Monthly Archives: August 2012

Chickens are dumb

Perfectly good chicken coops and where do they roost?  On the roof.  Never mind the perfectly good and plentiful roosts.

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9 O’clock and alls well

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We manage to enclose the two coops today.  It took a while to get the chickens from the tree.  Head pounding apples and chickens who roost higher and higher are not a good combination.  I’m leaving the coops open so they can work out their new spots themselves.I’m particularly proud that we managed to catch “Satan” the rooster.

Now for a much deserved cider and then on to give the rabbits their treats.

Put the old hens in with this years batch.  That should be interesting in the morning.  Fat Mama is by herself with her eggs in the A-frame chicken tractor.  I put down 6-10 inches of straw in case the bumbles actually hatch and need to bounce.  Tomorrow might be day 20 on an egg or two.  One looked like it would be about day 12.  Don’t know if there will be any success with the hatching but it’s pretty riviting to watch.  I’ve already learned a lot even if no chicks come of it.

Hawk attack!

This morning my neighbours called frantically after scaring a hawk off of their coop.  Apparently it swooped into my yard from there.  I have a pretty awesome rooster, so I have high hours that the girls are ok.  Hawk attacks are my least favourite.  They take the heads and drop the bodies.  Very gruesome.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the blog, because of the heat, I have been letting the chickens stay out at night.  This can be good and bad. Today is an example of potentially bad.  I have provided the chickens with plenty of cover so it’s hard for me to do a hess count when they are freaked out.

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There are some hiding.  What worries me are these pics:

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On the plus side, yesterday I candled the eds under the broody hen and found 50s with babies in them.  I don’t need mitre chickens, but the temptation to see the prices overwhelmed me.  Well she be a good mom, I don’t know.  She is a retired later I picked up last year and was slated for the chopping block at her next molt.  By the end of the day she will have a chicken tractor and fresh straw all of her own.  All the eggs that are fertile come from my one year old turken who bred with a redcap rooster and a lakenvelter rooster.  The candle at around 10 to 18 days development.  Should be interesting.

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My husband is close to completing a new enclosure for the rest.  If it is done by the end of the day, new importation will be starting tonight.  There are two new coops in the enclosure so lots to choose from.  Mama gets to keep the chicken tractor she is in.  lots of straw will be added because even though even though my brother assures me bubbles bounce, I don’t want any little babies falling out of the best, I definitely want to give them something soft to land on.

If she works out, I hope to use her to hatch cochins for the neighbour so they don’t have to buy an incubator. 

Another piece of good news is that I will soon receive some restaurant leftovers to supplement all their diets.  My husband is off on an adventure starting tuesday where he will work outside the country in an effort to get us caught up financially.  6 months of unemployment have taken their toll sadly.  Without him here, I won’t have the kitchen scraps I normally do.  My kids hate food apparently.  If I make something good to easy there just won’t be the normal waste we have when cooking for four.

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Wish us luck!  There was rain last night, I can only take that as a sign of positive things to come.

Turkeys

Here are our new turkeys.  They don’t get to roam free, but the turkens are working hard to dig them out.  Sweet little guys currently. Hope I can fatten them up in time for the holidays.  It will be an interesting experiment to see how they do in this setting.

Notice all the apple carcasses?  We are always overrun with fruit flies in the summer because of all the fruit trees.  This year, the chickens are doing a good job keeping up with the dropped apples.  Boy are the eggs good right now.  As an added bonus, we don’t feel like the fruit flies are going to carry the house away.  This is pretty great in my mind.  I feel bad because we like to take the dropped apples to my brother’s pigs, but their share will definitely be smaller this year.  There are still plenty of bird picked ones on the trees.

World’s Ugliest Bird Competition

I prefer Turkens to any other variety of chicken which I’m sure I’ve stated before in this blog.  Food to egg and meat ratio is excellent, personalities are excellent.  They are just an all around good bird.  EVERYONE who sees them for the first time comments on their looks though.  These are not attractive chickens.  Last week I added four turkeys to the flock.  Just every day run of the mill white turkeys.  They were a month and a half old when I got them and the price was too good to resist.   I was immediately surprised at the adorable noises they make.  Even so young though, they are the same size as the chickens.

We have had a horribly hot and dry summer so far.  Weeks of 110 degrees plus weather have really taken their toll on the yard.  Usually I irrigate about four times a year, but this year I had to break down and put it at about three times per week.  It saddens me to use water like that.  With the new garden ground across the street however, I had no other choice.  There just hasn’t been enough time to condition that soil or get used to it’s needs for me to go on a low water regimen.  Regardless, I have kept everything happy and healthy except for Fred the pigeon.  He succumbed  to the heat about three weeks into the heat wave.  I work really hard to keep them shaded and watered, but there is only so much you can do.  The pigeons are temporarily in the house now, which freaks me out a little.

I decided Gracie needed some more friends so here they are:

I haven’t sexed them yet, I’m afraid they are too young for that.  I may try in a few days when they get used to living here and are more calm.  My intent was to pick up two and hope one turned out to be a boy.

Temptation reared it’s ugly head though and I had to pick up this other one.  I must now have a thing for hideous birds because of my devotion for my turkens.

He’s an english carrier pigeon.  Not at all fitting in with my goal of raising squab, but he/she and Gracie are getting along pretty well so far.  When it is standing up straight the bird is very striking and no more attractive.  One of my gardening friends and I have been discussing breeding carriers for sharing seeds.  Not for the ease of seed sharing, but just for the novelty of it.  Usually these guys seem to go for around $100 each.  I picked this guy up for $6.  He has a crooked foot, but it doesn’t seem to affect him.  For $6 I was willing to take the chance on him for a little neighborhood fun.  Now I guess I need to get serious about the pigeons and get some leg bands and flight cage finished.  Hopefully in a few days I can get some photos and show how to sex them.

I always read about how addicted people get to raising pigeons and never understood it.  They just never appealed to me.  I have to admit now, they are pretty awesome to have around.

How does my garden grow?

Drought be damned, we have been irrigating.

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Broom corn

Broom corn is a lot of fun to grow.somehow, I was not paying attention and missed the whole 14 foot tall memo.

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It gets huge!  I think this would make a wonderful plant for pole beans.  This week we harvested it.

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Perfect for dried floral arrangements.  Maybe one day soon we will get ambitious and make some brooms.

Neighbor problems

Garden D is located in a more suburban part of st louis.  It’s still the city, but the neighborhood lacks the racial and economic diversity that mine does.  At least on the surface.  Here is our garden.

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It’s not a great picture, but you get the idea.  Long and narrow.  Right next door the neighbour has his long back yard set up very similarly.  He has a job that keeps him on the road, but the lot is full if vegetables and flowers all the same.  We have always thought it a blessing.  Hard to isolate veggies for seed saving but at least there was a kindred spirit there.   The last free years when there was no garden on our lot, hes been generous in helping control the johnson grass infestation at the back of the property.  Unfortunately, thats a darn hard weed to kill.  Also unfortunately, we are organic and he is not.

He recently came home and for unknown reasons decided running a mower through our garden was the thing to do.

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Mowing didn’t stop with the weeds sadly and he ran right over our tomatoes.

So here is a picture of his garden.

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Here is ours.

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Where are the weeds coming from?  I know it’s easy to point fingers at the crazy organic people, but I think it’s clear that organic garden is lending itself to better results than round up dependant gardening.

I understand that sometimes we take our frustrations to the garden and come back feeling better, but please try not to take then next door to your neighbours garden.  Not cool.

On the plus side, we have decidedo to risk some short season summer veggies on the newly mowed area.  It will be exciting to see what succeeds.  Here are the new plantings.

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Mowing 10 feet into the yard can be dealt with,  hope karna doesn’t come down on him too hard.

On a passive aggressive note,  I did plant pumpkins in between each crop right on the property edge.  I will try to keep them trained over to our side, but sometimes things get overlooked.