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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Great Egg Hunt

Since we just had Easter, I figured this would be an appropriate time to put a post on about my Great Egg Hunt.  It is kind of like an Easter egg hunt each day, although these eggs aren't filled with candy.  I guess I could say they are filled with something even better though - a rich golden yolk bursting with Omega 3's and lots of other nutrients.

Our hens are more then just pastured poultry.  They are what I like to call "Run of the Farm" chickens since they have, well, the run of the farm! (Including my garden and flower bed - but that is a price you have to pay.)  All day long they run where ever they want chasing bugs and searching out the best forages of the day.  Because of this, their eggs are incredible!  But because of this, the eggs are also a little hard to find at times too! Especially in the spring when they want to steal a nest and hatch out chicks. 

These ladies are taking a moment to scratch through our oat straw to find some oats.
So the Great Egg Hunt begins (or continues each day). Here are some of my stops.
The main nest box.  This is where the not so adventurous hens go.
Another nest box in the shed . . .
A tub in the shed - This has been the longest running stolen nest, although it has cycled through which hen is using it.
I recently found this spot in the corner of the shed, only because of a couple eggs which had rolled out through the bottom and into the grass on the other side.
Ahh, yes.  The manure spreader!  Another popular spot.
The lawn cart will do for some hens.
Two stolen nests together in the livestock trailer which currently houses the pig feed.  These hens are going easy on me.

Ethan found this one last night, right smack on top of a straw bale.
Although a nest box, it is outside attached to our chicken tractor which is not currently in use.  I threw some straw in it though to try and catch the hens who wanted to hide their eggs outside.  Tricked a few!
And this little lady in the dog cage, she will get to keep her eggs.  She is broody and is sitting on a clutch I gave her.  I will keep her shut up inside, safe from predators, (with plenty of food and water of course) until her chicks hatch.

Although not pictured, I was finding them in a hog hut for awhile too.  I'm sure there are a few piles of eggs I haven't found yet also. These chickens are persistent.  They really want to hatch out a clutch so they often will find a new spot to hide their eggs. And so the Great Egg Hunt will continue on!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lambing Season has Begun!

Ethan and I pulled in with the kids at 10:30 last night from a birthday/Easter get together.  As I unloaded the kids, I heard a sound that didn't quite sound like a baby pig.  (Yesterday morning before church Ethan announced that our sow had farrowed over the night.)  As I listened closer, it sounded more like a lamb.  According to the chart on when we should watch for our lambs to arrive, it was a little early.  (The 21st was the day to start watching.)  Even so, it was close.

I grabbed a flashlight and headed out to the nearby pasture, 2 kids waiting patiently in the van. My suspicions were correct.  A little white wobbly legged lamb!

I quickly headed back to the van, called Ethan who was trailing behind me in the Expedition (We ended up driving to church separately due to the baby pigs that morning.), and took the kids inside to get ready for bed.

When Ethan got home he headed out to the pasture.  I watched his headlamp bob across the pasture and into the shed twice as I got our little 3 month old Jonathan ready for bed.  On one of these trips of his, I also saw that he was carrying a full grown sheep!

I headed outside myself after Jonathan was settled in.  As I peeked into the shed I was not surprised to see the little white lamb and momma, but I was surprised to see lamb number 2!  I didn't see or hear a second lamb when I first got home, and Ethan mentioned it wasn't standing well when he found it so it might have been born shortly after I saw the first.

Our first 2 lambs of the season - and first lambs born on the farm!
Last night was a cold, rainy night. Temps will be down to the 30's this week with highs in the 50's and plenty of rain forecasted.  It's really not your ideal way to start your first season of lambing. but regardless, here we go!
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