shepherd pup. They were best buddies, but unfortunately, the German Shepherd, who we later found out had come from a disreputable puppy mill, developed Canine Wobblers and at 16 weeks, due to her paralysis and a heart murmur, she had to be euthanized. Later that summer, we purchased another German Shepherd pup but they never truly bonded like the first one did.

Today we had to say goodbye to the big guy, he far outlived the life expectancy of a giant breed and was the best gentle giant in the world.

It is such a tough decision to have to make, but this was the last gift we could give him.

Life on the farm continues with the saga of the hatchlings and the orphans. The orphans have been in a wire dog cage in the coop for a couple of weeks and in the cage in the yard during the day Yesterday, I left the hens penned in the run and let the orphans out into the yard. The hatchlings can still escape the run and the 5 of them played nicely all day, but if the orphans got near the run fence, a hen would lunge at them. Today I repeated the same procedure and decided that the best option for now is to put the hens in purgatory, AKA the chicken palace, AKA timeout. I left Mama Hen with them and she promptly separated her littles from the orphans, but didn’t attack the orphans. Tonight the 5 littles and Mama will have the coop and for a while, the run of the farm without interference. Eventually, I will release the hens one at a time to rejoin the littles in the coop. I hope it works. Egg production is minimal right now anyway.

Bee Keeper vs Bee Haver

My intent has been to be a bee keeper, not just someone with a hive or two sitting down the hill in an electric fence enclosure. These bees came to me via local purchase in the spring and were diligently set up with the idea of being successful this year. Then bursitis in my left shoulder, followed by a ruptured bicep also the left (my dominant side), then the heat. The bees have basically had to fend for themselves, though I did do one hive inspection, finding old larvae and low population in one hive and no evidence of the marked queen, and new and old larvae and much higher population in the other hive, but again, unable to find the marked queen. I closed them up and hoped that the first hive had made a new queen before the marked one took off with her helpers.

Yesterday, my bee keeping, spinning friend offered to come over today and help me do an inspection. Walking up to the hives, we weren’t hopeful with the first hive, but found eggs (which I can’t ever see), young and older larvae, capped brood, some honey, and some stored pollen, but not enough. The amount of brood is hopeful that the new queen is doing her duty to build up the population before it gets cold. The second hive is thriving. We pulled a lot of drone larvae off for the chickens, it is about time for the workers to kick the drones out anyway. We pulled the queen excluders, and decided that since there isn’t enough honey stored for winter, that I should begin feeding them 2:1 syrup that they can cap and store for winter. Next week, it is supposed to be cooler, so we are going to treat both hives with Formic acid pads to kill off any mites before it gets cold.

Not a single photo was taken today, but the hives are set up with an empty box on top to hold two quart jars of syrup per hive. A need to purchase a 20 lb bag of sugar on the list as I used all that was in the house. Four quarts of syrup are cooling on the counter and I’m waiting the the thunderstorm that came up to pass so they can be taken down and put on the hives.

After we were done, both hot and sweaty, we visited over a cold lunch of Quinoa salad that I had made this morning, then picked her a few gallons of apples to take home. Though it wasn’t as hot as the past week, it was still plenty warm in long sleeves, long pants, boots, hood, and gloves.

My appreciation of her help can’t be explained enough. With the difficulty of lifting the heavy boxes and the inability to see the eggs in the cells, it is great to have her younger eyes and greater strength.