This has been a very busy spring and I took some time off from blogging in order to focus on finishing school (Yea Master's Degree!). Well, even though I have been MIA from updates life always goes on at the farm and lots has happened.
We finally moved the ducks from their temporary pen into their new space. It didn't turn out as large as I wanted but because they primarily free range and prefer to spend the majority of the day on their "pond" they seem pretty happy with it. My husband built an amazing duck house which exceeded my expectations and will last forever. He also built it big enough so I can add more ducks if need be (he knows me too well). Ducks are enjoying it thoroughly and the horses have been very curious of their new "friends".
I had my first experience dealing with Bumblefoot a few weeks ago. For those that have no idea what it is it's basically a nasty foot infection that starts from a cut that gets bacteria in it. One day I noticed that one of our Buff Orpington hens that my 8 year old affectionately named Banana (Oh My!) was limping and only standing on one foot. At first I had no idea that bumblefoot could be what it was because there was no outward signs except for the limping. I thought maybe she sprained it so I cleaned the area and made her a temporary home in our extra large dog crate where she could see the others and lay eggs but mobility would be less. A week went by and she seemed to be getting better. I started letting her out in the evenings and she was now able to walk on it however now I noticed a boil forming on the top of her foot. After doing some research about it on the internet we decided to do the surgery ourselves to remove the infected tissue. Let me just tell you she handled it like a champ and I almost passed out! Coming from a girl who dreamed of being a veterinarian, its brutal. For starters I cleaned her whole foot in Epsom salt and warm water. Then my husband who is much less squimish used a scalpel to cut and remove the infected tissue while I held Banana. It's amazing how calm and docile they are. After everything was removed we cleaned the wound again, put Neosporin on it, and bandaged it up. She seems to be healing rather well. Thanks goes out to the Chicken Chick for such detailed surgery instructions with photos.
So as many know I am a 2nd grade teacher by trade. This year, with the support of administration and the other teachers we started a new tradition at my school. We were able to hatch eggs. This was a wonderful experience for the students who left with a wealth of knowledge and understanding and are now Eggsperts in the hatch process. We did so much more then just put some eggs in an incubator and wait for them to hatch. The students were able to learn about the chicken life cycle, look through the eggs each week in a special microscope (Ovascope), and use hands on experience to actually see the difference between fertile and infertile eggs. Afterwards they learned about chicken care, responsibilities, proper habitat, and handling. This was something I think they will always remember and a tradition we plan to continue year after year.
Well, the 4 eggs we had all hatched out again! I have been super happy with our incubator and my only regret is not ordering the bigger one! We got 3 extra large Buff/Easter Egger mixes and one gorgeous Buff mix that came out solid back. Crossing my fingers its a girl :)
Well today was day 7 for my little incubating peeps and it was time to check them. Last time I got lucky and had 7 out of 7 fertile and 7 out of 7 hatch. Guess it was beginner's luck because this time....Not so much. I have 4 fertile ones, 2 infertile, and 1 that was an early death. It was the first time I got to view what is called the Blood Ring to indicate death has occurred and I have to say, it was pretty fascinating.
Chicks started pipping right on time and within 12-24 hours later we had 6 healthy chicks. There were 7 total but the last one had a hard time zipping after it pipped. Once he hatched he was very weak and had his yolk still attached. He did not make it but it prompted me to do some more research in the area to hopefully be able to save it should this ever happen again.
Well it is finally time to check our eggs and I was so excited to use my new Ovascope in order to do so. Picture quality isn't the best but I captured an image of a fertile egg. You can see the veins forming and this tells me that the egg was fertile and that a baby is beginning to grow. This however doesn't mean it will actually hatch but it is a promising step. I was excited to find that all 7 of the eggs I chose were fertile eggs which means our Rooster is wasting no time getting busy with our Hens! I will candle again at 14 days to see more development.
So today we had a "snow" day and I thought it would also be the perfect day to try out my Brinsea Incubator I got for Christmas. We plan to hatch chicks in class this year and I want to try it at home first. My only experience with hatching has been with the day old chicks we bought last Spring and the 3 that our Broody Buff Orpington hatched out herself in November. Follow along on our journey and I'll keep you updated as we go.
I am a 2nd grade teacher by day and a full time farm wife by evening (and weekends and the summer!).
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