Sunday, August 26, 2012

End of summer . . .

It has been such a busy summer!  In terms of the chickens, right after school ended a fox found his way into my chicken run by prying the fence away from the gate post.  My 5 chickens became 3.  That was quite disappointing.  I had to decide what to do.  Three chickens didn't seem to be worth the effort.  So, did I want to get more chickens or sell/give them away?  I am the kind of person who thinks about things for a long time before acting so I decided to see if I was going to keep having problems with Mr Fox.

A few short weeks after the fox episode I found myself having emergency gall bladder removal.  This put me out for most of July.  However, during my recovery I saw an ad on Craiglist for some laying hens nearby and decided to get 3 more.  It took some time for the flock to adjust to each other but they seem to have their pecking order all worked out now.

We had another chicken emergency when someone in the family didn't remember the chickens were free-ranging in the yard and decided to let our 2 Golden Retrievers loose.  Well, they did what retrievers do--caught chickens!  By the time I realized what what going on, most of the chickens had run off to hide.  DH said one of them was definately injured, she had been in both dogs's mouths and lost a ton of feathers.  We looked for a long time and located all but 2--the injured one and the youngest one.  Fortunately they both returned as the sun set.  Our injured Black Star looked pretty good from a distance and was acting fine, but we didn't trust the other chickens not to peck at her so we caught her and separated her for a bit while she healed.  We did find a pretty good size bite under her wing, so I sprayed it with Blue Coat and hoped for the best.  She healed well and has returned to the flock with no problems.  That was a relief.  I didn't want to have to kill her if she got sicker.

I recently discovered that some of the eggs are getting eaten by the chickens.  I had noticed some weak shelled eggs and gave them calcium supplements to alleviate the problem.  I think that's how the egg eating began-a weak shelled egg probably cracked and they began eating them.  I read a tip about putting golf balls in the nests.  The idea being the hens would peck them with no luck and eventually give up on pecking at eggs.  We shall see what happens.

It wasn't the best year for the garden between the drought and my surgery.  Oh well, we got a little food and fortunately we are not dependent upon it.

Tomorrow is my return to work day.  Next week school starts.  Another season passed.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Busy as a chicken . . .

Well actually chickens aren't really all that busy, but since I don't have any other animals besides dogs I went with it.  I am now the proud owner of 5 laying hens.  I get between 2-5 eggs each day, which is just enough for our family plus 1 dozen to sell to co-workers each week.  So far the chickens are working out really well.  We still need to work out an arrangement for when we go out of town as we sometimes do, but so far so good.

Both Josh and I have heard an unusual, loud, large-sounding animal noise coming from our woods in the last few weeks.  Not sure what it is.  It sure doesn't sound like coyote-we hear those frequently, but we can't even guess what this mystery animal might be.  In the meantime, we need to keep our chickens locked up as dusk falls.  I set the rooster alarm on my cell phone to make sure I don't forget.

This weekend we worked on our berry patches.  We added 4 more blueberry bushes and 3 more raspberries.  Then we mowed the grass really low and covered the whole area (70x8 feet) with plastic to keep the weeds at bay, edged it with landscape timbers and filled it with mulch.  It was a big job and I am feeling it now!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More homesteading ventures! Bawk Bawk!

I haven't written in such a long time because I felt like I really wasn't doing anything new in the homesteading arena, just busy with daily living until now!

I am getting chickens! I am really excited! My first flock is about 1 year old and I will be picking them up over the weekend. In the meantime, I have been reading all about chickens and fencing and coops. I have lots more to tell, but it's time to head off to Big Dog's band concert!