Guinea Fowl: What We’ve Learned After Two Hatches

Guinea Fowl

We recently added guinea fowl to the menagerie here at the farm. Hatching and raising our own has taught us some lessons we’d like to share. Never heard of guinea fowl? Read on to learn a little more about them.

While guinea keets (what young guinea fowl are called, like baby chickens are “chicks”) may look a lot like chicks, they are very different creatures. One of the biggest differences is that they’re tiny compared to chicks. So tiny that they can easily be trampled or get into spaces chicks wouldn’t. Our first hard lesson came when a keet inexplicably disappeared from the brooder room. Continue reading “Guinea Fowl: What We’ve Learned After Two Hatches”

Farm Babies: Chicks Are Hatching!

Hatching Chicks

We’re always excited when it’s hatching day…it’s really amazing that fully-formed chicks, ready to scratch and find food, emerge from eggs that seem much too small to contain them. They work so hard to hatch, too; sometimes, they’re exhausted after hours of struggle and they simply crash out on the incubator floor. That rest is well-deserved.

This round, we set French Black Copper Marans (purebred) and American Bresse x French Black Copper Marans eggs. The FBCM eggs are dark brown, sometimes speckled, and highly sought after by chicken enthusiasts. The chicks are very cute, black with little white bottoms and feathered feet. The Bresse/FBCM eggs are from our handsome FBCM rooster over our friendliest white Bresse hen. Continue reading “Farm Babies: Chicks Are Hatching!”

Farm To Table: From A Few Doors Down Is Really Local

Farm To Table

We have yet to get our raised garden beds in, and the summer’s waning…but we’re lucky to have a nice neighbor on our road who is also a Master Gardener. She grows all kinds of wonderful vegetables and fruit, and generously shares her harvest with others.

We recently picked lots of blackberries, which we made into many bottles of delicious and beautiful blackberry water kefir, as well as blackberry milk kefir and blackberry-infused kombucha tea. Continue reading “Farm To Table: From A Few Doors Down Is Really Local”

Farm Projects: (Finally) Putting Up The Farm Sign

Forged Mettle Farm Sign

We know we live on a farm, but it’s not necessarily obvious to others…and sometimes visitors looking for us have trouble finding the farm. What to do? Put up a farm sign, of course.

Once we decided on the type of sign and size we wanted, we placed our order and started planning how we’d erect it. We get very strong winds out here, so a sturdy signpost was key.  Our county requires that signs be permitted, so we created our plan, including dimensions, and took it down to the county office for approval. The process was pretty painless, the county employee was helpful, and once we paid our permit fee, we had the green light to proceed with this project.

Our sign arrived quickly, so we purchased the needed timbers, gravel, cement,  and fasteners from the local home improvement store, and with the posthole digger we borrowed from our generous neighbor (thanks, SF!), we were ready to get started. Continue reading “Farm Projects: (Finally) Putting Up The Farm Sign”

Test Yourself: What Kind Of Bird Is Hatching Here?

We have some unusual eggs hatching right now at the farm. They’ve been in the incubator for 27 days, and several have pipped externally. Hatching is extremely hard work, especially for birds that have shells as hard as these do.

Here are your hints:

  • The eggs are speckled, light tan, and about 2/3 the size of a chicken egg
  • They’re native to Africa
  • While the hatchlings look similar to chicks, they’re smaller, and when they grow up, they look nothing like a chicken
  • These birds are called “tick assassins” and will decimate populations of ticks, ants, and other bugs…and are also known to eat snakes and small rodents
  • They have a reputation for being good “guard” animals because they’ll create a racket when alarmed

So do you know what kind of bird this is? Bonus question: what are the young of this species called?