Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The babies are coming, the babies are coming!

Our little home is soon to be swimming with baby animals. 
I am SO excited!
Ginger is due the first of march with her first set of kids. Hopefully a set. I really want her to have 2...
Then on March 20th our feed store gets their chicks in, some of which are going to come live here. And then... On April 6th or 7th my order of 10 little ducklings arrives!

We have so much work to do...

Lets talk about Ginger first shall we.
 We milk our goats, to get milk a goat needs to have babies. 
Ginger is a yearling, half Saanen half Alpine. We got her when we purchased her Mama, Rosemary, last April. We hadn't planned on keeping her, but I got attached and she's just so darn cute! So she stayed. 

We bred her to our Nigerian Dwarf buck, Stinky.
We wanted to breed her to a small buck since it is her first kidding and I want it to be easy for her.

We tried breeding Rosemary to an alpine buck, no go. Stinky was too little, and we tried a Nubian buck, again no go. So she will be dry this year. Bummer. Not real sure what to do about that. We don't have enough land or feed money for unproductive animals. We are giving her another year, but if she doesn't take next year we will have to sell her. :(

Anyways, back to Ginger. She is starting to form her udder so hopefully it won't be long, and hopefully she gives us a couple of super cute doe kids. She's super cute and Stinky was pretty handsome so they have to be adorable. 

Now let's talk chickens. I have a list of specific breeds I want for egg production. Breeds that lay pretty, colorful eggs of course. 
Here are the breeds I want: (the pictures are random pics I found on google)
Americana AKA easter eggers, blue eggs

Plymouth Rock, light brown eggs

Sussex, cream eggs 

Welsummers lay really awesome dark brown eggs

Cream Legbar, blue eggs

I was all prepared to order these chicks this year, then I found the Welsh Harlequin duck.
Aren't they beautiful
  The Welsh Harlequin (WH) is a breed listed as 'critical' with the Livestock Conservancy. The WH is a multipurpose breed, used for eggs and meat. They lay around 300 eggs a year, each. That's a lot of eggs. They are incredibly hardy and calm. People who have them say they are the calmest and nicest of all their poultry. They also are decent mothers and will hatch out chicks, I think that's a plus. I love baby ducks...

I had a couple of ducks in high school, they lay the most wonderful eggs. 
Egg-cellent for baking. :) So we decided we HAD to have some of these ducks.
After searching the web for a good looking hatchery I finally decided to go with Metzer Farms. Their prices were in the mid range and they appear to be a good, reputable hatchery. You can order as few or as many ducklings as you like, but if you have less than 10 it bumps the shipping up a fair amount, so we ordered 10. If I'm paying more I might as well be getting some more ducks with that $$.
Since we will have more ducks than we need I ordered them straight run (mix of male and female). I could pay more to get specifically females, but I found myself being cheap and decided to take my chances with straight run. Hopefully we will receive at least 4 ladies. The spare males will be going into the freezer. Thank you multipurpose breed.
Having spent $75 on ducks, my specific chicken breeds were out so we are going to get a few of whatever breed our feed store has this year. I suppose eggs taste the same whether they are blue, brown or white.
I needed somewhere safe to keep all the little fuzzy poultry babies, so I turned an old dresser into a brooder. It isn't large enough for them to live in for very long, ducks grow fast, but it will keep them safe and warm for the first few weeks.
I will post the tutorial soon.
Nice, easy access

Be watching for baby pictures!

Happy days all!

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