Tuesday, April 16, 2024

More than a Month

More than a month has gone by since I was able to post.  It is the busiest time of year, here, and the work never seems to stop.  I have injured my leg, and am limping pretty much all the time... I see the doctor on the 23rd about it.  

We also were dealing with spotty broadband service for six weeks, until we lost it entirely for a weekend and I put my foot down and called the company.  They had a tech out here a day later who did a site survey, and lo and behold, when I called again in the morning... a service call materialized suddenly (they are usually days out) and someone came and worked on the apparatus and moved it to the peak of the roof and it is pointed in a new direction.  In fact, I noticed this morning it is a completely different kind of receiver.   Before the tech left, we reported (my son and I) that we could not get internet, and he climbed back up and replaced the radio in it, which we suspect was the problem all along.

I'm going to give a review of the new hen house.  I had it wired by a local electrician and I am so glad I had plugs put on three walls.  It is hot, hot, hot, and in fact, miserably so.  I went in there Sunday to find my poor birds had literally drank two gallons of water and were suffering.  There are two fans in there, the windows are open, and the pophole is able to be opened with a screen stapled across the INSIDE so no one can get out into the covered pen.  You see, because it is on skids, it does not meet the ground.  A friend donated wood to be attached to the bottom, but that has never happened, so yesterday, I pulled two expens I had bought from a friend down the road (dog exercise pens, like I made Chico's pen with) and put them around the enclosed pen, and I could tell nothing can get under them.  Problem solved.  I am stapling them TO the building today. 

I know now... at least I suspect... why this building was returned from its rental... it's almost unliveable.  

Right now, the oldest chicks... the Indio Gigantes and the Putih Ayam Cemanis and Columbian Wyandottes are in there, in two separate pens (again, using ex pens).  The bigs cannot be with the littles, the first thing they did was attack them.  All of the chicks are out of the tubs now, and there are two batches in the brooder pens in the big hen house and the old hen house.  

Indio Gigante chicks look like little velociraptors, and their big feet make a lot of noise! 

You can see how the building is divided.  The big chicks get the roost.  Remember, these birds will not live in here forever. 

They stampeded into the corner because I was doing water.  This is called "piling" and is not a good thing.  Where you see the ex pen, the light hangs over... it is visible in the picture before this... so both groups can enjoy the heat from that far lamp.  There is another lamp that I will use the next few nights, as we have gone from three days in the eighties to more seasonable temps and will go to the forties at night. 

The only chick I lost... a Bielefelder pullet.  I bought three from a young woman about twenty miles from here two week ago, and found this one dead on Sunday.  They are beautiful little chicks. The other two that came with her had pasty butt... I suspect that is what got her.  I got them all out of the last trough that day, checked them all, and am continuing to check them.  I had only bought three, and frankly, they are the only chicks I have had a problem with the whole time. 

I do a chick check about four times a day.  Tomorrow, I am cleaning buildings at the Ag Hall, and will come home at noon to make sure everyone is okay. 

The chicks in the new hen house will be dispersed to the old hen house, which has only three old hens in it.... but that building is due for a cleaning (Thursday) and re-bedding, and then my farm helper and I are going to build a new outdoor pen for them, where the original chicken pen used to sit.  Once they are trained to that house, they will be allowed to free range.  This pen will be temporary only, made with cattle panels and tee poles and zip ties.  

They have to be big enough that this cannot get them. 

Can you see it there on the left of the stone? 

Three feet long, if an inch. 

They can swallow chicks as big as the Indios above.

Lavender Orpingtons and Cuckoo Marans.  

I need to clean their brooder today.  I have to catch them one by one, but them in a cat carrier, and then clean the pen thoroughly.  Chicks are VERY messy.  The Marans lay a very, very dark brown egg. 

Oh yes, Little Mr. Floofy Ears is still here.  After his great escape, he is no longer allowed loose in the yard.  He is on a leash (30 feet) with me walking in the yard, or in his 20 x 30 foot yard.  Not ever taking a chance of his getting loose again.  We went to the vet yesterday and he has lost a pound and two ounces, which is a little worrisome... he does not have a good appetite generally.  He only has about four teeth left. 

So, Sunday I got up to find this in the old hen house: 

That is a dead hen at the foot of the brooder pen. 

She had been trying to die for a week, but was not suffering.  I have had a group of generic red hybrids that were way past laying age, and are pensioners.  Some days I get two eggs, some days, six.  (miracle).  

She had not laid in several years.  I had had one put down at the vet two weeks ago, they charge 84.00.  
I decided to just let her go gently.  I noticed she had quit going outside. 

I am showing this for a reason. 

The same day, I found this beautiful girl I bought from a friend dead in the big hen house. 
She is a Mille Fleur D'Uccle, I bought two hens and a rooster from my friend Diane. 

I believe she hurt herself a week ago fluttering out of my arms into her pen... she landed badly and was stunned... and then I noticed she was moving hesitantly.  I was not surprised to find her. 

I took the pair down to the pasture where my favorite birds, the vultures, could find them. 

They were in the middle, where the grass was kind of short. 

Yesterday, I was out in the yard working. 
I have decided not to garden this year... that is the next post... 
but I was cleaning up a planter. 

I noticed a bird go overhead and I thought oh good, the vultures will get those birds. 

Folks, the bird landed. 

Oh, yes, friends, it's a bald eagle. 

Never did we see them here until a few years ago, at least far from the river. 

So, of course, I ran into the house to get the long lens. 

And when I got back out, I noticed a bird overhead... it was the mate! 

It was so cloudy, so they are a little hard to see. 

They sat there for a good ten minutes.  The chickens became aware of them and a scream was made and they ran as fast as they could for beneath the big hen house.  All except Doug, the white Silkie rooster, who froze completely. 

I was ready to put my camera down and get him, don't worry, he is one of my favorites. 

One red hen had not run, and I think Doug was standing his ground.  He would have been mincemeat. 

Look at the beaks on those beautiful birds! 

Anyway, forewarned is forewarned.  We are keeping an eye out for them now, and especially being careful about Chico... another reason he cannot be on his own.  Someone is out there with him when he is in the pen, at least sitting on the porch and watching him. 

It hasn't been all work... last week, I went to see my great granddaughter Maci in her first school program.  

Little brother Wyatt was there, too. 

These two live 75 miles from me and I don't get to see them very often, in fact, Black Friday was the last time I had seen them.  I was so glad to spend a little time with them. 

I am pretty tied down to the place until the chicks are a little older. 

In my head, I have them divided up among the three hen houses already, and yes, there IS a chance that some will stay in the new building, but instead, I see that as a bantam building for the Mille Fleurs. 
I'm not breeding, just keeping them for fun. 

They have to get big enough that the snakes can't get them, first. 

Now that we are connected with the world again, I'll be able to post more often.  You don't realize how much we depend on the internet until we don't have it, in this day and age. 

As always, thanks for reading!