Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chick time...

Big day today. The chicks are here. I had plans to order from the hatchery. Really I did. But then this morning I had mentioned to J how I wanted to head up to Cheyenne to Murdoch's farm and ranch. Looking to get ready for chicks and stock up on some supplies. Well. We went. They had all the brooders set up, but no chicks. J wanted to get chicks (I am becoming more and more surprised at this man's transition to this life.)

It wasn't exactly a harmonious trip. I tend to wander when I am in a store. Like really wander and can't be found easily. I truly believe I will be right in this spot when you get back. But then something catches my eye, for just a second, and then all bets are off. It's a curse. And typically drives those of the spousal persuasion a tad mental.

So, we came home. Chickless.

But then, in an extension of the olive branch, J asked me if I wanted to go to the Feeders Supply store, and of course Jax farm and ranch store after. Well, twist my arm (the right one is the yes arm). So we went to the Feeders Supply and purchased 13 chicks. Then we went to Jax and purchased 12 more. And 3 guineas. Because I love my guineas.

And, because I am not always prepared for such things, we needed to come up with a brooder. Fast. We had planned on building one. Sometimes, decisions do not allow for planning. We had an extra large dog crate and J got busy. In less than an hour he transformed it into a brooder in the barn.
I love birds. All kinds. I chose approximately 10 varieties. I am looking forward to seeing how they fare and which acclimate to the farm the best. So far my favorite layers out of our older girls (Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rock and Buff Orpingtons) have been the Buffs. I have two and today they gave me three eggs. Either that or the guinea that keeps hanging out with them started laying. I haven't yet seen that happen so I can't be sure.

A couple weeks ago I had quite the experience shutting up the coop and collecting eggs. I reached in and thought I grabbed a mouse. I reached again and grabbed something quite squishy. It was an egg laid without the shell. The membrane was there, with something that looked almost like an umbilical cord, and no hard shell. I came in and told J he had to come touch it. I do notice a certain look of WTH and exactly what are you asking me to do. Especially when you describe something as freaky and cool. It tends to raise a bit of apprehension. But, J was game. We even lit a flashlight behind it to look inside. Then it was off to the compost pile with it. No shell means no barrier to bacteria.

With the arrival of the chicks, it really feels like spring is around the corner. I am completely stir crazy from our winter siesta and can't wait to get my hands in the dirt. I also can't wait to build their new coop and get them outside when they feather. J has also been getting antsy with the planning. We have fences to build and livestock to consider. He has been looking at Craig's list daily (as do I) to see what is becoming available. It is sad to see how many animals are being given away for a song or for free because folks can't feed them. I really hope we can get some moisture out here in this high desert to offset this horrible drought and hay/feed shortage.
But, as always with spring, there is hope. Hope that the failures in last years garden will not repeat themselves. Hope that the orchard will blossom and the trees will establish themselves well. Hope that the strawberries will be sweeter, if that is even possible, than I remember. Hope that my garden is not overcome with weeds or grasshoppers (hence the guineas). And hope unattached to anything or any idea. Just hope.

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