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Ma the mouse killa

..was filling up the birdfeeder when I noticed a mouse noticing me on a nearby rock. When I fill up the songbird feeder with black sunflower seeds the older chickens come running..and Ma(the hen) noticed the mouse when she did. She launched into it and threw it, chased it through the brush then pounced on it again and pecked it to death. Impressive.

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The new chicks like the tarp over the tablesaw ‘playground’..it’s amazing how fast they grow. Seeing Ma work over that mouse helps me understood how she had mortally wounded 2 of the chicks a month ago in our botched adoptation attempt.

A* did not believe me about the mouse..in her own defense it might have something to do with me making up outlandish stories constantly. This sighting was much different than last week when I saw a sparrow carrying a coconut.
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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Animals, Fowl, Pests

 

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Inside brooder again

..we lost 2 chicks last night..I think it was from the hen but I am going to be more diligent this time with the inside brooder. I went to a bigger container which I put inside another bin of the same size. In between I have a thick wool blanket which insulates from outside temperatures. I have given them some electrolytes with the water in the fancy chick waterer I made from a small water bottle. I bought a ceramic light fixture and wired it with some spare lamp plug wire I had, drilled a hole in a piece of extra wood from the flooring cut to the width of the inner bin ridge then attached it with some screws. Inside the bin I needed a central hotspot for heat. With only a 13 watt cfl bulb for heat it needed concentration so I cut a hole to fit inside a smaller box with an entryway cut in. Then I cut a hole in the side of the bin for the cord and temperature gauge and drilled some holes on top for ventalation…The temperature went from 20c to 27 in about 15 minutes and when the chicks got in it went from 27c to 30.9 in 10 minutes..but then again I think a chick is on the remote gauge for the temperature reader inside the box. I love these temperature gauges..simple but so effective. Hopefully this all works out. I am happy with the simple design and it uses around 300 watts in power a day..hopefully my 2×75 watt panels will keep up…the battery bank has seemed to be doing fine so far..we never really put the bank through ANY kind of tests like this.

Hehe..5 years ago I would have thought that last sentence was crazy. Its is only 300 watts..2100 watt a day lower for a 100 watt bulb which is recommended for growing chickens indoors, great for offgrid chick rearing as far as energy consumption is concerned..I could not find any references online for brooding with a cfl bulb so cross your fingers..and obviously this would not work for more chicks then can crowd around a lightbulb to sleep..the cfl does not burn a chick like a 100w bulb will..so they can get fairly close..I am not sure if I referenced the age of the chicks but I don’t think this setup would work for chicks under a week old..they need even higher temperatures..another massive bonus, the wool really dampens the noise of the chirping chicks…

I will report back with some temperature readings once the chicks get out of the hotspot and can get an accurate temperature reading…the shots of the chicks are the only way that I can see inside the hotspot, that is how I look at them…also this is a longer post for a phone then I am comfortable with editing or correcting spelling errors..go with it.

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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Construction, Fowl

 

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Rejected!

..momma woke up the morning after we put the chicks under her and decided to attack every chick. When we went to check the chicks were all huddled in the corner and she would occasionally waltz over to savage one of them. So we need to keep them inside with us. Boooo..this would have been way easier if she accepted them. Blurg. I swear it seems like whatever can go wrong with chickens usually does..momma hen was eliminated from the ‘Hen of the Year’ competetion too..we might have to give it to A* now..the funny thing is that A* was reading that in old times when an egg needed to be incubated after momma hen got off the nest a well endowed woman would keep the egg between her breasts until ready to hatch..the other day A* was saying she was going to do this with the unhatched eggs..she didn’t do it though. On second thought ‘Hen of the Year’ is cancelled until further notice.

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Posted by on July 24, 2011 in Fowl

 

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Chick update

..talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. The 6 eggs have finished! We get a chick! I was expecting more! I don’t know why I am using so many explaination points considering I am peeved about it! Stop

Some friends came over for the night and I was relegated to the snoring hammock of shame. My sister and a friend joined A* inside and I got the hammock tent. Truthfully I was looking for an excuse. Slept like a rock..the major improvement was the neck airplane pillow..no scrunching of the neck or having a pillow ruin the flow of the hammock.

The shot that is dark was my emergency heating area..and a blurry chick. I wanted a shot that best emulated the eyesight of a newly hatched chick…or poor cameraphone skillz..you can decide for yourself because I know my shots skeak for themself…so does my spelling…begone evil software spell-check! Speak for themselves. Themself? Blurg.

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Fowl, fun

 

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New Chickens

..are in the works. Our hen has been broody so rather than fight it we have chosen to embrace it.

When we first decided to let her sit we had no idea what would be entailed..but chickens have been hatching for decades without our help..ok more than decades.  When chickens are sitting on their eggs they do not eat or drink much..they spend all of thier time keeping the eggs warm and adjusting the eggs..but they do need thier own area to grow up in saftey away from other hens and roosters. Other hens will sometimes kill other chicks so we needed a small coop at ground level. With us we wanted it to be:

  • small
  • easy to set up
  • easy to move
  • easy to dance to
  • secure
  • done quickly

..that was all of the criteria we were looking for..since last year we have had a doghouse that someone was giving away..basically 4×4..I had turned it into a Chicken Hospital last year but that plan is to turn it into a ‘hen-den’ over a couple of nights…I have 1 night completed now and 1 more to go.

I actually need to hurry up..I noticed that the other non-broody hen is still laying eggs in the box with the broody hen so its going to mess up the heat and we will probably end up with many unfinished eggs when she is done sitting..usually a day or 2 after the last chick hatches. I figure it will be done tonight and I will post something up then with how it all shook down.

Its actually funny..I read many blogs about small-time farming, off-grid and other related topics and 4-10 I read daily are doing versions of the same thing now themselves..some bought and some are going au natural…great to have so many references to go by!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Animals, Construction, Fowl

 

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