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!
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!