Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PPPP Report Week 9

Six little ladies, taking their leave. With enough room for
first class, they scramble atop each other like it's coach.
Welcome back.  Once again it is Wednesday and it's time for the Promised Pastured Poultry Progress Report and I'm happy to let you know we've had our first scheduled reduction in tenants. Six of our little Barred Rock layers left in style Saturday.  They will be reclining in the lap of luxury as they bask, warm, happy, and well fed  as the backyard flock for our in laws.  Not new to chickens (they were there with us as we learned the ropes too, years ago) these will be the first birds at their place in over a year.

Turns out a year off, give or take was just about right. (continued)

In the time without chickens their little coop and run has been cleaned out (boy, did their gardens love that!) and a lot of vegetation has been able to come back.  The place is truly crawling with ivy and verdant growth both inside the fence and out so these girls will feel like they are living in the jungle and likely will have a hard time beating up on all that vegetation. After all, what are six layers in the face of a wall of climbing green and towering tree saplings? Those girls are beyond the reach of our little story now, but there's no shortage of interesting items here, don't worry.

After mentioning in the week 8 update that I'd be constructing another Hoop Coop style house so that the broilers (50), layers (17), and turkeys (8) could be spread out even further only a little progress was made. Sunday the panels were purchased and brought back to the farm, and some of the lumber which will be used in the project was reclaimed from the deck demolition.  There will be more work preparing and working with that lumber before the actual assembly will begin so luckily for me everyone seems fairly content and comfortable.

A little blurry (sorry), still the best shot for comparison.
I mentioned water as an issue before and while splitting them up (and using more water sources) has helped a little we're still having to top everyone off at least twice a day.  I must watch carefully if it is particularly hot, and make sure that lots of water, good shade, and decent ventilation are available for everyone.  While a few more days just a bit warmer would be good for my tomatoes, I'm happy to find the silver lining in the cool days because my birds can be under that much less stress in the long run.  All that growing and eating (and manuring) is hard, stressful work after all.  Don't even get me started on the SLEEPING!  But I digress.

I believe a step-by-step photo walk through of Hoop Coop construction will be coming soon.  The more we use it the more I like it, and I want to ensure you all have everything you need to reproduce the structure if desired.  I'll have to get some of the numbers out of the ether and onto paper, and actually have finished HC2 (to get the step by step photos) but if it isn't this week it will definitely be soon. It is awesomely simple, awesomely cheap (considering everything it is doing), and super easy to move.  Win, win, win. You know how I love that by now, I have no doubt.

I've been watching to see if there might be a rooster hidden among the layers.  I hope there is as the flock will benefit from having one of them around come spring.  The benefit of keeping a rooster is a whole post unto itself but suffice to say it's worth the feed I'd "waste" on him.  So if one did slip by while the folks at the hatchery picking out girls for us, well that would be ok.  We tried keeping a broiler rooster from last year, the most docile of the bunch.  He strutted but didn't cause any trouble and (in general) was nice to have around.  Sadly, as broilers are prone to do, his heart burst while we were away one weekend early this spring.  Not a mark on him, all the girls were fine, but he was laying there in the dust waiting for us when we got home.  I suppose if we don't have a Barred Rock Rooster ready to step up into the job promoting one of the broilers might work for awhile. It would be nice to be able to hatch out some babies of our own I think.

But I don't have an incubator yet. I wonder if I could build one... hmm. What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by.

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