Hey guys! It's Karami back with a check in post from the farm! Winter is slow around these parts for exciting news, all the cows do is stand around and eat…and cow patties. Lots of cow patties.
December was a crazy month for me with holidays, work and the cold temperatures! But for the animals on the farm they have settled in with the cold and they have been comfortably quiet. The temperatures over the last few weeks have been between -20 and -35 degrees Celsius without the wind chill. That's pretty cold for the Calgary area! The neighboring quarter section of land has let their herd of cattle in there to graze and it seems that Lulu and Fifi are enjoying the new company.
Fifi and Lulubelle still have me puzzled if they are bred or not. My best guess is Lulubelle is not pregnant as she seems to be going into heat every 21 days. I'm still hopeful for Fiona though. If bred, they will be 6 months pregnant January 19 and the calf will only be the size of a beagle dog. So I think I'll have to wait a few more months to be able to visually tell if they are indeed bred.
If you are now asking “Karami, why don't you just get the vet to check them?” I have considered this but that would be a waste of $200-300 for me, because either way I am keeping the old hay burners even if they are not pregnant and we will just try again and get them bred again later this summer. I'll be sad we may not have babies to raise, but these girls are pets and not raised to make money. Their would be due date is April 28 of this year.
While on my vacation with my family in the U.S I had to visit a few pet stores to see what goodies they have. There are wonderful little feeders I found that are for rabbits, but it is perfect for oyster shells for the chickens! I also bought some ceramic eggs in different colors, I hope that these will help the new layers get the hint. The chickens have stopped laying for the winter and I am happy to give them a good break as I can't collect the eggs before they freeze solid in this weather anyways. I did however buy a beautiful 52 egg incubator with automatic turner and a large brooder heat plate that can heat up to 50 chicks. So I'll be doing some great hatches in the next few months from my own hens as well as a batch of silkie mix chickens to add some diversity.
The main way cows stay warm is digesting food, and my cows must have been toasty as they ate SO much the last 3 weeks. Since returning from holidays the weather has warmed up enough to make chores a bit easier. I've set up a third round bale for the girls to start on this week, hopefully with the milder temperatures their eating will slow down a bit, but ill do whatever it takes to keep the cows happy and healthy.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Magpie Farm as we hatch new breeds of chickens, hatch our own little surprises and take bets on who's actually pregnant!