The usual Monday morning garden view taken around the noon hour. Nice sunshine, a few centimetres of snow and cold.
A very nice looking ISA hen well into her second year, coming up to her third in April, likely laying good, nice feathers, well covered, clean undamaged comb and wattles, bright eye, good conformation.
Romeo, our peacock. He could not keep his head still so getting his photo was tricky.
We completed and sent off our order for day old chicks from Performance Poultry of
This one is for others to figure out and caption.
Carrying Place Ontario. Carrying Place is a little spot just west of Trenton. We will be getting breeds with exotic sounding names such as Exchequer Leghorn, Blue Andalusian, Spangled Russian Orloff, Salmon Faverolle, as well as more mundane names such as Ancona, Delaware, and Red Caps. The chicken breeds we are getting originated in the U.S., Italy, Spain, Russia (or perhaps Iran), England and in Canada. The Canadian chicken breed is the Partridge Chantecler which was bred in Alberta and admitted to the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1935. It was bred to be similar to Brother Wilfred’s original White Chanteclers accepted to the APA’s standard in 1921. The Partridge Chantecler originally was to be called the Albertan and the partridge colour was bred in so as to be less conspicuous when ranged in the open. We are acquiring small amounts of these various breeds because we are looking for a chicken that can do well under our conditions and management and will lay in excess of 200 eggs per hen per year, preferably closer to 300 and will have a good weight and good quality meat as a roasting fowl at the end of the lay. We are wanting a hen that will continue to lay well in the second or even third year, at least for 500 days. The first season should have a lay, as mentioned, of from 200 to 300 eggs per hen per year and in the second season should be around 150 eggs per year. We would like to see something like a 95 % lay rate at age 25 weeks declining to about 75 to 80 % after 70 weeks and perhaps 50 or 60 % by about week 120. Chickens begin to lay eggs at about 21 weeks. To obtain what we want will require a lot of careful record keeping and careful breeding. This is work enough when one is working with a single breed so the work is multiplied when we have several breeds. We will rapidly eliminate most of the breeds within a year or so and the work will then be a lot less onerous.
A Marans rooster. Slight frost bite to his comb but it still is quite impressive.
This Barred Plymouth Rock rooster was hatched here and is also quite impressive.
We are still working on our seed lists and will have to start getting together our planting soil and our seed trays and when the weather, at least the temperature improves to above the freezing, then we will also have to finish equipment repairs that were not completed in the fall. We need to finish buildings as well; our CSA pickup shed, a toolshed, possibly the woodshed, more small chicken houses, repairs to our dwellings and more. Seeding into the wooden trays will begin in March, the actual date depending on the weather. Planting and seeding directly into the garden is very much weather dependent but some things can tolerate poor conditions. Poor conditions for seeding include cool temperatures, cool and wet soil and not much sun.
This is the initial frame for our veggie shed. It is barely begun. A lot more work has to be done come spring.
The laying flock and the ducks are faring quite well as the days continue to lengthen and we get some warmish (around the freezing mark) temperatures. They will come outside if it is sunny and warm but don’t like cloudy and cold or if the wind is blowing. They also wander a lot farther when their is no snow. They do like to scratch and poke around looking for interesting tidbits of food.
The red-brown hens are the ISA hybrids and the white hens are the Leghorn breed. They are up to the south facing wall as when the sun is shining bright like this it does get nice and warm there.
Horses, cows and sheep are doing just fine. No lambs have arrived yet but are due soon, as is another calf. We have not had a time to work the horses at all since the early fall. We really should take the time to harness them soon and get them gradually used to working so that when we need work done they will not be a problem for us.
Nell and Marta standing soaking up the sun at opposite sides of the pasture.
Still busy each day splitting firewood and keeping the stove going nice and hot. We have a lot of wood still not yet in the shed but what we do have in the shed should keep us until the end of the heating season which, though, can run until into May if the spring is cool.