While spring may be one of the busiest times of the year for us, it is also my favorite. Spring time on the Homestead means babies! Fall means harvest and that can be great too but there is nothing that beats the first pip in a shell, the excited nerves of the first kidding and finding the first duck in the weirdest places!
This year we didn't have kidding - that comes next year - but we do have some delightful additions to tell you about!
The Mighty Hunter
This ferocious little beast (as yet unnamed) is our new mouser for Saffron and Honey and has also become the official mascot for our up-and-coming wood shop, Saffron and Sawdust.
Currently she is living in the wood shop until she at least gets bigger than the chicks! Her favorite toys are tiny blocks of wood, bit of string and neatly swept piles of wood dust and chips. As a result, she is constantly covered in sawdust and The Husband is voting for "Sawdust" to become her name.
I have agreed to this if she can have a brother to keep her company.
The New Man in the House
Tugboat came to us from Wild Song Farm. This handsome, three year old pedigreed American Chinchilla has a proven history with the ladies, and we hope to put that to the test soon! He has great form and we've been told he won last year's virtual BoB! Since he's a pretty mature guy and have never need in a colony he will be staying in our barn for awhile; first in one of our larger cages and then we will start getting him used to having more space to stretch his legs! Hopefully by next spring he will get his own buck apartment in our colony!
New Goslings (the M. Night Shyamalan edition)
We posted on Mothers Day that we had six new goslings born to our geese. Unfortunately the other two ladies didn't have successful hatches - for various reasons and one of the goslings has since passed away for reasons unknown. However, our remaining five are doing great and have been moved down into the pond area. They are learning to swim, paddling around in the shallow areas under the adults' watchful eyes.
So what's the twist ending? A couple of those goslings are suspiciously smaller than their siblings! Wonder if the ducks snuck an egg or two into the next?
100 new meat birds arrived the beginning and middle of this month and have been growing up fast under George's watchful eye! He and two of the hens remain in the barn with the chicks to help them learn to be chickens, and the difference between this year and last year's birds has been amazing! Last year, chicks ate, slept and nothing else. They grew rapidly, but we also lost a lot. Some had heart attacks, some got sick because they refused to not sleep in their own mess and a couple even ate themselves to death. George and the ladies have this bunch scratching, moving, learning to clean themselves and generally making for far healthier birds.
Four new LF Cochin babies
We have four new cochins babies this spring! We wanted to bring in some new blood and some new colors. So we have welcomed in three new mottled and one (hopefully) splash cochin chicks. Wanda was happy to adopt them since the eggs she was sitting on were infertile. So far all four are doing great!
A Whole New Breed!
We wanted to add a second heritage breed chicken to our homestead this year. While the cochins are awesome in so many ways, when one goes broody they usually all do! They fact is why we've been eating guinea eggs for weeks now, but now that guineas are going broody! To stave this off next year, we have added ten new salmon faverolle babies. Blue took them in right away and it looks like we have seven hens and three roosters. While not perfect for us, the odds were certainly in our favor! We hope to get another ten later this summer to have a hearty, healthy laying flock by next year.
As an addendum, after we were most of the way through this post, we went to the chicken show at the Windsor Fairgrounds this morning, hosted by the Central Maine Bird Fanciers. In among all the tiny, decorative birds for sale, we found a beautiful, but socially awkward pair of blue, standard cochins for sale and guess what we brought home!
More details to follow as they settle in!