So this is titles Friday on the Farm … but it is actually Saturday on the farm.
This morning was full of lots of chores- watering the meat chicks in their brooder, weeding the garden, moving the tractor coop to the backside of the fence (the big white horse fence), and prepping everything to put the meat chicks into their tractor coop. This operation is only on a very small scale, but as you can imagine, some chicken farms will have tractors from sites like fastline to keep up with the workload.
I was able to get the meat chicks all caught, put into a box (it took about 5 trips from the brooder to the coop), and unloaded into the tractor coop.
BOY were they some happy little chickens!
They are going through 5 gallons of water in about 12 hours! Hopefully that will change since they are now outside where they will get moisture from the ground, grass, air, etc. Their brooder was in the barn tack room … let me tell you that was NOT pretty and I won’t be doing that again. There just wasn’t enough airflow, even with the window, and the ammonia built up SO quickly, I couldn’t keep enough fresh bedding added to it.
The tractor coop, provided they can keep warm, will be MUCH better! They are mostly feathered out, with a few bare spots which they will likely have for some time, as the last meat chickens did. And some still have fuzzy heads… then others are completely feathered out. We will see it goes.
This afternoon after naps, we all loaded up for a trip to H
eaven, e-hum, I mean Costco. After we got home the kids played a while outside, then I started my chores.
The big girls gave left me some eggs in their nest boxes. They free ranged all day, and their feeder was empty so I gave them their new feed-which they LOVE! It is a custom, soy free mix. I will give details on that via another post, but I am so thankful to have found a feed mill that makes a custom feed. And inexpensive to boot! Woo hoo! It can also be used to finish the meat chickens off the last 3+ weeks! How great is that?
I took a few shots of the garden- I can’t take credit for its beauty, other than for choosing the lovely 6 seater patio set;
my husband is the gardener! He gets it tilled, planted, weeded, etc. I just help with a bit of weeding, and of course harvesting. =) The potatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes are looking great! The asparagus has given us a large harvest this spring, and we have let some go to seed. The peas look like they need a wee bit of help, but I think that is cause we have not weeded much the last week in all this rain.
The electric fence has worked out well; one of the calves got out and went straight to the garden. When the fence zapped him he didn’t bother returning. =) It also keeps Thora and Charlie from trampling through it, killing the plants, as they play and romp. The brown box there is full of marigolds my husband started from seed; we will plant them in the garden later, just for some pretty color.
We also have a smaller garden that we have not planted, but is full of strawberries … we had intentions of killing everything in that bed and planting some squash, watermelon, corn, and okra. But all the strawberries are coming in like crazy! So hopefully the hubby will choose to let those be; our oldest is allergic but so far the other two don’t show symptoms of strawberry allergies. =)
After we got the kids in bed, we looked up and saw our Great Pyrenees, Thora, herding the calves from the front pasture, back to their pasture. Apparently they have found a high spot they can easily slide under the fence. She got them all the way to their gate by the time we made it out back. Thankfully they easily went in.
You can see they are gaining well! We were hoping to just turn them on grass (you know … cow-newbies and all), but because they need extra protein and carbohydrates you have to feed them feed until a certain weight, or it will stunt their growth and cause other possible problems. I am going to see if my custom chicken feed lady can do a custom cow feed, too!
They are BIG babies- I have finally gotten the big, obstinate brown one to warm up to me. Now he begs for rubs and scratches; they both like to be brushed and will take scratches anywhere you are willing to give them! That shorter black one, Ketchup, is my buddy though. He has never been scared of us and is super friendly. (Yes, I love my cows. No, it won’t be hard to send them to butcher next year to feed my family).
After that, my husband rigged up the heat lamp in the tractor coop for the meat chicks. Really they are a week or so too young to go out, so we are just praying for a good outcome. But I couldn’t handle them being in that brooder any longer! It was just too much extra work and thus wasn’t fun for me, and didn’t seem like the healthiest option for them starting out. So, he hung a heat lamp that we will keep on at night, and plug into the barn. There is also a tarp acting to protect them from wind and rain. It is supposed to be warm the next 2 weeks (80 degrees and above) but of course, rainy!
I think he has decided to get some more metal panels and place around 3 side of the coop so we can just start brooding them in the coop and no need to worry about wind/rain/etc.
My new laying chicks don’t even have a blog post yet! Aaaah! They’re already 3 weeks old, and feathering out nicely. We lost 2 of them-1 barred rock, and 1 rhode island red, right after they arrived. I quickly moved them into the garage where I could better control the airflow and temperature-they are brooding in a big (empty) metal water tank. They have done much better ever since. We have not been handling them very much, but starting this next week I think we will- I just didn’t want to stress them and lose anymore babies. But they seem more sturdy now, and they need to start earning their names!
So, that is pretty much it for today. This week J.Tom cut the yard and my walking path around the pasture. Gotta get back to regularly exercising before it is time to have this baby! (8 more weeks til due date!) I worked on getting what seemed like 25 loads of laundry done- Oh my goodness I am ready for sunshine again- I need my clothes line back! It makes things so much simpler.
Thanks to the tons and tons of spring rain, we have a full pond, blooming flowers, growing garden, and happy animals. So, it has been a beautiful, blessed week on the farm!
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