Monday, June 14, 2010

Bird Swap Weekend

It was a very eventful weekend, with a friend of mine driving down a four hour trip to attend a bird swap with me. She arrived with a bunny, a baby raccoon, and a dozen hatching duck eggs for me to put into my incubator. It was so full that I had to candle the eggs inside and remove a clear (an infertile egg) to fit all dozen of the new ones.

At about 3:30 in the morning, my alarm went off and we managed to somehow stumble out of our beds and put on real clothes and eat a cup of yogurt before Mils arrived. He came to the last swap with us, and he was somehow insane enough to come to this swap with us too. It was an hour and a half away, in Charlotte, Michigan. Sara followed us there, which turned out to be a very good thing as we didn't go straight home.

The swap was all right, but certainly not nearly as big as the swaps on the west side of the state. I would say maybe half the size and the vendors did not have very much good stock. There were a lot of quail at a nice price, which pleased Sara, but there was not a single female peacock for sale, and NO babies at all. Disappointing, as that was on my list.

What else was on my list was to find a companion for Sunshine, the goat we got at the first swap of the year. Here's a lovely pic of my dad feeding her a bottle.

And if you're wondering why she has black duct tape all over 1 ear, it is because she tore the tag out of her ear, ripping it clean in half lengthwise. Poor thing! But she doesn't seem to mind and in fact gets up to quite a lot of mischief at Liz's house. She climbs on everything and follows her new mommy around everywhere. She also likes to steal things....

After all the climbing and the stealing and the following, the line ended up being drawn at headbutting the dogs. It was time to get her a companion to play with so that she could learn to be a little more goat and a little less kid. So at the swap this weekend it was our mission to pick up a friend and we found the same breeder Sunshine had come from, with 2 goats left. Of course we picked another goat with some damage done; the dehorning had failed slightly and she will now have just 1 horn. But she's still darn cute!

They seem to be getting along so far!

So with the goat taken care of and put in her new home, we turned to catching the peacock we had bought at the first swap. His name is Malik and he's a very pretty boy but he flies very well and we don't want him to fly away from his new home. So he chased him down (through much wing buffeting and kicking) and clipped his wings. He was very offended.

I would feel bad for bringing such an indignity (*snirk*) on him, but he has been crying about going outside to the outer coop since we brought him home. When we finally had his wings clipped and set him down outside, he laid down on the ground and told us he was DYING from injured pride. So we booted him onto his feet and he wandered the coop exploring every nook and cranny. What a silly bird.

Of course the second goat was not the only thing we bought at the swap- I also managed to snag 13 araucana mix cheeps for $10 from a man with a whole lot of different sorts. They are super cute, but we were afraid to put them in with the helmet heads, since they were a week or two older and might peck at the little guys. Apparently I need not have worried- Megatron makes a wonderful mommy, sitting on the babies and keeping them herded together.

Speaking of the firstborn cheeps, here's Megatron and Fox now that they are growing in the feathers on their heads. A few more weeks and we'll be able to tell who is a boy and who is a girl!

I dug up the pictures of mom and dad for the cheeps, and this is what they all SHOULD look like when they are grown up:

So that's where we are at with previous adventures. Currently I have eggs in my incubator again, although this time they are a mix of polish chicken and pekin duck eggs. The duck eggs are actually a lot more work than the chicken eggs, to where I have to up the humidity and I have to spray the eggs with water 1 time per day to keep them at the right moisture level.

This weekend I candled about half the incubator and it was rather disappointing. I had previously handled the 1st batch of 9 polish eggs and had tossed 3 clears. This time I candled the 1st dozen duck eggs and only 4 were fertile and growing. I candled the second batch of 8 polish eggs.... and there was not ONE that was fertile. Bummer! Liz says that the barn was extraordinarily hot that week, though, so the chickens may have been too busy trying to stay cool or the eggs may have started incubation before she took them to store them for me. I will crack them open in the kitchen tonight and check for fertility, which will give us a better idea of what happened.

I still hold hopes for the remaining dozen duck eggs and the 5 newest chicken eggs. They will be old enough to candle in about a week.

But possibly the most exciting news of all is that I took a chance and I ordered a few hatching peacock eggs. I understand that shipped eggs are less likely to hatch because the mail people do not handle the packages as delicately as they should (and the auto sorter machine is rough on them as well :/ sigh) but I am hoping I can get at least 1 hen to hatch for me. That way I could give Malik a mate, and perhaps he could be allowed to wander the farm. It would also be nice to raise a little peahen at home, to be hand tame.

On an unrelated note, I took my guild to their first Naxx 10 and successful MC run this week and they actually did better than expected and everyone had a lot of fun. I am pleased with this, as it gives me hope for future raids. We shall see how it goes.

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