Here it is mid April already, last week saw 19 little black Berks arrive. Both first time gilts, but what a difference in performance. Reggi my new gilt from a long time breeder in Iowa, delivered thirteen, and what a job she did. She lay quietly through the delivery with only a couple of breaks to drink and reposition. She bellies up to the heat lamp and pad to nurse . Can't say enough good things for her. The next night Ziggy my little AI gilt from southern Utah showed me how frustrating things can be. She only delivered 6, but spent countless times jumping up and spinning around, I spent 4 hours snatching babies from under her tromping hooves. She would bury the little tykes and then lay on them, Finally exhausted at 4 in the morning I left her with her brood. I fully expected them to all be dead in the morning. Amazingly she only lost one the next night. I doubt she will get a second chance.
Then the wait for the baby chicks to arrive in the mail. Wed. came and went, then Thur. I was sure all would be lost. But Fri 6am the phone finally rang. To my surprise only one out of 500 was DOA. Of course I'm still counting the losses as the stress exacts it's toll. And Sat. the last little batch arrived from Pennsylvania. All but two Ranger chicks alive, but the Guinea's didn't make it.
My daily chores certainly take much longer now, but a lot of that is from just enjoying the bustle of new life. And speaking of new life, we added Penny to the operation, she's a Bernese cross puppy. Watch dog or love? yet to be seen.