The Word-Nerd’s Homestead – Fall 2021: Blog Edition #7 – General Update

Welcome back to the Homestead, Happy Readers!

I hope two homestead updates in a row doesn’t bore you, but I had a lot of stuff compiled. The last one was on the Grow-Out Run build that took about three weeks to get done, so all the blogging got delayed. Now, it’s catch up time!

This one is a general update of the other things that were going on simultaneously, like Chicken Batch #2, Ducky Duck moves, and other end of season things. Hope you enjoy!

Birb Update

Duck Grow-Out Pen

I still have yet to put hinges on the pallet door to the grow out pen, but I did get the outdoor duck brooder insulated and the baby ducks moved into it. Since doing it, the four ducklings have managed to ingest quite a bit of the foam-board. Hopefully it makes them float better rather than get sick.

The only way I know to prevent it is to put hardware cloth over it on the inside of the brooder, but then I won’t be able to get it back out when summer comes and I need it for a new batch.

So, I’m just going to hope they don’t commit Polystyrene Seppuku on me. Luckily, I know that it’s not poisonous because my original chicken flocks ate the heck out of it when they were in the brooder. I used it as a lid and they pecked out the underside without me even seeing it until I moved them. My main worry is that the ducks will get it stuck in their craw and not have room for actual food! I’ll be getting them outside on warm days in the next little while, though, so they should offset that with some grit and help the process of ‘defoaming’ along.

Have I ever mentioned that birds are stupid? I have? Well, it’s worth repeating… often.

Chicken Brood #2

My second batch of eggs began hatching on November 3rd. Of the 41 I originally put into the incubator, only 32 were fertile on day 14. The hatch itself lasted three days. I lost two that pipped but died before getting very far along. Three others had a tough time getting out, so I had to help a bit. Later, two of them had outer toe deformities that I couldn’t rectify, so they died as well. 6 died in shell at some point. The final total was 22 healthy chicks. So, 22 out of 32 viable is a 68.8% hatch rate. Good enough for me!

I tried to use colored mini-zipties to mark the chocolate egg chicks from the rest, but they ended up falling off, or the chicks just jumped my cardboard wall in the incubator, so I gave up. No big deal.

I did managed to get a single Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chick (the dark one). The rest are similar mixes as the last batch. I do see a few with more Wyandotte colorings, but it’s faint. In the spring, I’ll be able to separate breeds and make sure I have pure lines, but for now, I’m just experimenting and going for pot luck… literally.

Last bits from the garden

The carrot patch was being raided by a squirrel or a rabbit, so I had to grab everything. I ended up with about a gallon of small to medium carrots. I went ahead and cleaned them and cooked them in the crockpot with some stew meat and some homegrown potatoes. The were bitter as all get out! I added some brown sugar to the stew after the first serving, but I haven’t had any left-overs yet. I may just skip it. I’d eat it if I were starving, but (as my scale can attest) that is not the case currently.

Oh, and you might remember me talking about the ‘pumpkin’ I had on the garden fence. Well, turns out I screwed up and mislabeled or swapped the the plant. It was a gourd. I broke it open to save seed and they are definitely Bushel Gourds (bird house gourd) and not Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seed like I thought. That explains the lack of creases in the rind! LOL. It never necked down like the gourds are supposed to, so I just thought I had a failed pumpkin on my hands. I would have sworn it WAS a pumpkin I set out there. It was definitely my intention. Oh, well, you can’t get them all right, I guess! I got lost of seeds off of it though, and I’ll be planting a bunch more gourds next year for some bird houses! Yay! I hope to attract Martins to help with the mosquitoes around here.

We got our first frost on the 7th, so everything is door-nail dead now except for the volunteer tomato that I covered with the hoop house. It won’t survive a hard freeze, probably, but maybe it will last long enough for the tomatoes on it to ripen. Fingers crossed!

Welp, that’s about it for now. I’ll share anything interesting with you when and if it happens!

Thanks for reading!

Happy Reading, Prepping & Homesteading!

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HAPPY READING!

2 Comments

  1. My carrots were weird too. What’s the deal there? I still have a lot of them in the dirt, because I don’t want to know if they’re good or not. 🙄

    Congrats on the new birds. That must be cool to experience.

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  2. After reading up on it a bit, I think the bitter carrots has to do with the timing/temperature. I planted late, so they grew in the summer and that makes the terpenoids higher and the sugars slower to develop???

    Here’s a link to an explanation.
    https://www.hunker.com/13427432/what-causes-my-carrots-to-be-bitter

    TLDR: plant early and harvest before summer or plant late and harvest before frost.

    Yeah, baby chicks are fun. I’m finding that observing the breed / feather coloration is the most interesting part of raising your own. I’m learning new stuff each time I hatch a brood.

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