Several months ago, I was asked to speak at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Show in Orlando at the Disney resort during Fresh Week. Of course I agreed! So this weekend I'm in Florida at the show and I have to tell you that all the staff (or cast members as they call them here) have been just wonderful giving me white glove treatment and getting me where I need to be.
The probability of hatching an equal number of hens and roosters when you set eggs in an incubator is about 50/50 with a slight edge towards hatching more males. Since most people are interested in hatching only female chicks, or at the very least, hatching predominantly more females, wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to hatch improve your odds of hatching hens and not roosters? Well there is!
This week was all about our new baby chicks! They started hatching on Sunday night and continued into Tuesday morning, when I left for Texas, leaving my husband to take care of our new little balls of fluff in addition to the rest of our animals. I am happy to report that all eight Littles are doing great and almost ready to move into their brooder playpen. Enjoy this peek at our new additions!
My chickens love mealworms. In fact, they gobble them up at such an alarming rate that a few years ago I decided it would be more economical for me to try to breed my own. So I found a guy who sold them in bulk and bought a huge box of live ones. I was so excited about this new venture. After all, what could be better than a continuous, free source of healthy protein for my chickens?
This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, North Carolina. I had never been to Asheville, so I was really looking forward to the trip and it didn't disappoint. Although it was cold and windy - excuse me, it's mid-April! I could have stayed in Maine for this weather! - spring had definitely arrived and I had a great time. It so was much fun to reconnect with old friends and fellow bloggers (like Karen Durand Thompson from Lil Suburban Homestead), meet some new ones, wander through the booths and vendors, plus make some new contacts and talk about some new chicken products coming out soon. I had the opportunity to taste some great Southern cuisine too. I didn't have time to tour the Biltmore, but there's always next year! Enjoy this behind the scenes peek at the Fair!
Hatching fertile chicken (or duck) eggs in an incubator or under a hen is a fun, rewarding experience. If all goes well, after 21 days (28 for duck eggs) you should have healthy baby chicks popping out of the eggshells like popcorn! But things can go wrong. The hatch rate for incubated eggs isn't as high as for those eggs hatched under a hen, and for shipped eggs it's even lower. But there are several things you can do to ensure the best hatch possible.
Another week in Maine - with one foot solidly set in spring with the other still dragging through winter. Some snow, some warm temps, things sprouting indoors and out. Lots of mud, a bit of rain. It was a good week that culminated with my birthday on Thursday - which we celebrated at a local farm to table restaurant in Bangor called The Fiddlehead Restaurant that grows their own vegetables in season and raises chickens! - and a trip to Asheville to speak at the Mother Earth News Fair. Stay tuned for some photos from the fair next week, and enjoy this peek at this past week. Oh, and happy birthday to me!
Many incubators now come with turning trays and can be set to automatically turn the eggs. But I still get asked by lots of people attempting to hatch their eggs either in a homemade incubator or a model without a self-turning feature how many times a day the eggs should be turned.
We have seedlings sprouting, herbs on the windowsill and eggs in the incubator. The calendar says it's spring and time marches towards warmer weather, but unbelievably, we're expecting snow again next week. Hard to believe it's already April. I have three trips planned this month, five speaking engagements, and of course those eggs in the incubator will hopefully hatch! So things will be busy around here.
Fortunately, my husband stands in when I'm traveling and does a great job taking care of the chickens and ducks. And this spring, he'll be watering plants and turnings eggs too, it appears! I hope I timed the setting of the eggs right, so I'm home when they hatch, otherwise he'll be getting a crash course in setting up a brooder as well! While I am so honored and blessed to be able to travel and speak to audiences all over the country, I really do miss being home and the routine of my daily chicken chores. Enjoy this peek at our pseudo-spring week.
When we moved to Maine last summer, we were lucky enough to have a beautiful coop from Horizon Structures delivered soon after we moved in for our chickens and ducks. Because we live in the woods and have to worry about predators like foxes, coyotes, hawks, eagles, raccoon and fisher cats, we spent the next several weeks building them an attached run. I incorporated some neat features and lots of predator-proofing to keep our chickens safe and happy when we aren't outside with them and they can't be out free ranging.