Monday, August 17, 2015

Rooster Adventures, Tractor, Chicken (Not Chicken Tractors) Area and All I Need are some Hens





The two remaining roosters have vacated the chicken stall area in favor of the Blue Faced Ram's stall. The three of them, Roosters and Ram, literally hang out together all day and night now. At one point I looked into the stall to see Rocky (The Barred rooster) standing on top of the ram as he was laying there in his bedding. The ram seems to actually enjoy their company. I am thinking they are forming some sort of testosterone only club or something.

I finished up the Chicken coop area this morning after making a run to town to pick up some longer bolts to attach the nesting shelf to the wall.




The shelf itself is 6 foot long by 18 inches deep and I placed it about 20 inches off the floor and divided it into three boxes. I have room to add another shelf on this wall and could even add more on the other walls if I need to. Yesterday I finished cleaning the old stall out down to the dirt floor and then added in some new wood shaving and old hay bedding to the floor.

The entire chicken stall measures 10'x13' but there is also a bonus door way that goes into the next stall over which also is not currently in use.




I could either use the extra stall as more coop space or make it a chick raising area and build a separate little maternity ward type arrangement in there and also use it for more storage devoted to the chickens. If I open it up for more coop space I will need to put a chickenwire ceiling over it like I did this stall.




You can see the chickenwire ceiling and roost setup I built in the above picture. This stall actually had a roller door in place that someone went and closed off but I still open the door for airflow during the Summer. I am thinking about just walling the door up and putting in a small chicken doorway to the outside but then I keep thinking there are advantages to having that big door to open up as I been doing. It is South facing so it will allow sunlight in when opened even if I keep the chickens locked up for some reason. I could leave it in place and open it up on mild Winter days and allow sunlight to stream in while keeping the chickens inside and protected this way. What bothers me is it will also make this area more drafty in Winter when it is not so mild.

As I mentioned I still have plenty of room for more roost poles and nesting boxes. I believe the entire thing is predator proof from anything except a determined coon. The overhead wire will protect them if any owls fly in the barn and the dog has access to all outside edges of this stall 24 hours a day. He even sleeps in this part of the barn during the Winter so he will be right there all night. If I expand into the other stall though the North wall will be unprotected as that borders the sheep area of the barn.

The only path that is open for a predator is one in which it would enter through the sheep side of the barn and then use either the rafters or the hay loft to come down on the top of the chicken area and then dig it's way through the wire.  As I said a determined raccoon could do it if he had enough time I think.

I picked up a waterer and feeder while getting my bolts. So now I have everything except some hens.




We had a rain storm coming today so I had to put the hay bales I been allowing to dry up. I used the pulley system to get the double long loose bales up into the loft. It worked but the 4 to 1 lift ratio makes that pulley rise so slowly that it almost isn't worth it. Still those bales were so loosely tied I couldn't throw them up there and I was able to get the bales up there all by myself too so I guess overall it was a success just a time hog one at best.

I used the hitchbar on the tractor to drive around and pick up some of the stuff I been leaving lay around. A bad habit I get into when we go so long without rain. This is another handy piece of tractor accessory I use quite often to move the various trailers I own around the place. I would say the drawbar with the 2 inch hitch and the carryall I made this Spring are the two most often used attachments.

When the rain finally moved in I retreated back inside to find the real power behind the Small-Hold taking their ease as usual.




I mean the cats must be in charge since they do nothing but lounge and eat. Do you remember this fella?




Yep this is that homely little ball of fur I picked up off the gravel road in the middle of nowhere last Fall. The two week old kitten that lived in my son's hoodie pocket most of the Winter is now mostly grown up. His ear tips don't even flop over anymore. As you can see he managed to fit right in although none of the other cats around the place like him much. He doesn't care though and attacks them mercilessly anyway whenever he can. Like we needed another cat but I couldn't just run over a kitten on purpose and once I picked him up I couldn't just throw him aside into the ditch either.

Anyway except for buying some hens now the chicken adventure is over. The roosters proved that chickens could survive around the place and the Small-Hold Womenfolk are quite taken with the idea of having chickens running around now. I told them if the roosters could survive a week they could get some hens and I would build em a spot to keep em so that deal is now done. I never said I would be the one actually getting the hens so that's up to them.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!

20 comments:

  1. Chickens are great and every small holding should have them, no more buying in eggs for you and of course another meat product :-)

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    1. Dawn - That is the plan. We may even start eating a lot more eggs around here too :)

      I have always said I was going to get chickens. Been talking about it on the blog for years but was always afraid the predators would get them. The rooster adventure kinda showed me it is possible as long as the chickens are smart enough to not wander off.

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    2. The roosters will keep them in check its there job, looking after the flock, chicken poo is good fertiliser as well, egg shells I dry out and crush and add them to the soil for added calcium nothing goes to waste :-)

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    3. Dawn - I have read the roosters will protect the hens. We currently compost the egg shells from what we buy and I will be adding the floor material to the compost piles as well. I cannot see a downside to keeping the birds as long as the predator situation stays in check.

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  2. Lots of animals like company. Someone I know had a bearded dragon. He would feed it mice. Problem is he would befriend the mice and they would snuggle up together until owner starved the lizard sufficiently to the point where survival made him eat his friend. So the friendship only went so deep, but still, we're talking a bearded dragon after all.

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    1. Russ - Heh :) My step sister had a big old green constrictor snake as a kid. That thing NEVER considered one of the mice as tank mate although one hardy mouse did manage to survive a few feedings by staying well hidden. Not sure what he ate though.

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  3. Wow, chickens! Careful what breeds you let the girls buy and how old, you don't want old ones unless you like them with dumplings. You can look the breeds up as there are a bunch, some are more flighty than others and of course different color eggs. The whole egg color thing is silly as you don't eat the shells.

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    1. Sf - That's funny cause the Mrs. is already wanting different colored eggs :) I actually am now suppose to pick up four hens tomorrow. They are this year's chicks who supposedly just started laying. Of course the guy could lie to me and I wouldn't know it. Will be interesting to see how this works itself out. The dog at least seems content to just watch the chickens now and the roosters have already established dominance over any cat who comes near.

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  4. PP - you did some awesome work there. but why do i think that you are going to be the one to get the hens??? that little cat is gorgeous and i am so glad that you saved him! yer a good man, bro!

    sending much love! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber - You're right. I broke down and called a guy tonight about getting a few hens. I am making the Mrs. pay for em though :)

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    2. ya. sure buddy. we are all allowed to believe our own little fantasies - bahahahahah!

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  5. read somewhere to trap coons with marshmallows for bait.
    doesn't attract other animals.
    the man who wrote this was always catching his cats in the cages until he used marshmallows

    i plump for red star hens read that their cousins, the black star, are just as good natured as the red star. red star lay every day come hell or high water and really eat down the bugs

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  6. i missed something what happened to rooster number 3?

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    1. Deborah - Rooster number 3 was the first casualty the very night we brought them home. He wanted to roost in the barn but the other two hightailed it to a tree in the front yard. Number 3 got worried and went out to find 1 and 2 and ended up all by himself in the back by the bee hives. He was something's late night snack by morning. Only a few feathers remained to show where he had been.

      I am not at all sure we even have any coons around anymore. We used to have them but the stray dog that showed up and never left has proven himself about the best watch dog ever and nothing comes too close these days. At least nothing has raided any of the animal feed cans in years.

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  7. Some good work there PP, but be careful cause chickens can be addictive. On a different note I'm looking into perhaps setting up a bee hive upon my allotment, though I'm not certain if it'll be safe or not there for vandalistic little low life bastards sometimes run amoke in the allotments. Need to come up with a vandal proof surround me thinks.

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    1. JW - I am sure they can be. I always resisted because I didn't want to build a stand alone coop and Mom had dibs on the stall for her old nag but she finally relented and decided she would use the stall for the chickens. That cut the costs way down.

      As far as bee hives go I have found just being bees seems to keep a number of people away.

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  8. We always had chickens and when they finally died of old age we went for about 5 years without them. This last spring we broke down and bought a dozen pullet chicks of three different breeds that we never had before from the feed store and have just enjoyed the heck out of them. I think we must be getting old and dotty because now we have named them, which is going to make it hard to put them in the pot when the time comes. For the first time we don't have a rooster....kind of enjoy the quiet. You will enjoy the fresh eggs.

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    1. Tewshooz - We always had chickens when I was a kid into my teenage years. I never had to do more than feed em and collect eggs oh and butchering day but I had enough of that back then to last a lifetime. The Wife and my Mother have already named these roosters and I am sure they will name the hens too. My main goal is in fact egg production for sustainable living it really can't beat some bug control is also a big plus.

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  9. Looks good Preppy! I am sure you will find them addictive. I know I find my quail so.

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    1. TB - I have thought about raising some quail of the local type and letting them go around here to add to the population. I just jumped a covey of about 20 up in the alfalfa field the other day. I love my local quail.

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