Monday, May 22, 2006

Turkeys Arrive

The turkeys began hatching on Friday, the 12th and finished up Saturday, with a total of 8 hatching live out of the 18 eggs set. 4 birds developed but died without pipping--one of which had a scissored beak and at least two of which had damage to the airsac during shipment. The eggs began hatching a day early, and unfortunately, the first poult to hatch out drowned in a tuppperware of water I had in the incubator to raise humidity. I thought the sides were high enough, but alas...

As you can see, one of the Narragansetts is not a Narri at all, but a white turkey of some sort. Jules thought it was cute and wanted to name it, to which we responded that the only thing she could name it was "dinner." This turkey will likely grace our Thanksgiving table this year.

The poults are doing well, generally, eating, drinking and growing, except for one little Narri poult who died yesterday--probably the one I helped out of the shell, though no way of knowing. It stayed signficantly smaller than the other poults and seemed either blind or brain damaged or both. It would circle the brooding pool with it's head down, peeping and looking for something warm to crawl under, quieting down only when one of the other poults let it snuggle up.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chicks Arrive!

We had 50 chicks arrive by the 11th of May from two different hatcheries. The 25 Dorkings, which arrived from Ideal, did and continue to do wonderfully well. The assorted 25 that arrived from Privett had one dead on arrival with another dying that night, and a Delaware chick who died this Saturday, which was a total shock and surprise. All the chicks have seemed quite healthy and hardy with very little pasty butt.

You can see how much they're already feathering out after just a week and a half. The black chick is a Dominque, the yellow are the Delawares, and the brown are variously Dorkings, Americaunas or Welsummers. The Dorkings and Welsummers are both straight runs, so we'll likely have several cockerels for our table by the end of the summer.

We have them brooding in a vacant stall while Jim builds the new coop off the one side of the barn, which will feature a brooding coop and a breeding coop, one on either end, and a central, all-purpose coop. The lower front will feature chicken doors out into the pasture, hopefully keeping the other animals out, while the 8' back will have people-size doors into the coop for feeding and egg collecting. The back doors also open out to the compost area, which will enable easy clean out. Our plan is to put a gate from the end of the coop out to the fence, allowing us to restrict the area behind the coop for breeding management.