Tuesday, September 29, 2009
For those of you that don't know, I'm in the Army and have two years to finish off in the Reserves to finish up all my military obligations. I'm a Staff Seregent, (E-6), and I enjoy leading troops, but if I wanted to be in the Army, I'd go active duty. I'm not complaining, I'm just ready to permanently hang up my stripes and begin the 100% civilian chapter of my life.
So things at the farm have been rough in my abscense. Carla's been doing a great job holding down the fort (pregnant with a 19 month old Simmey monster, and a 40 hr job), but we've got a VERY LARGE bobcat - 30 - 40 lbs that has been terrorizing all of our critters around the house. By terrorizing, I mean eating. The bobcat has killed half of Carla's ducks, and Rattlesnake the broody hen, orphaning her chicks. It's killed ducks up to 10 ft from the house, slipping past 2 (probably sleeping) mutts. I've got some trapping to do when I get home, luckily, we keep rooster for just such an occasion.
The layers out in the pasture suddenly decided to stop laying in thier nesting boxes, and are laying somewhere in the brush. I'll have to stop this when I get back. This will entail penning them up for a few days, as well as trying to find the egg "honeyhole". The biggest deal is that we've missed the egg sales that would have paid for me hiring help for Carla (pregnant women and slinging sacks of feed is not a good combo).
Also, Alfredo, one of our Great Pyrennes, has chosen to regress in his training, and has killed his first hen. This isn't a big suprise, livestock guardian dogs have a very "motherly" instinct to thier charges, especially smaller ones like chickens. Unfortunately, this attention can be fatal for a hens. The thing is to correct the behavior before it becomes too entrenched in his brain. So when I get back, Alfredo is going to go to "jail" for a while and take a step back in his training. When he's trustworthy enough, we'll post bail.
Army Strong (and the Bobcat's Full)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
First, make a straight cut with your snips; make a line where you want to cut as well.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Red (on right) and Alfredo watching over some of the hens
Two days ago, we found Red in the bottom of the coop. He couldn't stand up. He didn't have any wounds, and for all intent and purposes he looked fine. I carried him up to the house and put him in a hospital pen. At first he ate, and he had a terrific thirst. Yesterday he stopped eating, this morning I noticed that his comb was dark, and was almost purple. He was breathing hard, and within an hour had passed away.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The fencing did the trick. Most of the new pullets and hens just hung out inside the coop for a day or so, slowly venturing out as they became comfortable with thier new surroundings. The coop is now home, and the nesting boxes are where to lay.
The Pyrennees pups that we're training had a much harder time with fence. In & out, in & out - just bowling right through the netting. It worries me, I just got a good pair of working dogs!
Who can resist the lovely Mrs. Feta?
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Feta (on left) and Squirt who followed me down to the pasture. Squirt isn't fond of the pups, they get on his nerves.
The owl screen made putting the hens on the roosts difficult. So first I put the hens at the edge of the coop. They can't see at all at night, so they stay put.
I then climbed inside the coop and placed the hens on the roosts. I do this at night for two reasons.
1 - If I introduce new hens during the day, they're seen as intruders and beaten down and chased away. If the old hens wake up and gradually see the new chickens, they'll be seen as new flock members. There will be the expected roughing, as the new pecking order is laid out, but no one will be pummeled to death.
2 - this helps the new hens see the coop as home. More than likely, they've been raised in a tiny coop and would spaz out and run away into the woods and open jaws of a coyote if tossed in during the day.I finished up by surrounding the coop with some old defective poultry netting, to help keep the new hens in. I'll remove it in a couple of days when I feel that the hens learn the coop is home.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
So this year's tater harvest was pitiful compared to last season's: fewer and smaller taters. When it came time to plant this spring I didn't have any compost or manure, so I just placed the taters on the ground and covered them up. Last year we averaged over a pound a foot row, this year it's much less. At least now I know for next year.
For the record though, they're still delicious.