David let the big kids do the entire evening milking earlier this week and they loved it.
Sweet Melody wondering why we take a million pictures of her.
There are several steps of milking I left out of the pictures above and I will spare you the cleaning pictures but they did all of that part too. There might be something to this kids-growing-up thing. :)
And because I can’t resist adding a cute picture of little kids smelling of summer and straw.
Thanks to David for all the great pictures!
We added 54 new chicks this spring, more than we have ever done before. The funny thing about ordering chicks is that you order and pay for 50, and then they throw in one “rare and exotic” chick for free, and then there are always a couple more. So 54 it was! We lost one on the 3rd day, but all 53 others have stayed hale and hearty.
This time around, the kids are old enough to help us and it has been great fun including them in the process. (As a side note, we still have 5 hens and 1 rooster in our stationary coop, all at least two years old and a couple of the old ladies are now four years old. They are quite happy – eating bugs, taking dust baths and they even lay an egg every couple of days.)
Zoe and Tommy dipped each chick’s beak in the water to remind them what water is and how much they like it. Chicks are shipped right after they hatch and they live on the yolk-stored energy for the first couple of days so getting them to eat and drink right away is important. Fortunately, these little critters fell right to it.
Several weeks later, on a warm day, we put a couple of the chicks out on the grass and they went crazy looking for and eating bugs. It is very heartening because that is one of the main tasks we want these little guys to perform for us. They also just really like being in the grass and it’s great seeing chickens being chickens.
The plan for all these chicks is to be out in the pasture, following behind the cow and the goats, eating bugs, spreading their fertilizer around (how’s that for a euphemism?) and helping to improve the pasture. The half that are hens will start laying around the beginning of September and the other half will become food for us. We’ve never successfully pulled off the meat chicken thing yet so we’ll see how it goes. We tried last year with 25 chicks meant for the freezer and a weasel got them all in one night. It was just sad all around! We’ve upped our game on the predator protection so these chicks are inside a small coop that is inside an electric fence. Electricity seems to be the key to deterring anyone with a wet nose.
The hens are a mix of Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, and White Rocks and the roosters are a hatchery-selected mix of “heavies”, so some of the same as the hens and some others mixed in. It was less expensive not to pick the types of roosters and its also kind of fun to see the different kinds. There are several Turkens for example, which have naked necks! They are very, uh, distinctive.
I actually find them both quite cute. :)
If Saturday was Bee Day, yesterday was Tee Day.
As in, I made a tee-shirt for Danny AND he actually deigned to put it on AND it was warm enough outside for him to run around in it outside. I used the Classic Ringer Tee pattern from Go To Patterns and some orange cotton jersey I had from a different project that I dreamed of, but never actually made. The neckband is made from a bit of blue cotton ribbing. Mistakes were made so don’t look too closely, but nothing major and it serves as an excellent proof of concept. This was a fast project and I am definitely making more. The pattern is sized to make shirts for ages 3 months to 12 years old, so now I have no excuses!