2017 Going Out With a Cold Shoulder

Well, let's be honest, not many people are sad to see 2017 go; it even seems to be content to give us one last kick in the but on the way out with arctic temps. We battened down the hatches, did a little extra insulating, closed those few pesky storm windows that always seem to sneak by on the first late fall pass and voila, it's hibernation mode. 

A look into the glass house one somewhat early morning in December.    

A look into the glass house one somewhat early morning in December. 

 

On the farm front we have learned a lot this year, mostly about better planning and time allocation needs. We had some really fantastic successes and new accounts but also shot ourselves in the proverbial foot(s) a few times (Christmas amaryllis crop that missed the mark by weeks, {an expensive mistake} transplanted stunted sunflowers that never grew to size etc...) Point is, we learned this year, both from successes and mistakes and we are looking to 2018 with the renewed vigor that mid winter offers all growers.   Snow has been light but enough for the birds to make their own brand of art... it reminds us of a blank slate waiting for us to make our marks. 

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Anyways, here's to a brighter better more sane 2018 with fewer moments of geopolitical insanity, domestic self destruction and floral difficulties.  

 

Happy Holidays from Ermela, Graham, Charlize, Carol, Cercei, Maia, Sophia, Cookie and the Birds!

Newest Members of the Flock - Winter 16' Edition

Last year we ordered chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery, this year we decided to hatch our own. Our current flock of fluffy butts is six strong and they lay well, plenty for our little household, but we wanted a few more to be able to share with family and friends (and because Graham was convinced that we needed more egg color variety). Getting the eggs was a bit of a debacle, the site we ordered from shipped out four of the 12 eggs and then notified us that the other eggs would not be available for a couple months. After many many conversations they agreed to ship out a fresh set of eggs quickly so that all the eggs could be incubated together.

Incubating was pretty easy, we got an incubator from Farm Innovators with a digital control so we just set it and then spent a couple minutes every day rotating the eggs (in addition to them being in the auto turner) and adding water to keep the humidity up. 21 days later the first eggs showed little holes (in pro egg hatching circles this is called being pipped). It takes a lot of energy for the little chicks to unzip their shells, it can take anywhere from 12-24hrs after the pipping for the babies to finally make it out into the world.

After the girls (we are being optimistic here) hatched we let them dry out and settle in with their sisters for a bit. Now for those of you who have not seen a bird hatch, there is something magical in the process. They put every ounce of effort into hatching, they put it all out there and leave nothing on the table...we are definitely going to do more hatches. 

We gave them their shots so that they would have a good strong start and we also mix probiotics and nutrients into their water and give them medicated chic starter feed. Now here's a funny note, we are continuing to be optimists, but we know that one of the chicks is a boy because he has a white dot on his head; some breeds are called "sex linked" because you can tell their sex right when they hatch based on their markings. Anyways, that boy can be seen hiding under the two white chicks in one of the pictures...he will make a big scary strong rooster some day.

 

They really are so damn cute at this age.

When Chickens Escape: Deux

So it was fairly surprising when Graham heard our rooster crow for the first time (given that he was on the roof and he has a habit of falling off those we count ourselves fortunate he was not too too surprised). Sure enough the free chick that Murray McMurray threw in the box with our order turned out to be a male. A male going through puberty it would seem since his "crows" sound like a balloon slowly deflating. Anyways, since we don't want fertilized eggs we took him away from the girls and put him in a separate fenced enclosure...which he promptly and rather impressively flew out of. Now we have a rooster running around the yard, making awkward sounds and waiting outside of any door he has seen us recently use. Overall he makes an excellent addition to the atmosphere; we are keeping our fingers crossed for his health and survival!
 

Chicks So Fly

Please welcome the newest members of the Broken Chimney Farm family!
 

Barred Rocks, Amercaunas, and Sultans - the starting point for a variety of egg colors and a fun looking flock. We ordered them months ago from Murray McMurray Hatchery and have been waiting for this day ever since. We put up a cute video of these girls over on instagram @brokenchimneyfarm - check it out!