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Last Month On The Magpie Farm: Winter Prep and New Chicks!

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Whoops! It’s been a few weeks and have I been busy! Where do I start? Well, since I cannot pay my bills by raising farm animals and loving them unconditionally, I must have a full-time job. So I recently got a great job that I love, about a 45 minute drive one way from home. I am thankful for this job, and the people there are fantastic, but the days are long with the extra driving time added to an 9 hour day at work. So this leaves me little daylight hours to do chores, appointments, errands, homework with my boy, and groceries among many other things. So needless to say my weekends are spent 1) Sleeping in and  2) Catching up from what I didn’t do during the week.

The cows were artificially Inseminated on July 20th of this year. I am sad to report that I am 99% sure Lulubelle (the white one) is not pregnant. Fiona I think may be pregnant as she is definitely different since being AI’d. She lays by herself, she doesn’t moo as much, and she is more off by herself during the day. One of the signs of NOT being pregnant is the heifer going back into estrus every 21 days with loud mooing, mounting the other cows, etc. So like clockwork every 21 days I have been watching them like a hawk and sure enough Lulu is acting up right on cue. But there is something called a “False Heat” and it happens more in heifers as they have hormone levels off the chart their first pregnancy. So I am slightly hopeful that maybe this is just the case so I am not ruling it out yet. If they aren’t pregnant we will try again next year.

The chicks I hatched this summer are now around 10 weeks! I had put them outside at 6 weeks old in the chicken tractor. Right beside the big chickens so they had time to get accustomed to each other. Yesterday morning I put the chicks in the coop and locked the big chickens out. So the littles had tie to freely explore their new coop unafraid. At 8 pm after dark I let the big chickens in (They were SO ready for bed and a little perturbed that I had I locked them out!) They flew straight up to the roosts looked at the babies and settled in to roost on the other side too tired to fight. Perfect! This morning I went to the coop and opened the big door and propped it open all day. So if anyone needs to escape its easier.  The littles stayed inside eating and drinking. The big chickens would come in occasionally and give the little ones a few pecks to let them know who’s the boss and then leave. The rooster Magnum would just go in, look them over and then leave. I am so happy to finally get everyone in ONE PLACE! It’s so much easier as I have heated waterers, and hanging feeders that hold 3 weeks worth of food, so its much less work. I cannot wait to see which ones are hens and what color of eggs we will be getting next spring from these lovely girls!

Other than that it is the usual getting ready for winter here. I finally got 3 large hay bales delivered to the farm and are they large! 5 foot 6 inches tall – exactly to the top of my head.  A lovely mix of timothy, grass and a tiny bit of alfalfa. The girls were excited as they know what the hay means – Food!

I will keep you updated on the questionable babies to come and the pecking order of the coop!


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Welcome to Prairie Homesteading! I'm the resident writer of all things homesteading here on The Kitchen Magpie. I head up the care of all the animals out on the family farm in rural Alberta. Make sure to check out my Zoe's Best homemade dog treats section and have fun reading about all our homesteading adventures!

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