Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Not Another Post About Hay and Chickens

One major step closer to the end of the hay season thankfully.  It may in fact be over now except for cleaning out the baler and storing it for Winter unless I get another small cutting off the front field. Oh I guess I still have about 50 bales out in the field that need to be picked up yet too.

The upper field gave me 110 bales today. Added with the 220 or so already in the barn that brings the average cost per bale now to $5.45 still way above market rate had I just bought hay but by this time next year I expect that rate to fall by half again and even when I start counting fuel the equipment should pay for itself within three years.

Since my son was visiting in St. Louis today I used the small trailer and brought the bales in 17 at a time instead of loading up the big trailer. I got all but fifty of them stored this afternoon and plan on putting the remaining bales in the stock trailer after I take some lambs to market tomorrow morning.

We are taking 15 lambs to sell, keeping 7 yearling ewes for next year's breeding and 5 whethers for slaughter after we fatten them up. Usually slaughter day is in January or February. sometime after deer season so we can schedule a USD inspection. 

The chickens are once again having drama. They cannot seem to work out an acceptable roosting arrangement. They fight and squawk and run each other out of the coop stall and several of the younger hens are giving up entirely on roosting in the coop stall and opting to go up top. If a coon ever gets in the barn they are going to regret that but they are getting so high in the barn I can't get them down.

This morning while I was cleaning out the knotters on the baler and running some new twine I heard the most God-awful squawking and again saw one of the Buff hens take off at break neck speed for the barn. She was moving so fast she collided with our terminal Ram Frazier and bounced off him like a buff colored basketball then rebounded into the barn. Right on her tail was the neighborhood Red Tailed Hawk I might add looking for a chicken dinner.

The Hawk veered off fast when it saw the ram looming in it's flight path and landed on top of a shed we have next tot he barn then looked at me like "What ya gonna do about it human?"

I have no idea if this Redtail is a male or female but it's one very large bird and has been living here for years. I see it almost every day and most nights it roosts in the large Oak I have down in the pasture. This is the first time it has ever taken an interest in the chickens and I know it has seen em before.

By late afternoon the entire flock of chickens came out for a walk. I have been noticing that most of the hens don't bother to leave the immediate coop area until afternoon for some reason. They are all getting braver though and a few of them are staying out later and later too. I imagine to avoid the coop roosting drama.

Anyway I am beat and still covered in dried hay chaff. I need a shower and bed then at the crack of dawn it's time to separate yearlings and head to market.

It just never ends around here.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!


  1. how about another couple of roosting perches?

    1. Deborah - I am thinking that might fix the issue. According to the books I have more than enough perch space for the number of birds by a good margin BUT I think the problem maybe that they are all the same general height. Maybe if I make a few lower ones so the mean birds can feel superior they will stop being so nasty at bed time?

  2. The hay equipment is working out good, you have to spread the cost out over many years though. You have sheep hay that probably wouldn't have got baled had you not had your own equipment. Are you going to stock up on extra twine? I can see some company going out of the business as it isn't profitable. That is going to be the story on a lot of things, so few producers are left that we will be left without a supply of various items such as canning lids, seeds, electric fence and other stuff that rural people depend on.
    Those chickens are drama birds and will eventually settle down. I need more roost pole in my main coop, it probably reduces stress if they can spread out a little.

  3. When the hawks are around our chickens stay in the shade to avoid being spotted. Could explain the late afternoon timeframe.

  4. PP,

    You've got yourself plenty of bales of hay for winter.
    Chicken.....Chicken.....Chicken Dinner......Yep that Red Tail Hawk is watching your flock.

  5. You got a lot of hay! Those hawks arghhh. we have lost chickens to them here.


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