Monday, October 18, 2010

Winterize

Chickens wandering the property, I ended up making a burn pile of all the different broken tree limbs and discards.
I spent all day Saturday shopping and getting ready for the big remodel in the Library.  I have all the pegboard, plywood, 2x2, 2x4, and sheet rock needed to fix everything up.  I also bought 500# of wood pellets for the chicken coop litter.  I use the deep litter method in the coop so I (and Sarah) only have to clean it out once a year.  By the time I ran my errands and unloaded everything I didn't get a lot more accomplished.
 So on Sunday we made great strides to get the farm ready for Winter.  I followed Annmarie's advice this year and shut down the outside water!  I don't want to have to replace those risers again next year.

new bedding and the nipple waterer in the chicken coop. 
 Sarah finished digging out the coop and put in new bedding for the chickens.
  I added a nipple waterer inside the coop.  It is just a five gallon bucket with three little mechanical nipples inserted in the bottom.  The nipples don't let the water drip out of the bucket, but do form a small drop of water on the end of them.  The chickens peck at the water causing more to come out and they learn how to get water in no time.  Our babies only took a single day to get the hang of it.  I love the no mess angle.  The other waterers cause quite a mess inside the coop.  The other nice thing was this was very cheap.  Annmarie got me a couple of aquarium heaters to use inside the bucket this winter.  We are hoping it is enough to keep the water thawed.  I might take some insulation and tape it to the lid and sides using a feed bag and some duct tape on the outside of the insulation.  Still thinking about that.  It is probably necessary.



 We cleaned up the steps and windows.  I added stepping stones to the yard so you can cross it in the Winter without getting all muddy.   The baby chickens are not  very good looking chickens.  I keep reminding myself that they are not for their looks, they are for the eggs.  They are supposed to lay true blue eggs.  We will see.  I should start getting eggs from them in the next 2-3 months.  That will be the true test of whether the seller was truthful.

 We decided that it was time to let the babies out with the adult chickens.  They are not really babies any more, but the roosters are not crowing yet.  I have a banty hen that is tiny, she might get eaten. She is a little Showgirl that was free.

I went out to lock the chickens up last night (have not forgotten since our favorite chicken got killed) and one of the babies was outside the coop in his enclosure on a perch outside alone.  I had to grab him and take him inside the coop.  All the babies were in their pen (door wide open) crouched down on the floor together.  It will take about a week for them to integrate with the other chickens.









  I also crawled up on a ladder and attached a chicken weather vane we found somewhere on the property.  I cannot remember where now.  I fixed the wood shed's loose tin roof.  It had a piece on the end that would flap and bang around during a wind storm.  Sarah cleaned up all the buckets we had laying around outside and all the Summer chicken supplies that need to be put away for Winter.  We are pretty much set!!  I am sure something else will come up, but for the most part we are ready.  I also attached a cow bell to the sheep barn entrance.  We are going to start teaching the sheep to come in at night with food and a tolling of the cow bell.  It will probably take a couple of weeks to teach them that the cow bell means night time lockup.  We should have a couple more lambs late next month or early December.  I think next month, but I forgot to write it down and cannot remember now!!  Go figure.