Thursday, October 7, 2010

Predators 15, Steve 10

I am gaining but so are the predators.  Caught another raccoon last night  (so far 8 raccoons and 2 skunks down).  This one was very large probably around 25#.  I am betting this is the one that ate my favorite chicken.  It will be eating my chickens no more.  I really feel that the predators can quit coming for a free lunch at any time.  I cannot keep feeding them.  I now have 26 laying hens and I think only 7 of the babies are hens( they have another 3-4 months before they start laying).  If I lose another 15 hens in the Spring I will be down to 19 laying hens!!  I really need another 2 dozen babies in December.  But without a guaranteed heat source the babies will die.  I would have to mail order the chicks and shipping for them is around $40.  So those 24 chicks would cost around $120.  Those same chicks in the Spring at the feed store would cost $72.

The problem with that is I am having power issues (I hated to admit this).  I wired the chicken coop and have had the breaker trip three times in the last week.  I am not sure why it is tripping.  I only have the chicken light plugged in to that circuit.  It has four outlets wired with only the one inside the chicken coop in use, two of the others are on the outside of buildings but they have waterproof covers over them with the flip open doors for access.  So I am truly not sure why it is tripping.  I may have to just change the circuit breaker out and hope that is the problem (since it is the easiest fix, what do you think the odds of that are?).  If not, I am going to have to tear into each outlet and see if I have some wires touching.  After that it gets complicated.  So we are going to hope that one of the first two fixes works.  I may also put a waterproof cover inside the chicken coop.  Not for any water, but to keep the dust out of the outlet that is not in use.  Chickens are very dusty.  The last thing I need is a fire in my chicken coop.
So I am not sure what to do.  First thing is to fix the power supply.  Once that is corrected I will have to decide on purchasing new chicks this Winter.
I did find out today that around 1 ton of grapes is around a normal/acre yield.  (I read any where from 2-6 tons/acre depending on soil condition)  So ideally you should make around $3K/acre/year, but I was told that doesn't always happen.  Truly, we would like to make around $20-40k/year net.  I expect it would take 20 acres for that to happen.  So I will keep up the research and question asking.  A friend offered to hook me up with a honest irrigation supplier and post supplier.  He just said to let him know.  I have a coworker whose husband is a vineyard manager.  So I plan on using that angle but it is harvest time now so I am leaving him alone.