Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring comes early on the farm

I just realized it's been weeks since I last posted here, no surprise really, given the time of year. For most people it's still winter, but for the average poultry breeder, spring has already begun. I started hatching in December, with my first hatch on Christmas Eve (what nice presents!) However due to Murphy's Law of Early Hatches, out of 21 chicks (a small set) 18 turned out to be cockerels. Most breeders would greatly prefer the opposite ratio, as we typically sell our birds as trios (one male, two females) and there never seems to be enough pullets to go around. Ah well, several subsequent hatches went the other way, so it turned out well.

At this point I figure I have about 200 babies in the basement, give or take. I even made the decision last night to take a break from hatching, and turn the incubator off (well, after I set this last batch of eggs, that is.) ((grin)) But I've got five brooder pens filled with babies of varying ages, and it's not quite warm enough to put them outside yet. The ones who most need to go out are the cockerels (young males) and if I put them out too early they'll get frostbite on their combs and lose the tips, not a good thing. But they may graduate out to the garage this week, it's cooler than the house, (too much warmth makes their combs grow too big), but not as cold as outside.

We recently had a big snowstorm (at least, for Kentucky.) We had about 12 inches or so, which made things fairly impassible for a while. DH and I are used to this sort of thing (he's Canadian, after all) having lived most of our lives in the North. I suppose we're Snow Snobs, but hey, when you spend six+ years in Western Canada, 12 inches down here seems pretty minor. The only real problem is cities in KY aren't set up to clear the snow from the roads very well, so driving is definitely at your own risk. But it has warmed up already, and I expect it all to be gone in another day or two. Sure was pretty though, I hadn't realized how much I missed the feel of a bright, sunny day with a foot of clean, unwalked-on snow on the ground. Ah well, it's the price we pay for living here, I guess.