This is the view from my recliner today.
Spring finally showed up. Some days have felt more like the earliest days of summer, but you will not hear this gal complaining! The leaves have popped out overnight, and now that the Equine is on pasture 24/7, he’s lost his girlish figure. That’s okay, we’ll work that pad right back off.
Due to mowing on Monday and poop-moving on Wednesday, and some pretty gusty winds all week, we only got in one ride. Sully also developed a small crack in one of his hind hooves; it doesn’t appear to be anything at the moment, but I’m keeping an eye on it. It has required me to do a little of my own impromptu farriering. We did get out yesterday, though. He was a real monster before the ride, so much so that I almost called it off. Instead, I longed the heck out of him, and then had one of the best rides of our year to date. Apparently we just had to get our pecking order sorted out again! The above photo was taken last night at feeding time.
But, I did get the pasture mowed, and about half of the poop redistributed. I will do some more of that next week.
In addition, I’ve biked a lot this week. Some days I’m getting in two rides, but I think I’ve gotten in at least one every day this week. I’m not as out of shape as I thought; My times are about 5 minutes longer than at the end of the season last year. I’m already back to where I can ride all but the two biggest hills, and those I just get off and push.
The chickens are doing a fair bit of free-ranging now. I stay close and check on them frequently, worried mainly about Blue. They’re already about bigger than the cats are interested in messing with. But Blue has chicken dinner on the brain.
Immediately after this was snapped, he lunged and pinned Marshmallow (the one to the far right) against the fence. I hollered, he let go, and she booked it back to safety. She’d just been trying to keep a little morsel of pear all to herself and didn’t even hear him coming. And this was after his being loose all morning, hanging out with me watching them roam. I punished him, and he’s been pretty good since.
I don’t expect him to like chickens, but I do expect him to tolerate them at least as well as he tolerates the cats.
Marshmallow was unscathed; I’m not sure it wasn’t more of a warning on his part. I’m thinking about putting a bell on him for a little while. That way they can hear him coming.
Rain and thundershowers for this afternoon, and a few days ahead. On to my housework and homemade spaghetti dinner…
The chickens got their first taste of free-ranging freedom yesterday. I let them out twice; once in the morning and again in the late afternoon. They didn’t stray far from the coop, but I watched them like the proverbial hawk So did Blue! I think he was drooling a bit.
Until they are full size, they won’t get any unsupervised range-time. But already I have to scare them away from the gate before I can go in or out, and as soon as they hear me come out the front door, they’re all standing at it like meerkats. I might have to rethink my former opinions about chicken intelligence…
It was a busy day yesterday, in a good way.
First of all, I had the vet out for the animals’ needles and Sully health and dental check. Everything checked out, and everyone got their rabies vacs. I asked the vet about Sully’s weight, as a few people have commented on his being ribby. She said that since he’s a draft cross and genetically prone to both obesity and founder, he’s absolutely perfect. So I can stop worrying! His teeth also checked out, so he won’t need floating until next spring, which cut the vet bill in half
While I waited on the vet to arrive, I started moving some manure around the pasture. In an effort to both nourish the grass and to change Sully’s grazing pattern so he’s not eating it bare in some spots, I’ve decided to take my wheelbarrow and pitchfork and redistribute poo. That sounds like a beaurocratic position, no? I picked up, broke up and spread about 5 wheelbarrow loads in just under 2 hours. It was hard work, but I didn’t mind it. It will be an ongoing project this summer, but really good exercise
Sprinkled between was some housework, yardwork, cow wrangling and, of course chickens. Today I am getting the tire garden cleaned out and washing horse blankets. Speaking of which, I’ve come up with a really good way to do the latter. I took my garden sprayer/feeder and washed it out, added a scoop of Oxy Clean and set it to the jet spray setting. I have gotten the rain sheet cleaned using this method, and it seems to be working really well, except that I ran the well dry! I have to wait for it to fill back up before I can do the heavyweight one. I’ll let you know if they look/smell clean when I’m done with them!
I really wish I had some more of that bedding. It’s expensive, though. And hopefully, they won’t be inside too long!
Yesterday was Day 5, and the little ones seem strong and vigorous. And they are growing like weeds. They would be just over 1 week old in these pics. And no more losses, so far. I have been giving them yogurt, NutriDrench and Quik Chik to help bolster them, and it all seems to be doing the trick.
We brought in 10 more to replace our shipping losses. I got these at TSC in Galax. The Buff Brahmas are straight run, so I’m hoping there’s a cockerel or two amongst them. And the little yellow ones are Red Sexlink, which means they could be Red Star, New Hampshire Reds, or who knows what else! They were a bit sluggish after their car ride, but are extremely perky this morning.
This is the brooder set-up now, until I’m sure everyone can co-exist peacefully. I will have to change it again in a day or two to incorporate the flight netting, as they’re all growing wings at an alarming rate.
This is Violet. She’s the most inquisitive of the hatchery bunch, and will come over, stand up on her toes, and stare at you till you move. Then she’ll dart away with the others. She’s the only one I’ve named. I doubt I’ll name all of them, but the ones that stand out have to be called something!
And hopefully, this is my Silver-Laced Wyandotte cockerel. We’ll just have to see. But if “it” is indeed a “he,” he will be called Carson.
The ones I am naming, I’m naming after characters on one of our favorite TV shows, Downton Abbey. Why? Because, it amuses me to do so!
My garden was a major flop last year. So this year, I have found something else to occupy my time and productivity. And I’m going to introduce said project one picture at a time. Have fun guessing!
This is my latest phone bill. Check out that Amount Due! It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, it was exceeding $150 many months.
We’re paying Vonage about that, as well. So we’ve more than halved our monthly expenses for phone/internet/entertainment.
And some of the television shows we’ve been able to see lately? Person of Interest, The Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy, Downton Abbey, Coronation Street, The Good Wife, Southland, The Mentalist, The Neighbors, Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, Frasier, Justified, The Americans, The Simpsons… The list goes on. And many of these shows we couldn’t get when we were paying for our satellite TV.
Our only regret is that we didn’t do it years ago.