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Archive for the ‘Chickens’ Category

We’re trying to get away for a few days next month and before that time I’ve got to get some garden beds going and get Duckingham Palace at least partially built. The major growing season in florida is coming up this winter and October is getting to be the very latest to start plants. I have two big beds created from cinder block border in zone 1. I am going to layer it this way: about 1 block height of mulch, then half a block height of manure and then some fill dirt/sand/top soil for the final half block height. My thinking is this, with all that mulch at the bottom there should remain a descent supply of moisture, along with the horse manure which should have nutrients and hold some more moisture and then the top layer which will hopefully provide the air layer, though with so much sand here, I may need to add some perlite to create those pockets for air. This is the start of the procedure with the block height of mulch. Underneath the mulch is a sheet mulch of cardboard to hopefully squash some of the weeds in the area. The beds are 13 blocks long and 3 blocks sandwiched into those long sides, 64 blocks total per bed. The imperial measurement of the growing area is about 3’11” by 15’7″. I have two of these situated between rows of trees in our orchard.

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Major animal loses

Recently a bobcat has started coming onto our land and over the past 5 weeks or so we have lost 3 chickens, a male duck and an unknown sexed goose. I personally caught the cat in the act with the goose on Friday the 13th. I was able to scare the bobcat into dropping the bird, so at least he didn’t get the meal and I was able to bury it for soil enrichment. The downside is, it died in my arms while I was carrying it 😦 Sad times. We are currently looking at ways to protect them.

Here is the suspect

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We have chicks

With the death of our 2 Plymouth Barred Rocks, we decided more chickens were in order.  We got these 6 “reds” from the local Tractor Supply, though, who knows where they got them.  We wanted to deal locally, but the one farm selling Rhode Island Reds only sold straight run and I choose not to go back to the original guy we bought from, “chicken man stu”, as he rubbed me the wrong way when we picked up our first 6 girls.  There just aren’t a lot of choices for anything these days.  Sucks.

Here are photos

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We actually got them 1 week and a half ago and believe that today or tomorrow they are probably 3 weeks old.

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R. I. P. Big Blue.

Sad news on the chicken front. A neighborhood dog came into our yard and killed another of our chickens. We think he probably killed Lil’ Blue as well but have no proof of that. Plenty of proof from this kill, though. Sad, sad business this chicken raising.

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R.I.P. Lil’ Blue

So, we went out of town for the day and got back just after dark to find only 5 girls in the roost. Found out  she was alone in the neighbor’s yard and in the woods between the houses. We don’t know what happened to her but 3 days missing we have to accept she is not coming back. Unfortunately, we don’t know what happened as we have combed the woods and surrounding areas and haven’t found any evidence of life or death.  Sigh. Life goes on for us and the other 5, still my heart is heavy.

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Chickens after week 20

Well here is another weigh in at week number 20 in our possession.  They started out so small just over a pound, and now they are all over 4 pounds with the heftiest weighing in at 5 3/4 pounds.  I figured out they’ve gained exactly 21 pounds collectively and have been given nearly 150 pounds of organic food.  That doesn’t seem like a good conversion ratio, but I know this organic feed has a lot of hulls in it which probably get wasted and thrown about the ground.

8/29/2012 12/5/2012 1/16/2013
Small PBR Lil’ Blue 17.8 51.3 15.80% 66.5 29.63%
Large PBR Big Blue 21 55.7 13.21% 67.7 21.54%
Small RIR Ginger 20.6 60.7 13.67% 76.2 25.54%
Large RIR Lucille 24 61.2 16.79% 77.8 27.12%
Buff Orp Jody 16.8 59.8 21.05% 78.8 31.77%
Buff PR Buffy 21.3 73.2 28.87% 91.3 24.73%

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All 6 laying

The 6 lay at different times of the day,  but they seem to have picked up on the idea of the nest box. I witnessed one today playing in the dirt and all of a sudden she came running by me. She bolted straight for the box and a bit later left an egg (another was also waiting in line and laid soon after the first).  Number 6 was in the box when I was shutting their door for the night.

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