Friday, April 30, 2010

Hoping for a kinder, gentler Rooster...

I really miss having a rooster. They do protect the hens and the crowing adds to the sounds of our homestead, although sometimes it can be on the annoying side , for the most part the voice of the rooster is reassuring.

We started out by buying just the rooster (we are calling him Mellow Yellow), but he was so lonely. So the next week we bought 6 Gold sex link chicks. When a hen is just a baby they are called pullets.

This year there is a high demand for chickens so we had to search for the availability. I called 6 farm supply stores and all of them were not expecting deliveries for 2-3 weeks. Some of the stores only pre-order chicks , so you have to know about a month before you actually want the chicks. This system has its advantage in that you can order exactly what you want. We ended up buying them at Calahans Feed Store in Austin. They get the most popular breeds in on a regular basis and for a reasonable price ($3.25 each).

Here is a picture of me holding Mellow the day we got him (April 23). So far so good, he is a really sweet guy, hopefully that will hold after the hormones kick in!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time to say goodbye to the peafowl...

YES, they are beautiful creatures but, when they are in breeding season they go crazy and because we have them housed with the chickens the male started attacking the hens.
We decided that they needed their own house . At this time we want to put our energy into our own living situation, so the peafowl must go.....

The peahen started laying eggs and she has been dropping them from the roosting pole in the yard, a 5 foot drop! And they don't break! This is a picture of two of her eggs with one chicken egg.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Re-screening the screen door

It was time to do repairs to the dog ripped front screened door to the office building . It is not a difficult process, just tedious .
First, we carefully removed the existing trim with a wide heavy scraper, then removed the staples.

We then repainted the door because once the screen is on it is very difficult to paint the wood and not the screen.

We then centered the screen and stapled it to the edge, then we cut the screen with scissors.

To protect the thinner regular screen material we then covered that material with 1/8 inch hardware cloth, stapling that screen right over the regular screen.

We then replaced the trim and did touch up painting.

For extra protection from our dog , we bought a screen guard meant for dogs and screwed it in place on the inside.

OK , this was pretty boring , but that's how it is sometimes here on the ranch!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Burning saved youpon poles....

When we first got our land and started clearing we would save EVERYTHING! So as we cut down the youpon we thought "these seem really solid, lets keep them for fencing". Well, as time will tell all, the Youpon is a wood that rots very fast and unpredictable. So all the time we took to carefully cut the side branches and save hundreds of sticks, we are ending up sending them to the flame! What a shame!+
So a word to the wise, only spend your
valuable time saving things that are worth saving and that you are really going to use.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New chickens in the coop....

We decided to try a Rhode island red & Rhode island white cross breed of chicken ( they are also known as Gold Sexlinks). This is the kind that the farm where we buy our feed has. They have had the best of consistent production with this breed. They do well in the cold and the heat, they tend not to brood on the eggs (this is where the chickens want to sit on the eggs and hatch them, whether they are fertile or not) and they lay more eggs then the other breeds!
We keep all the chickens in for two days so the new ones would know where to roust and get food & water. Since they were the new kids on the block, the other chickens harassed them, at some point the pecking order will be reestablished.