Last week we had a very abrupt change in the weather. From a week or two of cool rainy weather, we got surprised by a week of very warm, humid weather. Although it made for some very uncomfortable days, working out in the garden, it really did the plants a lot of good.
Everything that we've planted has sprung out of the ground in record time. The sun and warmth seemed to just “suck” the vegetation right out of the earth. It seems as though that, in just a couple days, the beans and peas poked out of the ground and have already grown their first “true leaves”. Corn, which we felt was not going to grow, sprung to life with long broad leaves in the same couple of days. And the potatoes are big and bushy.
This past weekend, we spent some time laying down some straw between the rows of potatoes to help keep the moisture in the ground and the weeds and grass from taking over. So far, it seems to be doing the job nicely.
Unfortunately, we can't seem to say the same for the chicks we had incubating. On hatching day, June 6th, only five of the fifteen viable eggs hatched. We don't know what went wrong. On day ten, of the incubating process, we candled the twenty eggs we had in the incubator and all but five of them were fertile and growing nicely. But, for some reason, ten of those fifteen failed to reach maturity. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary with the new incubator, from what I could tell. The temperature and humidity seemed to keep constant.
I don't know if this has anything to do with our issues, but we asked around and it seems as though many hatcheries are having fertility problems this year. And it doesn't seem to be affecting just our area. Hatcheries in the east and on the coast are also having some issues. Friends of our, out that way, also reported low hatch rates with their eggs this year as well. The only common factor we can find as to why this is an issue for us is GMO grain used in most chicken feeds. It has become very clear to us that we need to find a way to grow and gather enough of our own food, for our chickens, so that we no longer need to supplement their diet with feed from the feed store. Over the next year or two, we will be preparing more garden space and gathering more resources off of our land for the purposes of feeding our chickens during the winter months. We need to get rid of the GMO feed as soon as possible, if we want our flock to survive and grow.