So as you have probably noticed its been awhile since any new postings. Its been a long few weeks, broken up by a week long illness that really kind of was crappy. Didn’t get a lot done during that time and just now starting to get back to things. Life has a funny way of nailing your feet to the floor sometimes, and I think its just so she can have a chuckle at how we struggle.
So what has been accomplished in the last few weeks. Not a whole compared some of the other weeks but things were accomplished. I actually had to look back at the last post to see what I had talked about. Well since the last post I guess there has been little bit going on.
I finished the coups and got them set. Both the brooder and the BBQ chicken coup. 27 chickens arrived, 1 died within the first week. Since the rest are all healthy I figure it was just a week one and couldn’t handle the stress of the trip and settling into the new home. They are now almost three weeks old and eating like pigs. I changed their bedding today as well as fenced off part of the main area so they can get out and start stretching their legs. They are now big enough I don’t have to worry about them sneaking through the 2″ chicken wire. This also gets them out roaming around “free-ranging”, I will let them out daily and lock them in Fort Knox at night. I learned my lesson last time and this coup has locks and latches. I will likely sell about 10 – 15 of the chickens when I butcher and they will be $10 – 15 depending on size. I will keep these a bit longer than the last batch (the others i butchered at 6 weeks) and butcher them between 8 – 10 weeks. Size on these should be 5 – 7 pounds bagged. Looking to start butchering these between 17 November and 25 November. I will probably only be able to handle doing 5 – 6 per day. Its a lot of work doing it from kill to bag by yourself.
Broody Mama hatched 4 healthy chicks. 5 of the original nine eggs were not fertilized. To be expected as I wasn’t sure if the rooster had been able to make his rounds yet to all the hens. The brood chicks and the BBQ chicks are the same age yet the size difference is amazing. Mamma is beginning to take the chicks further and further away from the coup when I let them out to run around the yard. The problem right now is all the other chickens are laying eggs in the brooding coup instead of the main coup. So probably in the next week or two I will close the brooding coup and make mama and chicks start sleeping in the main coup.
We have a steer being finished in the corral right now. Hes probably the biggest we have had so far. He will be getting butchered the week of the 26th. Should have him back before Thanksgiving. Was pretty skittish when we first got him but he has calmed way down which is a good thing and I can actually pet him now. Skittish steers make for tougher meat so we want them as calm as possible before the butchering.
We are finally buying a quad. Yay!! 4×4 automatic. Been wanting one for awhile but never had the money. Will be nice not have to lug tools around the property either in my hands or in my big truck. I also finally got my own 5th wheel hitch, thanks Ron and Jennifer, much appreciated. I was able to move our old defunct 35′ Jayco down to the junk piles after 3 years. The idea is to strip it down to the frame, weld some additional bracing and bigger axles on and make it into a flat bed trailer. This will be majorly helpful come hay time. In the past we have only been able to fit 3 – 5 rolls of hay on the truck and small car trailer. When you buy 20 – 30 of them, it take several trips. The flat bed 5th wheel will give us higher capacity loads and fewer trips. This will take a while to get done but well worth it. I will E-Bay as much of the 5th Wheel items I can like the stove, refrigerator, etc. The roof and exterior are all aluminum so that’s good. I can use the water pump for the sprayer I will be putting on the quad. And I am pretty sure I can find a use for the 12v converter. There are numerous other small type items that can possibly be sold.
We have the cattle currently split between our main property here and our 17 acre irrigated property. Right now we have to watch water here because our wells are so bad. Last year the cattle ran me out. That reminds me I need to go check my tank this weekend. This time of year the tank never stays full as the wells don’t have enough water to keep them full. 1500 gallon take last weekend only had 1000 gallons. I suspect this weekend probably closer to 500. Can’t wait for the rain. We also have to feed the cattle more feed right now due to the grass on the main property being dead and not much if any protein or nutrients. We try every year to hold off the hay rolls till at least November. With the amount of property we have now it looks like this year we will be able to make it. I think last year was the first year in a couple of years that we made it to November.
Back to the chickens real quick, one of the things I have been looking into is trying to find some non soy based feeds for the chicken. Not that I necessarily have a problem with the feed I get but I am always looking for feed and food that is not the ordinary. One of the things I have done over the last few months is cut out a lot if not almost all of the processed food in my own diet. Of course there are still thing I still use but I think my animals should be on as natural a diet as they can be as well. That is part of the reason I don’t keep them couped up all the time and let them run the property as much as they can. I don’t believe that soy or corn based food is healthy for us or my chickens. Part of the issue though is the feed im looking for isn’t local and its a bit more expensive. We will see how things go.