Friday, November 05, 2004

Growing chicks and growing in other ways

Our chicks are two weeks and two days old today. They are not cute and fluffy any more. That period goes by reaaally quickly when you're a chicken, especially if you're a Cornish-Rock cross. These guys, also referred to as broilers (guess why), grow at an astonishing rate. They are voracious eaters; in fact, we have to remove the feed from them for 12 hours at night or they could actually die. This is called "flip" and it is caused by them having heart attacks. Their legs also can not manage the rate of growth... too weak to sustain them... so they do a lot of sitting down, especially after having just eaten. It is pretty freaky, frankly. Doesn't seem right. I am inclined to not get this breed again. We have 25 of these, and had to separate them from the other birds after less than a week. They are slaughter weight at 6-8 WEEKS!! Isn't that nuts? These guys are the kind you buy at the grocery store.

We also have 25 Rhode Island Reds, 25 Black Australorps and 25 Buff Orpingtons. Together they make a pretty picture (one breed is white, one black, one buff yellow, and one reddish brown). Well, pretty except for the fact that they are gauky teenagers right now. ;-) They are too big for the Princess to hold at all now. Farmer Boy can manage, but it is a struggle.

This week we have been working on getting into our chore routine. Stephen and I are getting up at 5:00 and having time to drink coffee, talk, and read our bibles, then get working on inside chores. At 6:30, Stephen wakes the boy, he gets dressed and they go together to feed and water the chickens and freshen the litter (pine shavings). Then the boy feeds the dog and cat. We eat breakfast at 7:00 (theoretically... in practice it is later because it takes a half hour for the chores, which leaves no dressing time before!). We still need to tweak the schedule. School work starts at 8:00. As we get the rhythm of this, and get more animals, the Princess will also have her own farm chores.

Stephen has been working very hard on the chicken house/shed. It is awesome. I am going to try to throw some pictures online of the sequence. He is doing it all alone, with occasional assistance from the boy, and once or twice I hammered a nail or moved a board. Princess likes to walk around the work area talking to her 5 sisters. ;-) A three year old with a rich imagination.

I am trying to make all our bread myself. It is fun to try new recipes... tried a whole wheat Italian bread a few days ago. I need to work on my technique. I love to cook, but I am not very good at time management. To whit: we have technically lived here for two months and you would think the moving truck came a week ago. I find it very difficult to do the moving in, when the day-to-day stuff is so time consuming (homeschooling, cooking from scratch, no kid-free time). But we are getting there slowly. Sunday we have our first gathering here, in honor of the Princess' birthday. Most people coming will be here for the first time, so it would be nice to have it a little less, well, pig-sty-like. I mean, this IS a farm, but the only sty should be the one back behind the corral, not behind the front door!

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