Sunday, July 31, 2011

Moving Day

I went about my normal routine that I do every weekend.   I am always up by 630am if not earlier, the product of having to get up at 4am every day during the week.  I do my thing and head out to the chickens.  I give both the old hens and the babies scratch grains and we all chat about what is new and the latest gossip.

I got around to the babies nursery building and I peeked in and what do you know....way in the back of the  nursery I spied this:

Well this sparked  a whole laundry list of things to do!  I had to call the U-Haul company, call the phone, water, and TV companies to have service stopped.  So much to do!  I had to scramble eggs!  So much to do so little time.  Not to mention it is hotter than all get out.
I finished chatting with the chickens and hand feeding them some grass and then headed inside to start things rolling.
I  cooked up a little more than a dozen eggs.  Why you may ask?  There is a good reason.  I gave the older hens the scrambled eggs to fill their bellies (ok ok their gizzards) with protein.  This will discourage pecking when we integrate the babies into the big coop with them.  The eggs and protein also  seem to make the hens a little more docile and easier going.  This will help the introduction go smoother.
I woke up my hubby, and son and had a good breakfast, while we talked about how to move the babies with as little trauma  as possible.  We devised and plan and out the door we went.  First we had to get all the babies into their nursery.  Then we had to keep them there while we closed off their pop door.  To do this we just stapled some chicken wire over the pop door opening.  Then I picked up all the bricks holding down the big blue tarp and took out all the stuff from inside their nursery.
Together the three of us slowly picked up the nursery and we walked it to a new location out of the mud and chicken poo.  The babies were not too cooperative so we decided not to try to walk them around to the big coop door as we had planed.  Instead we took off the top of the nursery and I started grabbing birds.  I would quickly grab a chicken and hand her off to my Son who would carry her over to the coop where Hubby was manning the door.  We did this over and over, one by one, chicken by chicken for all 25.  It took some time and I only got pooped on once, and bit once.  Not too bad considering I was really scaring them.  No chickens (or people) were harmed during this process.  Although, I was wing slapped in the face a few times.  Thankfully I did not loose my glasses!
Once we had them all in the main run, I filled their waters while the boys mixed their feed.  Just like changing a dog's food you want to mix the old with the new  - we had to mix the chick feed with the layer feed.  I then slowly corralled all the birds from the run into the coop, and we shut the pop door for about an hour.  Since our babies were used to using a pop door they knew how it worked and knew that beyond the pop door was either shelter or a yard depending which way they were going.
They were hot and they duked it out a little bit but all in all the hour they were locked in together with the old hens seemed to go well.  While they were locked up, we quickly dismantled the nursery and set the pieces behind the coop to wash off in the rain - should we get any- and to get it out of the site of the babies.  Out of site out of mind.  They will forget they had a different home and will only know their new home as their only home.  We left the fencing up for now.  It was too hot by this time and I was melting into a gross puddle in my insulated boots.
We also found out that our one mystery chick in indeed a roo.  He has been crowing for a few weeks now.  He is aggressive when I had feed them grass but he has not tried to attack - yet.  He seemed pretty docile when I grabbed him to move him.  Maybe he will be a nice roo.....hey a girl can hope!

Now I have to find some of the golf balls we have laying around to put in the nest boxes.  Why golf balls you ask?  Well the golf balls with look like eggs to the chickens and it will teach the babies where to lay their eggs - in the nest boxes.  It works quite well.  This way using golf balls I can keep collecting the eggs several times a day so they don't get trampled but still leave a visual learning aid for the new hens.

 I only have one new hen laying so far but the rest will start soon.  This is kinda early for them.  We got these peeps April 4, 2011, and today July 31, 2011, 3.5 months later, they are starting to lay.  The new eggs will be pretty tiny bit totally whole.  Soon they will start laying huge eggs and double and triple yolks while their bodies figure things out and they settle into a laying routine.  Now a new issue starts for me - soon I will be getting up to 32 eggs A DAY!  I need to order some egg cartons....and make a sign for the road.....and buy a bigger fridge...make more cookies, cakes, and goodies.  oh my.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tutorial: How to make a quick and easy Party Favor

Head on over to the Craft Corner section of my blog to get the complete direction on how to make this super easy and cost effective party favor!  This party favor would work for any occasion - wedding, bridal shower, baby shower, birthday, anniversary party - any gathering that you would want to have a party favor on hand for the guests.  Check it out!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Garden in Full Swing

We have been in a serious heat wave dry spell here in these parts.  We have been having to water the gardens every night to keep them going.  It takes about an hour to water every garden that we have.  That is a lot of water.  I am afraid to open my water bill when it comes!  But the up side to it all is that the gardens are doing well and we are getting 2 squash/zucchini a day....a all new problem!

The onions are shouldered up and out of the dirt and starting to die off.  Soon it will be time to pull them and let them dry before bagging them up in net bags.

The cabbages have seen better days.  I started manually inspecting them and picking the worms off of them.  That has seemed to help.  I have spray for them but I am not too keen on using it.  If the cabbage does not work out the chickens will get a wonderful treat.  The LOVE cabbage and a cabbage infested with bugs is even all the better for them.

Our green beans are not looking too hot.  They are supposed to be bush beans but they seem to be falling all over themselves.  I doubt we will get enough for a meal let alone can, but the bunny gets them as a treat.  Not much goes to waste even the low output veggies.

We have a total of 6 garden tanks, 2 veggie plots, and the berry patch.  The tanks are old fuel oil tanks that have been cut in half and put up on cinder blocks.  We use a mixture of mushroom mulch, compost, top soil, peat, and cow manure to fill the tanks.  Things generally do really well in them.  This year things are really dry so the tanks dry out quicker and it takes its toll on the plants.

In the ground plots we have yellow and green zucchinis, green peppers, butternut squash, corn, pumpkins, and a variety of tomatoes.  They are doing fairly well given the lack of water and sweltering temperatures.  I picked 2 grape tomatoes the other day and they were a yummy tease of what is to come!  I can't wait until they really get rolling.

The corn is kinda goofy.  We planted 2 different kinds of corn.  1 kind came up really well and the other stuff did a sporadic growth pattern.  We did not expect much out of this garden plot, as we are still trying to fortify the lack of dirt in our yard with litter from the chicken coop.

We have tied aluminum pie tins in the corners of the garden plots to keep the critters out.  It seems to be working pretty good so far.

Although this one was looking for a way into the garden!

The chickens are not happy with us.  We have not let them out to free range in a while.  We have to get the tomatoes fenced in so they do not eat them all.  If we were to let them out now they would go straight to the garden and eat everything there!  I have read about painting rocks the colors of the veggies and placing them around the garden.  That way the chickens will peck at the rocks - get bored with the garden as soon as they figure out there is nothing but painted rocks in it.  I have not tried this - I may, we have a rock or 2 laying around.

The fruit trees are not fairing too well in the hot dry weather either.  We had all kinds of fruit in the spring but most of it has dried up.  We have some apples.

Some Peaches:

And some Pears yet on the trees.

We water them as well but it does not look like they will amount to anything.  Maybe next year.