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Monday, April 6, 2009

Progress over the weekend and pics of stuff

We picked up some Californian White rabbits this weekend. Two bucks and three does. I'm still working on cages for them. They are supposed to be about 11-12 weeks old. The breeder told me they might be ok together in one cage for another week. This morning we found out we don't have a week to sort the cages out. I'll have to get busy.

We have a couple of these cages.

Here is one I built this weekend.

I need to build a couple more of these and build a stand with a roof over it so I can get them off the porch. The stand will have hangers for a tray to catch the droppings so it will be easier to use as fertilizer.

The kids think we bought them as pets. I don't mind that because we can use it as a responsibility training exercise for the kids.

My wife stopped by a farm store to pick up some J-clips for use in building the cages and they were sold out. The guy there said that a lot more people than normal are building rabbit hutches and chicken pens this year. That's good news as far as I'm concerned because it's either a sign that more people are doing things to look out for themselves, or that more people are getting their kids into 4-H, FFA, etc. Both are good news.

I met a guy that manages a different feed store and he said they were having trouble getting chickens in and that they sold out as soon as they came in. If that means people are looking out for themselves then it is good news, but it could be a problem for me trying to add to my little flock of chickens.


Here is the chicken cage.

You can see that it isn't pretty, but it was inexpensive. I think I bought 2 pressure treated 2x4s to build it. The rest was stuff I had leftover from other projects or things people had given me. The reebar around the bottom is to keep critters from pushing under to get at the birds. With my dogs around I don't have much trouble with critters of any kind. The dogs finally figured out how to catch cottontails. We were almost overrun with them but the pups killed two that we know of last week. I don't mind having wild game around, but I wish it would stay away from my garden and my trees.

The chickens are White Leghorns. Good egglayers. The six of them put out about five eggs per day in the spring, summer, and early fall. They drop off to about two or three eggs per day through the winter. I could puts lights out there in the winter to keep up the production, but after a summer of eating lots of eggs I like a change so I don't mind them not producing so much. These seem to be easy to care for. They are supposed to be a little high strung but we haven't had any trouble. All of the fruit and vegatable scraps and peels go into the chicken pen. Last year we accidentally spilled some of their scratch grains in a place I'd tilled up to plant strawberries and we had a nice little crop of milo and other grains to feed the chickens with. I may have to try to do that on purpose this year.

We just ordered 15 Black Australorps, 10 pullets and 5 cockerels. I plan to keep the hens and the two best looking cocks and put the other cocks in the soup pot when they are still fairly young. These are supposed to be dual use birds, laying lots of eggs and having more meat on them than the Leghorns. I don't know when the new birds will arrive. Hopefully soon!!

Also on the chicken front a friend has a bunch of fertilized eggs and she said we can have some. They have a lot of different breeds together so you never know what you will get from them. We plan on letting the kids pick one egg for everyone in the family, so we'll have six more birds of unknown origin. We'll see what happens with them.

I want to get some Rhode Island Reds, too. I like a little variety. Maybe later this year.

Pics of the garden plot. The rows are from the turning plow. I got it at just the right time with respect to moisture and it had hardly any clods in it. Normally I will hit it with the disc after this and then use a lister to make rows, but my wife looked at it and said it was fine and to leave it.

Off to the right in this pic is an open place. I plan on building some chicken tractors and keeping them in that area this year to help keep insects out of the garden and to fertilize that area for the garden expansion next year.

Have you got your garden started?

Pics of raised beds. There are blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. They are so tall to help keep the cottontails away. The bottom six inches or so is filled with thredded tree trimmings that the power company gave us - a guy from the power company came by and asked if we wanted any mulch and the answer was an easy yes, so they came in a dump truck and left us a huge pile. The soil is from a friend's manure pile. It is a mixture of chicken, horse, goat, and cow, and has been sitting in the pile for three or four years. I will we had time to get get more.
As you can tell we are trying to get our food production squared away.

1 comment:

scoutinlife said...

Great looking raised beds.........


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