Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Baby Chick Hatching From Egg

We finally caught one hatching on tape. Here you go! The action is 18 seconds into the video.

Thanks for watching

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day Old Baby Chicks

I took a little video of the chicks! We think baby chicks are the cutest thing ever! Sorry we are a little obsessed. Enjoy!

Thanks for watching!

Baby Chicks Video

Baby Chicks by the Handfull!

Cute chicks huh? Now focus. We will get back to them again soon....

The Halpern Homestead acquired a small stream this weekend. On Saturday we noticed a small leak coming from the ground around the water faucet outside the chicken coops. We didn't think much of it since much of the "workings" around here seem to be faulty. This leak ended up being extra faulty. That small leak turned into The Halpern Homestead Creak. 
This is where it started. Looks innocent enough, right? Just a small puddle. Follow me please.
It's hard to tell by the picture, but the water is flowing gallons per minute. It had flooded part of the meater's coop before I noticed it. 
After some careful trench work, the water was redirected into the meater's pasture field. It could use a little perking up. The grass was looking a little brown.
The webbed footed gang found the stream and a little pond that formed at the end. They were all having a nice swim until I showed up with the camera. I think they have a sonar detecter for 'puddles forming'. They responded faster than the fire station down the street would have, if we had a house fire. This stream was complicated by the fact that we are renting our home. We therefore cannot fix things that are broken or we could be held responsible. So we had to wait two days for the people to come out and fix it. They came out this morning while we were gone. Looks like they dug a pretty big hole, lots of tractor marks too. I would have liked to see what machinery they used to dig a hole that big.

Ready for some baby chicks?
We took pictures of each of them right after they hatched.
Chick 1
Chick 2
Chick 3
Chick 4
Chick 5
Now just some cute chick pics
It's amazing how different they all look considering they came from the same rooster and the hen.

That's it for now!
Thanks for Reading.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Guess what we have!!

Awesome day so far today! Kelsi and I went to the Spokane Farmer's Market this morning for a little bit. When we got home after only being gone for an hour, we heard a chirping noise. We weren't sure where the noise came from so we went to investigate. We discovered the source of the noise. The incubator.
We peered inside and this is what we found.
This is a baby chick from Jane's nest of 16 eggs that we posted about earlier. We found the nest in a field after she had been missing for weeks. This is the first egg we have ever hatched! Now we actually have genetic relationships on our farm! There are also a couple of eggs that appear to be cracking, which means that we will soon have more chicks! How cool is that?
Also today we had a couple named Jennifer and Jake come out to see our operation and to decide if they wanted to support our organic chicken business. They decided to purchase 20 chickens! We chatted and walked around for nearly an hour this morning, talking about everything from chickens to gardens and bees. It was a nice visit from some nice people. It is very refreshing to have intelligent conversations with people who share similar ideals as us. We keep meeting really cool people through our explorations into organic production. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Meat Chicken Update

After a short but exhausting search we found a better local organic feed source which is almost 5 dollars a bag cheaper! It was quite a journey, I was almost ready to buy a pallet of 45 bags to get the price we needed. That would have been a serious feed bill. We are so happy about this, feels like we have been paying an arm and a leg for feed. I posted a note on CL and received lots of helpful information and also made some new contacts, which will help later as we grow to a bigger as a family and a family farm.

On another meat chicken related note. Kelsi and I did a count tonight once all of the meat birds were in their coop safe and sound.We found out some pretty cool news. We started out with 40 baby chickens from the hatchery and we have 39 tonight! This is amazing success compared to the cornish cross breed we tried last time. The loss rate on the cornish cross was 20%! That cornish loss was only from them dying, no predation factors or anything like that. We have a 2.5% loss on the Delawares right now and we are pretty proud. I think this will be a good heritage breed for us to continue to raise. We also selected and marked some for breeding purposes. I should mention that the Delaware hen that we lost was the one Kelsi mention a couple posts ago. She passed away comfortably last night in a nice straw nest we made for her. 

We also have a customer coming out tomorrow to tour and make a deposit if they think we are as cool as we think we are. She said they were interested in 20 chickens! Sweet! Sounded like pretty good people too.

These are the chickens a couple weeks ago.

Delaware male
Red Star Male
A bunch of Delaware females
The field view tonight. All of the white dots are meat chickens out for their nightly stroll
Another smaller group down the field pasturing 
The garden is in full swing. So is Kels too!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Organic Chicken feed?

Kelsi and I have been buying organic chicken feed for several months now, and are very happy about that decision. However, I am adding up the feed costs for the meat birds to determine what they should sell for and I am more than disappointed.

So far our FREE RANGE organic chickens have eaten $6.80 worth of food a piece and they aren't even full grown yet. Add the cost of the chick from the hatchery, cost of our labor, and the processing and it seems that we are coming out even. How the heck are we to compete with the big boys. I am so discouraged right now! I want to be fair, but a fair price to us seems so much. How much would you pay for a whole organic chicken?

Another thought, I was thinking of buying whole grains and making our own mixture of chicken feed. Anyone do this currently? Any thoughts? Really struggling on this one.

Thanks for reading


Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Amazing Disappearing Hen

This is Jane. She is a Banty Aurcana. She has been missing for two weeks. She made an appearance today and I almost peed my pants! I thought that she was dead for sure. Today, we noticed Khma in the bushes and decided to see what she was doing. Sure enough, there was our silly Jane!

She was hiding 14 eggs. She wants to be a mommy so badly! However, since we kind of trampled the bush when we were checking her out, we decided to take her eggs into a roost in the coop and, hopefully,  Jane would still sit on them.

Although she looks interested in the picture.. she was not. She ran off quickly and returned to her original spot even thought the eggs were gone. 

We had one casualty... This poor little fella was stone cold when we began to take them to the coop and we knew that if it was fertilized, it was dead. Since this this the first time that we are going to be taking care of fertilized eggs.. we wanted to see what it looked like inside. 

Is that morbid?

I think this little fella is between 10 and 15 days along. I could be totally wrong though. 

I turned on the incubator about an hour ago. I am going to monitor it to make sure it is at a consistant temperature, before I stick those little buggers in there. 

In the meantime, I stuck the eggs under two of our broody hens. They were all to happy to sit on them. It was kind of cute actually. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Red Star Roosters and a Lame Hen

This last week, Mike and I went camping. The morning after we arrived home, I found one of our Delaware hens laying on her side on the floor of the coop. I went to investigate, and found that she couldnt walk. I placed her on the shelf above the other chickens, and gave her her own individual water dish and food. She appeared to be very thirsty and I was pleased to see that she was eating and drinking. After checking on her throughout the day, I noticed that she was still limping around, but with some help, she was able to stand. Although, I have noticed that the only way she can seem to keep her balance is by stepping on one of the feet. It seems very strange. She doesnt seem to have improved at all today and after going to close up the coop, I found a stupid Red Star Rooster beating her up! That little jerk.

Now, this was the side of the coop housing 'the meaters', those that we are raising for meat. So, after witnessing the assault on this poor defenseless hen, I decided to move her to the pet chicken side. I put her in a roost with some water and fresh straw under her. Does anyone have any additional ideas about treatment or any advice? All our chicks have been vaccinated for Marecks, so, I have ruled that out.. i just dont know what else to do. If she pulls through, I am going to make her a pet chicken and name her Gretchen.

On another note, I have noticed that our Red Star roosters are pretty aggressive! When I was trying to rescue Gretchen from the wrath of that mean rooster, I got my arm pecked really hard! The little jerk broke skin and only let go, when I smacked him.  I have noticed that the red star roosters are much more aggressive than the delaware roosters. We will not be keeping any of the red stars for breeding after this batch.

Also, after we arrived home from the honeymoon (that blog will come soon), we decided that the meaters were big enough to begin free ranging.

I think they really love it. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Most Wonderful Day of My Life

... Was the day that I married my best friend. 

I woke up at 6 am that morning. I got my hair done and my make up done and it still didnt hit me. I arrived at my parents house with a swarm of family and friends setting up and getting ready and I still felt the same. I began putting on my dress and watched my grandmother cry and began feeling a little bit that maybe something important was going on. After I was dressed and ready to see my future husband, my mom began telling me how proud she was and how happy she is that I am happy... then... I got a little teary eyed. It was time. 

It was more than time. After four and a half years, it was time to marry the man of my dreams. I know I am being gushy.. Ill try to tone it down. Everything  was perfect. Our photographer was awesome, the flowers were beautiful, the Rabbi did an amazing job, and I felt like a princess. Isn't that what every little girl dreams of? Oh, and Mike looked good too, I guess. ;-)
Our whole family came to to show their love and support. The photo below is of my wonderful parents and my beautiful sister with us. Our whole wedding wouldn't have been so incredible without them. Not only did they put forth their pocket books, but also their incredible amount of love and support. 

Mike's family was also in attendance and our day wouldn't have been complete without them.

We had a garden/farm theme at our wedding. Our centerpieces were gerbera daisies in terra cotta pots, mason jars filled with strawberry plants, and little wooden birdhouses. Since our dogs were in the wedding (no Im not kidding), we decided to go along with that theme too and had little puppy prints all over our cake!
We said our vows at my parents house and the place I grew up. They live on liberty lake and Mike and I thought it would be the perfect place for us to say our vows.
Didn't our chuppah turn out just lovely? Mike and his father made it and we used the Tallit that my father, myself, and my sisters were bar/bat mitzva'd in. I thought it added so much more symbolism to the day, because my parents are the best.

Can we do this every year?

Seriously, can we?

The girls were the other stars of the day. They both walked down the aisle withe the best man and maid of honor and dawned little daisies on their collars. It was completely appropriate.

Juliette was great throughout the day and I could tell she was excited that her mommy and daddy were finally married!
Khma was so funny. I think she was a little freaked out that there were so many people at the house. She wouldn't leave our side the whole day. Even when I was take a rest, she decided that it would be a good time to relax on my dress. So sweet. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

We have been very busy

I just wanted to say a quick hello. I know we haven't been posting much lately, but the wedding and honeymoon were amazing and we are just starting to get back to real life. I believe Kelsi will post about the wedding and all that later. I am going to do another photo update before I start my work rotation on friday.

I just wanted to plug a wonderful site I found a few months ago that I have been meaning to talk about. It's called the the perennial plate Basically this guy is going around to local businesses and farms that are doing things the way that they ought to be done and telling the world about them. It' really neat and I encourage you all to take a look and watch a couple episodes. Tell me what you think and also, tell the author what you think. You can even post comments about the videos without a username and all that junk. My favorite so far is about an organic farm called Loon Organics and the farmers market and CSA customers they supply.

Thanks for reading.

 More to come soon!