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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Another lesson learned

I have always thought that everyday you should try to learn at least one new thing, no matter how trivial it seems. Then there are days when we learn big things. I learned something new this past week since my last post. I had my incubator running to try and hatch off more baby chicks with the intention of replacing my laying flock with their off spring. I use one of the square Styrofoam still-air incubators with the automatic egg turner. It is tricky to keep the temp adjusted in those things when the air is not moving to keep it even all around. With this in mind, I decided to set the temp for eggs that would be directly under the heating element. So I put the turner in, placed my thermometer on the egg turner under the element and turned it on. With a few trys I got the temp right at 99.5 degrees for chickens. Then I proceeded to load the incubator by putting eggs just in the holders around the perimeter under the heating element. With water in the lil tray area in the bottom I counted the days till hatch time. This time around I got a 50% hatch rate. The best I have ever had I think. After a couple weeks I did candle the eggs and several were not fertile and some the shell was dark and dense and I could not tell if they were living or not so I left them all in the incubator. Now if I can just get better control of the humidity I think even that rate will increase. In the past I had been placing the thermometer in the center of the machine and set the temp for that area. Looking back I think the eggs near the element was getting too hot and killing the chicks early in the game. So if you are using one of the still air incubators to hatch chicks, only place eggs under the element once you have the temp set for that area of the incubator and you should have a better hatch rate. Or maybe you already knew that. But dummy me did not think about it.

Our weather has been really nice today. The forecast was for storms and rain today but so far we have seen none. I got out early, well early for me, today and weeded most of my herb bed. Then in passing I noticed I had several big weeds in the strawberry bed and got it weeded too. I actually feel like I earned my keep today. Now to deal with the sore legs from squatting down weeding. I also got fertilizer on the strawberries and herbs and some of my ornamental things here in the yard. So far this summer everything is growing really well. Our garden is really nice, the best one we have had in several years even if we did plant later than we wanted to. Although I have had to spray several times for potato beetles. They have really done some damage to the plants but still we do have some nice taters under there. Rodger dug a hill last weekend to see if they had made anything and we were both pleasantly surprised to find some nice ones. Another couple weeks and we will be up to our arm pits in stuff to pick and can. I still need to catch a not so hot day and clean out the cellar and empty things that our long past their prime and search out jars that may be unsealed. We pulled our onions last evening and they didn't do anything. They just did not grow much beyond the size of the sets we planted. I was kinda upset with that. So I guess I will try to buy a 50 lb bag a lil later and dry most of them for onion flakes. I seem to use more of those than fresh onions anyway.

Now provided we don't get too much heavy rain or too hot I plan to try to clean out chicken houses tomorrow. I really need to get the 16 lil babies put in a building. For now they are in a tote in the dining room. I really don't mind cause for now they don't smell and they are so cute and fluffy. I like playing with them during the day.

Not much else happening here on the farm right now. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


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