Goats, rabbits, chickens (pages)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

THIS is why I slap my hands if I even think about putting some serious seed into the ground...it was 29 this morning in the Valley. Every time I woke up last night I thought about my baby plants and chicks.

The chicks are in their new diggs-- a brooder house complete with a completely enclosed yard. Farmer Gary took our old brooder house (after we moved Jack and his Mables to their new diggs)and outfitted it for the new little babes. He used broom handles for tiny little roosts...it is so stinkin' cute.

They just love it. They scratched around in their yard just like they'd been doing it forever.

Gary designed the outside enclosure in panels so we can take it apart and REuse it for other things. We tried our best to varmint-proof it; time will tell.

They have been in it for several days and have only had one incident. I had to build an "isolation" pen for one Little Mable; the others had pecked her 'till she bled. So, I cleaned her all up and applied some handy, dandy Herbal Aid Salve that I made from dandylions grown here at Rocky Creek! It stopped the bleeding immediately and the next day she was ready to join her sisters in the main pen. So far, they have left her alone.

Gary installed two heat lights but it had been so warm I only needed one. Until last night. Jeepers. Really? 29 degrees? And, the wind whipped around like a crazy person. Since the main structure of the brooder is old it has a lot of cracks. True to farmer-mentality, I stuffed it all around where the top meets the sides with straw, then after the door was closed, I stuffed around the door with straw. It looks like a square-pants-straw-house. Odd looking but effective. Inside there is about 6 inches of straw on the wooden floor and "leaves" of straw around the walls. Actually, very cozy. But, still, it got 58 degrees in there last night...too cold for the age of the chicks. They should have 70-75 degrees.

But, they seemed chipper and ready for breakfast this morning. They always clean out their feed bins during the night and when I fill them Cassie is right there wanting her share of chicken starter! I didn't open the door to their yard and they weren't too happy about that, but it needs to warm up considerably before I let them out.

As you know, our Red Star laying hens are, well, red and we named them Mable. So, our little New Hampshire Reds are, you know, red, too, so we named them Mable as well. We call them Little Mable now, but that is changing fast! Our black Jersey Giants are Milly. For giants they sure aren't giant. The Little Mables are much larger. The Aracana's are Tilly..can't wait to see their colored eggs. And, the Cochins are Lilly. They are incredibly cute with their little feathered leggings!

Mable and Jack love their new big chicken house. It took a couple of days before they could "give up" their little brooder house. Every time the door was open (Gary was working inside) one of them would sneak in and lay an egg on the floor as the nests had already been removed. But, now, they are all aclimated and appear to love their new condo. They have room to spare--little do they know that they will be invaded by all the Little Mables, Millys, Tillys and Lillys when they grow up!

On the garden front...as you can see by my count down ticker at the top of the page, the BIG planting day is fast approaching. My herb refrigerator, cold frames, future herb kitchen and garden room are full of seedlings, seeds and bare-root plants waiting for the day.

Since we REplotted our garden sizes (what a job that was) I transplanted a third of my garlic so it wouldn't be in the "path", over a hundred plants. Whew. I hate DO-OVERS.

So, I'd better get crackin'. But, before I go a word about GMO's. You know how much I loathe them. HERE is a template letter to send or give your grocery store(s) requesting the LABELING of GMO food. I want to know what's in my food and so should you.

In spite of GMO's....hey, Life Is Good. :)
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