Looking for Chicken Dinner

Sometimes I’m a wimp . . and I’m always a wimp when it comes to setting the traps. They scare me and I just almost refuse to mess with them but often, it gets dark before Vince gets everything done and he doesn’t keep the traps set. They need to be set every night and we’ve not been doing it but I’m seeing more and more tracks in the sand around the coop so I’ve put a trail cam out there.  Last night I finally got some pictures of critters.

A Big Critter

A Big Critter

This one seems to come around every evening. He would probably say he’s already been “caught” and we celebrate the anniversary once a year!  :)

Seriously, I think these guys come around most every night and I detest them!

Raccoon

Raccoon

Here’s a tail . . maybe a cat? It isn’t a raccoon tail but I’m not real sure that it’s a cat either.

Some Critter

Some Critter

If you look at the far right side of the above picture, and compare the same position in the photo below, you’ll see a critter going out into the woods.

The Critter Leaving

The Critter Leaving

I don’t think it’s a raccoon either . . not sure what it is.

This is why we build our coops like a fortress . . to keep the hungry critters out!

 

 

 

The Incubator Story

Dare I tell you that I’ve ordered yet another incubator? Don’t get excited! Don’t call in the men in their clean white coats just yet . . please hear me out!

The first incubator I ordered was the Farm Innovators 4200.

Incubator

Incubator

It had decent, though not great ratings. It has the egg turner and the fan. The problem with it is that it does not have a thermostat but you have to keep tweaking the little temperature knob, which is so sensitive that I barely touch it and it raises or lowers the temp 3 or 4 degrees and with eggs, they really need to be kept at very close to the exact temp (99.5º).  I am honestly checking on it and making adjustments 20 or more times per day and getting up 5 or 6 times during the night. I called the company this morning and the guy was nice but not very encouraging. He pretty much agreed with all the problems I’m having and had no solution so this baby is going back as soon as the new one arrives.

The house temp fluctuates a little. We don’t need the heat or the air on right now. It may be 65º in the house early in the morning when the outside temp is in the 40′s, and during the early afternoon, when the outside temp is in the mid 80′s, my inside temp may be 74º.  At neither point do we need the air or the heat but those fluctuations in the house temp are affecting the temp in these incubators and without them having any kind of thermostat . . it’s just frustrating as heck.

The second incubator .. well, for the sake of keeping myself out of trouble, let’s not talk about the second one and let’s just skip to the third one. I will say that second incubator has a thermostat and is pretty much “stick the eggs in and 21 days later, get the chicks out!”  It even knows that on day 18, it should stop turning the eggs! Too bad it only holds 7 eggs and too bad the bigger model would require a mortgage on the house to afford it.

The third one is this setup.

Incubator

Incubator

It’s the Little Giant with the egg turner and we added the fan. It’s almost the exact same setup as the Farm Innovators but I’m having much better luck keeping the temp regulated. This one is also much easier to get water into the “trough” for keeping the humidity right.

This morning I was about at my wits end with that Farm Innovators incubator so Vince got involved. He did some research and we ended up going with the Hova Bator Genesis 1588.

Incubator

Incubator

I didn’t get this one in the first place because it’s a little more expensive and it wasn’t Prime and I was too cheap to pay for shipping but . . I’m sorry I didn’t. This is the incubator that was recommended more to me by other hatchers, it has a digital thermostat and is preset at 99.5º and can be adjusted but shouldn’t need any adjustments. I ordered it through Incubator Warehouse and the guy I spoke to was so nice and helpful. Isn’t it a sad state when we’re surprised that we get a nice and helpful person on the phone?

He told me that the incubator would probably go out tomorrow but when I explained my problem with the current incubator, which is full of eggs, he told me he would make sure it got shipped today and within about 10 minutes of completing the transaction, I received the tracking info that it had been shipped.

When it arrives, I’ll let it heat up and stabilize and make sure it’s working correctly, then transfer the eggs from the first incubator and hopefully . . everything will go smoothly. This is the incubator that has the black copper marans in it. I’m going to be so sad if those don’t hatch. But, if they don’t hatch, I’ll find some more and try again.

 

Turkey Eggs

Yesterday morning I called the Game Warden folks to find out about the turkey situation.  It was late in the morning before an actual game warden called me back and he was very nice. He explained to me that we couldn’t take eggs from a wild turkey’s nest, and they preferred that we not release our domesticated Rio Grande turkeys into the wild but if one or two of them escaped and decided to live in the woods, we weren’t going to jail. He told me that if you raise the turkeys with the chickens, they’ll just think they’re one of the chickens and even if they escape during the day, they’ll probably come back to the coop at night.

I called the lady I had met at Tractor Supply and she came over and brought 17 eggs. Actually, there were 18 but one was cracked in the carton.

Turkey Eggs

Turkey Eggs

They are big!  She and I will split the babies, if any hatch out.

Incubator #3

Incubator #3

It has some Bielefelder eggs (the darker brown ones), some Australorp eggs (the lighter brown) and two Easter Egger eggs.

All of the eggs have arrived.

 

The Spy in the Back Yard

We don’t usually keep a trail cam by the chicken coop but I’ve been seeing some pretty big tracks back there so I put a camera up. There’s an amazing amount of wildlife around that coop!  First, there have been reports of a wild woman in the neighborhood.  I have proof . . she’s in my yard!

Trail Cam Image

Trail Cam Image

All the strawberry hulls, the carrot skins, the apple peelings .. everything goes to the chickens so I was out sharing treats with them. I would have smiled had I remembered there was a camera there!

Every wild woman needs a wild man and the camera caught a glimpse of him too!

Trail Cam Image

Trail Cam Image

I said “Vince, why are you checking eggs in the bantam coop?” Those chickens are too young to be laying!  He said “It’s just a habit! Stop spying on me!”  The first chickens on this side of the coop were the original bantams and they did lay and then the four red hens were on this side and they were laying but now that the young bantams are in there, they aren’t laying but it’s just habit to open that door and check eggs.  I do the same thing.

As far as real wildlife . . of course, nothing came by last night since I had the camera out there and ready to see them.