Monday, April 28, 2008

Oops, Brown Turkeys!

The previous post shows some pictures of my turkeys poults. We had separated the white Royal Palms from the brown Bronzes a month ago because we wanted purebreds in order to sell them. Plus some people may want a white feathered bird instead of a dark one.
So far the only eggs that were ready to hatch were from the Palms, so much to my surprise when I got up this morning I found this in my incubator!

It should have looked like this!

The first two that hatched this morning looked very similar, kinda like a Bronze but then the third one was strange...kinda funny, it has a brown stripe down it's back and a polka-dot on it's forehead. I cannot even imagine what it will look like when it gets big. This coloration may be common in crossbred turkeys, I hope someone will let me know.

See the stripe?

You can kinda see it better in the next picture. Who knows...maybe it will disapear as it grows. It might be one funny lookin' turkey.

I belong to the Rare Heritage Turkey Group at Yahoo and I have asked if anyone there has crossed these two breeds and knows what they will look like when they get big. The group is a really good place for all information about turkeys. The moderators as well as the members have a wealth of knowledge to share. I have learned more there than anywhere else! I hope they will fill me in.
On now to the subject of Roosters. As you can see from the picture below..."One of these things is not like the other"!

We have a new man in town and his name is Dominic. He just looked so very Italian, what with the black and white and red accents. My brother-in-law, Tom said I should name him Checkers but for some reason Dominic fits him.

We have sold the Phoenix roosters to a nice lady that lives down by Marietta, she is coming to get them tomorrow. Plus, I want to hatch some chicken eggs and want a heavy breed so the babies and their eggs will be big, also I can't wait to see the colors when he gets mixed with the others.

Speaking of my he is actually holding a baby turkey. This is huge for him. He is the absolute definition of "city boy". He and my sister bring a change of shoes when they come to our house and he tells her that she has to leave them in the garage when they get home. Two weeks ago Kevin had a tick on his arm, probably from the cat, and he goes in and acts like he is going to put it on Tom. Well, you can imagine.

When Tom came last weekend for our bonfire, he brought mosquito and tick spray with him and sprayed it on himself before going fourwheeling. I would rather pick a tick off of me than spray that stuff on me. We don't have deer ticks here so I'm not worried. Don't get me wrong, they still creep the heck out of me if I get one on me but what can you do.

(I have another turkey egg piped and can't wait to see the color, I will up-date when he/she arrives.)

Happy Spring!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Update: Turkey Hatch

We ended up with 11 babies. Below is a video of the last one when it hatched.

Monday, April 21, 2008

We Have Baby Turkeys!

See what greeted me this morning when I got up.

There are three hatched and some more have pipped but no action as of yet. I will be very thrilled if we only get these three. I have 15 more eggs slated to hatch on the 29th and seven goose eggs for a few days after that...that will be plenty. Plus, we have the 15 turkey eggs coming that we ordered. Also, I am going to fill up the incubator with all the other eggs that I have been gathering since I put these in. I have eggs from the Bronze hen to put in too. We have two Bronze hens but only one is laying. She started laying much later than the Palms did. I wonder if that is normal.

Here's my little guy!

I got to take some pictures while the third one was hatching. There was a hole but it was not all the way around yet. You can see where he was working his way around on the hole. The other babies were tripping all over it so I took them out and put them in the brooder so this one could have some peace and quiet.

See it's little beak poking out? After about an hour it finally pushed it's way out and started squawking.

It looks like a dinosaur!

It is so cool how they just popped off the tops of the shell. I numbered the eggs as I put them in so I could see if the ones I held longer would hatch. Also, I wanted to see if both hens were fertile. I was not sure if the one was laying down for the tom. For instance, I have two number two's, four's and eight's and maybe only one number six because one of the hens did not lay that day. If only one of any one number hatches thatn for sure she was not bred.

Here they are in the temperary brooder until we get the big one set up in the chicken house.

I can't believe how the month has flown by. I was looking at old posts and when I saw the one with the snow it seemed so surreal. The day I took that picture I thought spring would never get here and all of a sudden......BAM!... it snuck up on me. We have been so busy with spring maintence that I need to be still and enjoy. It seems that my mind has been racing. There are so many things I would like to get accomplished in these next few weeks.

We need to build a chicken tractor, get the brooder ready, finish the barn floor, build our plucker, get fish for the pond, order my turkeys (today!), finish trimming my dog, get ready for bonfire party on Saturday, get the garden going and on and on. We planted 100 hybrid willows and six blueberry bushes this last weekend. I couldn't walk for a day, my legs were killing me! Just ten more cherry bushes and we are done planting trees for now.

Phewwwww, now I can relax, I am not a failure at egg hatching! An update soon on how the final hatch turned out.

Happy, happy days,


Monday, April 7, 2008

A Creature in our Barn!

Can you guess what these big teeth and claws belong to? Scroll down......

And down.............

A scary scary possum!

Last weekend we decided to clean out the barn and install some really nice steel shelves that we got from work. They are reorganizing things there and wanted rid of them. Of course we had to buy them, they were going to scrap them but decided to charge us for them when they found out someone wanted them.

When we pulled a bunch of stuff out of the corner we found a big pile of leaves back there that had an indentation where an animal had been sleeping. The nest was made almost entirely of oak leaves. It was so strange because there are no trees close to the barn, let alone oak trees. Really strange. I've never researched nest building by possums but if I did I guess I would find out that they prefer oak leaves. It had to take forever for that possum to carry all those leaves there.

This is what the corner looked like before and below is what it looked like after we put in our shelves! The shelves are really great. We have so many building supplies but we can never find them. Almost invariable we have to to the hardware to buy supplies when we know we have them lost somewhere in the barn. Now we can find everything!

After we saw the pile of leaves we thought the creature was gone (it being daylight and all) but then Kevin saw a movement of white out of the corner of his eye and saw the possum trying to hide. He wanted some gloves so he could catch it but of course the state of the barn being what it was we could not find any so he said "Forget it , I'll just catch it with no gloves". He looked for something long like a big screwdriver or something and I was afraid he would hurt it which was crazy cause it had the potential to hurt our chickens. He said he wasn't going to hurt it but I didn't want to watch cause I was afraid it was going to bite him so I hurried out of the barn and listened.

After some scuffling sounds and a little commotion he came walking out of the barn victorious, possum in hand! He used the long piece of steel to keep it away from his hand. It kept trying to climb up it's own body to bite him but it was so slow moving it was easy for Kevin to keep it at bay.

You can see from the pictures that he would just gently keep pushing his head back down.

We took her over to the woods and let her go. I don't know why I thought it was a girl but it just seemed like it was female. It did not seem vicious at all. Just kind of slow and sweet. I just kept thinking it might have babies in her little pouch. If she comes back we are going to take her far away to West Branch State Park. It is about a mile away, too far for a possum to find it's way back, and she will not be able to hurt our chickens! Nor will all the babies that are in her pouch.

There is a video below of when we let her go. She ran straight to a tree and scurried into a hole at the base of the tree. Kevin noticed that half of it's tail was missing, you can see in the picture where it looks funny at the end.

It was a beautiful weekend, in the 60's and sunny so we worked and got a lot done in the barn and with the chickens. I cleaned out the bottom of the chicken feeder where a lot of powder from the feed had accumulated. The chickens did not want to eat it so I presumed it was stale or whatever. I put it in a big tub and set in the chicken yard for them to peck at if they wanted. Well after a minute or so I looked over and a hen turkey had decided to take a dust bath in it. And then the other one joined her.

She spread the feed everywhere! The chickens did come and peck at it now and then so it wasn't all wasted.
She really enjoyed the bath. We want to make a covered area for them to bath in. I read that using sand and wood ashes is really good because the ashes keep pests away. We also built a new door and fixed the fence that seperates the yard from the chickens. There was a spot on the fence that was low so that we could step over to get into the pen but Puppy could easily jump over it so we had to fix it. She was eating eggs and it wasn't too bad until she got a turkey egg and then it had to stop! I just love the new door. We keep it open most of the day so they can wander the yard. Everyday when Kevin and I get home from work (weather permitting), we get a cup of coffee and sit on the back deck and watch the chickens. Blissful.

Here is the view from the deck, I just went out and took the picture, kinda gloomy and chilly today but all in all the grass is greening up and I love it.

Below is a candid shot of Kevin relaxing and watching the chickens. We didn't do much relaxing all weekend. He was in the process of making a separate area for our Bronze turkeys. We are really enjoying the process of hatching eggs (we will enjoy it more if they hatch successfully, hatch day is the 20th of April), so we wanted to separate the Bronze from the Palms. The Bronze just started laying so, so far so good. I will keep you posted. (A friend from work gave me seven goose eggs. They are mostly Ebden so they will be the big fat white ones. It will be fun to watch them on our new pond, again, if they hatch.)

When we cleaned out the barn we decided to sell our old buffet. It is beautiful but just too big for our house. The label on the back says it was manufactured in "Gettysburg, Penns". I think that is really cool that it was made in Gettysburg. I'm not sure how old it is. I would love to know more about it.

Check out the possum video below. It is really short. Just a quick shot of her running to the tree.

Finally spring is here. The trees arrived that we ordered so as things gear up we are getting busier and busier.

Have fun everyone, Spring is here!



about the word and the spelling of the word ......


Preferred to "possum" for the American marsupial, except in colloquial context. Do not write 'possum. The correct spelling for the Australian phalanger is possum.

~ National Geographic Style Manual

Word History:

The word opossum takes us back to the earliest days of the American colonies. The settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, was founded in 1607 by the London Company, chartered for the planting of colonies. Even though the first years were difficult, promotional literature was glowing. In one such piece, A True Declaration of the Estate of the Colonie in Virginia, published in 1610, we find this passage: "There are ... Apossouns, in shape like to pigges." This is the first recorded use of opossum, although in a spelling that differs from the one later settled on to reproduce the sound of the Virginia Algonquian word from which our word came. The word opossum and its shortened form possum, first recorded in 1613 in more promotional literature, remind us of a time when the New World was still very new, settlers were few, and the inhabitants for whom the New World was not new, were plentiful.

~The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language,