Well, we are in full out “get ready for sugaring” mode. We are busy putting in more taps and getting ready to tap what we already have tubed. A very busy and exciting time of year as you never really know what the sap is going to do. It is a wait and see game.
Well, it was an exciting and scary morning here at the farm. I hiked to the rabbit barn to start chores and all seemed well. Could hear the chickens talking very loudly. Suddenly I heard them slamming into the walls of the coop and cackling loudly. When I raced to the coop and opened the door I discovered a weasel at work in the coop. My husband and I set the chickens loose and proceeded to spend almost an hour chasing down the weasel. Man can they go fast and climb and screech and all sorts of lovely stuff! We prevailed and the chickens are safe but only after loosing three to the marauding weasel. What a way to start my day.
Well, my ladies did a great job having their babies but that very night we had some serious below zero weather. It went down to -13 and we lost several babies to the cold. I have since invested in some heaters for the nest boxes and hopefully that will take care of any more frigid blasts we get.
It has been a busy end of year holiday as two of our lovely ladies decided to kindle. We have two litters in the nest now with two more due to arrive shortly. Of course they had to choose the coldest week of the New Year. Brrrr!It is really exciting to watch the mothers as they industriously carry hay in their mouths to line their nest and pull fur to finish things off. The kids find it facinating to watch this process. The babies are not very attractive when they are first born, pink and hairless. However, they soon get fur and then they are so cute! Haven’t counted the babies yet, mama’s don’t like their babies being disturbed. We will try to count them in the next day or so and put in an update. Hopefully we will even get some photos to upload so stay tuned.
The chickens were very excited when I let them out of the coop to forage today. That was, until they realized it was VERY cold and the ground was covered with snow. They all trooped along the shoveled path in a little line out to the driveway and picked and scratched and then went back to the coop in disgust! Poor babies. I took pity on them and dumped a bag of leaves into their area that I had pre-bagged in the fall for just such an event. Ergo, Happy Chickens! There were leaves flying everywhere as they clucked, scratched, and picked. It was worth the hour of raking and bagging leaves.
The kids have decided that all of the chickens need names. Since fast food is the king in most kids minds the chickens have been graced with lovely food names like Fryer, Nugget, and Tender. There also are some condiment names like Pepper. They wanted food names once I told them that the chickens become stew chickens when they are done laying. The latest chicken adventure was trying to find out where the new nest was. The last nest was under the horses manure ramp in the tall grass! The kids and I hunted for a couple of days for that one. I found this one within the first hour. The silly thing was laying her eggs in a pile of maple leaves that I had put into an empty grain sack. I had bagged up the leaves to put into the chickens outdoor run this winter. Guess she didn’t want to wait for them.