The farm has quite literally been springing to life over the past few weeks. The perennials are coming up, as is the first seeding — though some seedlings were killed by frost and had to be reseeded. But where we are really seeing the difference is in the animal pens. Above is a photo of our pride and joy — mama hen and her chicks, hatched right here on the farm.
This the farm’s first attempt (since I have been here) at hatching our own chicks. When we noticed that some of the hens were becoming broody, Judy created a “maternity ward” in the side room of one of our coops. A hen and a dozen eggs were moved in. We tried to leave her alone over the following weeks, but couldn’t help peeking from time to time to see how she was doing. Last week, ten of the eggs hatched. We are thrilled to have baby chicks without having had to either purchase them or brood them ourselves (with the help of a propane brooder, that is).
Below is a photo of some other chickens who have recently arrived on the farm. These were bred from a mixture of heritage breeds at Lazy Plum farm, northeast of here, and hardened off at a friend’s place in Saskatoon. At the age of three weeks, they were hardy enough to be brought out to their new home. We are very happy to have them.
We do have some new commercial chicks too … the most recent avian additions to the farm. Affectionately known as the “fat white birds,” these ones do make fabulous roast chicken. We just have to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t eat too much, and that we butcher before either their heart or their legs give out. Below are Judy and Robin admiring them and welcoming them to their new home.
In the barnyard, the first calf of the season was born a few weeks ago. He’s a shy calf, and the bull is very protective, so it took a few tries for me to get a good picture. Our milk cow is also due to calve sometime soon, a birth which we are awaiting with great anticipation!
Six weanling pigs have recently arrived on the farm as well. They are a beautiful mix of colours and markings and have acclimatized well to their new home. It won’t be long before they are feasting on weeds!
Rounding out the new life are Johnny’s honeybees — whom I haven’t been brave enough to photograph! — and the kittens that Catness (aka Little Kitty) had last week and has successfully kept hidden from human eyes. The farm is definitely filling up!
In the midst of the new life, though, we remember the two farm creatures we lost to old age last winter — Colonel, a retired work horse who was over 30 years old, and Lily, a mama cow who gave her all to the calf of her old age, whom Judy aptly named Isaac.