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Grain Farming and Chicken Farming

DSCN6981_FotorSince I haven’t blogged for a over week, I thought I’d share some pictures of what has been happening on the farm lately!

The corn is being planted right now; this year Dad is planting the back fields to corn. The picture above is of Dad, Nathaniel, and Gabrielle loading fertilizer into the corn planter before Dad headed out to plant one evening. I love to help with the farm work, but when there is not anything for me to do, I enjoy taking photos 😉 I love the different colors in the above photo– the blue rainy sky with streaks of sun light; the white birches against the dark woods; and, best of all, the Allis Chalmers tractors ready for an evening in the fields!

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In this picture, my brother is disking the back field to make it ready for planting corn. I think disking is probably the funnest of all spring farm work.

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Our second flock of meat chickens arrived last Thursday. This flock has been easier to care for than the first flock was, mainly because the temperatures are warmer.

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The first flock of meat chickens is already 5 weeks old! I like the chickens best when they are at this age, because they are easier to care for. (Their bedding is harder to change though.) Next week we have to call the guy who butchers chickens and set a day to take these chickens to him. It will be a busy time because the week after we butcher this flock, we have a new flock arriving. At least there are two of us to do all the work 🙂

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

Elisabeth

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Meat Chicks Update + Coop Tour

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Last Saturday Gabrielle and I moved the chickies out of the pool and onto the floor. Because we are getting another flock in about two weeks, we moved this present flock onto the newer side of the coop because we wanted to keep the older side for brooding. The older side of the coop is more insulated and will keep the chicks warmer during their first week; the newer side (with the new floor) is better suited for the older chicks.

It didn’t take long to set up the new pen and move the chickens; after they had settled in, we cleaned the pool and swept the floors. The coop still looks messy–there are feed bags, blocks of wood, the grates, drivers, and tools– but I thought I’d show you pictures of the coop now because otherwise I might never do it!

When Dad and I were talking over the plans for the coop this spring, I really wanted something more permanent. But we soon realized that that wasn’t going to work this year. The coop needs to be sheltered and warm for the spring months, and then in the summer months it needs to be more open. With this in mind, we knew that we would have to redo parts of the coop during the summer. For the spring months we built a plywood front  with a door on each side. We also built an overhang that shelters the front from the rain and a little from the wind. This has worked well, and it should be fairly easy to take down when the time comes.

Like I have mentioned before, there are two sides in the coop; we built a divider with a small door to separate the pens. Dad wired the coop, so we have outlets and lights- pretty ritzy! hehe 😉

 

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

Elisabeth

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Second Batch of Meat Chickens Update: 4 Weeks

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The meat birds are doing good! They are growing their feathers, but their heads are still fluffy and cute 😉 I have two hanging feeders and a little feeder in the pen for them, but I want to buy another hanging feeder since they are crowding the three present feeders. I’ve been waiting to see if it goes on sale at Fleet Farm, and it finally has. Yay!

Take notice: (These pictures were actually from last week, when the chickens were three weeks old. But I never got around to posting them…the birds look much different now-bigger and they are almost completely feathered out. )

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When they are almost three and a half weeks old, I start to run out of their starter feed. On Saturday I mixed the remaining starter in with an equal portion of the finisher/grower mash so that they can get used to eating a mash. The feed weight that I mixed was approximately seventy pounds, and it took maybe four days to feed out!

Speaking of weight, yesterday I weighed four of the chickens that are in the big pen. They averaged three pounds each!

 

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Three birds have leg problems. The chicken on the right has it the worst; I try to keep her comfortable- picking her up to take her to the water, but otherwise letting her be. I feel so bad for her! One of these chickens had a heart attack on Monday, so now there are three. It was the first bird that I’ve lost from the batch.

 

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I like to take Miss Kitty down to the coop with me. She likes to terrify the birds. Haha, you wouldn’t think that of her because she looks so sweet!

 

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I tried to get them to eat lettuce….

“Hmm, what is THAT in the feeder?” squawks the guy on the left.

“Dunno, but it’s in my way. I just want the food,” his relative grunted.

 

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“No matter. We shall stomp on it and eat the real food.” replies the first fellow.

I sure do hope that they are just a little too young for the greens and that they’ll eat them in a couple weeks!

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Elisabeth

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Meat Bird Update: 8 weeks

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I thought I’d share a few more pictures of the meat birds before they go. I like to let them out into the “feed room” side of the coop; it is just where I store their feed and where the three in the pool are, but they like the change of scenery and the grass! I usually dump a handful of feed on the dirt floor for them to eat too.

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I’ll let the chickens stay out in the feed room for awhile, but I like to have them all in the other side when I’m not there because it’s safer. Sometimes General will come in and sniff around….his presence is a little terrifying to the chickens, as you can see in the picture! He also helps to get the chickens out of the feed room this way 😉

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Otherwise he isn’t really too interested in them!

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The three in the pool are doing good (the third chicken is right behind the standing chicken). I think they might weigh 1-3 pounds less then the rest!

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

 

~Elisabeth