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New farm dog December 26, 2013

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On Christmas eve hubby I got the news of the tests results on a male from the litter I posted. Do to Sky’s MDR1 being M/N I had to get a male that was N/N. We are now proud owners of the blue male in Middle Trees Farm litter. This was a Christmas present for hubby. His name will be Blue Moon’s Winter Knight of Middle Tree. He will be standing at stud here. He has already being working on ducks and will be our primary herding dog.

Middle Tree still has two males available that would be great farm dogs. They have videos up on Face Book of them herding under Middle Tree Farm face book page. So if you are looking for a great farm helper please check it out.

I will be putting a page on Knight on our farm website. We will be picking him up just after the new Year. It shall be a long day as the farm is 5 hours one way from us.

On the chickens, we have been getting a dozen eggs a day right now. I am now offering for sale a few hen local only that are laying. If interested contact me at akewastar@yahoo.com and put in chicken hens as a subject. Chickens are doing great free ranging every day. We have only lost 2 this year thanks to Sky doing her job of keeping the hawks away.

We will be breeding Sky this spring to a wonderful English Shepherd male that is also a working farm dog. If interested in a pup from her you can email at above address or contact me on face book. We have a farm page list as Blue Moon Valley Farm and my facebook name is Tamara H Baughman.

We are wishing everyone a very happy and safe 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.

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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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.

Snow January 19, 2013

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Well, we finally got a decent snow. It rained here for days. Snow was very wet and heavy to start. We got an inch within an hour it seemed. Hope everyone that did get this snow is OK. I know many are without power and many ended up in the ditch driving home.

On a brighter note everything is good here. Chickens I have been keeping locked up mostly since we are down to 11. Everyone is laying which is good. We will be getting rid of most of the flock this spring and hatching out from just a few pick hens to restock. I have a neighbor that is taking my rejects for breeding. Due to so many dog attacks they whole flock is dog shy. This is the main reason I am getting rid of most of the flock. I am hoping by hatching out a whole new flock and training Sky our farm pup to them that it will fix that problem.

Sky is growing well. She is now 16+ high and 25 pounds. I am feeding her mostly raw since we have are new beef. BIL is coming down and we will be butchering two pigs. That should be interesting to say the least with her. We will need another freezer to say the least.

We have changed animal plans here since BIL will most likly move down here. He will be here for a month at least and that will get our fencing done. Goats will be first but instead of cows hubby now wants to buy one pair of pigs to breed. We have a frind that we order are beef from that is willing to let us keep a female to be bred in exchange for a pig and butcher his beef for him. I like this alot better than having a couple of cows here.

Barn will be put down on East side of property and will have a dirt flor since ground slightly sloops there. Chickens will be moved to it and present coop will be a broody coop only. As far as the pigs we will be getting Heritage and I am thinking Mulefoots since they grow out slow are med in sized 600lbs and have small litters. They will be free ranged like the chickens and goats. Fencing is to be 6 strand barbed still with at least two strand eletric.

Sky will have her work cut out for her to say the least. But she is showing good guardian instinct as well as herding abilty. Her hunting drive has not come in yet but i know she will have it for she has been investigating the groundhog holes around her. As well as sniffing after rabbit trails. Her is an indoor shot her her now begging pizza from hubby.

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new puppy picture November 5, 2012

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Had a request for a another picture of Sky. Here she is 8 1/2 weeks old. She is growing fast and behaving for the most part. I have had her out again with the chickens. She has to learn to not rush into them. If they even see her they panic and that is because she is new and they have been attacked by dogs recently. I have plans to hatch out this spring and raise some chicks in house like I did with Noel. That will help Sky bond to the chickens and them to her and teach her they are not play toys. By that time hubby will have her trained to hunt the rabbits around here. I know he is looking forward to that happening.

Introducing our new farm dog. October 25, 2012

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Sky


Here she is Blue Moon’s Autumn Sky of Green Moutain at 7 1/2 weeks old. Breed English Shepherd.

Farewell to Noel August 10, 2012

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Noel with chickens

Early this month we had to put Noel to sleep. She came down with liver disease and went down fast. She was so good with her chickens. I could leave her out unsupervised with them and she never hurt them.

Some of the things that made her a great farm dog were her caring guardian nature. Her protection of the flock against any threat. I got her trained to watch the skies for hawks. Which she proceeded to chase many away. She took on the black bear and we have not seen him since. She also faced down a fox and small pack of coyotes. But her favorite thing to do was hunt the rabbits and groundhogs. She had treed 3 groundhogs in total for us to shoot. Also killed a few babies. She will be sorely missed. It has been a hard month without her. Goodbye Noel enjoy rabbit hunting in the heavens.

Noel on Duty March 30, 2011

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Well, today has been interesting to say the least. This morning after I had already let Noel out and back in, we had vistors. Seems our neibor up the road misplaced their 2 chichuauas. I heard Beta sounding off out back and did not know why till I heard one of them yip. I opened front door and there they were on the front driveway in front of my car. Noel shot out of the bedroom( she was sleeping with hubby) and I opened the door. She chased one of the 2 down the driveway till the end. Then came back up, at that time the other started down but when it saw her. OMG what a scream it let out. Noel was so startled she looked at me then at it as it ran past her. She just walked to the hill top of driveway to make sure it ran to the bottom. Man, was that one loud, it screamed like that all the way down. LOL Even woke up hubby now thats impressive. Noels reward after lots of rubs and pats was one big hunk of cheese. Later I bought some neck bones and she got 2 of those. This was actually her second dog determent she did this week. Earlier the neibor that lives above us their 2 chow chow mixs were out running our backwoods. She stayed down at the bottom watching them and staying between them and her chickens. I came out saw they were on our property and yelled at them. That always get them back home. But Noel stayed out for 2 hours on her post watching up that way. Good dog.

Now a note on the broody. She is still stitting but broke another egg so is sitting on 5. As of today I believe we have 4 broodies. I knew that we had another start but today all 4 next boxes were full and growling. I have no idea what the other 2 gals are sitting on but I know the second one is sitting on at least 15 eggs. It has been another rainy day today off and on so I have only gone out twice. Did not bother then hens but check to see where the missing ones were from the flock outside. I was 2 short not including the 2 I knew were sitting. That’s when I found all boxes full and lots of growling at me. If weather clears up tommorrow (I hope) when I open coop they will all come out or should. That is the pattern so far first time door open everyone leaves to eat breakfast I put out. I usually stay to make sure broody does not get harrassed to much. Now it will be harder too tell who is and who is not a broody. I need more nest boxs now and hope they do not get filled with broodies too.