Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flowers and new chicks!

The last catch-up post is about my flower beds and new baby chicks. First off, if you want to see cool growth, check out teh first post I did on my flower bed on May 13th. I had seeded some beds in with wildflower seeds, and then spot planted a few annuals and perennials to add flowers until they would come in thick. On May 13th, there were little green sprouts, but they were still tiny little things then.

Check them out as of last week!

And this week, they are even taller and starting to flower - just a few poppies and the perennials I'd planted right now, but I expect that in a few weeks, the bed will be vividly bright with color! Almost every tall plant now has flower buds on it and they are totally overshadowing the annuals that I had planted. I will have to take another picture of them now...I'm waiting for a sunny day to show them off now.

The bed in the back of the house is even more grown up than the front bed.

I had also put together some planters with various annuals, and now, a couple weeks later, they have just filled in with flowers and really look beautiful.

I have the best time checking on my flowers daily.

And my other project has been the arrival of our baby turkeys and chicks that we'd ordered in the mail!

The turkeys arrived last Thursday.

I ordered 3 each of 5 varieties: Bourbon Red, Royal Palm, Naragansett, Black Spanish, and Broad-breasted White. All 15 of them looked perky and healthy when they arrived, and I made sure that each one had found the water and drank. But the next morning found one turkey dead, a broad-breasted white., I looked them over, and the rest looked okay that morning, but I had to leave to ride with the vet. When I returned home that afternoon, I found two more that looked very weak: one of which was actually losing his balance and falling over onto his back. The other just looked really lethargic. I immediately started feeding them both electolyte solution from an eyedropper. By evening, the royal palm that had been falling over was actually looking better (he wasn't falling over anymore, but he was still looking lethargic). The bourbon red that was very weak, seemed the same. I was able to get a lot of electrolyte into him, but I could tell by the wrinkled skin on his feet that he was just too dehydrated. I couldn't get enough water into him. Then I noticed that one of the black chicks was looking lethargic too, so I immediately started giving him electrolyte. I thought I might be able to save him because it seemed I was catching him early enough before he got to dehydrated and he started out actively taking the solution from the eyedropper. In the end, the bourbon red and the black chick succumbed and died. The royal palm with the balance issue miraculously made a recovery and he is doing much better, although still not quite as active as the other chicks. But he's now eating and drinking on his own. So I lost three and I'm now down to 12. I think the rest are going to make it. The healthy chicks are extremely fiesty and think that I'm their mom. They come running over when they seem my head peer into their box and they voraciously peck at my fingers looking for insect treats (I feed them caterpillars and horseflies that I find).

The chicks arrived a day after the turkeys on Friday. My mom picked them up from the post office, since I was with the vet. All 30 chicks were perky and healthy and as of today (5 days later), they are still going strong and healthy and growing like weeds! We ordered 5 each of 6 breeds: two meat breeds that are the slower growing cornish crosses (5 are white and 5 are red), Welsummer (a dark brown egg layer), Cuckoo Marans (another dark brown egg layer), Gold Campine (an attractive white egg layer), and Blue-laced Red Wyandotte (a beautifully feathered light brown egg layer).

The chicks are not quite as tame as the turkeys, but then, I've never had chickens become as tame as turkeys do. Turkeys really imprint on their handlers, while chickens don't seem to do that. To tame chickens, you have to actively hold them and get them really accustomed to you. Turkeys seem to imprint on you by default. Because of that, they are so fun to play with. They respond to your voice and when you let them out to forage as chicks, they'll follow you everywhere and inspect everything you get your hands on. They are so fun.

The chickens really seem to have more of a fear instinct with strange noises and people...strange, since I think chickens have been domesticated longer than turkeys.

The chickens that we end up keeping from this batch will make a really nice egglaying mix with our current flock of mixed brown and green egg layers. It is so fun to get eggs that are all colors of the rainbow in your egg carton. And there is really nothing like home raised eggs in comparison to store eggs. Once you've actually had farm fresh eggs from chickens that are fed a varied diet (not just strictly formulated chicken feed), you will never go back. Their eggs have such great flavor. In comparison, store eggs have no flavor at all, and store yolks are usually pale yellow, where as our chickens have rich yellow-orange yolks that are not at all artificially enhanced.

We love our chickens and their eggs.


arlene said...

I never knew that about turkeys. I will have to get some next year. Too bad you lost some chicks. :(

prashant said...
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