As predicted this has been a slower month here on the homestead. Some months are just destined to be busier then others it seems like! That’s just the nature of homesteading today. With fall in the picture and the weather quickly turning cooler some activities are on the back burner. It’s unlikely that we will be adding any more livestock to the farm until spring, with the exception of raising some more quail and perhaps bringing a nice buck into our rabbit program.
This is probably a good thing since the fall season also bring with it a lot of holiday fun. I love the seasonal activities but they do take up a bit of time! If you haven’t started getting into the fall mood you can check out some of our former posts for inspiration!
Homesteading Today – What We’ve Done This Month
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Hatched Some Guinea Eggs!
I set thirteen eggs in our incubator and we managed to hatch two keets. This wasn’t as many as we hoped to get but it’s better than nothing! When you are working with shipped eggs sometimes things happen in the mail that you can’ control and while our eggs arrived without being broken it’s possible they were shaken up a bit too much on their journey.
We’re also using a new incubator and while I have raised quite a few chicks at this point I have never tried to incubate eggs before! It’s possible that either the incubator and some user error also played a hand in our low hatch rate. As with everything we try in life there tends to be a bit of a learning curve involved. Hopefully, our next attempt will work out better but in the meantime, we get to welcome Shannon and Shelly to the family!
Finished The Rabbit Duplex
This was one of our plans for this month and I’m happy to say that the weather cooperated and the new rabbit hutch was completed. Hazel and Blackberry are now enjoying life as neighbors and by the way they jump around in the mornings I think they enjoy it!
The new hutch is very easy to clean out and the rabbits have a good bit of room to romp and play which I feel is important! I love the design so much that we will probably replicate it since we will need to add some new blood to our program before we start breeding – and since our rabbits are now four months old we aren’t that far away from having baby rabbits! so we’ll need some new cages again asap!
Added Four More Ducklings & Saved Megalodon!
We all loved the ducks and after figuring out that we were a bit off on our male to female ratio we added four more ducklings to the flock! I’m happy to say that all eight of them get along great so far! It turns out that adding new ducks to a flock is much easier than adding new chickens. A few days of swimming and playing outside together was all that was needed to build a flock bond – now they all run around the farm as one big happy group! The new ducks have been named Mako, Mermaid, Shark & Jaws.
As first-time duck owners there were a few lessons we had to learn and one of them involved Megalodon! As Meg grew it became apparent that his legs just weren’t quite right. In fact, he got to the point where his legs crossed like an X and he couldn’t walk at all! It was very sad and I honestly thought we might end up putting him down – I mean what kind of life would he have if he couldn’t walk? Since he had trouble getting to the feeder and water he started to lose weight and I wound up having to separate him at night from the other ducks with his own feeder and waterer. A bit of research led me to a few causes for his problem – a slipped tendon or a niacin deficiency.
He didn’t look like he had a slipped tendon since he could move the leg fine while swimming so I settled on Niacin deficiency – despite the food we were using claiming that it had sufficient levels for healthy ducklings. Meg’s story is quite lengthy and I plan to detail it in an upcoming post so keep an eye out! But I’m happy to report that it has a happy ending and Meg is now okay! Saving Meg was a month-long and very time-consuming process…but he’s now a super sweet lap duck and it was worth it!
What We’re Going To Do Next
Expand the Quail Flock – With the incubator now empty I plan on cleaning it out and taking a second crack at hatching some eggs! I will soon be ordering some Celedon Quail eggs which are a variety of quail that lays blue eggs. Here’s hoping I can report a better hatch rate next month!
Move the Ducks Out of The Garage – At the moment the ducks are living in a wading pool in the garage at night. As they are getting bigger and love to make a giant mess by splashing their water around this is less than ideal! Since they have most of their feathers now and don’t need the heat lamp anymore it’s time for them to move into a permanent home! SO we’ll be spending some time building a duck house in the next little while.
What’s In the Cards For Our Homesteading Family Later?
- Continue Planning an Orchard – Will have to wait until closer to fall before any saplings we buy will be delivered. We still haven’t figured out exactly what we want and should probably get on that! t least we have decided where to plan them right?
- Continue Fencing the Pasture – This will likely be an ongoing project with the goal of having it completed by next spring. The smaller pasture we already have should be more than big enough for Luna and Cyra!
- Continue Planning and Building A New Chicken Coop – Like the pasture, this will likely be an ongoing project. We already have the plans but since there is no rush on this we will probably do it in pieces to spread out the material bill.