It has been a few months since my last post...Let's see if I can organize this somewhat...
Of the first batch of chickens, only six survived. They started getting over-crowded in the container they were in in the house, but it was still too chilly to move them outside...note to self: Next year, wait until at least April! The hatching eggs were a wash. We had problems keeping the incubator at temperature. We ended up having four eggs hatch. We did autopsies on the unhatched eggs. There was one that had a fully developed chick, three that had embryos, and the remainder were duds; all of the ones that hatched made it to the freezer. About two months ago, we bought seven more chicks--they are outside. One died from that batch (drown in the water dish two days after going outside).
All six of the Khaki Campbells made it. We ended up with five females and one male. I am going to try to Craig's List the four black female ducks and the male Rouen, since the Khakis are now producing eggs. The whole bottom shelf of the fridge is filled with eggs, the sad thing is that we feed 2 or 3 dozen to the dogs every week, the neighbors buy eggs, and we eat them, and we still have a huge surplus. When my plants in the garden get bigger, I plan on letting one or two of the ducks into it to help with pest control (and they fertilize as they go!).
The bottle lamb we got back in February died at four weeks old (bloat); this is a common occurance with bottle lambs. We ended up getting a bred ewe (Sheepy) in March. At the end of March, she lambed one female (Lamby). After she had her, she didn't want anything to do with her. Hubby and I had to milk Sheepy, then feed it to Lamby (Colostrum is important--helps with development and immune system). After a week of that, we had Sheepy slaughtered, and just used milk replacement on Lamby--She's a little over two months now, and enjoys grazing in the yard.
We also picked up two ram lambs. After we got them, we banded them. The black sheep got butchered yesterday, and the white one will probably be butchered in two or three weeks. I don't think that next year we will have sheep; I'm thinking more of rabbits, since I'm fairly confident they are less work.
I will never get these friggin things again! A month after Pumpkin kidded, we were up to about a quart of milk per day from her, which would've kept up with my family...but these friggin things are destructive. They killed my two peach trees (ate the bark off), and also killed most of my raspberry bushes (I got a few transplanted elsewhere). Pumpkin, her kid, and Billie are gone now--sold on Craig's List and made into jerky. Lucky kidded two weeks ago (a female), but they will both be outta here after the kid is weaned. Just to reiterate, I think I'm going with rabbits next year!
The garden is doing wonderful--I should post some pics. It's nice when the neighbors comment on how well it is doing. We've got carrots, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, red, yellow and white onions, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, raddishes, brussel sprouts, chili peppers, and peas, as well as an herb garden. I had some problems with getting the green beans started, though this morning they were all looking good (didn't make sence to me--usually I have no problem with beans, but always have problems with broccoli). We've been having some problems with the wild rabbits, but I put some containers with vinegar out, and it has been helping to control them (keeps them out of the garden).
Due to the goat incident with the peach trees, I need to get some more trees planted back there. It sucks I'll have to wait a few years for them to start producing (last year was the first year we got peaches), but there is nothing better than a fresh peach.
The strawberry patch is doing well. I ordered some more plants a few months ago, and used them for groundcover in the decorative gardens in the front of my house. This year, we've been keeping up with the strawberries, so I haven't gotten to make jam yet...but those smoothies have been good!
How is everyone elses' stuff doing?