Wednesday, May 2

Wednesday, May 2nd... More Rain...More Work Backing Up...More Stress...

Perplexed again...over and over it seems!

Just what we need...another day of rain to stymie our work load even further!
I still have the incubators in the brooding house to get running yet, because I’ve not been able to regulate them to the 99.5 degrees I need to have before placing the eggs. I believe one is going to be on target this morning when I check, because it was at 99° last evening at last check. The other was standing at 105°, which is way too hot and would kill the eggs immediately. They are very touchy. We find that the less change in temperature across the twenty-eight days, the better and the humidity and turning them regularly is important. Since we are always so very busy, we use automatic egg turners, which turns the eggs from side to side, six times a day. Recently we accomplished keeping the temperature constant by replenishing the water on the sponges, through a tubing inserted in tiny “breather” holes in the top. We can insert the tubing several places around the perimeter and inject water onto the sponges to re-hydrate them. This new method maintains temperature and also doesn’t release the humidity inside (by keeping the top on).
Everything remains very consistent due to this change.
I picked up sixteen small sponges yesterday afternoon, expecting to place them in the incubator bottom below the screen, hydrate them and insert the eggs into a controlled atmosphere of 99.5°, with a humidity of around 55% or so, but that didn’t happen. Maybe today......Maybe.
We got the lumber for the rear fence ordered from Stemple Lumber, in Berne yesterday. There will be a huge stack of 1x6 board to go around the posts, closing in the west yard so we can browse the alpacas there all summer long. In the future, we may even install split rail fencing around the center yard and browse them in there occasionally. It’s a crime to mow grass, rather than allow the alpacas and sheep to eat it.
I remember years ago when farmers near our home used to have temporary fencing that they set up around their yards and adjoining grassy plots near the barnyard. Their sheep or calves would graze on these spots, eliminating the need to mow it and also reducing the costly feed bills during the summer. We are becoming more cost conscious this year, trying to increase the profitability of the farm to cross the break even line. For many farmers during this time and in this ailing economy, it is impossible. We may find ourselves stuck among that immense number by never becoming solvent, but it won’t be because we didn’t change things and try other avenues of revenue generation. We’re always looking for a new procedure, a new product or an angle interesting to the public, which will draw people here to buy farm goods or hospice items.
We have many, many new and exciting plans for the farm this year, if everything works out and things go as planned. We’ve ordered some laying fowl and meat birds, so meat and several breeding turkeys are next on the list, but before they arrive, we need to change one gate and add another, with a large area added for the turkey run. Perhaps we'll even plan for a turkey house enlargement, in case we need it.

Baaaaah...Hum-Booger...I just came back from throwing all forty-one Royal Palm turkey eggs away, because at half way through the hatch, they were infertile. I just candled each and every one of them to reveal nothing in the egg but egg!
Now I need to go talk to that stupid show off gobbler and explain that he really IS a meat bird and if he doesn’t quit primping and strutting and get with the fertilization program...we’ll find out what Royal Palm gobbler tastes like! I don’t like the wasted incubator time, the loss of three and a half dozen delicious eggs we could have sold and the disappointment of not having a larger flock. I need to watch this clown and make sure he is even servicing the hens, which are extremely broody right now. Two seldom get off the nesting box I made for them...
Another step backwards!!! Thanks Terrance, you dork! (Terrance Turkey ((or Terry for short)) )
After discarding the eggs, I loaded the incubator with duck and Guinea fowl eggs. There are always folks looking for Guinea poults and we are hatching some ducks for two friends, so we can now hatch them in the basement instead of the brooding house. I’ll get some chickens going in the brooding house incubators and maybe another try with the turkeys....or maybe order a few eggs to hatch. We’ll see......

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048086 Cluckin' "A" Critter Farm, LLC

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