The tomato plants are starting to get big — still a few weeks before we can plant them outside, but we have plenty of healthy plants.
I had basically given up on the asparagus (they were older seeds), but I finally have five plants sprouted — this is part of my endeavor to get more plant once / harvest yearly stuff growing.
And then there’s the chicken chow — this is Bocking 14 comfrey. It doesn’t go to seed, but provides a high-protein leafy food for chickens and turkeys.
We’re getting more fencing and, yet again, I find that different lengths have different price-per-foot (and not in the way I expected where longer rolls are more cost effective). Looks like we’ll be getting a bunch of 50′ rolls instead of a few 150′ rolls.
||Cost Per 1
The chickens we hatched earlier this year have started laying their first eggs — our first chicken to lay an egg (Queenington) laid a large egg, and the rest of our egg layers followed with fairly normal chicken-egg sized eggs. I didn’t know that it was common for chickens to start off laying small eggs (called fairy eggs) until we got the Bresse hens. They’re not great for hatching (really tiny chick incubates and often cannot even get out of the egg), but the eggs are perfectly edible. I think we’ll be making pickled eggs with this year’s tiny eggs.
Started with 19 chicken eggs in the incubator — two didn’t develop and were removed. Three eggs haven’t hatched (three of those have pipped, but haven’t really gotten anywhere since). One little guy is really weak and still in the incubator so the other little ones don’t sit and lay on him. That means we’ve got a thirteen little chickens in the brooder. And, early next week, the ducks should start hatching.
We’ve got a bunch of new little ones hatching — Anya has four little ones in the brooder, and we have two more in the incubator.
The first chick hatched this evening — and three more followed throughout the night. We’ve got four little ones out of their eggs and a bunch of eggs (hopefully) to go.
Scott and Anya candled all of the eggs tonight — of the 41 eggs, there are three that might not be developing. But all of the eggs are still in the incubator because there weren’t any obviously undeveloped eggs. If all of these eggs hatch, we’re going to have an absolute swarm of baby birds!
Trying again with the bigger, better incubator — 22 duck eggs and 19 chicken eggs.
Scott set up one of the ESP32’s that we use as environmental sensors to monitor the incubator. There’s an audible alarm if it gets too warm or cold, but that’s only useful if you’re pretty close to the unit. We had gotten a cheap rectangular incubator from Amazon — it’s got some quirks. The display says C, but if we’ve got eggs in a box that’s 100C? They’d be cooked. The number is F, but the letter “C” follows it … there’s supposed to be a calibration menu option, but there isn’t. Worse, though — the temperature sensor is off by a few degrees. If calibration was an option, that wouldn’t be a big deal … but the only way we’re able to get the device over 97F is by taping the temperature probe up to the top of the unit.
So we’ve got an DHT11 sensor inside of the incubator and the ESP32 sends temperature and humidity readings over MQTT to OpenHAB. There are text and audio alerts if the temperature or humidity aren’t in the “good” window. This means you can be out in the yard or away from home and still know if there’s a problem (since data is stored in a database table, we can even chart out the temperature or humidity across the entire incubation period).
We also bought a larger incubator for the chicken eggs — and there’s a new ESP32 and sensor in the larger incubator.