Friday, June 29, 2012

Fluffy pancake chickens and pigs misters

I have six chickens and one rooster. They were pretty sorry looking when they got here. The rooster had been amorous and pulled out some of the hen's feathers. They were picking at each other and pulling out more. On top of all that they were moulting, so they were pretty ugly. The saddest looking one was a little hen I started calling the Traveling Chicken. She was always off somewhere away from the rest. See her over there behind the house. Now she's out back with Dave's horses. Five minutes later, and she's watching me weed the garden. The other girls and the rooster pretty much just hang out together. First they were over out back by the rabbit hutch they lived in before the Chicken Condo was done. Then they mostly stayed out by the Condo, or out back in the shade under the hutch. This crazy little hen was everywhere.

 Now I've been saying that I'm only getting like 2-3 eggs a day because the girls are all still growing their feathers back. Turns out I was wrong. I thought I'd actually lost the Traveling Chicken. She usually came running when I threw out feed in the morning, or took out crusts of bread, or weeds from the garden. No Traveling Chicken. Did she wander far enough out that she got lost? Did she go to far from somewhere she could get under cover and turn into a hawk's lunch? Did the cyotes I can sometimes hear off in the distance turn her into a midnight snack?

Then Ashley, the beagle mix found her. Right out back is a Russian Olive tree. Some of the branches hang towards the ground. There are a couple of big rocks scattered around the base. Here's Ashley snuffling and she starts barking in the low branches. So off I go to see what she's found. I found the Traveling Chicken. I thought for sure she was dead. She was flattened to the ground in a little hollow like a feathered chicken pancake. Her eyes were opened, but I just knew she was a goner. But then I poked her and she Growled at me. What the Crap?! Now she's even flatter, puffed out more and refuses to move.

I've seen this before. The neighbore has a chicken thats gone broody. I had to take care of the critters while they went camping and this fluffy broody kept stealing the eggs the other chickens were laying and wanted to hatch them. She had the same fluffy pancake thing going on. Sure enough, I carefully lift Traveler's butt and she has a whole mess of eggs under her. I was tickled to death. She must have ten or twelve eggs under her. I debated picking her up and moving her and her brood into the condo, but obviously she didn't want to be in there or she would have her clutch, and any other eggs the other girls laid. Then I thought about moving her into the rabbit hutch. I know shes not going to go far from those eggs for the next 23 days. Scotty said she wanted to be right where she's at, so why not leave her? He got her a pan of scrathc and cracked corn, and it's right where she can reach out her neck and eat. Ashley I was a little worried about harrassing her, but she runs over every time we go outside to make sure the momma is still where she belongs. The cats aren't bothering her, and I'm counting the days till be have little fluffy yellow chicks. Or black fluffies. I guess I should look up and she what the chicks should look like.

Speaking of chickens, I saw the funniest damned thing the other day. I like to go out with my Knidle, sit under the tree by the Condo, and watch the girls scratch, hunt bugs, and eat weeds. Ashley is the biggest mouse and vole hunting dog that ever lived. She gets more of those buggers than the cats do. So two days ago, I'm sitting out there reading and here comes the dog with a vole hanging out of her mouth. She likes to bring them to me so I can she what she got, then eats them. Well she drops this dead vole, and one of the girls caught sight of it. Quicker than Ash can blink that hen ran in snatched the vole up and ran off. The other girls saw her trying to peck something on the ground and ran over to steal her tastey morsel. It was too big for the first girl to swallow whole so she kept snatching it back up and running off with a five other hens in a line behind her. Everytime they lost intrest she dopeed it and started pecking at it which started the got the other girls intest again and started them chasing after her with the vole in her beak. I sat and laughed and laughed.

Scotty has been talking to other people he knows at work, and friends about the piggies. Around three pounds a day is what they should gain he was told, but when it's really really hot out, we can expect them to not want to eat as much and slow down a little on the growth. He got recomendations to make a cold water mash with their feed. He saw on the website for the hardware store a five nozzle, inexpensive misting sytem. So now the pigs have a mister system to help beat the heat of the day.

We spent all day yesterday fishing. Started at Ritter Island in the morning. Hit Niagra springs till it got hot. Tried Billingsly creek, but it was a moss and weed infested little irrigation ditch, so back to Niagra. I caught my first big trout in Idaho. I got two more small ones. The boy got a few, and so did Scott. We ended up with seven trout we brought home. Gutted them when he caught them, and I whacked off thier heads when we got home and vaccume sealed them into the freezer. Scotty wants to try out his smoker with the fishes. I'm excited to try it.

Mrs. Jones, how does your garden grow?

The calves are off the replacer milk, and very happy each day to see their grain and hay. Our calf doesn't have horn starting yet, but Andrea's guy has little nubbies poking through. Trimmed feet on Patches and Ben last week, but I still have to do Apache.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chigs and Pickens

...As Scott calls them. Everyone is in their little houses now. Scotty got my chicken condo, the pig auto water, and the feeder done. I still have to paint daisys and peace signs on the condo, but I'll wait for Teh Spawn to get back from Arizona. The garden is still growing carpets of weeds. I went out like an idiot today in a sports bra and shorts to do my morning weeding. I thought I'd work on getting rid of the hillbilly farmer tan I have going on. My arms and face are nice and tan. My cheeks all rosey. And..... it all stops and my shirt sleeves. So out I went a weeding. I spent two hours out there bent over on my hands and knees pulling fistfulls of weeds. I do that all the time. Unfortunatly I didn't think of all that untanned white skin across my back and shoulders. All that white skin that is now a bright cherry red. And Tender. Moron... /sigh. Of course I can't really reach it either to put lotion on it, and Scott works tonight. I didn't even realize I'd done it till later this afternoon when I came in to shower all the dirt and mud off my shins and knees. I got this flash of red from the mirrow out of the corner of my eye, and thought, "Good googly moogly, thats going to hurt like a bitch later." Yeah, I was right. The worst part is that I have a brand new can of spray on sunscreen sitting right there on the counter.

So onto the pic spam. I love taking pics of the goings on around here.

The chicken condo started with this...

and this

Starting to put the kennel together while...

Putting the last coat of paint on the nest boxes and the outside of the box

We were going to have the condo inside the fence, but it cut down on so much space we decided to take the chain link off the back pannel and replace it with chicken wire we could cut a whole through for the condo doors.

Our first egg.... if I could just figure out how to make the chicken stop eating thier own eggs before I can...

Gratuitous piggie pic

Monday, June 11, 2012

I haz a Piggies!!!!!

Scott took a picture of me being all hillbilly and weeding my garden.

I've given up on pulling every weed one at a time since then. They've become a carpet that's everywhere. I've taken to reaching down into the dirt and grabbing a handfull of weed and soil and just churning everything up. Scotty bought me a Garden Weasle. It's not so great at digging up the weeds between the rows. It does get some of them out, and it sure makes the soil alot looser so I can dig in with my hands and get the weeds out though.

I got to go play cowgirl last week with my friend Andrea and Honey Jo. Honey's dad was moving some cows down the valley, and up over the mountians to a smaller high valley on the other side. Let me tell you, those cows were not happy about being pushed up the hill. The were lined out and moving along as long as they thought they were moving to the next ranch down the velley. Soon as we turned them up the fenceline it was a fight the whole way. The side of the mountian was rather steep. Steep enough that I prolly wouldn't have chosen to go up it if I'd just been out for a trail ride. Good thing 'Ole Benjamin Butthead has worked cows before. Dad Cisco and Andrea got a bunch of those critters moving up towards the top and me and HJ were trying to keep pushing from the bottom. I ended up pointing Ben right through the middle of them and whooping and hollaring drove right up the middle. Managed to push some of them up, then circled back down and did it again.

Here's the view from the top looking back the way we came. The view was worth the trip alone.

Scotty almost has my chicken condo done. It's turning out just the way I was hoping when he was decribing how he wanted to build it. This is a view through the top into one of the nest boxes. He made the lid with hinges on the outside so I can just lift the lid and grab my eggs and go.

Scotty and the boy working in the garage on the chicken condo

And now we move onto finishing the pig pen, because yesterday I picked up the piggiez!!!! Scott and the boy worked hard all day getting it ready for the pigs.

Here's Scotty trying to herd them out of the trailer. They were not happy about coming out. It was getting late in the evening after we unloaded them so I promise more pics later today.


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