Category Archives: thing that didn’t work out

End to the reign of terror

We got the layer chicks in May, I suspected we had a rooster.  Couple months later that turned out to be true.  When we put the birds out in the supplemental fence the rooster started getting aggressive.  He would not let the other birds out of the coop, ran them off the food and was generally a jerk.  I would go let them out every morning and instantly a bad mood would hit me.  The bird had to go.  Every morning I would text Boomer and say this bird has to go.  With a quick end of summer trip to Florida, the beginning of high school for the daughter, and work prevented taking care of this PITA.  Finally a day off for both of us, a day that wasn’t a MILLION degrees and the reign of terror is over.  I know the world needs roosters, but we are okay with out one.  I don’t want to worry about a bird coming after me or getting aggressive if the neighbors grand-kids comes over to see the birds.
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Now the girls can relax, eat and enjoy being chickens in the yard and soon, hopefully lay a few eggs.  Oh and that is left eye with her head up, she is the new Ona.  Something got at her while they were still in the brooder, scratched her neck area and damaged her eye.  Although it is a little off putting, she still has one good eye.

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They should start growing and putting on weight now that the rooster isn’t there to prevent them from eating.

And now we have none

Today is the first day in about 2 1/2 years that I haven’t HAD to get up to let the chickens out.  Yesterday between 10a and 1p something got all 4 of our big birds.  This attack is different for lots of reasons.  Whatever got in there got all of our birds.  Another difference, the attack normally happens in the pen and then the birds are left in the pen, this time the birds were dragged out of the pen and placed in a little wooded area 10 feet on the other side of the fence line in a group.  So what works in a group or alone with the plan of storing these birds for later?  The birds were ripped up in different places, normally when its a dog, the birds have legs that are popped out of the socket like Floppy, or bites on the backs like Molly in the last attack.  Ona, the Rasputin of the bird world, who has survived from not going in the cone the day we got her and has been untouchable in all other attacks is missing.  There is a pile of her feathers, but we can’t find the carcass, or any other sign of her.  That is another unsettling part of this.  Like maybe she will just show back up, out of the blue.  I don’t remember how long I kept keeping an eye out for Buddy our mellow rooster, but it took a while getting used to not having him and his cockadoodledoo around.  I am bummed, more so than in the past, cause we still had birds to feed and take care of.  (Yes I have 6 little month old chicks in the brooder, but it will be quite a while before they are out scratching and pecking, being the big birds)

—->now is your chance to leave the page if you don’t want to see pictures

I am posting pictures, just so chicken friends can see and maybe help us figure out what the heck did this.  Heads were still on.

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IMG_9570This was in the pen, no feathers in the coop, so the birds didn’t do what they normally do, which is hide out in coop.  Looks like they were dragged under the fence.

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Two to three more piles of feathers on the way to where they were piled up.IMG_9571

The grass on the neighbors property is knocked down, there are no animals on pasture or on the property that would be in this area.IMG_9567

This is how we found 3 of the birds.

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Happy New Year!

We I have been missing in action here on the blog.  Middle of 2015 we decided to start a little business, and as it happens with us, we go all in.  It takes over all of our down time.  Mix that with our failed garden and a chicken attack blogging became hard.  I dreaded trying to come up with something to talk about.  Lacking creativity just posting pictures of chickens.  Everything else seemed easier and more fun than blogging.

Here we are 2016, seed catalogs on my end table, a catalog from McMurry Hatchery and my best intentions.  When gardening is good, there is plenty to talk and post about.  You know I love taking pictures of seedlings. Farmers Markets start back up  in April, that’s sure to inspire a couple posts a month.  Baby chicks in march.  Chicken days at Bramble Hollow. I will have reasons to post here, and plan to do my best to keep up with the blog.

Here’s to 2016–the year of good intentions.

HUGE loss

Wednesday another dog got into our chicken pen.  The dog doesn’t eat the chickens, just rips them up. Boomer came home to 7 of our 10 chickens attacked.  One bird was dead, two were tore up pretty bad and 4 had lots of feather loss but seemed ok.  Boomer made the decision to put the two mostly badly hurt birds out of their misery.  I was at work, but we decided that we would put up the supplemental fencing up, the way we do when we go out of town for the weekend.

When I went out the next morning, there was lots of this.

IMG_8294 IMG_8295When I opened the door to the coop, three birds, 1 black bird (dead eyes) 1 barred rock (Ona) and the last Rhode Island Red.  4 birds stayed in the coop, so I opened the BIG door to find one of the white birds still on the roost (that’s weird), big pretty not moving around much, the other white bird just standing around and the black bird (tipsy) looking like it’s behind was hanging down.

IMG_8288I irritated them all to get out so I could give them the once over.

IMG_8297I couldn’t get this one to stay out of the coop, the back side just didn’t look right, it seemed like something was “dripping” from back there, so I knew this one had to be put down.  And big pretty was just standing still, closing her eyes, looking rough.

IMG_8292You can see there is a big chunk out of her back.  I was out there for an hour, watching to see, who would eat, drink, scratch or peck.  The black bird and big pretty didn’t  do much of anything.  After talking to boomer we agreed that the two birds needed to be put down.

I won’t go into details, but I do have a few thoughts on my experience.  First, I am so thankful to have friends like Brent and Anna at Bramble Hollow Farms for being such great teachers/mentors in our lives.  I knew what to do and how to do it as fast and as humanely as possible, to minimize trauma to both the bird and myself.   Second, this was the first time I killed something other than a bug on purpose on my own.  And not just some random living being, but a couple of birds that I have been responsible for, since they were a couple days old.  It sucked.  I apologized to the birds for not taking better care of them, thanked them for all the eggs and hoped they would be relieved once they were out of pain.

We have had an attack on our chickens every year, losing 5 in 24 hours is a big loss.  HUGE loss.  We are trying to decide if keeping birds free range is worth it. 364 days a year it works out great, 1 bad day ruins that idea of free range.  I don’t necessarily want to keep chickens if we can’t let them free range.

RIP BIG PRETTY

IMG_8148Big pretty going thru the molt…she was neither big nor pretty then.

RIP TIPSY

IMG_8076Tipsy, because she had little white tips on her longest wing feathers. Her comb never got bigger than this.

Gardening…what’s the point

It’s my own fault.  I have been preoccupied with this little business we are starting.  So gardening hasn’t been my sole focus this year, and it shows.  A couple highlights, watermelon flowers.

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Even tho the deer ate most of the leaves, there are still a few cucumber flowers.

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And a little (literally) broccoliIMG_7560

On the positive side of things, we aren’t affected by the rise in egg prices.  I am waiting for the first eggs from the new birds.

 

Better than coffee for waking up

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I got this picture after dry heaving for 10 minutes while waiting for Boomer to call me to tell me what to do.  I first discovered his gross guy when I put my hand 5 inches from his face to put feed down for the chickens.

I was too afraid to scare him off by myself.  I had Boomer call our neighbor to come out with a gun.  He had a gun, a rake and a stick.  He ran him off…still makes me want to puke.

RIP Smokey 1999 – 2014

When we took the van into Firestone to fix a MAJOR oil leak they told us that they couldn’t fix it.  A new engine would be the only way and that’s 3-5 grand.  If we had that kind of money we would just go buy a new vehicle.  But we don’t.  We talked about trying to sell it on craigslist, but I worried that someone would think this is a drive-able van…sure it can drive, but it shouldn’t.   After speaking with family members, we decided it was time to let Smokey go.

A few phone calls, photos and emails, we got a salvage yard to come out and take him away.

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I almost cried.

It is sad, Smokey was a gift from Boomer’s folks when we moved here, a second car for us, after living in Spokane with just one car.  Knowing the van was ours allowed us to move here and relax, settle in, find work and know we didn’t have to figure out how to get three people to their job/school everyday with just one ride.

Madigan was taken to the end of 2nd grade, all of 3rd, 4th, 5th and some of 6th grade in Smokey. He helped us move into the house.  I worried about the rear axle when we loaded all the cinder blocks and dirt soil from our apartment container garden to bring out to Goodview.  But he did it.  We took Elvis out to the farm for his last day and brought back Ona and Not Ona to join our flock.

The last time Smokey was out at the farm, just a few days before he took a turn for the worst, he had turkeys roosting on him.  That’s how we want to remember him, being good reliable transportation, with a few turkeys roosting.smoked turkey

Smokey is survived by a 1998 Saturn and a 1993 Sentra.  In lieu of flowers, please keep your eyes out for an old beater that can be our back up car.