30 November 2016

Post-Thanksgiving post

Time flies when you keep yourself busy ... it's already the end of November??  That means my "baby" has had another birthday - he's 23 now.  Wow.

We hosted a small Thanksgiving here, with hubby's parents coming down.  I roasted a Muscovy duck, gifted to us by Frank and Caroline back when I helped them wrangle and castrate piglets and picked my three up.  I think that was September.  Along with the duck, I baked two decent sized sweet potatoes, then steamed some broccoli florets (store-bought, my plants are yet big enough to feed us) and opened a can of cranberry jelly.  Simple but very tasty.
roasted muscovy duck
That's the china platter I intended to send Feyd off on ... he would have filled it just a bit better, I think, but we were denied that by some nighttime predator.

Speaking of nighttime nuisances, egg thief number SIX has been trapped and dispatched.  This one tripped the smaller trap a couple times before finally getting caught in the larger of the traps.
possum number six caught
This one is pretty big, but still acted juvenile by opening its mouth and hissing at me.  I guess it grew up big from eating all those eggs ... the traps are set again, although one of the Flashy Girls sprung the larger trap again, thinking she should lay an egg next to the ones in the back of the trap for bait.

I put enough of a dent in the possum population to load up the incubator on the 1st, and chicks hatched on the 22nd.  I helped three out of the shells, as I had too many eggs in one plastic strawberry basket, but one chick was too weak and one had a dislocated hip, so eight chicks made it out of the incubator to be weighed and put in with Pollux.  The eight weights were: 1.2; 1.3; five at 1.4; and one at 1.5 ounce.  In the week just past, we lost two chicks due to smooshing (it's a technical term), likely from Pollux.  He didn't immediately adopt this group, and it's probably because I didn't take his last chick away soon enough for him to start feeling lonely and inclined to adopt any little ball of fluff.  We even had to set up the heat lamp and a tub of pine shavings for the chicks ... and of course there is always at least one who hops out immediately then cries about being alone and colder.

I weighed the remaining six chicks last evening, and had three weigh in at 1.9; one at 2.2; one at 2.4; and one at a whopping 2.6 ounces.  Next week I will be certain to have a paper bag I can fold closed to weigh them again!  The heat lamp provides just enough light for them to jump out of the plastic strawberry basket.  I know the original eight were five Bigfoot x Feyd's Daughters; two Azar x the Sisters; and one Tiny x the Pretties (the largest, also the surviving one I helped out of its shell).  I don't know which died.

Another note on those plastic strawberry containers: they don't even hold in/out newly hatched chicks.  I used four with the lids cut off to (try to) separate the eggs in the incubator, and it was not long after drying off that the chicks were up and over the sides of the baskets.  Lucky for me, I did not cut off ALL the lids on my stack of baskets, so I can try again with the current batch cooking in the incubator.  I had five breeding groups' eggs in there for that hatch, and this time I limited it to only three breeding groups (Azar x the Sisters; Tiny x the Pretties; and Azar x the Flashy Girls).  No eggs from Feyd's Daughters this time around, as one of the Daughters is broody and has been since the 17th.  She still has that crazed look in her eyes, so she may go the distance despite this being the wrong time of the year for them to go broody.  (NB: Lengthening daylight hours usually triggers those hormones, along with upping egg production just prior to broodiness.)

I'm also working on starting seeds, but I'll save that for another post.

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