Posts tagged “chickens

A Gone-Fish tournament, an addition with a lesson learned, a blind, demolition and finally, a serial biter…

I normally stick to one topic per post.  Today, I have a few topics to cover.  Feel free to jump in at anytime.  I’m starting to get a complex about my low or even non-existent readership.  :0)  Is anyone out there??

Gone-Fish: Willis & I attended an annual youth fishing tournament on Sat.  Last year he walked away with a trophy for largest fish caught.  He has always been a patient and dedicated fisherboy.  For example, the Sunday before we had Pickle & Willis’ ‘friend’ birthday party at the same pond.  Some of the kids choose to fish.  He was constantly whispering “SHSHSHSH, the fish won’t bite because you are all too loud.”  Not bad for a 4-year-old huh?  They never did catch anything.  My hubby saw this as a precursor for the tournament & decided to stay at home to build a mobile deer blind.  *Stay tuned for an update on the blind.* We probably should have followed his advice because we came home empty-handed as far as fish is concerned.  Our Fire Department sponsors the event and every kids leaves with some type of gift.  Even though there weren’t any fish, it was some good bonding time for myself & Mr. Willis who suffers from a severe case of Middlechild Syndrome.

The tournament took place at the this pond.

An Addition: A week & a half ago we found ourselves unable to keep up with egg demand.  Without a product, you can’t make the sale.  So a decision was made to purchase 5 new chickens which should begin laying in 2-4 wks.  This brought our hen total up to 20…For two days.

One of our New Hampshires...a.k.a. Orington?

A day after the chickens arrived I went down early for evening chores. I wanted to see how everyone was adjusting.  My main concern was how the pecking order was coming along…especially since the chickens arrived de-pecked.  Once I finally opened the door to the ‘coop’ side of the shed I saw one of the New Hampshires (who I’m beginning to think are really Opingtons but that’s another story) hanging upside down from the roost.  With our goal of re-using & becoming innovative with what we already have, we’ve always used a piece of fencing for the roast.  My first thought was that she was dead.  I ran to her rescue to find her leg weaved in between the metal wires.  Once I had her up she wasn’t able to stand.  I took her up to the house & got her some water.  Long story short….I didn’t check her over well enough & overlooked several large scratches around her bottom area.  She stayed in the garage for the night & then I moved her outside.  Eventually she was limping around & looking great.  By the afternoon I noticed the flies & gnats which wouldn’t leave her alone.  That’s when I checked her over completely.  I found maggots in the lesions.  Several times I attempted to clean all of them out, sanitize her & cover her with triple antibiotic.  To no avail, I was unable to save her.  Not having a sick or injured chicken before I did the best I could.  I’ve assisted in a prolapse surgery on a cow before, I’ve castrated piglets…but when it comes to chickens I’m pretty green.  For two days we had 20 chickens and now we are down to 19.  Lesson learned…we are re-building the roost.

The blind: My genius hubby is always thinking & creating.  His newest creative idea is to build a mobile deer blind that can be pulled with the 4 wheeler out to the middle of one of our hunting fields.  I can only post one picture…otherwise I’d have to hunt you down & make sure you don’t try & replicate his TM idea.  Just kidding…maybe.

Invention no. 1,230,890...in progress!

The Demolition: It’s been a while since we made any major changes to the Magic FarmHouse.  That changed yesterday.  One of the best advantages to my hubby’s job is ‘dumpster diving.’  Well, not really.  He works on commercial projects which in my opinion are many times unnecessary renovations – but I’m thankful they are renovating to get him busy working!  Last week the job site where he was working was trashing some perfectly nice cabinets and plywood.  He took all of it before they could hit the dumpster.  The cabinets have been a lifesaver in our new smaller storage room/office.  And, the plywood has allowed us to begin gutting & refinishing our downstairs  bedroom (old storage room/office)…

The beginning of our newest demolition!!

My VERY favorite part about gutting a room is finding the magical treasures.  So far, there’s one wall left and we haven’t found anything!  Bummer!

The Seriel Biter:  Finally, my precious little boy who was calm & who loves to cuddle is missing.  Instead I have a little maniac who’s running around trying to bite everyone!  Where did I go wrong??  He is seriously chasing Willis around the rooms with his mouth open wide trying to bite.  This is the first time we’ve encountered this problem…any suggestions??  Oh, wait, I forgot, no one reads my blog!

‘Til tomorrow!    :o)

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Conquering my fear of heights…one bolt at a time.

I spent a good portion of my childhood climbing, sitting, playing & making forts in trees.  My favorite tree, a Red Maple located in the corner of my mom’s yard, has since had its bottom branches trimmed off but there was one branch that doubled as a trapeze bar.  We would hang upside down on it and it was our main access to the top.  As I grew older, I could often be found out in the woods building forts on, under & on top of old fallen trees.

In college I lived with many athletes since my dorm was located just next to all of our sports complexes.   At the beginning of my sophomore year, the day after Labor Day to be exact,  I was ‘recruited’ to try out the university’s circus.  Let me clarify…I wasn’t trying out for it, I was trying it out.  I hung on the trapeze, acted like an acrobat on the mats and then was asked if I’d like to try the high wire.  I was very uneasy about doing it but gave it a try.  The first time I didn’t get very far, got back up & tried it again.  The second time I again fell, the fall was simultaneously followed by cracking and then a trip to the hospital.  I broke my foot in 4 places.

Can you say OUCH!!!

With that said I think I have reason to be scared of heights.  For years I’d have nightmares about it and missed out on a lot of things.  In more recent years I’ve attempted to work towards overcoming my fear.  I’ve successfully sat in my tree stand – granted they lowered it 5 feet for me.  I’ve taken my kids to the ‘big’ slide which is HUGE.  I’ve even gone on the farris wheel, once.

It was during this past Labor Day weekend that I made the most progress yet.  We are beginning to prepare for the winter and added a new shed to our operation to store supplies.  It’s just like our first shed…which is still unpainted.  Getting it built is like similar to a puzzle.  You have to put each piece in just right before you can tighten all of the bolts.  And, it’s a two-man job.  With my hubby’s ‘main man’ – my brother-in-law at home with a newborn, I had to be the wingman.  I wasn’t sure which would be worse.  Being on the top of the roof or standing on top of a ladder, holding the bolts while they are drilled in from the other side.  GULP, I choose the drilling job from the roof.

This is the bolt holding part of the process....

A Look from above….

My Profile...one of many bolts I drilled that day.

I’m proud to say that I completed the job & we now have a completed shed where we have started storing our hay and feed.  And, I did it! Me, Moi! Now we just have to keep one pesky little hen out of it so she stops laying her eggs in there.  Another project for this weekend…installing a new door.

Next up...painting!

Tomorrow Willis & I head to our first Fishing Derby of the year.  Last year he walked away with a trophy for the largest fish caught.  He’s chomping at the bit for a second win.  I’ll keep you updated!


Our First Heat Related Fatality

Like much of the country, we’ve been under a heat advisory off and on for several weeks.  Yesterday, the heat index topped out at 108.    Around noon I drove the mower down to the sheds to check on water levels.  The chickens are panting and walking around with their wings open but everyone was alive and well.  I went around the fence checking for weeds that might be grounding out the electric fence.  I stopped once and pulled a few then headed to the house.  Just in that short amount of time, without any physical exertion, my clothes could have be wrung out and the sweat poured into a tall glass.

When I went down in the evening I started as usual by first feeding the steers their milk buckets.  While they slurp their supper I walk fast to get their feed ready.  As I started to get the feed out I noticed one of the chickens laying in front of the nesting boxes. When it’s hot they tend to dig themselves a little hole in the ground and sit with their breasts in the dirt in an effort to to cool off – although in front of the boxes was an unusual place.  Without a clear view I was uncertain of what was going on and had a bad feeling about things.  At that point, with all the milk devoured,  the calves were attacking me.  I got them under control so I could enter the chicken side of the shed.  Instead of laying breast down the chicken was on it’s side and dead.  I picked it up and managed to get myself out of the pen before being mugged.  It was one of my hubby’s grandma’s birds so it was probably fairly old.  I’m just glad it wasn’t a young one!

I brought it out of the shed and started to walk out of the pen when Willis saw it.  Here was the conversation…

Willis: What are you doing with that chicken mom?

Me: Well, honey, it died so I need to get it out of the shed.

Willis exclaims with joy:  Oh, good, can we eat it now??

Such a sensitive child…NOT.

Try to stay cool where ever you all are located & drink plenty of water!


With a Hotdog Roasting Stick, A Huntin’ I Will Go!

A few nights ago we had a break from the heat and humidity.  From our open windows, there was a lovely chorus of crickets, toads and a slight breeze moving the leaves on our maple tree.  Until we heard an awful screech.  “The Chickens!” I yelled.  With a capital ‘E,’ I immediately jumped out of bed to see what was the matter.  I ran down our 14 stairs out through the mudroom, put on my boots, grabbed the closet thing I could defend myself with – a hotdog roasting stick – went over the river and through the woods (not really), grabbed a flashlight and headed to the pasture.  The glow of the flashlight quickly caught 6-8 eyes peering at me from under the Mulberry trees.  RACCOONS!  Urgh!

By that time my hubby was stumbling out of the front door and watched as I used a hotdog roasting stick to scare and chase four raccoons away.  I’m sure I was a sight to be hold.  The worst part of it is that because they are out of season right now there’s nothing we can do until we feel our well being at risk.   Then you can contact a Conservation Officer who can trap and release them to another area.

Until then I’ll have to wait for opening day.  Watch out ’cause I’ll be counting down the days.  Pesky AND messy little things!!

ps Thankfully, the chickens were all fine.


A Revolving Door

If I could describe the last two weeks I would start by saying it’s been a roller coaster revolving door.  Almost two weeks ago Miss Terry and Lona left us and are now living happily on another Jersey farm in northwest Iowa.  My father-in-law decided that although they both have great potential as ‘milk cows,’ after the time they’ve spent here on our grass pasture, they weren’t shaping into the showgirls he desired.

Then my hubby’s grandmother – who at age 85 was still raising chickens 50+ and 3 ducks on the farm – passed out and fell on her bathroom floor.   Although there are neighbors and relatives who keep a watch on her, she laid on the floor for over 6 hrs before someone realized her paper had not been taken in.  Other than being severely dehydrated, she seemed to be fine.  Even so, it was decided that she needed to be moved to an assisted living facility where she could be checked on regularly.

We knew this day/period of time would come and have dreaded it for years.  She is a hoarder and that experience requires it’s own post.  The last two weekends have been spent camping on the farm and helping separate garbage from keepsakes.  In addition to the chickens and ducks she also has two dogs.  One of which is a keepsake to her and she asked if we could keep her – the other I’m contemplating asking my DH if we can keep her too.   We were also offered our choice of chickens.  At the end of our first, four day camping trip we arrived home with a new dog named Nicki (also a Rat Terrier) and six laying chickens.  (Our own chickens aren’t due to start laying until Oct.)

We started out on our 55 min. drive home when my FIL calls.  He has a buddy who’s selling two Jersey/Angus crossed bred calves.  Would we be interested?  At that point I was exhausted and said “sure whatever.”  I did express that they need to be bucket calves.  So we arrived home, dumped everything we’d packed in the truck and off went my hubby.  An hour later we increased our herd to three calves.

That night I had a Cub Scout Leader’s meeting in a neighboring town.  We were about half way through when I got the call.  It was my hubby…”Are you done yet? (in the background I hear ballowering calves)” “Well, no, why?”  “I can’t get these things to drink out of a bucket for anything!!”  Exit meeting.

So I drove 20 min. to the in-laws farm, picked up two bottles and we are now bottle feeding two mighty, strong calves morning and night.  At first it was a chore but I’m now enjoying our time together.  They are super cute!!

To re-cap…at the end of our first trip we added a dog, six chickens and two calves.

Fast forward to this past weekend.  After doing chores now for two weekends at Grandma’s, I was starting to notice three chickens who looked like good egg producers.  After a 10 min. fight we caught two of the three and gave up.  My hubby had been contemplating taking the three Call ducks.  So we brought home two more chickens and three ducks.  The ducks have since gone missing.  : (  I still have hope that they’ll show up.  The area outside of the pasture is pretty thick timber so there’s places to hide.  Time will tell.

We and all of the animals are slowing getting adjusted and I think the revolving door has stopped…at least for now!  The chickens even laid 3 eggs today!