Monday, May 9, 2016

The Cycle of Life on the Farm

by Pa Rock
Farmer in Spring

I lost the last of my three tom turkeys last night.  They had made it through the winter, a season that is tough on outdoor animals, and all seemed to be enjoying the warm breezes of spring when the first kicked off a few weeks ago.   He died peacefully during the night lying on the ground in front of the hen house.  The second died a few days ago, inside of the hen house, in what looked to be a death while napping.  And this morning I found turkey number three.  He was lying on his back - not sure how he managed that - just inside of the hen house when I opened the door to let all of the birds out this morning.

So I am officially out of the turkey business.  I have raised the big birds before with varying degrees of success, but this last group was problematic almost from the get-go.  I doubt that I will try raising them again.

Also, I am down to just three guineas - from the five that had made it through the winter.  Predators have gotten the other two.  The three survivors enjoy the run of my big yard and also manage to visit a couple of the neighbors almost daily.  Guineas take very little care, and I will probably replenish the flock at some point within the next few weeks.  I saw some baby guineas (keets) at a swap meet this past Saturday, but a couple of eager people in front of me appeared to be set on buying the lot of them.

I have fifteen new chicks out in the nursery that is attached to the hen house.  There are four Bantys and eleven Red Jungle Fowl.  They have been at the farm for eleven days and appear to be adjusting very well.  The nursery has an attached outdoor pen which I am going to let them into today.

The peahens have now laid a total of eleven eggs and are not sitting on any of them.  I took the most recent three into the house yesterday - one was still warm - and will research how to incubate them myself.

I recently purchased a little incubator with a seven-egg capacity.  It is now home to seven warm duck eggs - with ducklings due in about three weeks.

Rosie and Riley are fine.  I am working on getting the yard in shape and setting out a bit of a garden.  After that it will be time for another mow, and then my focus will switch to spring house cleaning.

The farm is a busy place!

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