June 2010

This month disaster has struck the farm. A fox carted of all 13 of my juvenile australorps in one night! It also got 2 of my young barred rocks. A quick survey of the fence revealed a hole where the fox had dug under the wire along with a few feathers stuck in the fence. This causes me to re-think my whole strategy of free ranging the birds with this fence set-up. I am exploring options regarding reinforcing the fence to prevent tunneling under. At any rate, part of the problem may be that when I put the "juvenile" chickens out (those just graduating from the brooder)... they are not used to going inside at night. Therefore, I think they are easy targets lying around outside. So, I decided to build a fox-proof juvenile chicken pen within the bigger, covered run (see pics below). My theory is that if I keep the chicks in here for a few weeks (after letting them out of the brooder) they may socialize better with the other birds and potentially "learn" to go inside with them. I am going to give this a shot with my next batch of chicks.
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I also ended up setting some automatic, infrared game camera's around the yard to see what was eating the chicks. Sure enough, I caught several photos of a grey fox snooping around the perimeter fencing.
Unfortunately, I think I am going to have to trap this fox, as it will constantly be clawing in and around the fence to get more chickens since now it has found an easy meal. More on this later...... In other news, I ended up replacing my recently deceased australorps with a dozen barred rock and 3 rhode island reds. These guys are in the brooder right now... waiting to test out my new juvenile pen I just built. I will probably move these guys in there by mid July.
Also it would appear two of my "pullets" from the February batch of chicks were actually roosters!! So now at 4 in the morning, we are awoken by the sound of rooster crows. Well, at least now we are "sounding" more like a real farm. Everyone is urging me to get rid of them... as obviously there egg output is somewhat lacking, but I think I will keep them.
Hear one of our new Roosters crowing. I think we have a new sound effect for the homepage!!
Another disaster this month included our woodpile collapsing! I blame this on faulting stacking technique by Dan (our farm hand). Proper firewood stacking is an artform.... and you can't just give it to anyone to do. I should have remember this before I assigned Dan the task.
The last big update for the month is regarding our beautification project. I tore out a whole bunch of scubby and damaged trees in the front yard and will eventually be replacing them with rhododendrons. However, first I had to get rid of the stumps. So we let out a call to our stump guy Jason. He comes over in his two-tone jeep and grinds down all the stumps for us... at the bargain price of $1.50 an inch (diameter). Fantastic.
Lastly, don't forget to check out our garden page... as we have many updates for the month!