So far, we’ve had a rather mild winter. Only one really hard freeze and last night was the first horrid windstorm. All along, we’ve been trying to make sure the chickens stay wind shielded, warm and dry in their various little coops and shelters. Sue has been adding to the hay bale wind breaks as much as possible – plus they love pecking and scratching at it. She also added another layer of hay to the inside of the coops, keep up on that deep litter method, which helps to keep the temperature warm inside the coops. We’re kinda hoping that, if we keep them happy, we’ll still continue to get some eggs through the winter – enough to keep our regular customers supplied. As part of that, Sue gave the newer nesting boxes, on the biggies’ side, an addition. They were consistently using the box at the far right end, because they can easily get in there from the ladder, but the other boxes were getting used less and less. So, Sue decided to add a little roosting bar to them, so that they could more easily access the others. It’s a great addition… and the chickens have enjoyed having it there; however, still just finding an egg in the end box. Must be someone’s favorite! Continue reading
This was the question of the day. How do you tell if the ducks are too fat? Sue mentioned that she wondered if they were because they were having difficulty getting over the curb, but as I watched them this afternoon, I thought that it might be more that the dirt inside the coop area has become quite compacted lately. Still – how do you tell if the ducks are fat? I have no idea… so I did a little bit of research online. There’s not a great deal of information out there about how to tell if your duck is too fat or not. If you pick them up a lot, you’re supposed to be able to feel for their “keel” and if you can’t feel it, then they are too fat. We don’t pick up our ducks a whole lot, only if they are injured, it makes them a bit stressed out when we try. How else can you tell? Continue reading
Sue is really good at building and rebuilding things, re-purposing, re-using, re-configuring. It happens on and off… build something that the ducks don’t like and repurpose it for the chickens. Build something as a tractor, reuse it as a shade shelter, or in this case. Take something that was a tractor, then made into an above the ground shelter and now repurpose it back into a tractor. The photo shows the tractor on it’s back, the legs have already come off and then Sue’ll begin to take the chicken wire from the bottom. This one sits right on the ground, so she didn’t want the chickens to tear up their feet as they try to scratch through wire. We’ll be moving it out near the “leaf pond”, setting up a fence around it and putting the Banties out there to have some fun in those leaves. We’ll put hay down inside the tractor and surround it with hay bales as well. Eventually, we may be able to let them out of the fencing to free range in the yard – even just an hour to begin with. They’d love it and they could help with bug control in the spring. We’ll see how it goes. Continue reading
Things always keep going, no matter what. Even if they are little things. Or nature – type things. While I was out in California, it seems we had some weather. Sue said that it rained for a couple of days – snowed in the mountains just above us. First snow of the season, really. It’s been quite cold at night; this morning I ended up having to scrape the windshield. We really needed the rain, so I’m glad we were blessed. I’m also glad that I didn’t end up driving home in any type of rainy weather. Sure makes for a pretty view. Continue reading
Some months ago, Sue purchased an electric week wacker to use around the house. We have several electrical outlets in various places out in the yard most adjacent to the porch, so she thought it’d be an easy way to keep the grass down in the front yard. The electric trimmers are so much more light than the gas or even the battery operated types. So, she plugged in the weed wacker and began a-wacking weeds. Not five minutes later, the motor began smoking and the it blew itself up. Continue reading
That’s a very good question. Is it just me or did this week seem to simply fly by? When I got home today, Sue said, “I sure didn’t do anything today.” Then she proceeded to tell me all the things she did work on. The biggest of which was research and planning for completing the trailer-cum-chicken tractor. There are a lot of things to think about: needs to be strong enough to withstand the winds and be towed all around the pasturelands, needs to be tall enough for people access, yet not too big or heave so that it can be towed all around the pasturelands, needs a storage place for food and a tank to harvest any water that is collected from the roof, needs to have enough nesting boxes for 30+ chickens as well as indoor roosting space. That’s a lot to take into consideration. Plus figuring out what lumber is needed… there’s math involved in all that stuff! Takes some brain-power; glad she’s doing it! Continue reading
I have no idea what to call this update… you can only use the title ‘Update’ so many times. So, I’m calling it “Deconstructed”, in reference to Sue’s trailer project. Even though we’ve been busy with various and sundry things, there’s not much to report – project wise, since Monday -other than her progress on the trailer. From the photo on the left (or above – depending on your viewing apparatus), you can see that Sue has almost completed deconstructed the camping trailer! She’s been working so hard on it over the last several days. At first we thought that the floor was in really great shape, but it turns out that much of it was rotted underneath the linoleum – especially in the corners where there was a great deal more water damage than you could initially see. So, looks like we’ll end up taking more of it to the trash than anticipated, but there will still be many more pieces remaining to re-use. Pretty amazing! Continue reading
Seems we were just here, yet it’s been a week! Things change, yet stay the same. We still have chickens on the DL (isn’t that the list of injured players? – Disabled List?), but they may be making progress. The little hen has been out of her sling a few days now and is beginning to attempt getting around; the little rooster with what we believe to be a muscle strain is moving around more easily yet still in the quarantine crate, we’ll keep him there a day or two just to make sure he doesn’t end up re-injuring himself; Leggs had her bandages removed to see how she fares – we think that the bumble-foot issues in both of her feet have heeled. It was a really long process for her, but never slowed her down one bit! Continue reading
Yep. AWOL all week. I guess sometimes you just need a break for a bit, and now I’ll try to cover a week in a few minutes. Luckily, since we had company, there weren’t a lot of projects happenin’ for the week. Before my parents and niece arrived on Sunday, we were able to finish off the gabion wall planters. Here’s an overview of what they look like newly planted. We put in some flowers along with seeds… just so that they look like they have something in there for a bit. I did purchase some herbs and winter vegetables for these as well. This is another big experiment, you know, like everything else. I have this untested theory that the gabion walls with the planters. I’m thinking that, since the rocks soak up the heat from the sun in the afternoon – it’ll keep the flowers from getting too cold at night during the winter. I think it’ll be great for winter type veggies and flowers, I don’t know about the heat of the summer tho’ – we’ll just have to see what happens then. Our goal is to plant it with herbs that we can use ourselves and feed to the chickens. So we currently have cabbages, broccoli, lavender, dill, parsley (curly and Italian), thyme, chamomile, sage, rosemary, oregano and some others that I can’t remember. I also planted – for us – garlic, chives, and sweet onions. Yum! The great thing about planting right now, is that we have some super warm weather still ahead and we haven’t gotten into freezing weather yet. I’m hoping they’ll get established enough that they’ll be able to over winter without needing too much covering over. Continue reading
Sorry for another quick-post… but I have an work event in Tucson that I must attend. So, I just wanted to quickly share a bit about molting. Chickens tend to molt during the fall and early winter… some wait way long and are uncomfortably cold in the later part of the winter. We had one, Imen, who molted in the middle of the summer, which was unusual. Right now we have three that are in mid molt. It’s pretty funny when they start – they just have bunches of feathers flying off everywhere… the nakeder they get the more you can see their new feathers coming in… then they start to look like Hedgewig (that’s my pet hedgehog). During this time, they generally stop laying because, as you can imagine, it takes a lot out of them. You really can’t do too much to help them through except to make sure that they have a good source of protein -hopefully not eggs- and that they are being kept warm by the other feathered friends. We have two now that are staying in the nesting boxes at night; I guess they feel more comfortable there. To me, the process of growing in the new feathers always looks somewhat painful. I certainly hope not. Molting happens across many bird species; some of our doves are molting (at least that’s what we hope is happening) and we’re just hoping that their feathers grow in quickly.
As I said, it’s a quick update today. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Starting Sunday we will be having guests for a week, so hopefully there will be some fun photos and things to talk about. Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!
Today’s Weather: Seemed a bit warmer than the preceding couple of days. But just now I received a NOAA Weather Message: Freeze Watch for our area, Saturday night through Sunday morning and Sunday night through Monday morning. So, we’ll be busy covering trees and shrubs and water pipes! Currently, though, it is 76° at 2:49 p.m.
Egg Report: We haven’t collected all the eggs yet today, but so far the tally today is 5 chicken eggs, and 2 ducks. We can update it later
Gratefulness: I don’t like the two Gratefulness items today: what about your body are you grateful for… I guess I’m going to say eyes, so I can see the beauty that has been placed before me. What knowledge are you grateful for: the knowledge that I am loved and forgiven- it keeps me plugging along; trying to live up to that.