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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.

New Year and eggs January 8, 2011

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Well, it has been one heck to the new year for us here at the farm. Way too much snow and then rain and then more snow. This is the most snow we have seen since moving too TN 5 years ago.

Poor chickens are locked up in coop once again. Now going on 4 days straight. We have over 6 inches of snow on the ground. It is a real pain getting to coop to feed and water the chickens. Can not wait till we get back deck in so it is not so hard to get to coop. As of now I have to walk down hill on muddy grass or icy grass. Being very careful as I slipped already out front of front steps when they were wet. Took care of them with some stick on grit pads. Wider than the ones used for tubs.

On a good note chickens are laying more now. Now that days are slowly getting longer some more hens have kicked in. We are getting anywhere from 3 to 6 eggs a day now. Before they were locked up they even had a outside nest on west side of house that our dog showed to hubby. She is such a good dog. Wouid never have known it was there for I am never over on that side of house.

I am not sure when chickens will get out again as we have another snow storm coming. At this rate I will need snow shoes. Dog loves it all she wants to do it get snowballs thrown at her. Wish I could stay out to play but I caught chest cold right after newyears day after I feel. Here wishing everyone a safe and propspeous new year. Keep warm all.

Flock Interaction November 30, 2010

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Well, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. This year we did not do a turkey due to hubby being away so much. Although I am sure the dog, cats and chickens would have loved to help finish one off.

Not too much happening and yet alot is with the flock. Alpha has taken over more of the girls from Beta. I am now feeding out front where I can watch them from my window while at the computer. Feed is layer mixed with Scratch. Alpha takes the girls right up to front in morning. Beta sticks around coop with his 3 gals then moves up to back pourch then finally up to the front. If Alpha is done eating he lets them eat if not he chases them off. Today Beta did a big no no and mated a one of Alphas hens. That got him chased by Alpha for almost 5 mins. Alpha was not going to have him do that to one of his gals. Later one of Beta gals tried to eat with Alpha and his gals and he kept chasing her off. Now everything is settled down since all are fed.

Weather here has been windy which is funny to see the chickens handle it. Out in front of the house we always get some of the worst wind gusts. All coming out of the west and house faces north. Chickens do not seem to mind it much. Just show alot of feather shaking. We are expecting more rain and cold weather not a good combo to say the least. But for some reason chickens do not seem to mind. They could stay in their coop all day out of the rain but they do not. Even when its dow in the low 40’s or 30″s with wind and rain they are still out and about.

Coop wise we got ourfake eggs in and they are set up in nest boxes. I am seeing redder faces and combs now. First couple of days the grls just messed up the nest boxes. They were kicking the straw over the eggs or the eggs to the side of the boxes. That has stopped now but still our new ones have yet to lay. Out of the 2 new pullets one is showing alot of red so she is either about to or has and we have an egg eater. But I have heard no song so I do not think she is laying. She was hen raised so knows what the nest boxes is for so I think she would use it if she was laying. I am not letting them out before 9am and most days not before 10am. So she has time to lay if she was going too. Hopefully we will see eggs soon. I need them for them holidays.

Here is a link to a very good chicken forum. It has sections for many chicken breed clubs as well as a sell sectiongneral chicken. Well, worth looking into as breed club breeders are on this forum. But if you wish to buy a breed chicken from a club member I suggest you join the club for you will not be considered unless you plan on breeding. Here is the link and Iwill save it in my links section also. http://showbirdbid.proboards.com/index.cgi

dog and eggs May 27, 2010

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Interesting story that blew our minds about our dog.

As those that have followed our blog know we have a friendly chicken dog. Her name in Noel and she is 27 inches tall shep/collie mix that we got at the pound as a 10 week old. She is out with the chickens everyday most all morning from 8am till noon. I do not have to watch her as I trained her to be carefull around them.

Anyway, everyday around 2:30pm hubby asks her if she wants to go collect eggs. Out the door they go, her to run the property him to the coop.

Yesterday after hubby left for work I went out about 6pm. After putting feed out for chicks I was walking around and found a egg next to our old burn barrel. Noel happen to see me get it and wanted it but I threw it down to the chickens to eat since I did not know how fresh it was being outside. I then sat down to watch them. Noel after having lost that egg decied to get her own. She walked off to the brush stuck her head in and came out with an egg. I had no idea there was a nest there. I got up and look and it was a nest of 10 eggs. I remove 5 fed them back to the chickens and 1 more to Noel. I left 4 in the nest for them to lay more.

So it is now today, I told hubby the story early this morning. He now wants to go collect eggs and look for nests. We take Noel out with the phrase “Go Collect Eggs”. Off the 3 of us go. Hubby checks a old nest under vine grown chicken wire and I look at the nest Noel showed me last night. That had an egg missing hmmm wonder why. LOL She must of had breakfast.

Anyway, I notice her checking out another area tell hubby he checks and Yep there is an egg. While trying to uncover that one he stepped on it, oh well. So Noel shows him where another is right next door. Ok this is NOT a fluke at this stage. After we got that egg we went to other side of coop in the area where I know some layed this morning. She took us right to the nest. Then she was off to find another egg that was laid alone and then the final one for the day.

Needless to say hubby and I are blown away. I mean I have seen truffel hunting pigs, I trained drug dog and search and rescue dogs but this is a first. One thing we did not train her for this execept by the words “go collect eggs”. I have to say she is full of suprises for us. Early this week she treed a groundhog that hubby shot. She was inside asleep when she came runing out to living room growling and barking. I told hubby to let her out for she knew something was out there. Off she went down fence line out front and up went groundhog since it was too far from it hole. Yes, she was well rewarded that day. Somewhere futher back I have pics of her out with the chickens. She is 3 years old and gun shy to boot. Which I am glad of since many shoot around here. Tends to keep her close to home. But what a great farm dog.

Moulting and laying January 24, 2010

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Well, today I noticed after collecting eggs for first time today that we had some big new eggs. Actually they were eggs I have not seen in a bit but are back. If you have been reading these logs then you know when tailess went into moult. After her two others followed after she finished. Those 3 are now laying again.

How do I know this is that we have been wieghing eggs. Only one of the eggs has been large up to today. Most have been med or med large. This past week I know 3 have started there first laying from size and color of eggs. Today we had color back large size which is not a pullet egg. So since tailless and her 3 sisters are well out of moult and showing red again I belive it is them. Another clue is 2 of the eggs are speckled. Since they went into moult we have not gotten any speckled eggs.

Nice thing here is that they are choosing to do a rotaional moult. 1 to 3 at a time which has been very helpfull. We are still getting 10 to 14 eggs a day. The lowest this has been has been 9. So even with those in moult others have started or in this case come back into laying.

Weather here has been much warmer than past month. Past week has been rainy and cloudy but chickens do not mind. They are foraging futher and further every day. Captain on the other hand has been a coop home body. We are having to physically remove him from the coop now. He has learned that if he stays in coop he can get the girls easier. Which is OK but he does need to get out and get some exersise and sun not too mention water since I am not leaving it in the coop.

At this time we have been making plans to expand coop like I metioned before. Hubby really wants a much bigger flock and is suggestion I get another 25 plus hatching out. Well, if I do buy another 25 it will be from another hatchery so I have different lines to breed too. Which one has been picked if our TSC gets there chicks from them again. Hatcheries I will not deal with is Ideal for I know they do do breed true. Whelp because they are just a drop shipper from Privett. MPC because they get theirs from Meyers. Why buy second carrier when you can get them from first one.

You know what got me is when all 21 start laying. Where will i put the eggs before they are sold. 🙂

Heat wave comming. January 11, 2010

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Weather report for today 32 for a high. It is that now here for us so I suspect we might get a little higher. In the next couple of days we will see a high of 50 here. I can not wait no more of these low teens durning the day and 5 degrees at night temps. Wonderif we will have a repeat of last year with a real warm Feb.

Saturday we bought themometers one for the house and one for the coop. The house one does inside and outside it is digital with the leader that goes out threw the window. We have that one close to front door. Here is what we did not know local humidity here is 26 percent right now. That is way low.

Now the coop one is not that fancy just a plain old plastic unit that gives temp and humidity. According to that one coop humidity is around 68 percent. Temps in there are just a few degrees over outside temps. Now can you imagine if my coop that is very well ventalated and open up top was not how high would that humidity be. Most coop are not as open as mine is people just put in windows and made them draft free. Which in most cases is sealed up tight so mosisture build up more. Heck right now my coop is way more humid than even my house is right now. Yet we still have no frostbite at all and we still have snow of the ground. Yes, girls are out in it everyday.

On another note tailless has grown back most of her head and neck feathers. But not all of here tail as of yet. We are still getting between 11 to 14 eggs a day. Even with the dang hawks flying over head. Thank goodness for our local crows. They have been a big help this year.

New Year new plans. January 3, 2010

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Happy New Year everyone. I wish it to be a very good one for all. This blog started as a way for me to keep track of events with my flock. I figured it was a good way for me too keep records as I have been known to be slack that way. 🙂 As a result I have listed alot of infomation one just cant find and have developed a following. Thank you all for the well wishes and comments. Now on to new plans for chickens.

As a result of what our chickens have done for us this year we will be expanding the flock and coop. Our chickens are not pets and do earn there living by bug control,weeding and fertilizing as well as eggs. Hubby let me have them as he had no choise since I bought them then told him. LOL Now he wants more since they are doing so well at what they do best. So no baby chicks will be sold this year so we can increase the flock.

I have been worried about the cold weather but so far everything is going just great. The new bedding straw has kept them nice and warm with no frostbitw at all even with temps in single digits. Coop is not sealed tight at all as under roof is all open and cracks around door and windows we did not seal. But bedding is very deep now up to 10 inches in some areas till they mash it down. We did remove all wet bedding when we put in new bedding and put that on the garden where chickens have been composting it for us. They are so good at that, we will put all bedding on their in spring before will till it.

Due to some posts on chicken forum I would like everyone to know what we found when we butcherd the dead pullet. Since we do free range ours no pen at all they are allow to eat whatever they want. Hubby said that he found alot of pine and cedar needles in that pullets crop. Now the North side or our property is lined on the fence with cedar trees. many of the chickens have been going up there to dust bath under them as it is still dry there when it rains. I know also they have eaten off the cut christmas tree branches we have out front. So that accounts for all of it as I do not think the chickens have made it all the way over to our pine forest yet which is on the south east part of the property. One thing I do know is pine is a natural dewormer and the chicken we butchered was clean of any worms. Now I am not saying cedar bedding should be used in a coop fresh as it will have the oils still fresh. Those oils can cause problems. But if the chickens eat fresh cedar off trees one should not worry about it. Digesting and inhalation are to very different things.

Right now our ground is frozen so I have increased feed. But still they only peck at it then go find what they can other places. We still have alot of green stuff here in grasses and vines. I have been giving them some black sunflower seed in hull which they love. They are also getting more scratch to keep weight on them. Egg laying has not changed staying around a dozen a day. Least we have gotten the past week was 7 and highest 13. Captain has been staying in coop unless we make him go out which we do so he will eat and drink. I took water out of coop due to them spilling it. Did not want wet bedding with this real cold weather. So I fiill it with lukewarm water and it is good for the day since I put it in the sun. Coop itself is not in the sun full so food and water are a little bit from it further that what the snow pics show.

Speaking of eggs we did make fresh homemade eggnog for New Years. I cut the recipe in half since it was just hubby and I. Well, dog helped too she loved it. 🙂 Our goose that we had for christmas came our great I loved it. They are on the list to add for this year if we can do it. I want pilgrims. So if everything else goes OK they will come in late spring. For those asking about turkeys no they are not on the list and never will be. Turkeys live wild here we have a flock that lives in the area. That flock avg about 14 that included 2 toms and a jake or too also. So no turkeys for us. Till next time stay warm.

Where are the crows!!! December 29, 2009

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Today is a sad day. Hawk killed a chicken. Left it behind when we ran out so we are making it to dog food. Crows showed up real late this time. Right now everyone is in the coop but 3 pullets one being tailess. They are staying near the cedars where they have lots of protection. So we are now down to 21 pullets and Captain.

On a good note we are still getting eggs. I had to put another nest box in due to laying outside of them. That took care of that problem. We have 15 laying and are getting moslty 12 a day with some high and lower days.

Tailess is in moult. Her head is bare and she stopped laying. I expect to to go broody in spring. I know Captain has not mated with her as she is more attached to me as top. Good thing is he has his favs he does mate with and I know which ones they are as they have bands on. He has chosen the bigger girls which is good. He is a good size rooster with very good conformation. I look forward to seeing his offspring.

Well, I am back out to see if I can get the last 3 back in to the coop.

Winter chickens December 14, 2009

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Thia weather is wacked and I am surprised the chickens are not sick from the changes. But they are doing great. Not frostbite at all that I can see. We have had a couple of nights down to the low teens. Yesterday it rained like crasy and it got warm then cold again. So far chickens take it in stride even staying out in that weather all day.

We still need to cut that smaller door for them. Weather just being friendly enough when hubby home. I have since put a trap on the side of the coop that they were going under to lay eggs. That has helped as we have since gotten 13 in one day. They are avg 10 now. It is a good thing too for I now have standing orders for eggs.

Last week I sold 8 dozen and I gave a way 3 to my neibors. Hubby has a buyer at work that is buy to 18doz cartons each week. At out local hang outI have 2 that are buying each time we bring them in. For this coming week I have 5 wanting eggs for xmas cooking. Lay chickens lay.

We bought a goose for our Xmas dinner. Because one I had never eaten one and hubby has not had one since years. He grew up on a family farm where they raised cows and pigs and a few geese. They also grew there own feed. Now hubby is talking about us getting geese here if I like our goose for xmas. Little does he know that I already checked into that long time ago. I just never went further with it for we did not have an area then for them. Guess we need to expand the coop in that area too beside for more chickens.

I want Pilgrim Greese. I did have a source for them but do not know if they still have them. This past few years here have been hard on many with a hard drought and loss of jobs. I will have to look into who has them local once again. I will also post the recipe for the goose when I find one I like. Not sure if we are going to do my mushroom stuffing or not with it. That depends if I find another that sounds more interesting.

Oh I forgot we had a interesting hawk day here last week. Big redtail came in and got chased off by our crows. Love those crows. Anyway a young coopers hawk I guess got scared and landed by one of our cars. They chickens were not that far away from it but were not scarred of it either as it was smaller than them. I went out thinking it was hurt only to find it was trying to avoid the crows. They chase it far away. Such good crows. We are buying feed for songbirds this week and putting up more feeders. We will not be chasing crows away this year.