Thursday, June 12, 2014

Unity Farm Journal - Second Week of June 2014

My wife and I did not think it was possible for a duck to hatch guinea fowl, but this week it happened.

Guinea fowl are horrible parents.

They lay their eggs in piles throughout the forest and then abandon them.   Even if a “designated layer” sits on the communal egg pile, the young often get wet and chilled after hatching and do not make it back to the coop.

A few weeks ago, the guineas decided to lay a few eggs in the duck house.    Five of the ducks instantly began sitting on the eggs in shifts, keep them warm and protected.

Our sense was that dry guineas offer a very different humidity environment than constantly wet ducks.

Imagine Kathy’s surprise when she went into the duck house and found baby guineas running around.

In the end, it was nature over nurture - the guineas had no interest in swimming and the duck parents thought their new offspring were defective - a different kind of ugly duckling.   We brought four baby guineas into the warmth of our brooder and today they are happy and healthy.   In a few weeks, when they’re older and stronger, we’ll introduce the babies to the community of guineas so they can integrate into the family.

Speaking of ducks, one of our harlequins, Belle, had a traumatic eye injury, likely from her interactions with wild ducks which frequently visit the duck pond.   As the farm medical care professional, I know that Pseudomonas infection of the eye is a real barnyard risk.    Kathy and I did minor surgery to clean remove debris and loose tissue from the eye.   We washed the eye with saline and have been using Tobramycin ophthalmic twice a day.    They eye is now open and healing.   Here's a comparison of the injured eye to the good eye.   In a few weeks, we hope Belle will be good as new.

I’m 52 and too old for a mid-life crisis.   Some older men seek a red car that brings back memories of their youth.    Now that we are producing hundreds of pounds of vegetables, honey, mushrooms, and fiber, we needed something other than a Prius to haul farm goods to our customers.      We purchased a 2013 Ford Transit, the last of the “european style” delivery vans available from Ford.   Here’s my post mid-life crisis red car.

The weekend ahead will be a “honey do” list - spin honey, maintain hives, build new hives,  create new honey frames, etc.   I look forward to less trail building and more bee work.


Allison said...

I love the transit van. Europe has some really cool vans (some diesel) that aren't available in the US, which is really unfortunate.

Medical Quack said...

Oh gosh, duck stories...I like them all being that's my surname. I'm not the type to sit on eggs though. The farm has to offer a lot sanity:)

Google Plus though tried to turn me into a real duck last year as their machine learning algorithms had not learned enough and said my name "Duck" was not "machine compliant" so they suspended me, or the algorithm did I should say. Not even an inquiry, just boom you're gone and you are the bad guy.

I bring it up as an awareness item with all the flawed data out there today and yes it's funny because Duck is my last name. It traveled all over Engadget, MIT and so on.

Keep all the ducks in a stories are always cool:)

Sharon Wentz said...

Never too old for a mid life crisis. Maybe upgrade the wheels on that hot red van? I loved reading this post today-- quacked me up.