Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hatching Chicks

All I asked "Santa" for last Christmas was for an incubator so we can start raising our own chickens.  For the last 6 years, we've tried to let our hens go broody and raise their own chicks, but our success rate is exactly ZERO!  I am participating (read: co-organizing) our local Farmers Market and decided to sell chicks, along with my soaps, strawberries, plant starts, and anything else under the sun I can think of selling.

I began gathering eggs at the beginning of March and ended up with 20 eggs to put in the 'bator.  For the first week, I forgot to check the moisture level (I now have a humidity sensor on its way) and lost hope of actually hatching any chicks. 

I took them out of the automatic turner at day 18 to let them settle and get in position to pip (or begin to break through the shell).  I increased the water level.

On the evening of day 20, our first two eggs pipped at around 11pm, and one had completely hatched around 3am (by the way, if you want a good night's sleep, DO NOT put the incubator in your bedroom...even if it's the only place that is 'safe' for them!!)  The second hatched around 7am, but honestly, I was so exhausted I didn't keep track, all I know is that the sun was up!

Over the next 2 days, 6 more chicks hatched on their own.  The final 2 chicks pipped, but could not emerge on their own, and despite all the advice, I helped them out of their shells. They survived for a couple days, but eventually did not make it.  (Note to self:  there is a reason they don't make it out of the shells!!)
Eggs that did not hatch, time to clean the incubator for the next batch.

They are all mixed with our Rhode Island Red Rooster and the hens were Americauna, Rhode Island Reds, Delawares, and Buff Orpingtons.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 Planting Season Begins!

We had a pretty mild winter and have been able to get an early start on our garden. 

My hubby is building more planter boxes, since the two that we used last year did so well.

I planted garlic last fall and added onions this spring.

The 3yo has her own idea of things to plant.

Pine cones

and 4"x4" pieces of wood.


Now it's my turn to fill in the boxes with compost and vermiculite....then seeds!!!