Last winter we ordered new chicks from a hatchery and the boxful arrived on Tuesday, May 2nd. One chick was dead upon arrival and we've lost two since then.
A fellow beekeeper in the area happened to contact us before the chicks arrived and asked if we knew how he could go about getting five chicks as his 8 year old daughter was very interested in raising hens in their back yard.
Back story: A couple of years ago this same guy had given us a nuc from his own healthy bees when we were looking to build up our bees after having lost most of them over the winter. He was very generous and wouldn't accept any payment for the nuc. (This was at the very same time another beekeeper in the area was offering nucs for $70 each.)
We told him we had chicks on order and would call the hatchery to see if we could add a few more chicks to our order which we gladly did. (The least we could do as a thank you for him giving us that nuc was to provide chicks for him.)
So five more chicks were added to the two dozen we had on order. When the 30 or so chicks arrived last Tuesday, five new little peppers went home with a thrilled-beyond-belief 8 year old.
About a month ago, our good neighbor had said he would love to try hatching out some of our eggs in an incubator at his house. So we gave him one of our incubators and some duck eggs and the one goose egg we had at the time.
Last Saturday, May 6th, the goose egg produced one honkin' big gosling which he let dry off in the incubator for a day and then brought over to us.
We put the gosling in with the about four days old chicks (who are still in their garden cart brooder in the garage), but immediately saw that was a no go. Those darn cute little chicks turned immediately vicious and started attacking and pecking at the gosling's head. They would have damaged an eye and/or killed the gosling, I'm sure.
So the big/little lonely gosling was put in his own separate brooder box (in the garage).
Yesterday, we took four of Mama Duck's ducklings from outside and introduced them into the gosling's brooder. The four instantly bonded, snuggled down together and all has been happy and peaceful. (Hallelujah!) Now the idea is to (tonight) reintroduce the four ducklings along with their new best friend (the gosling) back into the house with Mama Duck hoping she will welcome them all back.
The two dozen
Last in this long saga of new poultry additions to our little homestead is the report on the two female geese who have been sitting on nests. Sad to say, the incubation period for them went far beyond their "due dates" so we removed all the (undeveloped) eggs and the two girls seem happy to be out and about with the other six geese swimming in the pond and grazing all day long on the new green grass shoots in their pasture.
We're appreciative of the new additions to our feathered flock we did get this spring. Next year, with maturity, perhaps more of the geese and ducks will successfully hatch some offspring that can be raised naturally (a much easier way to go for us) by their mothers.
And wouldn't it be nice if we had a broody chicken mama next year, too?