Week in Review: Nov. 22/15

Well, we missed last week’s Week in Review due to web site changeover and actually there wasn’t really anything exciting that happened that week anyway. We hope something exciting happens here every week but the reality is that it doesn’t. It could be a good thing, though, as it could indicate everything is going along without a hitch, however, we prefer some happy excitement!

We’ve now entered the season of frozen water and foggy glasses. Last night was the first night we have had to deal with frozen water bottles, more specifically the ball and tube assembly on the bottle freezes. The chicken water jugs aren’t as vulnerable to cold due to the larger volume of the jug and the greater number of tiny beaks that constantly drink out of them and keep the water stirred up. Of course, under a certain temperature they will freeze solid in a short amount of time so will have to be replaced three or four times a day.

Dawn is still setting on her eggs, down now from ten to eight, likely due to other dummy hens still trying to lay eggs in her nest and stirring things up. Hens have been removed from her nest after being found squeezed in with her while trying to lay their egg. There are eight other nest boxes available but the stubborn birds seem to really like a certain nest box. This completes the second week of setting for her so if we’re lucky we should start to see some chicks sometime next weekend. They will have to be closely monitored and if there is a problem they will have to be brought into the house and raised inside until they are fully feathered. Hopefully Dawn will take good care of them and they will be feathered by the time the dog days of winter set in.

On Monday two more turkeys were processed, 25 and 28 pounds respectively, bringing the total processed weight of the turkeys this year so far to 321 pounds with one big tom left. The turkeys have been very successful this year, more than expected actually, so we hope with better weight monitoring next year they can all be processed at an optimal weight of about 16-18 pounds. That first tom that went on the scales at 44 pounds sure was a real shocker. The meat grinder and vacuum packager worked overtime for a while there and we should be set up for meat until the next batch of birds is processed next year.

Here’s the last man standing. He’ll likely be on the bus to Freezer Camp this week.

Lucille Bunnyrabbit built a beautiful nest, deep in straw and liberally mixed with fur but no popples as of yet. It’s not certain what the problem is as she has had litters of 11 last winter and is still a young doe but we’ll keep going with her for now. It’s been very disheartening to see two nests built in the last couple of months and no kits but it is a part of nature so we just have to go with it. There have been many highs and lows as we continue along our Homesteading path and that contributes to the sense of satisfaction when things seem to work out in the end somehow.

With winter now on us there will be less work outside besides the normal cleaning and maintenance of the colony and coop. The last tom should be processed this week so that will be one less facility to clean out and one less water jug and feed pail. This winter will be one of planning for the spring and deciding what the new project will be for the coming year. We’re hoping for a mild winter this year on The Homestead but there is no real way to know until we wake up each morning and look out the window.

All of the critters at The Welcome Homestead wish everybody a productive and safe week.


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