Spring Chicks

Sadly these aren’t our chicks, but my parents’. We only get to visit them, not raise them. They are Basque chickens originally from Spain, but now are slowly becoming a favourite of many Canadian farmers. They are only 2-ish weeks old so there is no way of sexing them, but hopefully the hens outnumber the cockerels otherwise it’s going to be a very loud summer.

First day outside and very confused.

The chick isn’t that heavy, it’s all the bling!

These tiny little bits of fluff and feathers are INCREDIBLY loud. It’s actually kind of ear piercing when they start up as a chorus. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of an all male group or we’ll be eating capon all summer.

New Quail Hatch

We have a new hatch of coturnix quail that started yesterday. We are selling chicks for $2/each on a first come first served basis. There will be another hatch in 3 weeks with more available.

"One, two, three....er...stop moving!"

“One, two, three….er…stop moving!”

Beatrix (the rabbit) and her litter

We’ve called off social services. It seems that Beatrix, our breeding doe, has reformed her ways and decided on a parenting style that doesn’t include neglecting her kits. She lost one set in October and miscarried in November, so we’re pretty excited to finally see the product of Rex’s (the buck) 5 seconds of hard work.

Beatrix kindled 10 kits; 2 stillborn, 2 runts (who only lasted a few days) and 6 strong, healthy ones. Seeing as Beatrix is a little difficult to work with and just a bag of nerves and misery all the time, I’ve been eyeing up one of her daughters to replace her. In rabbits you can breed father-daughter or mother-son but not siblings. Other fruitless combinations are mother-daughter and father-son.

All the kits are pure New Zealand REW’s (red eyed whites) and will be ready for the table at 8 weeks, and tanned into gloves and hats a few weeks after that.

In the meantime it’s great watching the 6 of them bounce around and constantly pester their mother for a moment with a teat. If I were her offspring, I’d be careful how far I push a doe like Beatrix. Be warned little bunnies!

Quick note: the little chocolates under the cage are turds and make great green manure. The rabbits product a few gallons per week and we’re running out of room. If you’re interested in some free fertilizer for your grass, veggies or flowers, come by and pick some up.

Newest farm member

Back in December, during some of the busiest times this house has seen, we adopted a shelter dog. He came with the name Tristan (a reference from James Herriot) but we quickly changed it to Basil (more herb than Fawlty Towers).

He was rescued from the Six Nation reserve where he was born a mutt of German Shepherd and something else (the SPCA thinks Rottweiler). His energy level and temperament are great, but the cat would disagree.

At 5 months he still has a lot to learn (mainly to leave the cat alone) and I think he’s going to really enjoy all the time he’ll have in the summer garden.

basil

Not really legs, more like stilts.

Not really legs, more like stilts.

 

Quail Eggs for sale

We finally have our breeders and layers happily providing us with eggs. We’ve moved them indoors into “the barn” where they get all the light, heat, food and water they desire. As delicious as their eggs are, we can only eat so many. We are at 4 dozen a week and will soon (January) be at maximum capacity of 220 eggs per week. We are offering eating quail eggs at $4.00/dozen or $7 for two dozen, and $10/dozen hatching eggs.

Eating eggs are available every day of the week, but hatching eggs must be ordered at least 5 days in advance. If you’re interested contact us, or txt me. For those who don’t know, we are located in north west Toronto but can do pick ups in Hamilton as well.

After Christmas we will also have live quail for sale from day olds, up to 6 week olds.

Muscovy Ducks Full Grown (video)

It’s a little hard to believe that these ducks (drakes, if you look under the hood) were only hatched in late August. The video probably doesn’t do them justice when it comes to illustrating their enormous size.

Up next, pheasant? Turkey? Ostrich?

Rabbit Litter Photo

Edit: sadly we lost the litter to the cold last night. 30 more days for the next litter now.

When a doe has first kindled, you have to be careful she doesn’t spook. If she does, she may eat her young as a defence mechanism. I guess she thinks it’s safer for them in her belly rather than in the hands of a predator?

The above is the excuse I’m using for the poor quality photo of the kits. In a few days we’ll have a proper look and get some good photos of them. Until then, these little pink sausages will have to stay where they are, in their mother’s fur.

SAMSUNG

Cat & Mouse

The cat always brings her victims back to the house and parades them around to show off her victories over the local birds and mammals. Most of the times the birds are still alive so we expedite the suffering and give the cat the now dead “toy” back. Yesterday she brought a mouse in unharmed, and played with it for a while in the basement. I’m sure the mouse was acting in self-defence, but if you watch the video it looks like the mouse is playing back. Midway through the video, the mouse went up my leg and then ran off, disappearing into one of the basement rooms.

The morning after, we found their play-date had come to a tragic end for the mouse. Later in the morning, our cat started to bring back baby mice from outside, one by one, gently in her mouth and left them on the back doormat.

The cat's new family.

The cat’s new family.

I think the cat’s intent was to kill the mother to lay claim to the pups to keep as her own. It all started to make sense: we told her earlier last week that she was fixed and she’s been taking it kind of hard.