Monday, June 19, 2017

Chicken update

   Happy Belated Father's Day!  Since getting back from my trip Wednesday, my only tasks (other than mom and wife) are getting my ground cover plants in the ground, watering plants, de-chaos-ing the house, and taking care of chickens.  Our little orphan Annie is doing well, and getting some real free-range time while we're outside playing and doing chores.  She is much more social with us; she sticks pretty close, and our dog Sam is doing wonderful.  Not much for herding, though.  That puts another thing on the to-do: How to train my herding dog how to herd.  For now, I have a pirate chicken!

   We lost one chick while we were gone - got picked (or rather, pecked) on too much by the other bigger chicks.  My neighbors were watching them for the week, to the delight of their grandkids, and separated the little one, but it still didn't make it.  So now I have 3 baby chicks and Annie.  These poor animals.  Between losing chickens and nursing half-dead house plants, its a wonder my kids survive! ☺  The little chicks got some outside time near Annie, so (hopefully) it won't be so strange when they show up in "her" coop one morning.

   And of course the garden is in full swing.  So far no green beans or lettuce came up (old seed), and the celery I transplanted was a little too small, and didn't make it, either.  Rabbits ate some of my pepper plants, but everything else looks good.  And mulberries are in full season - time to get picking and make some jam!  Lots on my plate still, but I am determined to enjoy the season.

Joyfully yours,

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Ultimate Failure in Chicken Keeping

   I was all ready to show pics of my injured chicken's splinted leg, which I'm pretty sure was broken, and status update on how I was able to put her back the other birds without any pecking issues, and how it was healing (that's her laying down, but she hopped around quite a bit)....

   ...and then we failed.  I failed, Hubby failed, and Handsome Boy failed (of course, being a boy, to a lesser degree of responsibility).  I had a late meeting, Hubby fell asleep, and Handsome Boy was watching a long movie. 

   And no one put up the chickens.

   And then there was one.

   They got eaten by a raccoon, we're pretty sure.  There were some feathers, a few blood spots, and wing.  And a big fat raccoon was spotted in the next door field the following night.

  So there is one left, our little orphan Annie.

   I can't just have one chicken - they're social, right? - so there will be another round of brooding for us, whether it's store chickens or from a friend.  Our local farm store has one (last?) order of chicks in today.  And we will be redoing the fencing.  To be somewhat fair, the green plastic-coated wire fence was only meant to keep the chickens in, we knew it wasn't any good against predators, except our dog and kids.  I think we'll be investing in an electric poultry net setup, but haven't quite decided.  I think it's the best fit for what we want to do.  Not that we don't still have to put the birds in the coop at night, but if we're late, or forget again, at least it's something.  Plus it should/will be able to move around a lot easier, as well as be more than big enough to go around the areas I want to chicken(s) to clear.  More thought on that, obviously.

  And as I feel sad for my dead chickens, sad for my lonely last chicken, and plan for better security for the next round of chickens...I made chicken soup.  And it was good.  Ironic?  Or life goes on (for some)?  I feel bad for the egg chickens I lost, because I was supposed to care for them and keep them safe, but I didn't.  They had a long productive life ahead of them still.  And Annie is all alone.  My meat chickens were never alone, and ran the course of their short life as they were meant to, and now they fill my freezer.  I don't feel bad about that at all.  I am thankful for all of those chickens as I mourn the waste of the others.  It is the way of homesteading, is it not?

   I will have another break before my next post - let's just say it involves family and the beach. Until then!

Joyfully yours,