May 2010

We have alot of updates for May. Firstly, this is planting season, so we have tons of updates on the Vegetable
Garden
page for this year. This has consumed much of my time, so the update is somewhat late this month.
Anyway, the baby goats (violet and daisy) are growing up quite fast. I have read all the pros and cons and
decided not to dehorn them. As such, their horns are coming in fast!
Speaking of goats, I have been having quite a bit of trouble with Fred our buck. He has taken to "horning"
people, head butting, and otherwise making a pest of himself. In some cases he rears up on his hind legs and
really threatens you (he has never really hit us hard... but I am sure that would be coming). First we ignored
this behavior, then we yelled at him, then we chased him around.... nothing seemed to work until we got the
"Mighty Mite" mini electric prod. A couple zaps with this and Fred is back in line. Now we don't even need to
really shock him anymore when he misbehaves, we just make a buzzing noise and make an arm motion like we
are going to zap him. He quickly straigthens out! This tool was a really good investment. No wonder why they
say bucks don't make good pets, Fred certainly doesn't, but he has his charms.
We have a few updates in chicken town too. The baby chicks from February, have been released into the
general population and are free to range our 1+acre of fenced land. So far they are integrating into the flock
fairly well, although they do tend to keep to themselves somewhat during the day. A few of them have taken to
roosting in the goat house rather than the chicken coop. I hope when it is time to lay eggs, they will find the
nest boxes....
Now in April, we added another 9 chicks to the flock. We have 4 barred rocks, 3 white rocks, and 2 golden-laced
wyandottes. In May we were able to release these guys from the brooder and into the enclosed run. At this stage
they were still small enough to sneak through the welded wire fence! We have chicken wire up on the bottom
two feed in the enclosed run, so this kept them secured. Within a week they were venturing out into the
"general population" and didn't seem to want to go through the fence any longer!
Then we ended up getting another 13 australorp chicks (bringing total chicken population to about 50) that
are still in the brooder. You can see one peeking out below at about a week old. The other pictures shows
them at about 3 weeks. This is enough chickens for now!
We have also done some upgrading to the chicken coop and yard. We painted the fence around the enclosed
run and also installed an Olefin poultry netting with 2" openings. We got a 25 by 50 piece for 40 bucks. This is
replacing the deer fencing I had been using that ended up collapsing last January in a snow storm. The
problem with the deer fencing was that it had about 3/4" openings and these would simply ice over and
collapse. I am hoping I will have better luck with "purpose built" poultry netting. Although the chickens
spend most of their time out in the "acreage," I wanted to give them at least a little protection from hawks
(which I have seen take a swipe or two at the birds, so far unsuccessfully).
Also, I decided I wanted to keep the goats out of the enclosed chicken run. They were just causing too much
trouble... trying to run in during my egg runs to eat the chicken food, knocking over their waterer and
basically being pains in the butt. So I built a tiny door within the back door to the chicken run that the adult
goats can't fit through. I also plan on using this area as a creep feeder for the kids.
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