Friday, February 26, 2010

The Next Generation....

Now, as you can imagine, a farm is a nice little microcosm of the world at large. Genetic diversity is important, for the long-term health and well-being of all of the creatures living there...And so, in view of that fact, we've just put in an order for "Chickens: The Next Generation" ...With only 4 hens of brooding age, and only one inclined at all in the past to do so, well, I'm pretty sure we won't be hatching out many babies this year on our own.

And, to make it easier to mark which hens were born in which years, we got something completely different from our previous year's Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps/Stars, and one Silver Laced Wyandotte...Here is what the hens will look like, full grown...

These are Barred Rocks. Beautiful hens, gentle, they lay very nice brown eggs. They are a good mixed-purpose breed, which means that they are good for meat as well as for eggs, although for our family, we will be strictly using them for eggs (as we ordered females only...).

Since I know that the "AWWWWW!!!!" factor is high with little's a picture of the wee ones--this is about the way our new babies will look like when they get here...
Cute, aren't they? We will likely be buying some more from a local supplier, once the temps warm up a bit...but the less time I have to have a brooding lamp on, the better! Our chicks won't be delivered until mid April, so we'll be having a bit of a wait until then...but now you know...We're getting a dozen of these, and 25 of the large, hulking Jumbo Cornish cross chickens (cockerels) to raise for the freezer/canning. Those crosses eat a TON, and so they will be, once past the age of brooding lamp, sheltered in their own, segregated chicken tractors. The pullets/hens will be able to roam with the rest of the avian population.
I'd post a picture of the crosses, but while they are cute chicks, they quickly morph into lumbering dinosaurs..huge..ungainly..they gain a ton of weight very quickly. This is what makes them so great for the freezer/etc....short turn around time. Pump a lot of food into them in a short period of time (8-9 wks, generally), and then, they are freezer bait. Or, more likely, "canner bait". :-) I wonder how many whole birds I can cook down in my large stock pots? Hmmmm...remind me to update you about that, come mid-late June! ;-)
I almost ordered some ducklings as well, but I think I will wait until we've gotten these chicks out of the brooder, and into the GenPop, before adding any more feathered friends...
The rainy weather here is seriously, seriously, annoying. We were supposed to get snow. 1-4 inches. Nope. Trace, and lots of rain. Rain, I might add, that we really did not need right now. And more is predicted for Sunday/Monday. ARRRGHHHHH!!! I want to let things dry out, Lord! PLEASE?! The potatoes and onions need to be going into the ground SOON. Very soon. I need to get these things into the ground, I need to get them growing. I want to see those potatoes coming up before the beetles get going fullforce, and that means that it needs to be gotten started as soon as possible.
I don't imagine that the good Lord is listening to me on this. Maybe, however, if enough of us said a "2 wk moratorium on rain in Rachel's area, Lord...please?" He'd listen? I don't know, but it is worth a try, right? Please? :-)
Now, if any of you are having beautiful, wonderful 'getting the ground ready to garden' weather--STOP. Do not tell me how blue the skies nice and tillable your ground your sweaters are being packed up even as you type, and how much you are looking forward to eating some fresh garden lettuce.
Just pray for me. I'm trying to give up 'garden envy' for Lent... ;-) (JoAnn, if you are reading this, you know *you* are the one I am talking about! ;-) ).

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