Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chickens, ducks and someone else's lambs

I'm doing a bit of house/animal sitting about 2 hours away from home for a week. Even though both my husband and I work from home, he couldn't come up, because someone had to stay home and take care of our animals and seedlings. He's not thrilled about being on animal and plant duty, but he's a very nice and patient person, so he's doing it without complaining (the tiny farm is called "Rachel's Tiny Farm" not "Rachel and Wes' Tiny farm", for a reason).

Of course the day after I leave we get the first egg from this round of hens, They are 23 weeks old tomorrow, so it's about time. I'm hoping the others follow the Australorp's shining example. I don't think I'll be getting anymore chicks in the fall. Since I don't artificially light my birds, I think they're taking a little longer to start laying because of the short day lengths, but also, they will probably all molt this next winter and I'll get fewer eggs out of them. It seems like when you get your chicks in the spring and they start laying in summer/fall they often skip that first molt and you get a lot more eggs in the winter. That's my observation anyway.

The ducks should also lay soon. During our recent storms the ducks discovered the chicken coop and decided that they prefer sleeping in there instead of the middle of the yard, which I'm happy about. I'm hoping they'll lay in the coop where I can easily find the eggs rather than go off hiding them somewhere. There's more good duck news-- the people whom I got the ducks from are moving and don't want to deal with a new round of ducklings so I am picking up a clutch of Muscovy eggs on my way back into Phoenix next week to incubate. If everything goes well I should have muscovy ducklings available in mid-late March, let me know if you're in the Phoenix area and are interested.
Daphne heading into the coop

The people next to where I'm house-sitting have sheep and it's lambing season, the first day I was here I saw two black lambs that are a couple weeks old and this morning there were some tiny lambs that were about 36 hours old. They are a pretty tame bunch of sheep and they let me get pretty close, unfortunately I didn't bring a camera, so I just got a picture off google to illustrate. ;)

Imagine this times two, and then two more little black lambs

Now I'm scheming as to how I could get myself some sheep... there are a lot of empty houses because of the markets, maybe they could provide grazing rotation.... okay, so sheep are probably out for now. Do any of you have sheep?


maventheavenger aka jamie said...

I wish I could even have chickens! We live in an HOA run community, but since it is from the seventies I did manage to influence them enough to get a community garden. Perhaps the next step will be chickens!

Chiot's Run said...

Oh, I really want to get some muscovy ducks. But this year it's bees for Chiot's Run and perhaps next year I'll get my ducks.

I really want to build Elliot Colman's Duckingham palace for my ducks.

Wyndfire said...

I would be very interested in some Muscovy ducklings!!

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