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!!!!!