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Announcing Farm website December 14, 2013

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After weeks of working on it our website is now up and running. It is featuring our farm dog Sky, our cows and some extra pictures of the chickens. This blog will be kept solely for news on the chickens as that is what it was meant for when I started it. There is a link to this blog on the farm site and I am planning a forum so questions maybe asked about any thing we are raising ,breeding, or working with or on.



Winter and new animals December 10, 2013

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We now have cows. Not my idea but hubby’s. He bought at auction a Holstein bull calf. A week later I bought a jersey cow with a Jersey/Angus calf on her. Cow is pregnant too a Guernsey/jersey cross. So we have milk and have made butter so far.

Chickens are now down by 5. BIL butchered our 4 roosters and 1 hens that was injured. Roosters came in at 5 lbs dressed weight. Hen at 3 lbs. She had a leg problem for a long time but was doing good till yesterday when 3 roosters corned her and beat her up. Chickens can be cruel that way.

Weather here has been rain slight but still rain for 4 days. Chickens are OK but other animals pigs and cows do not like it at all. Neither does BIL. I have been using straw/hay to cover our walk paths that are muddy. Chicken coop is on the bottom of our valley down from the high point where house is and cow barn is right now. Pigs are behind coop and what can you say but it is a pig pen.

I have a batch of eggs in the incubator. Do not think we will get much of a hatch do to cold weather. But BIL pushed for it. He has no real knowledge of chickens but he will learn to listen to me on them after this.

We will be building more coops for spring and summer. As I need at least 4 grow out pens. One for each hatching as older chicks will beat up on younger ones till they are all over months. Also being built will be breeding pen, well it is built but will be added too.

Our first broody did not stick, which does not surprise me. Roosters and hens we always pushing her out of nest box. I did not put her in her own pen knowing that eggs were not fertile yet.

All in all we have had a very good year this year. Hope next is just as good. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Winter time broodies November 21, 2013

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Well, as you can tell from the title today we have our first broody of the new hens that I hatched this year. This will also be my first time having a winter broody. She is in the outside nest box that is attached to the new hen coop. I will have to move her later but for now she is OK. Wondering how many more will do that this winter. Since I have 25 hens we shall see.

Plans are to move her into the new red chick coop. That is if she hatches any. I have my doubts for I have yet to see many fertile eggs. I have 5 roosters I am holding back that are running with the hens. But it has been so cold some night most are low on fertility right now. Since I can not pen up hens yet with one rooster, due to the fact all pens are full, we will just hope for the best on the hen hatching.

We have 4 rooster to process that are in the chain link pen with A frame coop. That will be this weekend. Next and last batch of roosters is 7 and they are still in the red coop for now.

Breeding pens will be built this winter. But right now a cow pen is being built and hubby bought our steer and we will soon have our heifer. Heifer will be a Jersey and we will be keeping her for breeding. We are still doing the goats for more than one reason now. Turns out to keep pink eye away from cattle you need a goat to eat the plant that causes it for them. Local farmer found that one out when he lost his goat that was in the cow field. All his cows starting coming down with pink eye after goat died. As soon as he replaced the goat the pink eye went away. So goats are a need here now more so than before.

I am now working on a farm website. Featuring our farm dog Sky and all the other animals. This blog will be kept just for the chickens. I will have a farm blog on the website and a members forum so questions can be asked. I will post it here when I have it up and running.

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

Winter is here. October 24, 2013

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Well, we we down to the 20’s last night. Brrrr But chickens are good. I have upped the corn and all the feed since forage is slim now. They spend most of the day in our woods since leaves are down, looking for bugs. They are ranging further now too because pickings are low.

Pullets hatched this year are now starting to lay. First hatching done in early April is laying. So we are now getting fresh eggs again. Rooster are going nuts over these hens. Opening coops in the morning is interesting to say the least. Lock up gets a bit wild too with rooster chasing each other and the hens.

We are changing the roof of the coop to let more light in. Right now new hen coop has a tin roof. We are taking one panel out and replacing with a clear plastic panel so more light get in. This will make it easier for me to work in the coop with door closed. Also it will help the hens have more daylight time since they have to be let out late morning most days.

My two oldest hens are in molt now. Since we no longer have Longfeather, these hens have not bonded to a new rooster yet. When let out of the coop the run to North part of property to get away from all the roosters. One in particular is really avoiding the roosters. She was never mated by Longfeather either and when she went broody and hatched eggs killed the chicks by not caring for them. She is a good layer but will be for the soup pot this winter after she is done with her molt. Same with many of the roosters this winter.

The girls are now out. October 3, 2013

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Well, it has been just over a week since we moved all the new pullets and the two older hens. I did some early out with them but only a few hours before sunset. I had a few try to go back to their old coops. So I kept them locked up a few extra days in the new coop.

For the past two days I have left them out late with no problems. So today they got to be out for 4 hours instead of two. Tomorrow they will be out all day and then from now on. This should make the cockerels very happy. They have been after each other a bit since I locked up the girls.

Letting the girls out causes total chaos. Which was not helped by BIL feeding the pigs. Which in turn got Sky all worked up keeping the pigs off the trough, as well as hens that were screaming. But now when we let the girls out it is not as bad as the first couple of times.

Longfeather is not happy since he is locked up all day but for two hours. BIL tends for him not to be upset for much longer. On a better note I have marked his 4 replacements that I will be using for next year. Since we have 24 hens/pullets 4 to 6 roosters are needed. Probably this winter we will be thinning the hen coop some too. There are a few that I do not want to included on next years breeding.

I might rehome a few but most will end up in the freezer since they are not worth breeding. Since I am trying to bred up my line to the Standard of Perfection I can not let those not worthy of the breed go to others if they are too far off from the SOP. If I did I would not be a good breeder.

Having goals in one breeding practices is a must. This year I am working on tails. Since my original stock came from a hatchery I have a pinch tail problem. Thanks to the hens I got from NC I have many offspring much further along to fixing that problem.

Coop is done. September 28, 2013

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Well, we finally got the new hen coop done. I decided on a community next box this time. So we made a 6 foot outside the coop nest box. Hens seems to like it as the two oldest laid in it the next day that we put them in the coop.

Right now we have 24 hens/pullets. So we are back to where we started five years ago when I bought our first batch. Beside the two older ones that have been laying with have one new pullet laying from this years hatching. I expect by end of next month we will have six more join her.

The old coop is going to be used as the finishing coop for the roosters I do not want to keep. First to go will be my old rooster Longfeather and one of his identical sons. They have traits I am trying to get rid of now. We have 18 roosters right now I think it might be more they are kind of hard to count. Of this I have 6 I am keeping for breeding as of now that could change as they grow more.

This years hatching has improved alot in width. Most of this is due to that one female I got from NC a bit back. She is no longer with us as she got killed by a cat. But thanks to Sky our English Shepherd who is now just over a year old we do not have to worry about cats anymore.

Sky aka Blue Moon’s Autumn Sky of Green Mountain has been a huge help here. She has really helped protect this years hatching. We have only lost two chicks this year. Sky has been actively watching the skies for hawks. Patrols the property for stay chickens and for varmints not supposed to be on the property. She has herds the chicks back to safety more than once. She has even calmly turn stray cows off the property. We have pigs now and she keeps them off the feed trough when it is time for feeding which helps us alot. She did helps us when last fall hawks attacked and she guarded the hens and chased off the hawk. She even alerted me to one I did not know was killed. We will be breeding Sky this coming Spring. Below are pictures with one of her chicks and one of the pigs.
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Pictures are here. August 29, 2013

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Finally got some pictures of new chicks I hatched this year. One each. Pullet is a few months younger than her brother which is 5 months old. We will be moving new pullets to the coop this week end. Only lost one of all the new ones this year and it was one that is with main flock and raised by its mom.


50 chicks and now piglets August 1, 2013

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Well, things are going real well here. All hatching is done to the total of 53 chicks. We have two chick pen and coops that are working out well. Right now we a finishing the add of to the big 8×8 coop with another 8×8, so that will be 16×8 with a wall and door between them. New addition will hold all the hens with one or two roosters. Nestboxes will be on the outside of this one. We are going to use old 8×8 for broody coop and the hens and baby chicks are safe from adult hens.

The large pen and the large small coop with be the rooster grow out pen this year. Right now the old A frame small coop is attached to it. The old A frame pen is attached to the new small larger coop which is a box. So those will be switched when new coop addition is done and all the pullets are moved to it.

Sky our farm dog is now 11 months old and doing great. She is helping herding the chicks in at night to their pens. She is also great at watching the skies for hawks. I wish I had my phone the other day when she was lying on her side and one of the cockerals walked right over her. She never even move.

This weekend we will be getting our pigs. 3 piglets two for us and one for a friend to grow out. Hubby and BIL butcher our own meat. We are raising one for a friend who is raising cow for us. It will be interesting to see how the chickens and Sky react to them. Last time Sky saw a pig she was 4 month old and that was one huge pig.

On another good note we have field corn planted and growing for winter feed. Plus we will have kale and collards for the chickens What a be help having a tracor is and BIL here. I will have pictures after piglets are here.

Hatching chicks June 12, 2013

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Well, as of this morning we are now down to 2 hens and one rooster. I gave my neighbor his trio and kept our main rooster Longfeather and the two broody hens. The hens have chicks they have hatched plus some I have hatched. Right now total of hatched chicks is 52. I still have some in incubator and they will be the last. We have built another coop for chicks that will go to the ducks and geese when we get them.

Good news is we have lost none of the hatchlings this year. We have 24 in the first chick pen. I have 16 here still in the house waiting for the other coop to be finally set up today. One hen has five chicks and the other I am not sure but I took out two and I saw one she just hatched. I have no idea how many of her eggs will hatch or of those I collected last time. Well, hubby said to hatch alot, he got what he asked for and then some. 🙂

Rain rain and more rain May 18, 2013

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Well, this past week has been a busy one. Baby chick coop is now done and has chicks in it. Tractor is now down here from up North. Hubby has it running well and has redone driveway. Third batch of chicks have hatched. We lost 3 in shell, seems membrane was too tough. I am really thinking of getting another incubator but that will have to wait. From this last batch we had 14 live so that is all good. They are doing well.

The ones in chick coop are doing good too. We have had temps at night in the 50’s and it does not seem to hurt them. Then again day temps have been high 80’s. So heat stays in little coop better. It is a 4×4 A frame. I have not let chicks out yet since we have been away more than home. Now it is all rain so they are staying in for now.

We also have our first broody of the year finally. She is sitting on 8 eggs. BIL comes down soon so that will get new chick raising coops done. Plans are to have a coop where we have the barn too but on the outside of it. I do not want chickens in the barn with the goats and pigs when it is done.

Having the tractor here means we will be having a garden for corn and some feed stuff. Lots of plans for chickens plus garden here. Can not wait tillwe really kick in the geers on it.