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Last Week At The Magpie Farm: According to the Animals, Spring is Coming Soon!

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Since January we have had record amounts of snow here. Couple that with high winds last week and we have had drifting snow making travel difficult and snow drifts 3 and 4 feet high in places on the farm. The animals have taken it well and don’t go very far from their food – no surprise from the cows, they have no sense of adventure.

The cows have been burning through the hay so fast this winter, I cannot keep up and may have to order another 1200 pounds of hay to make it through.  Lulubelle got a bit of a cold and was sick for a few days, uninterested in her crunchie treats. You know a cow isn’t herself when she doesn’t voraciously eat her favourite treats! She felt better the next day and is back to herself.With the ongoing (hopeful) possibility of the cows being pregnant, I have been watching closely. I have noticed that Fiona has been getting bigger in the belly, hopefully it’s not just because she is  gorging herself on hay. If I do not get baby calves this spring, I think I’ll have to buy baby goats to make up for the cows shortcoming.

Last weekend seemed the be the worst luck and bad timing of events I have had in years. It started with the snow drift filling infont of the barn and garages. Not a problem usually. Until my car drops it axle shaft and leaks all the transmission fluid out like the Nile river running through my garage.  I have access to a spare vehicle that was conveniently behind the largest snowdrift on the farm. So I had to hand shovel a hard packed snow drift that was 3.5 feet tall and 30 feet long. All on my day off  work. Thank goodness for great neighbors that helped me shovel for over 2 hours straight while the kids played in the snow.

After getting the spare car out, I still had to do the chores and check the animals. Upon an inspection of one of the auto waterers I  found no water in it – always bad news when its minus 15 degrees Celsius outside. So I opened it up and shut the water off to deal with later in the week. I thought about the water pipe that night and thought I had it backwards – you push the pipe down and lock it in to turn the water on. And to shut off the water and unlock the pipe you let it up.  The next morning water was back in the dishes and unfrozen. I figured out that the water pipe had somehow shut itself off. Must have been the resident farm ghost, nothing to see here.


After that my week settled in to the regular routine of working my paying job that is not half as exciting as the farm. Thank goodness! But with that time, I figured out in a panic that I have to start incubating my new eggs ASAP! I want to get the new silkie sizzle chicks outside by the beginning of May and I am hoping for a delivery later next week!! Until then i’ll have to make do with our eggs from the new layers.

As you can see we now have olive eggs ( bottom), turquoise/green eggs ( top) and normal brown eggs.

I came across a wonderful unexpected surprise in the chicken coop today!  I went to collect the eggs in the nest box and found in the darkest corner – one of my favourite hens – Pebbles! She was in the corner but she didn’t have the posture like she was about to lay an egg, she had her wings out to the sides of her and she was all fluffed up. I had to think a minute and it came to me – SHE IS BROODY! Which means she wants to sit on eggs and hatch them!  I grabbed one of the porcelain eggs and put it in front of her and she so delicately tucked it under her to keep warm. I am trying to not be so excited, because I know broody hens can be hit or miss. They can be broody for a matter of hours, or days and then decide they are done and give up half way through. I am happy to let her try as much as she wants to and let her raise some little chicks. I have given her food beside her in the nest box, though she didn’t want to eat – which is a good broody sign!

That it for this crazy week, check back in next week for an uppdate on our broody hen Pebbles!




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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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