Friday, March 15, 2019

New Chicks

Every year or so we get new chicks. They are sooooo cute!

They look like fluffy furballs for the first few days. They don't really have fur. They have tiny feathers called 'down' that keep them warm while they grow their real feathers.

Do you want to learn more about feathers? Click on this link and you can learn all the parts of a feather and why some chicken have fluffy feathers and some have regular feathers.

We all love the new chicks!

Even Scout loves to keep his eye on them to make sure they are safe.

The chicks are about 1 week old

I clean out their box every day and put clean newspaper down. They make a mess!

The yellow chicks are Light Brahmas. When they grow up they will look like the black and white chickens.

We have some 2 week old chicks, too! We can't put new chicks and 2 week old chicks together. The older chicks aren't nice to the younger chicks. Children and people can learn to be patient and kind with people younger than them, but chicks can't.

These chicks are Red Stars, Black Stars, and Turkens.
They look funny when they have some feathers and some down. The red chicks are Red Stars and will grow up to look like the red chicken in the photo with the Brahmas. The black chicks are Black Stars and they will be black with some red when they grow up.

Can you see the funny chicken that has no feathers on her neck? She is a Turken. She will never grow feathers on her neck.

We have a lot of chickens, but they aren't all for us. We'll keep 10 chickens and the neighbor will keep the other 17.

How many chicks am I raising?

These chicks aren't growing up with a mama hen so they need someplace to stay warm. Do you see the light in the photo? That's a heat lamp. Chicks snuggle under the heat lamp to stay warm. They also have lots of space to wander around so they don't get too hot under the lamp.

I also put a wooden board over the top so they stay warm at night.
The board also keeps them from jumping out of the tub.

The indoor chicks have a heater, too.
It's the yellow box in the middle.
It doesn't have a light, it's called a radiant heater.
I like the Brinsea heater better than the light. I think it does a better job keeping the chicks warm, and it seems safer than using a heat lamp. It also uses much less electricity than the lamp uses.

Did you know that chicks need vitamins, too?
We add this to their water for about 2 weeks.
It helps them stay healthy and grow properly.

Do you have questions about the chicks? I would love to answer them for you!

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Last week Xander and I planted some seeds. I was so surprised to see them sprout fast! It usually takes about 7-10 days for seeds to sprout into seedlings. Ours grew much faster!

Last week I told you I was going to put the trays under some lights. Light helps seeds sprout.

Seeds need something to grow in (we usually use soil), water, and light.

The big plants on the left side of the tray are all pumpkins and squash.
The smaller plants on the right side of the tray are flowers.

Row 1 & 2 Ornamental Gourd Mix
Row 3 Big Max Pumpkins
Row 4 & 5 Jack O' Lantern Pumpkins
Row 6 Mini Pumpkins
Row 7 Zucchini Squash
Row 8 Yellow Squash

Row 13 & 14 Zinnia
Row 15 & 16 Broccoli
Row 17 Kale

Don't be like little chicks... choose to do something nice for someone younger than you!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Snow and Seeds

I hope you had a fun last week celebrating Dr. Seuss! He was a wonderful writer. One of my favorite stories is Scrambled Eggs Super.

I think some of our chickens look like some of the birds in Dr. Seuss' story! What do you think?

Sometimes it's hard to get good photos of the chickens who never seem to sit still unless they are sleeping!

It's also difficult to hold a chicken in one arm, and take a photo with my free hand!

I like chickens because they always seem happy! They like to cluck and scratch and look for seeds to eat.

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I thought spring was on it's way!
This is the mucky mess in the barnyard today.
It's snowy and mucky this morning. The animals are spending a lot of time inside the barn.

Most cows aren't treated as nicely as Echo.
Most cows have a shelter, but they don't have a warm stall inside a barn!
Even though it's snowing again today, I know that spring is on it's way. The chickens are laying a lot of eggs! That means we have we have more light every day.

The chickens start laying more eggs in the spring
because we have more daylight.
I collect about 1 dozen eggs every day.
I collect eggs every day during the spring and summer. Some winter days I collect none

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We get ready for spring by planting seeds inside. The little seeds grow into plants. They are big enough to plant in the garden right around Mother's Day.

We fill special trays with dirt.

Xander and his cousin want a lot of pumpkins this year!
They are both 4 years old.
He helped plant a lot of different kinds of pumpkin seeds.

What do you think Xander and his cousin are going to do with all the pumpkins that grow in the garden?

These are yellow squash seeds.
They look like pumpkin seeds.
Did you know that pumpkins are a type of squash?

These are flower seeds. 

These are flower seeds, too!

These are the seeds we planted.

Do you see the numbers we put on the rows?
We wrote the row number on the back of the packages so we would know
which row the seeds were planted in.
Then we put the lid on top of the tray.
This afternoon I'll set up my growing shelves with lights and put the seeds under lights. I'll show you how they are growing next week!

Planting a garden and raising animals takes patience and lots of work. It's fun to see how things grow!

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It's fun to have indoor animals, too. Eliza does some funny things! Do you have a pet that makes you laugh? How many pets do you have? We have four cats. Eliza, her brother Jasper, Stinky, and Midnight the barn cat.


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Friday, February 22, 2019


Once in a while we go out of town. We like to visit friends and family, go camping, and see new things.

We have people who take care of the farm and all the milking while we're gone. It's a lot of work and I make sure that they know how to do all the chores. Usually they have helpers. I usually do all the chores on my own.

I try to be efficient and do the right things at the right time so I don't have to spend more time than necessary. I have other things to do, too!

I prepare the udder wash in the kitchen. I like warm water to wash the udders with and there is no warm water in the barn.

I load the milker and the things that I need in the barn in the wagon. Sometimes I have to shovel the path from the house to the barn so that I can move the wagon.

Once I get out to the barn, I hook the milker up to the vacuum pump.

Then I take care of the chickens.

Today the chickens got a little treat of corn. They love it! Listen closely! Do they sound like happy chickens?

I also fill the chicken's feeder with pellets,

and fill their waterers so they have food
and water all day.

Next I fill all the breakfast buckets with the feed for the goats, cows, and sheep.
Every bucket has a label so that if I have helpers, they can help fill the buckets.

Echo's hook over bucket goes inside the barn on the fence where I milk her.
Echo gets liquid mineral in the container on the left.
The goats get a granulated mineral from the bucket on the right.
There are scoops inside the mineral bucket to help measure the right amount.
I have all sizes of scoops to help measure the right amount of food and mineral.

I don't want Echo to sneak into the feed room and find the goat's breakfast so
I have to hide them inside a feed barrel.
Echo loves to see if I've accidentally left treats out for her in the feed room.

I feed Midnight a few treats inside her little house.

Next I let Echo inside the barn and put the milker on her. Sometimes I have helpers.

Echo is such a nice cow that Xander can be right by her and she doesn't mind.

While the milker is going, I fill all the water barrels.  I put hay in Echo's feeder. Sometimes I have time to start cleaning out the stall, but I usually wait until Echo is eating outside the barn.

When Echo is busy eating the rest of her breakfast, I can clean her stall out.
Echo makes a mess in the stall every day.

I pick out all the manure.... 

and add some fresh wood shavings.
I don't want her to sleep in a mucky mess because then it takes more time to
clean her udder in the morning before I milk.

A lot of manure and wet shavings have to be taken out of her stall every morning!

I dump the wheelbarrow as far back in the garden as I can get.
Sometimes the snow is deep and I can't get that far out in the garden.

If the snow is deep, I dump the manure on the outside of the garden.
Next I feed Chuck, Curly, and Side Kick.

While they are eating, I bring in two bales of hay.
Helpers don't have to bring in hay.
Bales are heavy!

I stack the hay in the barn.
The goats and Echo eat about a bale a day.
If it's cold, they eat 1 1/2 bales of hay.
I like to have extra hay in the barn so if I'm in a hurry, or the snow is deep,
I don't have to bring in more hay.

Next on the list is milking the goats. I only milk River right now because
she gives enough milk for our family.

I also check the goat's hooves to make sure they are trimmed properly. Sometimes I have the extra chore of trimming hooves. Helpers never have to trim hooves!
River has a bucket feeder on the milk stand. The other goats have food out in the pen. When River is done, I dump her leftovers in the barrel so everyone can share what's left.

Do you think I'm done?


I still have to bring the milk in from the barn, put it in containers, and clean out the milker.

The milk gets put in jugs.
The jugs get put in ice water so the milk gets cold very quickly.
The milk lasts a long time if it's filtered, and cooled quickly.

Some days I separate the cream from the milk. That means I also need to clean the separator!

Helpers get a list so it's easier for them to do the chores while I'm gone.

I do chores at night, too. Evening chores usually take 15 - 30 minutes. Morning chores usually take 1 1/2-2 hours.

That's a lot of work! I love it! It keeps me strong and healthy. I hardly ever get sick. Our helpers like to come once it a while. They don't want this much work every day, but they love it once in a while.

Have you done something nice today? People do nice things for me when they help out on the farm! It's wonderful!

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fancy beautiful
First Grade Wonders Unit 4, Week 4