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MID-ATLANTIC WEATHER WATCH FOR DECEMBER

Fair and cool(1,2,3,4)turning colder, lake-effect snow (5,6,7); fair and cold again (8,9,10,11,12,13) with some light snow (14,15) turning fair and cold again (16,17,18,19) with more light snow (20,21). Fair and cold yet again (22,23,24,25,26,27), with still more light snow (28,29); fair, very cold (30,31). and colder .   

MONTHLY GARDEN ACTIVITIES


BEST DAYS FOR FARM ACTIVITIES 

                                                       


JOHN GRUBER'S THOUGHT FOR TODAY'S 

LIVING  

"It’s not the size nor the cost of the gift that makes it meaningful, but the thought that goes into its selection”                                                                                                                                                                                       John Gruber  (1768-1857) 

POULTRY NOTES

T

he hen must not only sustain her own body, but to manufacture eggs must take in a variety of feed containing certain food values such as protein, fat, lime, and carbohydrates, of which the eggs are composed. 

Reprinted from The Almanack of 1919

It is still important to raise pullets away from old hens.  This is the chief way to cut losses from leucosis, which continues to be the most costly disease of hens.  

From The Almanack of 1969

Apple cider vinegar ACV) is a healthy water additive.  By adding about 1 – 2 tablespoons per 4 litres of the hens’ drinking water, the acidic properties of ACV alter the PH of the water, helping to keep harmful organisms from growing. ACV will also help lessen slime in the water, help your hens to battle the stress of very hot days, help your chickens to digest their food better, and also encourage the good bacteria to thrive in their digestive system while discouraging the bad.

DUCK DO’S AND DON’T’S

Ducklings are remarkably messy animals. They have no shame in dashing through their water, splashing it all around, tipping over their feed bowls, and tracking droppings into their water.

You can keep a brooder cleaner by limiting the goslings water, providing just a small trough for drinking and even removing their water for a few hours at night. But, unfortunately, even with great care, you will still find yourself cleaning the brooder quite regularly.

A duckling brooder should be between 90 to 95 degrees for the first week of life, and then come down by about 10 degrees per week until they are grown. Heating a brooder is best done with a regular light bulb or two, though you can use a special heating lamp. A heat lamp can be a fire 

hazard, but carefully placed it will keep the brooder nice and toasty. Keep a thermometer in the box so you can monitor just how warm it is for your ducklings. 

NEVER feed ducks without water. Water helps get food down and keep the duck’s beak vents clean. Always give baby ducks access to plenty of good, clean water for at least an hour before feeding.

Water should NEVER be more than ¼ inch deep. Make sure ducks can easily escape the water quickly.  Baby ducks love to play in water but are known to easily drown if they tire.  

Ducklings don't start producing e waterproofing oil for their feathers until about 4 weeks of age. In the wild, mothers apply it. Allowing the ducklings to swim too early have led to death from chill or even drowning from fatigue.

INTERESTING GEESE INFORMATION

If you want to raise geese in order to enjoy the good, lean meat that they provide, you might want to consider the Toulouse breed of geese. 

Geese are effective weeders because they like grasses and stay away from broadleaf plants. Geese can remove grass and weeds that, because they are close to other plants, cannot be removed by hoeing. In addition to weeding traditional crops, geese can be used to clean up forage on dikes and ditches that are difficult to maintain with equipment. Geese work all day long , removing grass and weeds as new growth appears. Geese will not damage the roots of crops. Geese will also graze when the ground is too wet to hoe. Using geese as weeders also adds fertilizer and organic matter to the soil.

Geese have a talent for telling the difference between regular, everyday sounds and sights from those that are unfamiliar. They are also very territorial. As a result, they will sound the alarm when there are intruders (of the two- or four-legged kind). Using geese as guard animals is not something new. Geese were used as guards by the Romans. Geese are the most effective as guard animals when they are kept in a flock. The flock, when threatened, will make a lot of noise!