Monthly Archives: November 2012

Expansion or just more work?

A year and a half ago we found out that our neighbor at the Fruity Chicken was putting his house up for short sale, and for various reasons my sweety Karen and I decided to try and purchase it. For anyone who has never experienced a “short sale” the term does NOT refer to time frame! After a long, arduous, and highly frustrating process we finally took possession of the Clayton Annex to the Fruity Chicken 3 weeks ago.

The Fruity Chicken is a 1/2 acre corner lot with a 1200 sqft. house and a barn on it, the Clayton Annex is the 1/2 acre corner lot with a 1600 sqft. house and a pool directly behind The Fruity Chicken and sharing a common back fence. So effectively we now have a full acre peninsula with 2 houses, a pool, and a barn on it.

Kitchen Remodel

Karen has been watching to much HGTV

Kitchen Remodeling

When all else fails apply brute force.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Remodel

Brawn wins out over Brains!

 

 

 

A/C Installation

Karen making sure the guys get it right.

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Destruction

Karen makes the mess and Alexa cleans it up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destruction

Sensible shoes? Alexa says “what can’t I do in heels?

 

 

 

 

 

Pool Replaster

Pool replastering 101

 

Pool Plaster

All I need is a hammer and a little time after school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the midst of all of this destruction I remembered that I had duck eggs in the incubator. When I checked on them I realized that my auto-turner had broke sometime, I started turning by hand but didn’t really hold out much hope for my chances of hatching out any ducklings. A month before 6 eggs had been put in my incubator, 4 green and 2 white ones. What breed are they? I have no clue, one of the females looks kinda like a mallard and the other is black with a white belly and a funky little poof ball on her head. After the first day of Kitchen destruction we came home to find 2 of the green eggs had hatched out.

Baby Ducks

The first 2 both outta green eggs

Baby Ducks

4 ducklings 2 outta green eggs 2 outta white, can you tell the difference?

Due to all of the work going on at the Annex I haven’t had a lot of time to get things straightened up and ready for the 10 new bareroot fruit trees coming this winter. The plan is to create some mini raised beds to mitigate the wet-feet issue that plagued the orchard last year. Things at The Fruity Chicken haven’t been totally on hold though, the fodder plan is progressing, fermented feed is still a hit, and the damn evil egg eating aliens are still plaguing me! But I got a plan……my next blog post should contain pictures of the perpetrator in the act, I borrowed my buddy Hoss’ trail cam last night and set it up in the coop today.

While feeding Friday one of Alexa’s Silkie Roosters snuck out and the next thing I know we had a battle royal join on.

Chickens

Squaring Off

Roosters

Spurs Flyin

Roosters

Back to your corners

Our winter catch up season just keeps getting fuller and fuller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creative ways to make simple tasks more complicated

I find that the cooler temps and shorter days bring out a desire to do things. In the summer there is so much to do but it is a miserable time to do it (at least here), conversely come fall things start tapering off just when it feels good to get out there and do things. Feeding chickens is one of those things that should be simple…right? Last winter and spring I decided that I wanted my chickens to forage for at least part of their diet. This article over at Paul Wheatons site was my inspiration and the foundation for my long term goals in regards to my chickens.

Propagation Tray

Preparing the propagation trays by drilling drainage holes

Red Wheat

5 cups of Red Wheat Prior to soaking

Red Wheat

Red Wheat 24 hours after soaking

Fodder

Red Wheat after 2 days

Red Wheat after 5 days

Red Wheat after 5 days

Chickens eating fodder

The Chickens enjoying the Red Wheat Fodder on Day 6

Mixed Fodder

Round 2 is a mix of Soy Beans, Parrot Sprout Mix, and Red Wheat

My flock took to the Fodder right away and currently I am producing a 10″x20″ tray every other day. I have discovered that Red Wheat is a much more vigorous sprouter than Barley. My process has evolved in the week and a half I’ve been doing this to where now I am soaking 2 cups of parrot sprout mix along with 1 cup of soybeans overnight, then putting a cup of Red Wheat and a cup of Barley on to soak the following night and finally layering them in a propagation tray on the second morning with the Barley/Wheat mixture on top. The parrot sprout mix I am using contains several different types of field peas, safflower, sunflower and vetch. Those grains along with the soy beans provide a very hardy larger sprout while the barley is supposed to be high in protein and the red wheats vigorous roots tie everything together into a tight puck that is easy to handle.

In addition to Fodder I am still actively foraging by proxy for my flock, at least twice a week they get left over cooked rice from a chinese restaurant and I still occasionally get vegetable prep from that same place. My sweety Karen has exotic birds, LOTS of exotic birds, and they are very wasteful of their feed. Rather than sweeping it up or dumping their cups in the trash she now keeps a 5 gallon bucket near which she fills with all of the chaff/seed/pellets they leave in their bowls or toss on the ground. This bucket gets topped off with leftovers and goes out to the chooks about twice a week. On top of this I keep a bucket of high protien pigeon feed fermenting in the coop for those slack days in my foraging efforts. To round out my Flocks nutrition needs I have an auto-feeder setup that is always full of a mix of Lay-pellets and Flock Raiser pellets.

Chicken Feeder

My custom built “Foraging” Table

Chicken Feeder

The water proof feed hopper portion of my Automatic Feeder

Chicken Feeder

The “Magic Trigger” for my Automatic Chicken Feeder

When I moved this setup out of the area that I am trying to grow a chicken pasture in I lost the fancy trigger I ordered off of ebay for $4.99 and then had to pay $10 shipping to get it here from the UK. I had read somewhere that a teaspoon would work just as well and figured what the heck? Low and behold it worked just fine! The chickens go under the foraging table, peck at the “trigger” and out pops a few pellets. It did take a couple of tries to get the hole sized properly so that the feed didn’t just run out but would dump a reasonable amount when pecked.

Yeah I know my Chickens are spoiled……aren’t yours?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fodder, Fostering and Friends

My granddaughter Alexa’s two special furry chickens disappeared a while ago. Her and Tuey had”found” them on their first adventure to Magnolia Bird farm together. These two blue silkies were very sweet and would sit on your feet begging to picked up if you stood still very long at all.

One of Lexi’s Furry Chickens

Ever since losing them we have been wanting to get Alexa another Silkie or two. or maybe five?

Silkie Chickens

The first 3

These 3 came from a really nice young woman who is a Vet Tech and loves chickens.

Black Silkies

and 2 more makes 5

These two came from a breeder of show quality birds who also does a lot of rescue work and has an amazing place up on Mt. Charleston.

So now Lexi has Furry Chickens again, we relocated the juvenile aviary to the fence line of the Chicken Run and cut a hole in the fence for the door so that she can go visit her babies anytime she likes without any risk of letting the Big Chickens out. Karen is going to find a stool or small chair to place inside the pen so Lexi can just hang out with her new friends.Rescue KittenCat and Parrot

About 2 weeks ago Karen got a call from the Humane Society asking if she could bottle feed/ween/socialize 6 kittens. As you can see above they are eating on their own and well adjusted to humans and other critters. They were all healthy and had all of their limbs so all of them went back Saturday to take featured billing at an adoption event soon!

The latest craze in chicken feeding over on BYC is fodder and I had planned on writing up a description of my plunge into creating a fodder system but I just aint in to it right now. Maybe next week, but until then go check out this thread on the subject.

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