Thursday, October 11, 2018

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

We recently had four days of steady rain, with some storms, 
after months of little moisture.  

My place, and the animals, got waterlogged. 

Today is a beautiful autumn day, and the temp finally got to 50, so 
I decided to clean out the little hen house, and the old hen house, and re-bed the Hen Spa. 


Seven Thirty this morning, and the skies were finally clearing. 
Sadly, clouds came back over within the hour. 

But, by 12:30, we were back to sun. 

I decided I had better get some work done on the henhouses while we had a decent day. 


I found this girl laying in the little hen house.  She is one of the Black Star 
production layers, and I suspected some of them were laying now.  I know one 
is going into the Hen Spa to lay.  However, now that I know this.... I realize my 
old girls are really, really beginning to slack off. 

I just realized I only took one picture of their house,  and since it is 8 x 10, 
it took only minutes to scoop it all out and put it in the little red wagon.  Then I ran it over to the compost heap and unloaded.  I then drove the wagon to the hay shed, and loaded up on fresh straw, 
and went back and bedded it down. 


The pullets/hens will be happy tonight when they go in. 





Then, on to the old henhouse.  You will note the back pophole is shut... when the sheep first came, 
they tore through the dilapidated fencing around the old hen yard, and I got a bid to replace everything that came in at 4,000.00.  Uh, no.  So... the sheep began to come up the pophole, eat the feed, and come into the yard on their own, so I can't leave that hole open, but only the one on the side (the right of this picture).  I have plans to get cattle panels and attach them to the precariously-leaning walls of the hen yard, but getting the panels HERE is the problem. 


Re-bedded and smells SO much better. 

I also took the opportunity to get a lot of flotsam and jetsam that had accumulated there and in the porch of the old hen house over the summer, and remove it to the barn. 

Fans got put away today, for sure. 


The compost heap, after I had finished.  The hens and Singleton came over to 
start working it, minutes later. 


There are some planters and gardening stuff stored at the back of the old garage (where I keep the mower) which is right behind the compost heap.  While I was emptying the cart, I heard a loud squawk. 

I went around the corner to have one of the Cornish hens come running out like a crazy thing... and I found that!  

However... it was cold, and she had been going to lay another. 

I disturbed her. 

I'm such a sap, I went back and put straw in the planting box.  She is out there now. 
She is the one who laid in the planter on the porch this summer. 


Back to the old hen house for a minute... there is a gap between the inside 
step (to get out the popholes) and the wall.  In the old days, the little bantams 
used to lay down in that gap... so I put some straw down there today to encourage 
them to do it.  Only three hens are laying in there, and 11 sleep in there. 


Please notice the feather extending from Lilly's mouth, and the studious way she 
is avoiding my lecture. 

The bird got away, but it was close. 


Lookin' pretty good for just cleaning two hen houses. 


Gratuitous picture of the two drakes in the sun, because I stopped to fill their pool under the walnut tree. 

Since I had the wagon hooked up, I decided to go get the rest of a bale of straw, 
and I drove it over to the Hen Spa.  I had just cleaned it out six weeks ago, so 
I put the fresh straw on the old, and made it deeper.  

Those girls will have a good time tonight, too. 


I snuck back into the old hen house to see what was happening after I unhooked the wagon and parked the tractor in the garage (scared the darn Cornish hen again!). 

Two of the girls were already at work!