zola: (Default)
Well, I goofed off yesterday, at least. When I work weekends, I prefer a short day, and it isn't happening today, I have a full day of work.

Had some excitement earlier, our neighbor Mike has a horse, Razz, and the horse got loose. Our other neighbor came by to see if I could get hold of Mike, and I left a message for Mike while Ben pulled himself together and went and fetched his halter and some rope.

Mike did get the message, but by the time he got back, Ben was already leading Razz down the street. It was quite a sight, Razz is nearly as tall as Ben. Happily, Razz knows Ben well now and it wasn't half the hassle to catch him as we'd feared, well, the carrots I sent along helped too, no doubt.

Ben and Mike are now trying to find the spot where the electric fence was broken that allowed Razz his little adventure. I bet Ben is really going to want his coffee when he comes back in--hell of a wake-up call.
zola: (Default)
...sometimes seems to take longer than writing the actual post. I like the idea of doing individual titles, but what comes to mind is things like "same old, same old..." or "work, work, work", and if worry that if I don't watch it, I'll have hundreds of posts with the same name.

Weather is steadily warming up now, and I am sitting on the sidelines, disgruntled by the fact that I can't do some of my own damn gardening. I can't even rake out the ditches! By the time I'm healed up enough to get stuff done, spring will be over.

Ben spread a few good loads of good compost on the newly prepared bed, and the chickens helpfully flocked to the garden to scratch it all into the dirt, plus add their own inimitable fertilizer.

I've been thinking about getting some weeder geese, but not until we've built a bigger coop. Still debating about sneaking some live eggs under the duck so she can hatch them, if we're going to do that, we'll have to fence her in pretty quick because she's already started a few new nests and I'd rather confine her while she's nesting just for her own protection. We were talking about building a simple nesting box near the duck pond and just putting a chicken-wire fence around it. We'd close up the box at night--she only left her nest once or twice a day for about fifteen minutes, so she wouldn't feel deprived I don't think.

We'll have to wait and see now. I'm certainly not up to building anything just now.
zola: (Default)
I've had several people ask, and I realized I hadn't put up anything about them for a while.

Nothing awful happened to them at all, they are growing very well in fact.

I have a bunch of pictures on my camera but I got a new computer thanks to the help of my boss, and in the moving about, I misplaced the camera cord so I have to find it to upload the pictures. I'm sure it's not far, I think that I just put it "somewhere safe", famous last words!

I am actually very surprised at how bright they are, and this particular breed, the Buckeye, is very friendly. We have three strands of the four-strand electric fence all run, and we are pouring the concrete for the chicken coop sometime this weekend. That probably sounds funny, but we aren't building a bomb shelter or anything, it's just that we need to anchor the coop and get it up off the ground to prevent problems. We do get some pretty strong winds once in a while due to thunderstorms, and we don't want to see flying chicken coop!

I don't think I mentioned here that my neighbor lost all her chickens, it was predators, and from what they were saying, they had used particle board on the floor and the critters chewed right through it. I won't be using particle board on this floor, and we're actually debating doing two half-inch layers of plywood and putting hardware cloth between them for a bit of additional protection.

We definitely want to get this done because the chooks are just getting too big--they're in the house's "addition", it's unheated and has a weatherstripped door between it and the rest of the house so it's more like a garage than a part of the house, so that part isn't a problem--they could stay there all winter if it was necessary. And as long as they have sufficient space and litter, they are actually quite clean.

Still, it's getting more and more difficult to get them outside. Although the addition has an outside door, it's warped and next-to-impossible to open. Ben has been taking them out in our large cat carrier, but they're so big now that he is starting to have trouble with three at a time. It wasn't all that long ago that you could take them all in one trip, LOL!

The weather hasn't been cooperating, either. It's been dry, but twice now we've had to delay the pouring of the concrete due to rain showers. Today it didn't rain but was cloudy, so we waited because we wanted to make sure the holes had dried out fully. Clay soil really holds the water!

We *still* don't know how many roosters we have--we think two, due to how they behave, but their combs aren't in yet so we can't be entirely sure. The combs are starting to grow in finally, so we'll know for sure pretty quickly.

Haven't got the goats yet either, but they are almost paid in full and as soon as we get the chicken coop done we can do the goat shed. I expect that will be a lot faster since we know exactly what we have to do now, plus we've cleared the land where it will be and gotten it leveled already. All that's left after that is a lean-to in the pasture to protect all the animals when it's hot or rainy, and we're good to go.

I was talking to my neighbor, her horse made the great escape a couple of days ago when they weren't home, we mended the broken spot in their electric fence and coaxed him back in, and we're talking about turning him out in our pasture every now and then because right now he's got his own down to the nubs. I would definitely enjoy getting to skip the lawn mowing every now and then!

So I guess we're turning into a real farm, slowly but surely. I'll post the pics as soon as I find that cord. :)
zola: (Default)

I'm amazed at how quickly the chicks are growing! We have started giving them pillbugs as a treat. The first time, I dumped the container with pillbugs in the middle of the box thinking they would go after them, but to my surprise, the chicks ran away in terror, LOL!

Ben got them settled down and offered a few pillbugs at a time to invdividual chicks, and they quickly got the idea. When I gave them some yesterday, I dumped the container and got the reaction I'd expected the first time--hordes of starving chicklets valiantly fighting off teh evil invaders.

I am surprised at how easy they are to take care of. After reading a bunch of online stuff, I was worried about having the right temperature for them, but we quickly discovered they let you know in no uncertain terms if they're unhappy, all you need do is pay attention. I was on my way to bed last night and it had gotten wonderfully cool. I was in the bathroom and heard a lot of twittering. It took me a moment to realize it was the chicks (at four in the morning, especially if it's a full moon, it's not unusual for the birds outdoors to get started).

When I went in and checked on them, they had kicked shavings in their water and were actually feeling a bit cold! I cleaned out their water, and tilted the heat lamp down a little, and lo and behold, fifteen minutes later we had a bunch of sleeping chicks, comfortably nestled in the warm spot from the heat lamp.

Here's some pictures from today. I actually turned the heat lamp off, it got so warm in there.

The new perch

Nice shot of nearly all of them :)

A close-up--look at how those feathers are coming in!

We're thinking the very well-feathered one at the bottom may be our rooster. The chick at the top left is the "runt" but she's doing just fine--she got a little piece of stick and played keep-away with it despite all the other ones running up to her trying to see if she had anything good. What she lacks in size she definitely makes up for in speed!

I can haz pillbug?

zola: (Default)
Chicks by mail. Who woulda thunk it?

I'll try to get some better pics tomorrow, they had a long journey and I didn't want to stress them too much today. We have a bigger box on the way tomorrow, one advantage of having a roommate that does HVAC, but this is just fine for today.

For those who are interested in these things, the breed is a Heritage breed, the Buckeye, which was developed in Ohio. Not all that far away and the climate is similar so they ought to do very well here.

Here's some really good pictures of the breed:


July 2014

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