Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Not a pullet.


Chicken coop
Yes, chickens really are dirty.  They are the dustiest creatures known to man.  My perch needs to be about two inches farther out from the wall to prevent the poop paintings.  Unfortunately, I don't have the room for that as I would have to move every perch two inches forward.  I am thinking about adding another high perch directly over the lowest perch.  Almost no one uses the low perch and with a second high perch I think its use would vanish.  The chickens want to be the tallest person in the room. 

I seem to have stopped whatever virus/disease was present in my coop with some timely vector elimination practices.  Not a sick chicken to be had in the last week.  I am going to have to cull another rooster.  My babies from this fall should start laying in March and I just noticed this week that my "pullets" are not all girls!  One of them is a boy, he is starting to grow a larger comb and develop darker neck feathers and some longer tail feathers.  We are going to let him live and kill off the old rooster.  The rooster will help integrate the flock and having a new rooster will make the old guard more prone to integrate.  They won't be so insular, at least that is the theory I am going to postulate.  Time will tell if I was right.  The egg yolks are starting to get a little more orange in color.  The chickens are starting to roam about more during the day. 

Today I used a metal rake to finish getting the mud in the barn lot out of the front creek and spread out more pasture grass seeds along both banks of the creek.  I am hoping the grass will grow and help stabilize the bank.  I would love to plant the bottoms in new grass seed but I am going to wait until after March.  I don't want a freeze killing my new plants.  A little area like the creek bank is easily replanted.  I have 300# of chicken food left out in the coop.  Just enough to get through the winter.  I need to start watching out for the sales again.  I think I will buy it in 1000# increments.  It certainly makes it easier and really cuts down my feed costs. 

We had another set of twin lambs on Friday.  On Sunday, I decided that the momma needed a companion.   They just do better with a companion.  I decided that our old lead ewe #1 is pretty pregnant and the friendliest of the bunch so she should be easy to wrangle into the baby area.  Yes she is friendly, but she is also a Dorper so she is our largest sheep.  She did not want to go in the baby area despite the food quantity being endless.  I ended up having to catch her and straddle her body and neck and drag her forward with my legs and arms while straddling her.  Not the most gracious movement.  We were almost to the pen gate when she decided to bolt for the open door out into the barn lot.  I had to catch her by the neck at the last minute, I finally got the pen gate open and the dog stopping her from rejoining the main herd caused her to go into the pen.  The worst part was it had been raining all day long and her wool was saturated with water.  My jeans were soaking wet!  They have been doing fine and today I noticed her udder filling up with milk so hopefully she will have her babies in the next few days, or she is feeding the other ewe's babies.