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Well now what will do. September 22, 2015

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It is fall and things have changed. Eggs are now way up do to avian flu. We now have ducks and duck babies. But chickens are now locked up because they killed and ate 4 of them. Yes, you read that right they ate them. Chickens are omnivorous which means they eat meat as well as plants just like US. This is a problem to say the least when babies poultry is around. We free range the adult but lock up chicks until old enough to be with main flock if they are not raised by a hen.

Anyway, I had a small flock of adults left. Ducks are in the chainlink fence coop that we were putting roosters in to grow out last year. It has alot of tall weeds and is big enough for a small pool. BUT there was now small holed fencing around it to prevent baby ducks getting out. I never even though of it till it happened. Took me one day to figure it out and by then we lost 4. So we wrapped duck pen up as best as we could and locked up all the chickens for a bit. No more losses.

Now what this brings about is hubby and I are thinking of getting rid of the chickens in favor of laying ducks. We have the meat ducks Muscovys, Pekin and Cayuga. But we are thinking of Runners and getting rid of the chickens since we have to do so many grow out pens to raise them. My thought is ticks and how good the chickens are in controlling them. But we do not eat the chickens since I have issues with my brother in law in how to deal with carcass and it comes out tough do not not letting it reast for 24 to 48 hours after butcher. SO no one wants to deal with killing them since they can not eat them. Brother in law here that is and he eats alot. Hubby is not a big chicken fan and I prefer my chicken fried so…..

Now when it comes to the ducks here is how it stands. We all love it especially hubby and I. But meat ducks do not lay year round like chickens. Muscovys only lay to hatch out which is Fine by us but gives us no eggs for the year. Eggs here now are $2.30 a dozen. Likely to go higher. So will poultry meat. We are really thinking of buying Indian Runners for eggs but there is one issue with them. Unlike chickens they do not lay in a nest box or in a nest of anytype. But since they roam everywhere they just drop them unless lock up. I am going to talk with those that have them and see what the whole story is with them. I have a baker up the road that would love a steady source of duck eggs. So selling would not be an issue. Time will tell in the next month how this goes.

Well first spring hatch is here. March 26, 2014

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We have had 30 chicks hatch so far. Might have a few more, incubator holds 42. All that have hatched are doing great. Hubby was kind enough to buy me chicks water and feeder. The upright type as I already had the lay down type. But since we are putting chicks into a plastic tote upright works better.

These chicks are for sale on a local level. I also am selling hens from last year hatch that I do not need in my breeding program. I will Not ship either hens or chicks. But if you are with in driving distance you can contact me either here or facebook or email me threw farm website http://www.bluemoonvalley.com/ We also have the farm page on facebook as Blue Moon Valley Farm https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Moon-Valley-Farm/447088522062904 you can reach me there also.

Speaking of facebook. We have a number of groups for East Tn on there related to farm stuff. So make sure to look for them as we have one now for selling goats in East TN and farm barter and farm livestock. Just getting the word out there. Hope everyone spring is going well.

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.

First Hatching done May 1, 2013

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Well, actually second as I put in 27 eggs for first and 17 for second. I only got half of first batch to hatch and only 12 made it. Of the second batch I am now waiting on last two if they hatch. But all the rest have so that is 15 from that one. Total is 27 so far. All are doing well.

I had a computer crash for real. My laptop feel of my table and broke it’s hard drive. Just got it back but lost all my old stuff. Luckily I keep all my password of line so have a list of all my links and stuff. Luckily non of the photos ere effected..

So far temps here have still been coolish. Chicks are inside for now but we will be finishing chick coop and pen this weekend. Sky is keeping a close ye on the chicks. She even checks the eggs to see how many have hatched. Such a good dog. Luckily temps are warming up so after we get pen done I hope to get chicks out in their coop and pen. Unfortunatly we have no broodies yet this year. I am not sure we will have any either. I think all my broodies got killed off so do not know if any of the newer hens will go broody. Time will tell.

New pen April 4, 2013

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Well, do to hubby haveing time off from work we got alot done here this week. Back east old fence is now gone and almost ready for us to put up new fence. MIL is moved in and all that stuff sorted. The big one we have a new chick pen.

Hubby got hold of the old dog kennel up North and brought it down. It need a little bit of repair which did not take long. So after that and buying the bottom fence for keeping chicks in we moved it to the chick coop. We moved the chick coop a bit further over from where it was to an area that had alot of broken block in the ground. Brought down the panels of chain link and put two sides up, then realized we had those mixed up. LOL We were able to have small coop that is an A frame that I bought a few years back outside of pen and have door open inside. That way chicks will have the whole pen to be in. It is a 5x 10 dog chain link kennel. We are putting on the bottom 1/2 wire to block holes of the biger chain link to keep chicks in. We are going to put a top cross bar so we can cover the top also so that hawks do not get chicks. That should help alot with loosing baby chicks this year. I will be using the old pen that came with it to keep Sky in during the day some so she bonds with chicks.

We are now down to 5 females all laying and I am putting eggs in incubator today. Have not done it sooner as eggs were not fertile. But they are now with longer days. Weather today is rain so hens are locked up. Which is good for the last time I let them out they went off property to the 2 acres to the east and layed in some brambles. I had Sky with me on leash so I sent her in to flush them out. Which she did and brought to hubby our one real big hen that I am wanting to keep alot of chicks from. She is not the smartest by a long shot but is very good in size and body type. She is from another breeder out of state so a total outcross for me to breed on this year. I look forward to seeing her chicks but hope they have dads smarts not hers.

Spring has sprung March 17, 2013

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Well, it is March and now finally warming up. I really do not like alot of cold weather but then again I lived most of my life in South FL. Now that the cold is gone the winds have started. Wonder what the spring storms will be like this year.

Chickens this year have spent most of the time locked up in coop. Reason is since we lost Noel back in July they got attacked a number of time by neighbors dogs. This year we have seen a few hawk attacks too. Good news though Sky our new pup is stepping up to the plate. She has just blown us away with how fast she is learning. I have a few good stories to relate so this will be a long post. 🙂

First off a refresher on Sky. She is an English Shepherd from Green Mountain English Shepherds. BTW they have a litter on the ground related to Sky. Sky is now 6 months old 20 inches tall and 32 pounds. Picture of her at 5 months is below. She is a sable on the reddish side with the irish marking of white.

Oh where to start this story I guess at the time we brought her home. From the start we knew Sky was going to be a great guard dog and protector. Once we got home we sat outside with her and the chickens were free ranging. They saw us and tried to come up but Sky stood between us and them and growled at them. She had never seen chickens before as breeder had no livestock. One might think that buying from a breeder that had no livestock or farm was risky in buying a future farm dog. But I have long experiance with working breeds and did lots of reesearch before hand. All the dogs that the breeder got her dogs from came from working farms so the blood was there as well as the instincts.

Anyway, fast forward a few months. We have family down BIL and MIL plus BIL 10 year old pitbull female. Sky is in heaven. Dogs great along great and the pit was showing her how to hunt. While they were here hubby and BIL butchered a pig that was around 700lbs. On the day they were moving the halfs this is what happened. I was on the computer in the living room on the couch. Both dogs and men are outside dealing with the pig. Sky comes running up to storm door and hits it with Both paws and scratching to beat the band. She has never done this before, always if she wants in it is with one paw swip never both. I let her in and ask her if something scared her. She runs in jumps on couch looks me in the eye then jumps to chest in front of out big picture window looking toward where the guys are cutting up the pig, then looks back at me. I am no dummy I know something is up for she has never done this when all the rest are outside. So out we go, I only get to end of house when I hear Omph, crash and BIL asking hubby if he is OK. Thank god Sky came and got me before these guys ended up in the ER for lifting to much weight. Hubby had lifted half the pig by himself all the way to the shed. Now a few years ago that might have been possible but he has been driving truck 6 days a weekfor 2 years and is really out of shape. So I layed into them and asked why in the heck did they not use our pro dolley that flatens out into a carte. Hubby says it will not roll on the rocks and I tell him otherwise. Well, needless to say I won and was correct and other half got in the shed with no one getting hurt. Thank you Sky for getting me when hubby was being stupid. 🙂

Sky is like 3 dogs in one. Beside her guardian abilty which she has shown now in gaurding chickens that have been attacked by hawks. She stays right with the chickens even if they get killed. That last is do to her being inside and me not knowing hawk is outside. Not her fault that we lost the rooster to young male hawk. But she made me let her out and stood guard over it till we finally figured out that something was up. As a result we were able to save the carcas for soup. She has let me know now 2 more times when hawks are attacking the chickens. In one case she herded the hen back up to the house under the back porch. In the other she scared off the hawk from the back of the hen and stood gaurd till I got there. We did loose one hen that day but it was not the hen that Sky scared hawk off of, she was fine and went back to flock. I did not even know that hen was dead till the next day. Sky kept going down there and in the moring I was on the back porch and she kept looking at me then down at the ground where she stood. At that point I knew something was wrong. Found the dead hen split wide open and never touch by Sky.

She is protrolling the property and has now chased off deer and possom. She is barking at visitors till we tell her it is OK. Her most recent is that she made her first kill which was a vole which is a local varmit close to a mole but smaller.

So now she is showing all 3 traits that and English Shepherd is suppose to have to be an all around farm dog. Guarding, Herding and hunting. Hubby plans on getting fence done this month so we can get our goats in. Sky need more than the chickens as she has gone over to neighbors to tell them too lock up their flock after we got attacked by the hawk. We do not need her to do that for them, so hubby is real motivated to get fence done now. 🙂 Anyway we have plans for a major hatch out to replace the flock. I will be getting rid of some of the hens and one rooster since they are so dog scared. Hubby wants me to hatch out over 50 and I told him I need a bigger coop. So we shall see what happnes. Below is Sky and 5 month.

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chicks and new pup update September 6, 2012

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Well, it is sunny here once again. We have had many days of rain off and on. Thanks to tropical storm. Chicks are growing like weeds. Mom hatched out 6 total all are doing well. We have 4 females and two males. Thank goodness for that as we need the girls. I have left them locked up in the coop due to that we do not have a dog now. But that is soon to change.

I have put a reserve on a female pup. She was born labor day. She is a registered English Shpherd from Green Moutain English Shpherds in NC. I found the breeder thru the English Shepher Club. New pup will be a sable. Hubby wanted another tri color like Noel but is happy that new pup is now another color. I shall post links to club and breeder page.

http://www.englishshepherd.org/

Older chickens are doing good. I have 6 pullets growing well as well as 6 cockerals. The cockerals will be butcher this fall mostly for puppy food. The hen we picked up in NC is doing great. I look forward to chicks from her, hoping some from last hatching are from her.

This past couple of weeks we have had a hawk trying to get the chickens. It looks like a young male. Saw him the other day going for the adults. Luckily I chased him off the last visit. I hope he learned his lesson.

Where is the rain and Lots of chicks. April 17, 2012

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Hubby got grassed mowed. It just took him two weeks. Lots of repairs on the mower. It is an old John Deer that is geer driven. We can not use the newer ones due to the slop of the property. Have to say it looks great now. Now we just need rain and I bet now that I said that we will get too much. LOL

We lost one of the hens the other day. So that leaves me with 6 and the 3 roosters. One hen is brooder but I doubt her eggs will hatch for one of the roosters keeps getting her out of the nest box. That is OK since I have alot of chicks hatched now. This last batch is almost done and most hatched. Now I have a problem. Not big enough space inside. I will be moving this buch outside this week to the small coop since temps are good here now. I will see if broody will take some after tomorrow. I will be getting the 4 in there out so she can be moved in with chicks. That will slove that problem for now.

What this has shown me is I need to get better set up. So I am looking into pro incubator and brooder now. I like what Dickey has for a cabinet incubator and have heard good things about it. The brooder I am still looking into too but I think I might have found one I like. I would be much happier getting this whole thing outside in a building but we do not have electrcity going to another building yet. That is in the works. Hopefully later this year we will have coop expanded and another built just for chicks and hatching. That is the plan anyways. Just do not know when right now as other stuff just came up.

As far as the hatching this is the largest of the 3. I have at least one more to do as most of this one is sold also. Last one will be only for us. I hope I will not need more than that last one to stock us up.

acceindents happen March 23, 2012

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We are hatching out again. Started yesterday afternoon. I went to be last night thinking everything was OK. Woke up to dead chicks that I had moved out of bator. Only one survived. It was a off heat issue and has been taken care of.

On a good not I found 5 alive in bator with more hatching. I was worried that we had more infertile eggs than not. I crack one last night for yesterdays collecting and it was infertile. Seems a few of the hens are avoiding the roosters. Since we are setting up small coup on sun or mon I might be putting hens in with roo so they get the job done on thos 2.

I am also looking now at getting rid a 2 hens for color reasons. Got a neibor who is interested maybe. I know they are laying as I am getting 8 eggs a daay with 7 hens. Yes, we have one laying 2x a day. Rare but it happens. She must be from last years hatching.

So far this years has been interesting to say the least. Chicks are bigger much bigger. Now that can be from what I have been feeding but legs do not change that much. Legs on these chicks are large what I would call roo large. Only thing is their tails came in on many and those I know are females. Also combs are not growing like they do on the roos. The first batcch are 4 weeks old now and I think I have mostly pullets in it. This would be interesting because Longfeather is an Alpha son and he threw lots of pullets too. I do have a Beta son here that I might tet this theory with ths week. I also have another Alpha son. Who know who I will pait those two hens with that need a lesson. One thing is for sure they will not get away from them when locked in with them.

Spring and hatching March 17, 2012

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Happy Patties day all.
Spring is finally here and I have one hatching done. Did not get many but I forgot to plug in my turner. Also had many infertile as i saw from cracking those we ate as well as those that never developed. Since then we are getting all fertile now.

We stil have a total of 10 here. 7 hens 3 roosters. Everyone is laying well and I even have one that is doing 2 a day a couple times a week. We did not get much snow at all this year so they have been free ranging all winter. I am still feeding the ADM egg balancer in pellet form. But they were not eating much of it until recently. Lots of hard storms coming threw and very wet ground might have something to do with that right now.

Chicks are doing well. They are 3 weeks old and large. We have a new pet in the house a breaded dragon and he requires insects. So I have worms for him. What he is not eating I am feeding to chicks. Mainly phoenix worms since he thinks they are to small for food. Phoenix worms are the larve of black soldier flies and can be bought online at Phoenix.com. Chicks love them. I might just keep them in stock for chick raising.

As of now I have another batch of eggs in incubator due to hatch end of month. It is full and yes I made sure to plug in my turner. I have a few going to locals here but most will be to restock flock. Hubby wants us to have like 50 in case bear attacks again. We will have to add on to coop to have that many in it.

Fence is in process. Hubby is putting in posts when home. We were going to have someone do it but money was used for another car as mine was going. OH well it will just take longer to get fence done. I hope to have pictures soon but weather has not been all that great. Many be next month.