Thursday, January 21, 2010

The flu is over....for now.

The dying has stopped!  WOOT!!  The chickens are back in good health, and are happily free ranging the garden now that most of the snow is gone.  AND  we started getting eggs again!  WOOT WOOT!

Today we moved the homemade brooder from the garage (soon to be showroom) to the barn and another WOOT!  I figured out the power situation out there.  So now that I don't have to raise babies inside, we have an order in for 14 hens (day olds) to be picked up on March 22 and another 4 hens and a roo to be picked up on April 5th.

Here's our "breed" break down:
On the 22nd we'll add:
4 Americaunas
2 Speckled Sussex (we lost the one that we had)
2 Silver Laced Wyandottes (we lost 2 of these and have 1 left)
2 Buff Orpingtons (just because I love Buffies)
And 4 straight run White Silkies.  (Straight run means we won't know if we have boys or girls until they lay or crow.  Silkies are known for being great broodie birds (They'll incubate anyone's eggs) and Boy will show two in the "Fancy Poultry" class of 4-H.

On the 5th we are adding 4 Buckeye Hens and 1 Buckeye Roo.   These are extremely popular birds bred here in Ohio, so they do well in our weather.  The plan on these is to breed more pure bred Buckeye chicks to sell.  Of Course, they will not be laying until about August, so the soonest we'll have chicks to sell is September if it goes well. 

We are also hoping to isolate the Americauna/Aracuanas with Boo so we can get some pure bred Americauna chicks.  The hope is that we won't have to keep buying from the hatchery.   In about a month I will order some Cornish Crosses which are heavy meat birds to raise for "Freezer Camp".  It only takes about 8-10 weeks until they are ready 'for camp'.

I'll post pictures of the brooder and the progress of the barn in a bit.  Also, I will update all my pictures of the day over on the scrap board later on tonight (I hope!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sickness in the Chicken Coop

So it happened...all the chickens have a cold...runny nose, foamy eyes, sneezing and coughing....sounds like we need Comtrex, eh?  Well unfortunately, one thing about chickens is that they don't show that they are sick until it is basically too late.

Monday night was the telltale night. When I returned home Tuesday morning from work, I arrived to find 2 dead birds and poor Maran panting on the floor.  I took Maran into the house and gave her antibiotics...this is the bird that survived the "Easter Drought".  Sadly she didn't survive the Flu of 2010.  Antibiotics all around in the chicken house. Then when I took the second dose of medicine out before I left for work, there was another that had passed.  4 were wheezing and coughing, so I figured I"d come home from work with another 4 dead, including my sweet rooster, Boo.....only 1 though, and not Boo.  Another day of antibiotics, sneezing, wheezing, foamy eyes.  Came home from work today, no one dead.  WOOHOO!! Still it's going through the house and others are sick now.  So I just came if from doing something I never thought I would be doing....I sat out there for almost and hour, picking up various birds and water down their throat with an eyedropper.  Yep. 

Luckily the artic blast has broken and it isn't so bitterly cold.  Still they do not like the snow so everyone is stuck in the house. I spent time during the night picking out the day old chicks that we will get in February to replace the casualties.  But they will go to good use as they are waiting for the compost heap to start warming up for the spring.  I realize I sound a bit mean...but I've had days and hours agonizing, crying and being upset about losing our birds, and have come to the "farmer mindset."  No use crying over dead chickens, or something like that!  (That doesn't mean that I am not still a bit obsessive about caring for them when they are sick...I'm thinking most farmers don't eyedropper their hens! :) )

On a happier note...I was able to get all the Christmas decorations (san the stragglers that I always seem to miss) put away.  I also downsized this year and went from 6 boxes of decoration down to 3!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Additions to the homestead family!!

We are now in the bunny business!!!  Meet our new rabbits.  They are Californian (hey, dude!) meat rabbits.  They will finish out at about 7 pounds and are good meat.  Our trio is the basis of the rabbitry, so it's actually their offspring that will be going to "freezer camp" eventually.  They will also be shown in 4H this spring and summer.  Robbie is the buck and is the Boy's rabbit.  The does (girls) are Meg and Mollie.  Man is holding Meg and Mollie was too shy for pictures (grin)



Stormy meeting Robbie.
Man noticed that we seem to be getting mostly white animals!

BE SURE TO SCROLL Down as I added pictures to older posts!!!

Happy New Year!

Happy 2010! 

We started out the year by going to "game night" at the local church that we have attended a few times, fun for all!  We played games or talked to new acquantainces.  Man hit it off with the Pastor, and I hung out with the Pastor's wife.  Boy played with his new older friend, and his new friend that is a girl.  Sadly, we found out that they will be leaving the church as her dad was just selected to pastor a new church about an hour away.

We came home an hour into the new year.  So our traditional sparklers had to wait until later.  We did them the evening of the 1st.

Over on the scrapping board, I am attempting to do the project 365, which is a picture a day, so be sure to check it out from time to time.  You are to take some non traditional pictures to capture the day to day of your 'real life'.

But as a sneak peek...for the 1st....we are heating our home exclusively with's been a challenge figuring out how to keep the house warm through the's getting better.  Last night it got down to 0, and still we were warm.

On top you can see the steamer I received for favorite color and it helps with the moisture in the house.  We've been getting the fire cooking so we have a nice bed of coals...we've only "restarted" restarted the fire once since the beginning of December...the rest of the time, we just keep it going.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas Chicken News...

So shortly after we lost Gray and Brownie...then Muffin, our delaware rooster became ill too.  He fell and then just laid there.  I brought him in and forced antibiotics down his throat and put him behind the woodburner.  He lasted longer than the others, but then he too went to the eternal hen house. 

Christmas eve into Christmas day sometime, we had more tragedy strike the hen house.  A opposum (we think) got in and killed four of the hens.  We found the bodies of 2 of them (without their heads, so that's why we think it's a opossum-that's their M.O.)

Then two days after, when man was going out to his shop he heard a terrible squack....the dogs and I ran out.  The dogs chased off whatever it was but not before it had taken a bite out of the back of one of the Wyandottes neck.  I was sure she was a goner...but here it is about 10 days later and she is still doing ok.  She was mothered by one of the dominiques and a comet.  So we are down to 40 hens, 1 rooster, and 9 chicks....Now we have a round number....The man says that God was "right-sizing" the flock.