A dose of cuteness

Anyone ready for an awesome dose of cuteness?? Our place is overflowing with cuties right now!
Let’s start with the youngest babies.
Our quail all hatched Wednesday night! I was out of town for work and I asked Scott and Tanner to check on them. Scott called back and said the entire incubator was crawling with babies.

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If you can’t really tell their size because they just look like a mass of brown and yellow here’s an up close picture of a cutie pie.

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This hatch was so much more successful than our last one I attribute it to the freshness of the eggs and how well the parents were fed. I’m not sure how many eggs hatched but so far we’ve only lost 1 quail!

Our 4 baby ducks and 2 geese have outgrown their inside brooder so we moved them outside today. We put the 4 ducks into the duck pen in the corral.

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The older ducks were not very happy to have visitors in their pen they stared at them and squawked loudly. Everyone else just surrounded them and stared at them. We’ll put the older ducks in with them later tonight and keep an eye on them. We’re also going to put a heat lamp in with them just to make sure they are ok through the night.

The 2 geese, which we think are male and female because one is about twice as big as the other. We put them in the front yard with the Muscovy ducks.

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The geese were not very happy about the move and the separation from the ducks. They haven’t stopped screaming since we put them outside. They got the Muscovy all worked up and even sent our mama duck into a tree to check things out in a safe place.
The last couple of days mama has been locked down on her eggs but this got her off of them to check things out.

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We’ll see if they actually hatch. She’s been sitting on them for quite awhile now so we aren’t really sure what’s going to happen with them.

Our 4 baby chicks have been holding their own with all the animals in the corral. They are 2 and a half months now and the big chickens pick at them a lot but the babies are way faster than anyone else in there.

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Happy Earth Day!

Ok I hate to sound totally cliche but everyday is Earth day with us. We try to recycle, reuse and reduce as much as we can. Every day we try to do our part to do what we can. Yes most of the time it feels so insignificant, I mean we are just one small family, but if everyone did just a little maybe it would make a big change.

It’s been a pretty chaotic week and I’ve been holding out on some really cute pics!

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These adorable little girls are the newest edition to our home. 2 African geese 2 black Swedish ducks and 2 Cayuga ducks.

Our baby chicks finally are ready to go outside.

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Unfortunately some sort of bug or something passed through them and we lost three in the past 4 days. I’m very hopeful that they are stable now they all look pretty good and seem healthy and eating well.

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Right now they are in the chicken run separated from everyone else. We want the other chickens to get used to the babies before we put them all together. Right now none of the animals seem to mind them so hopefully when they are let loose with the rest of them the older hens will teach them the ropes without too much bullying.

The front yard ducks, the Muscovy ducks, are doing great! I feel like I’m on an Easter egg hunt every day because they keep trying to hide their nests. I noticed one duck wasn’t getting up much and when she finally moved she was sitting on 9 eggs!! The one duck that I am letting hatch a clutch this year is doing a great job keeping her eggs warm she only gets up a few times during the day when it’s warm to eat and drink.

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She has 25 eggs under her! In a week or two they should be hatching!

I also set 120 quail eggs into the incubator yesterday! We are going to have babies everywhere!!!

Baby ducklings are on the way!!

I’m so proud of my mama duck! She finally decided to sit on her nest. It only took 25 eggs to get her to stay. If you remember they will usually sit when they have between 12-18 eggs but it took her a little longer to commit to it.

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Now she stays on that nest all day and all night rain or shine. She comes off of it shortly for food and water and then runs right back to the nest. It takes 35 days for the Muscovy ducks to hatch. I’m thinking it will be the beginning of May!

While she’s been on this nest the other ducks have been trying to start their own clutch. But I keep collecting their eggs because we can’t handle that many ducklings. Well last week they quit laying their eggs and I figured it was just because I kept picking them up. I’ve read that if they aren’t able to have a clutch of eggs they will stop laying so I figured that’s what happened. Until we noticed a dozen eggs hidden behind a tree earlier this week! Those girls are so smart hiding eggs from me I’ll have to be careful and keep an eye on them!

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I took a delivery of 4 dozen quail eggs to the farm store today because the Vintage Press Restaurant requested them for this weekend. If you are not familiar with them it is one of the fancier restaurants in the area. We are very excited about being able to provide them eggs. So if you’re in the area check them out and get the quail eggs 🙂

When we got home we noticed a swarm of bees in our tree!

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We think they are our bees and they split the hive or they left their hive. Hopefully they split it since we were planning to get another one this year anyway. Just have to figure out how to get them out of the tree and into the box. YouTube my friend I hear you can teach me anything 🙂
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Tough decisions

It is with great sadness that I am removing the French Angora page on our site. After many attempts to remedy my allergies including lots of Benadryl and even respirator masks I just couldn’t pluck a rabbit without spending the rest of the night knocked out on Benadryl. I wasn’t able to give the angoras the attention they deserved so I decided to give them back to the breeder I got them from originally. We were happy to help her out with her business and have appreciated her mentorship over the past year and a half with the angoras. Thank you Alexandria from Elemental Ranch for all your help and support!

On a happier note our Muscovy ducks the stars of our Duck Dynasty are about to have a little clutch of babies!!

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She is up to 14! And if you look closely she has started collecting feathers and twigs to line her nest. Muscovy ducks will start sitting on their eggs once they collect 12-18 so she’s right in that window! I can’t wait!!!

Our quail are almost at full production! We have been getting 12 eggs a day from our 13 hens.

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We haven’t had any problem with too many eggs thanks to this recent article in the Fresno Bee.
http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/03/17/3828184/central-valley-farmers-see-huge.html
We can’t get enough duck and quail eggs to the local farm store where we sell before they are sold out.

And this weekends flower arrangement includes purple sage flowers, Icelandic poppies and bachelor buttons.

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A Beautiful Life FARM?

My friend asked for a farm tour this week after she bought a dozen eggs from me. “It’s not really a farm” was my response. I just don’t want people to get their hopes up about this big fully functioning farm. It’s an acre and a third with some raised beds and some animals is how I see it. Sure small farms can produce A LOT of food on an acre and a third. Some small farms can feed whole communities on an acre and a third. We don’t do that. We play with our goats. We grow some food. We sell some of it but we feed most of it to the goats. They really are happy goats 🙂

Well this weekend really helped us start to feel a little bit more like a farm. We were able to finish some of the projects we’ve been working on for quite awhile. Like the corral :

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See that bottom rung that Buttermilk is leaning against? We finally finished that after a year!!! Took us 10 minutes lol!
We also added sod to the bunny barn.

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And we finished the yoga circle!

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Doesn’t it look amazing?

We took a couple of new soap bars to the KMK Organic Farm Store. It was so exciting to see that we were almost sold out of the Plain Jane Oats And Honey. As soon as we thought we were caught up we’re going to need to start making more back stock! We also dropped off a couple dozen duck and quail eggs to start selling there. During this drop off I also slipped in a couple bouquets of flowers to see if they sold.

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The next day the store manager text me saying they sold out of our flowers in two hours and asking for more of them. What a great feeling it is to watch people really enjoying the things we’ve made.

This morning we all had a great laugh at one of our ducks that decided to perch in our olive tree.

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All of the other ducks were really mad they couldn’t figure out how to get up there with her.

And lastly the weekend flower arrangement. Since most of the flowers went to the farm store I went with a simple but elegant display of Icelandic poppies.

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Our first real rain!

We are officially in the driest year of recorded history for our area. It’s the middle of November and we haven’t stopped wearing shorts out in the garden and sweating when we work outside on the weekends. So when the weather forecast calls for rain even if it’s just 30% it’s all anyone is going to talk about for that week. Well it sprinkled last night and we woke up with a wet driveway and clear blue sky’s. This is how our rain has been, small raindrops that sneak in at night and leave before we wake up. We were really hoping for some measurable rain this time.

Then this evening the sky opened up and the wind blew in and we have been having a very hard downpour for the last hour. The goats were not thrilled about this strange water falling from the sky but the ducks sure loved it! We haven’t finished roofing the rabbit barn so it’s not quite water tight but it’s fully covered and I think everyone will be fine in there.

One of our big accomplishments to cross off the to do list last weekend was building the actual quail tractor. We made it entirely out of scrap we had around the house. Thanks dad for all the random stuff you find us 🙂

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We combined the quail from both rabbit cages into this portable tractor that we will move around to different parts of the field so they can graze on the grass and weeds. We also give them plenty of feed to avoid fights. There was a little bit of a pecking order establishing when we combined the two groups but everyone seems to have handled it pretty well. I’m sure the quail were pretty happy in their new home during this storm.

Tractors!!!

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No not like the John Deere type or like our little huskie (the husqvarna riding lawn mower we like to call a tractor) but like quail tractors! Ok we know they are just two rabbit cages but our quail are very happy to be in them and we are so happy to have them out of the house!

In the next couple of days we plan to actually build them a tractor out of our old chicken run.

We had to remodel the chicken run because the goats kept jumping on it.

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This is the old run the goats and sheep wrecked but with some new material it’s going to make a great quail tractor!

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And this is the new chicken run on the back of the chicken coop so the chicks have some extra space when they are inside. We let them out most of the time but give them some time inside when Buttermilk starts to get to pesky and picks on them!

And some happy quail!

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Quail updates!

We now have 42 quail! The 60 eggs that Pete incubated for us had the first hatch of 11 then ours hatched 26 and the next day Pete got 15 more! 10 of them didn’t make it as much as I tried to get them to eat and drink they just had no interest in it. Most of the ones we lost came from the batch of 60 which weren’t that healthy when they hatched. They were all supposed to be jumbo brown coturnix quail but 2 turned out to be Texas a&m quail which are all white like this little guy
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They start out all yellow and when their flight feathers come in they become white. Speaking of flight feathers its amazing how fast they grow! The flight feathers are already coming in! One of them jump/flew out of the brooder the other day and again today when I was cleaning the brooder. I usually let the dogs hang out with me during this but I’m glad I didn’t this time! The other thing from the batch of 60 is that they weren’t all jumbos like they were supposed to be. 20130915-133243.jpg
I’m not sure if you can really see the difference in sizes in this picture but they are about half the size of the jumbos. I’m pretty disappointed with this breeder and won’t be leaving very good feedback for them.
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But we did get Goldie out of that clutch and that might have made it all worth it! Isn’t she so cute! She looks like she has a pretty little yellow mask on her eyes. And she is the loudest singer of them all (I’m not really sure if this is a good thing especially since she will stay in Tanner’s room as his newest pet) but she sure is cute! Well we’re not really sure if she’s a she but we can hope 🙂
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Baby birds!

Yesterday we had our first clutch of 50 quail eggs hatch at our friends house. There were actually 60 eggs to start with because they packed extra. 11 of the eggs hatched and they aren’t in the best of shape. A couple of the babies have splayed legs and more than likely won’t make it. There are 3 that look pretty bad but the other 9 look like they’ll be ok. When they hatch like this it’s usually because their parents were malnourished. That can probably account for the low hatch rate as well.

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Starting around 7pm last night our clutch of 104 began hatching. We just took them out after letting them dry in the incubator and counted 26 with 1 doing very poorly. We put that one down so it wouldn’t continue to suffer. So now we have 36 baby quail out of 164 eggs. Not the greatest hatch rate but a very manageable number! I left the unhatched eggs in the incubator and will give them another day or two to see if any more hatch.

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Aren’t they so cute!!!