Posts Tagged ‘homesteading’

Trail Walk in the Snow


The snow doesn’t slow down the kids or the horses too much.  This is in the middle of our snowstorm today – probably 6-8″ at the time of the walk, and now we’re approaching one foot.  Now it’s time to go sledding!

 

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Finding Nemo


Winter storm Nemo is just starting to arrive.  The ducks don’t seem to mind.

Like Snow off a Duck’s Back

Well, one of them might mind a little bit…

Captions are welcome in the comments section below.

 

Latest Projects at the Flying T


We took advantage of the long, though very cold, weekend to get a passel of projects done.  The biggest job was digging out the goat’s stable – like many goat folks, we let it build up relatively thick during the winter, allowing the hay to compost and produce warmth.  The disadvantage is that when the cleanup happens, it’s a lot of work.  If we could redesign the barn, we’d make it so we could push the tractor’s bucket right into the stalls!

I actually got a reprieve from that big job, and instead was busy with some construction projects and maintenance around the farm.  Yesterday I did some light jobs – fixing the chicken coop doors, rearranging the feed room to make room for the brooders, modifying the new duck house.  Today, I did a couple more projects while the rest of the family worked their butts off on the goat stall.  To keep the goats busy, we gave them the rest of our Christmas Tree – we’ve been handing them sprigs every day, but they made pretty short work of the tree today.

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! How tasty are your branches…

The first project today was to build the kidding stalls, as our two older goats, Gracie and Jessie, are due in March.  Our plan is to open up the wall between their stall and the adjacent one (formerly the duck stall) and let the momma’s use the extra space.   That wall is easy to remove – it’s dimensional lumber that slides in/out of brackets.

Instead of buying plywood and 2x4s (have you seen lumber prices recently?) to make a wall sturdy enough for goats, I salvaged some heavy-duty plastic pallets and put them to work.  The resulting stalls are about 5′ x 5′, taking up about half of the 10’x10′ stall and giving us room to make 3rd or even 4th kidding stalls in the future.

Voila! Kidding stalls! I cut a couple rectangular holes in the pallets to let the girls see each other.

I wanted to make walls that would be sturdy, but still could be removed relatively easily, and came up with the idea of hinged walls that folded against the side of the stable.

Jasper watches the walls unfold.

Wall stowed

All that’s left is to make the doors themselves, for which I plan to use some scrap lumber, or maybe wooden pallets.  We’ll also make some lamb warming huts with some surplus 55-gallon poly drums I’ve salvaged.

The next project was simple – a tray to catch the hay from the feeder.  Goats are notorious hay wasters – once hay hits the floor, they’re not interested anymore, and it becomes bedding.  My hope is that this tray will reduce that a little bit.

Stand by for the next Flying T contest – guess the birthdate, #, and genders of each doe’s offspring!

The girls don’t care, as long as the hay tastes the same

Mystery Chicks Contest Update – 2.5 weeks


All the chicks are starting to get their wing and tail feathers, and we’re getting a bit more convinced of what breeds our 3 mystery birds might be.  Here are some new photos.  If you think you’ve got an answer (or your answer has changed), post a comment on the contest page.

Chick A – I can’t help but think of the Looney Tunes “Chickenhawk” character when I look at her.

Chick B (in the middle of the photo surrounded by Barred Rocks)

Chick C. Color is really coming in on her.

Any new guesses?

 

Mystery Chick Contest Update – 10 Days


The chicks are doing well for the most part.  We lost two barred rock chicks in the first few days, but the others are thriving.  We’ve already removed 2 sides of the smaller enclosure to allow the chicks a bit more room.  They grow pretty quickly, and for those of you participating (or desiring) to compete in the contest, here are some updated photos.  Feel free to change your answers at any time as the chicks become more recognizable.

Chick A – 10 days

Chick B – 10 days

Chick C – 10 days

Feel free to join in!  Just click here to read the details and submit an entry.

Contest: Identify the Mystery Chicks!


Our first contest…  Be the first to identify (correctly) the breeds and genders of our mystery chicks and win our grand prize!

As a surprise for David, we added 3 hatchery-choice “mystery chicks” to his order of Barred Rocks without his knowing it.   They are supposed to be 3 different breeds of brown egg layers.  The kids have made guesses on their breeds, and I think they’re definitely right on two of the three, but I’ll keep their guesses secret for now.

Rules:
1) To enter, simply post a comment with ONE guess for each chick’s identity.  Something like:

  • Chick A: Pearl Guinea Fowl, female
  • Chick B: Ruffed Grouse, male
  • Chick C: Purple Tribble, hermaphrodite

2) We’ll keep the blog posted with pics as the chicks mature, and announce our findings when we’re really sure.
3) Any disagreements on the breed will be settled by Judy, “the Chicken Lady,” at Clark’s Grain Store.
4) Winner will be the first (based on the time/date stamp of the comment) with all three breeds and genders correctly identified.
5) Make sure there’s some way for me to get in touch with you – if your sign-in name doesn’t have a way to do that, you can shoot us an email (our contact info is on our farm website: http://www.flyingtnh.com).  Just make sure to identify yourself and your post.

The prize?  Public recognition on our blog, bragging rights, and (if you desire) a guest-post on your blog acknowledging your chicken identification expertise!

Three hints:
1) They should all be breeds that lay brown eggs.
2) They are supposed to be females.
3) Hatcheries make mistakes from time to time, so the above hints might not apply.

So, without further ado, I present the lineup of our dastardly suspects:

Chick A: Wanted for possession of an unlicensed peeper

Chick B: Accused of appearing in public with an indecent hairdo

Chick C: Wanted for grain rustling

New Chicks!


David’s original hens are approaching 2 years old and starting to slow down in production, and a skunk took out the eggs our broody hen was sitting on that were planned to be replacement layers.

So David used some of his profits to buy more chicks.  This morning, just after 6, the nice woman who runs the local post office called to tell us they had arrived.  So we hopped into the car and drove down the hill.

IMG_4835

The early boy gets the birds

You may think the post office is only open from 9-5, but the work starts a lot earlier.

Lots of peeping going on in that box!

Time to go home!

David ordered 25 barred rock hens, plus 2 roosters.  We also added an additional free chick the hatchery calls a “meal-maker” – in return, David promises to give the eggs she produces to needy people.  Then, as a surprise for David, we added 3 “hatchery choice” mystery hens (the brown ones in the photo).  The kids are trying to figure out what kind they are.  The hatchery also added a couple extras just in case there were losses.

All of them made it safely!

Transfering the chicks to the brooder… please excuse the messy garage – I just finished making the brooder, and I tend to make a mess when I work.

Chicks in the their new home. The brooder is 4×4, but I put in a smaller divider for the first few weeks to keep them warmer.

The family spent a few minutes monitoring the chicks to make sure they were happy and not indicating any distress.

They should be laying by May!