Tonight when Alan and I went out to check on the cows we noticed that Queenie is now showing signs that she may be calving soon. Of course, the signs she's showing are the same signs that Dixie teased us with for 3 weeks before having Dixie Cup. It's perfectly normal for what we're seeing to show as late as 24 hours before delivery, or to show for weeks before delivery (as Dixie proved). I noticed similar signs several nights ago as well. Tonight, things were a little more obvious so we decided to separate Queenie from the rest of the cows.
Alan and I moved Dixie and Cup into the side barnyard, and moved Queenie into the front barnyard where she has access to the barn and she's isolated from all of the other cows. We'll be keeping an extra close eye on her. Last year Queenie lost her baby after less than 12 hours after delivery (for unknown reasons) so we're not taking any chances with her this year. We'll keep you posted as things progress. Let's hope she doesn't keep us waiting as long as Dixie did!
As if another calf joining the farm soon isn't enough excitement, tomorrow morning around 7am we're expecting to get a call from the post office letting us know that our first order of baby chickens has been delivered to the post office. A couple of weeks ago, we (umm, I mean "I") ordered day-old chicks from Ideal Poultry. They shipped today and will be delivered tomorrow morning.
We'll be getting 4 Red Silkie Bantams, 6 Buff Orpington Bantams, and 6 Red Frizzle Cochin Bantams... and whatever else they decide to send along. Sometimes they add extra chicks to small orders for extra warmth during shipment. I borrowed the images below from the Ideal Poultry website to show you what the chickens will look like when they're adults.
Silkies are kind of different from your standard chicken. Instead of having regular feathers, their feathers are very fine, and "silky" like hair. They also have black skin, small combs, five toes on each foot, and turquoise colored earlobes! We haven't had any Silkies here on the farm, and I don't remember raising them when I was a kid, but I've always thought they were really fun! We'll see how they do! They are available in various colors (Red, Black, Buff, Partridge, Blue, Grey and White). I ordered red Silkies from Ideal, and next week will get a couple of buff colored Silkies from McMurray Hatchery when another order arrives.
Buff Orpington Bantams are the kind of chickens my Mom always raises. They lay beautiful brown eggs and are very sweet, gentle chickens. They'll be fun to have around. Hopefully we get mostly hens. I can't remember if I could just order hens, or if I had to order what's called "straight run" which means you could receive male or female, and no set number of either one - just whatever is picked for your order. If we do get "straight run" selection, hopefully we'll get lots of hens who will lay lots of beautiful eggs for us!
The third breed of chicken I ordered from Ideal Poultry is Red Frizzle Cochins. This is another breed we've never had here on the farm, and one that I don't remember raising as a kid. Frizzle chickens have feathers that curl out and forward, making them look like they're standing backwards in the wind ALL of the time! Not all Frizzle chickens have the forward curling feathers, though. According to Ideal Poultry, about 75% of them do have the forward curling feathers, and 25% of them will look fairly "normal" even though they still have the Frizzle gene. I am excited to see if the Frizzles we get have the true "Frizzle" feather-do! They are going to CRACK me UP!!
Should be a fun batch of babies! Next week we have an order from McMurray Hatchery arriving with even more variety of breeds! Wait until you see them! All of this in addition to the turken babies that the hens hatched out this past week. Oh my! Babies, babies everywhere!