Monday, May 21, 2007

Farm Losses

Reputed as good mothers, our Bourbon Red turkeys have had big progeny in the previous years. Our works was limited to catching the entire family after the chicks have hatched and to locking them up in the chicken house, until the chicks learn to fly. Otherwise, the mothers nest on the ground and get killed by racoons.

This year, within days one of nesting females was reduced to a pile of feathers, leaving nearly two dozen orphaned eggs. This was a call to action, so the remaining two were gently lifted from their nests in the darkest hour of the night, and moved to the safe haven of the chicken house - eggs and all. They are not smart, but something that disrespectful had definately registered. They took off the next morning. Three more relocations later, and the turkeys have finally agreed to nest in the chicken house. Some of their eggs got bad in the process, and chickens and guineas were sneaking in the nest.

This has happen before, many times - when birds put their eggs under another bird. The resulting medley of chicks is a true testimonial to diversity: turkeys raising chickens and guineas, and chickens returning the favors! It is fun to watch how each different kind of chick searches for its identity when mixed in with other kids. It takes them a while, but they all become who they are meant to be and leave the little tribe of their brothers and sisters to be with their own kind.
This time, only two chicken chicks hatched. Both mothers got busy mothering and fussing. While I was busy with the goats, they lost both babies to a hawk....... So much for all that work.
This is truly the Year of the Goat at our farm.


Mammy said...

I found your blog while reading up on permaculture and the '100 mile diet'. Keep up the good stuff!!

Added you to my blog links, hope its OK.


Arina said...

Well, sure, of course! I am glad to share the snippets of this lifestyle - it is easy, beautiful, fun, we are talking Quality of Life ... and, oh my, I just caught myself wanting to become a full time goat hearder. I have two Masters' degrees, so you can imagine the leap!