It seems like it’s been a while since we shared a farm update! That’s probably because things have been pretty quiet around here lately. The weather has been crazy, with all of that early snow in November. Now we haven’t seen any significant snow in weeks, and a lot of what we had has melted. We are expecting a big rain storm today as well, that will create a big mess! The birds don’t seem to mind rain as much as snow and cold though. While they might hide out when it’s snowing, they are often seen walking in the rain.
Egg production has been up and down along with the weather! It’s expected to be slow this time of year, with the shorter days and the older girls having their molt, but we hadn’t done too bad. It’s been when the temperatures have gotten much colder that they slow way down. We went from being overstocked to the point where I was digging out all of my favorite egg recipes and trying new ones! Then next thing we know, we’re “out of stock” again!
Consistency is definitely not their thing, and of course, that’s how egg sales go too; no one shows up for a while, and then all of the neighbors are looking for them at once!
Winter bird care seems to be easier. We learned part way through last winter after having to lug fresh unfrozen water to the coop daily, that some type of heated dishes were needed. We got a heated dog water dish* which worked well, then this year the Dadz wanted to try a heated base for our metal waterer instead. That works out well too, and we keep the dog dish in the garage for when the flock is out free ranging. If it’s cold or snowing, they stick to the garage and barn pretty much.
We did get suspicious at one point when eggs were extremely short. With 18 layers, we ought to at least get a half dozen daily! That’s when we started looking and following them around and found a nest they had built in the barn. Now we check that daily for eggs. One day when I was doing that, I heard a squawking above my head, and this is what I saw when I looked up!
It’s unusual for chickens to fly up that high (guinea hens, yes, chickens, no) and after seeing her up there more than once I did some investigating. No, it doesn’t have to be Easter for an egg hunt around here, we have Christmas egg hunts too! I got the ladder out and found some eggs up above.
I couldn’t reach them, however, and when I checked a couple days later, one was moved, and the next day they had all disappeared. Apparently someone else was on a hunt too, squirrel maybe? Now we check up there daily too, and we’ve been able to recover a couple eggs from on the chair.
The guinea hens are seen up in trees or on top of their run a lot when the ground is snow covered, they are much happier when there’s bare ground to peck at.
We’re happier too, because they have more of a tendency to go in the road when that’s the only bare ground to be found. Running outside to herd them in the cold was enough, but at least they were staying away from Luke’s fenced-in yard, so we didn’t have to check so diligently before letting him outside. However, enough snow has melted now that they found their way over to his yard once again, and yesterday they were on both ends of the yard on the fence, and then they jumped in. The funny thing was Luke was watching them in the yard, and he didn’t get excited or anything! He just stood watching, and then walked away.
That doesn’t mean we’d trust him enough to let him out there though, but at least things stayed peaceful in the house, and the birds found their way out when someone pulled in the yard to buy eggs. They take their job of guarding the property seriously!
At least with snow on the ground, the girls stick closer to the house, and we can watch them out the windows. I miss being outside with them more this time of year.
Last but not least, we got this sweet little farm stand building from some friends of my hubby’s (it will get some upgrades in the spring), and my good friend had already been working on signs for us. We were thrilled to get all of that together, having a sign and a stand out makes our little farm seem more official!