the end to our chicken keeping

This is a post I have been delaying.  And if sad topics upset you, read no further. We cooped the chickens Monday evening 6pm and left the property.  At 9.45 am Tues morning (April 12) the coop door opened automatically.  When I later reviewed the security cameras I saw Wanda (one of the two hens which can fly over the paddock fences) pass the security camera at 10am and head for the compost heap.  So all was normal at 10am. We returned at 12.20pm and the place was quiet.  Normally Buffy, Read more [...]

epsom salts bath recovers Ameraucana

I mentioned in my Jan 20 post the passing of Gimpie.  She and the Ameraucana were the two elders in the flock.  The Ameraucana observed a period of mourning and then began associating with the flock at a wary distance, cautious always of the rooster who had dispatched her comrade.  She is over 5 years old and in her waning years and at feeding time she is driven away by the younger hens, some of whom are her offspring.  So much so that I have a routine for her at evening time to eat separated Read more [...]

spring time catchup

My recent visit to the west coast set me back on my spring schedule and I have been catching up. Foremost was to get my tomato seeds going.  Last year I collected seed from good heirloom tomato plants and this year, for the first time, I did not purchase any tomato seed.  Though I did buy "Surround" (Kaolin clay) which I will spray on my apple trees when the blossoms have set fruit, and the supplier included gratis, seeds for  Rainbow and Cherry tomatoes.  Plus I had some 2014 and 2015 packets Read more [...]

fruit tree workers

Ever since I trapped and relocated a feral cat (see post 12/9/2015) which I believe killed one hen and mauled another, confidence has returned - to the flock and me.  They now are truly free roaming - after the coop door opens in the morning and they spend awhile in the paddocks, I release them to roam the yard.  First stop for them is below the deck to gather seed scattered from the bird feeder, then a visit to the compost heaps and then hang out in the woodland area. Except today with temps Read more [...]

compost watering & other post winter-funk tasks

We had some cold days (for Georgia) with temps in mid teens, but that is past and I am emerging from my winter funk.  Friday I cranked up the bobcat and worked it a couple hours - moved pine and other logs up the hill to the contour ditches where they will decompose with time; moved two old tractor cultivators from alongside the drive, where they could snag an unwary driver,  to a show off location; and turned >150 leaf bags collected in the fall into a semblance of a compost heap. Saturday Read more [...]

goodbye Gimpie

I said goodbye to Gimpie today.  She was one of 6 hens given us by our neighbor some 4 years ago, and only one is now left, the Ameracauna.  Gimpie had a bad hip which may be because our neighbor would carry her birds by their feet, upside down.  She said they went to sleep and wouldn't struggle that way.  Her son objected that it was bad for them and I guess Gimpie was the result.  Anyhow Gimpie was a real trooper -  with her bad hip she would struggle out of the coop down to the second paddock Read more [...]

what are “pasture raised” eggs, also chicken update

During the winter, short daylight months, our chickens cease egg production and we work our way through the eggs we saved until, around mid-December we are out of eggs.  And then the offerings in the local supermarket become more appealing.  Without including photos, since upsetting folks and triggering nastiness is unnecessary, I will describe the tempting labels. Carton A - "Fresh Eggs, No Antibiotics, Organic, Non-GMO Feed, Pasture Raised, Grade A One Dozen Large Eggs, Level 4 Pasture Raised" Carton Read more [...]

feral cat – mauled chicken – and solutions

I may not have mentioned that about 5 weeks ago a hen was taken by a predator, which reduced their number to 10 (1 rooster and 9 hens).   Each morning a timer opens the coop door when the sun is well up and the chickens emerge to a 5ft high wire enclosed paddock.  Except for 2 chickens - Randa and Wanda (from wanderer) who would fly over the fence to the greener grass the other side.  Well 5 weeks ago Wanda was not to be seen except for a scattering of her feathers.  The chickens at the time Read more [...]

free ranging chicken

Our rooster and 10 hens have access to 3 paddocks. 2 of the hens regularly fly over the 6' fence to the greener grass on the other side.  Recently I have allowed all of them to go wandering around the yard beyond the paddocks.  And they love it.  Initially they focused on the area below the deck where seed from the bird feeders had fallen and because it is surrounded by Rose of Sharon hibiscus which provides excellent cover.  Then last week I shepherded the rooster and a hen to the compost heap Read more [...]

3 sisters, a new brush, problem = solution, food from the garden

3 sisters 3 sisters refers to the practice of growing corn, climbing beans and squash closely together with the corn providing scaffolding for the beans, the beans providing nitrogen fixing and their hairy stems dissuading insects, and the squash shading out weeds and enabling water retention by the soil.  My 3 sisters appear to be doing ok, though I now realize some fine tuning is needed for next year. You can see the beans wrapping round the stalks. But is the corn handy scaffolding, Read more [...]