Sprouting Food For Chickens on $.25 a day – Backyard Chicken Lady

I have talked about, and linked to other blog posts regarding sprouting seeds for livestock feed before.  I ran across this one the other day and thought it worth sharing.  She does a great job of explaining her system in detail.  Hopefully this winter I can get started on sprouting to reduce winter feed costs.

http://backyardchickenlady.blogspot.com/2014/09/i-grow-wheat-grass-for-17-chickens-for.html

BY Wheat Grass Growing Various Stages

 

All photos and content are property of Backyard Chicken Lady.

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Big Red and Minor Miracles

Yesterday I took the four oldest kids and we went to pick up our new rooster from my friend. She had kept him for me for far longer than either she or I were planning so I am very grateful. It was dark by the time we got there so I really couldn’t get any pictures. I have actually heard that it is best to introduce new birds to a flock at night so I was hopeful this would work out. This morning, woken by some mediocre crowing, everyone seemed to be happy. I didn’t want to let them free range today because I wasn’t sure how Big Red, the name we are going with for now, would do. I think I will give him a couple more days before letting him out. In the meantime I am trying to give them plenty of fresh grass and clover to keep all of the chickens occupied in their run.

 

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This evening with the few spare minutes I had I wanted to get the eight straw bales that were up against the barn down to the compost pile. It took a bit longer than I had hoped and included an hour break. The reason for the break was that while I was lifting one of the bales into the tractor bucket I found myself face first in a nest of bumblebees. I consider it a minor miracle I wasn’t stung and neither were the kids who were standing close by. A can of wasp spray, and an hour later, I was able to get the last of the straw moved. Not without another thrill. As I was raking the last of the straw a last bee dive bombed me and grabbed onto my neck. Fortunately I was able to brush it off before it stung me, but it got my heart going. While moving the straw I found evidence of what I knew was there.  I had seen his tail once or twice.  My guess is it was eating mice who were hiding in the straw.

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Several sheddings worth I am sure

All in all, not a bad day.

 

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Rodeo Weekend and Growing Flock

We have been very busy lately, with the whole long Labor Day weekend being filled with rodeo. The older boys and I camped starting on Thursday and were able to help out with some of the preparation for the rodeo on Saturday and Sunday. The boys were excited to camp and we were extremely blessed to have been able to borrow a pop up camper. It was much more enjoyable than the tent I slept in last year.

As nice as the pop up was, it reinforced in me my desire for a bus to convert. It would make the traveling part much nicer and with a hitch and car hauler the van could be trailed behind for when we arrive at our destination. I also don’t think I will plumb in a bathroom, from those I have talked to, a bathroom in a camper is often times avoided and if that is the case why waste space on one. I would probably put in a kitchen and maybe an outdoor shower but then you are only dealing with gray water.

But I digress. The weekend was a blast with more people than last year and despite an 80% chance of rain on Saturday nary a drop fell during the rodeo. The kids had a blast, and I did too. One thing I will need to improve on is helping my wife with the little kids. There was a big difference between this year and last. Last year we had 9, 6, 4, and 1.5 year olds. The 1.5 year old demanded a lot of attention, but it was manageable if I was off helping during the rodeo. This year we had 10, 7, 5, 2.5 and a 3 month old. The three month old obviously demands a lot of attention as does the two year old. So I admittedly failed my wife on that account and in order to make it easier for us all we will either need to bring help, or I will have to scale back my role on rodeo days. Despite that, we are already looking forward to next year and the boys have started practicing their roping.

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On Thursday afternoon, people had shown up early in the week to prepare and mark their sites

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The arena, chutes, and pens set up and ready for animals. The location of the arena allows for a natural stadium type arrangement with hills on two sides.

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Overlooking the arena and some of the campgrounds from the top of the hill where the main entrance gate is

Upon returning home I have been trying to catch up on chores. To that end, I cut grass late enough that our second son asked me how I was able to cut with it so dark and the fireflies were my company for the last half hour or so.  The new 5 gallon bucket nipple waterer worked like a charm while we were gone.  They only drank about half of the water in the five days since it was filled and the water was crystal clean.  I love it when a plan comes together.

I think I may have mentioned I have been looking for a trailer to build a moveable chicken coop. Well I have found two that might work. I have already purchased one for $75. It is a pop up camper frame that has an OSB deck. I figure if it won’t work I can replace the decking, put new lights on it and sell it for a profit, or keep it as a trading chip for a future purchase. The other trailer is a mini hay wagon which I think will actually work better having two axles. I will keep you updated.

The last thing for this post is that I picked up one more hen today. It is a six month old barred rock. I have always wanted a barred rock and with the Rhode Island Red rooster we are going to be getting I figured I can get some black sex link chicks. She is older and bigger and is asserting herself as tops in the pecking order. I will have to watch and make sure it doesn’t get bad or I may have to separate her for a bit, but I will wait and see.  She has already started to lay so it will be nice to get eggs, even if it is only one at a time.
Until next time.

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Growing Herbs

Click here.  $.99 at time of posting.

growing herbs

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Deal Alert! Container Tomatoes

Click here or the image.  Free at time of posting.

tomato containers

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Deal Alert! Organic Pest Control Kindle Book

Another free kindle book at time of posting.  Click here or the image.

pest control

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Deal Alert! Free Kindle Homesteading Book

I haven’t had a chance to read this yet but the material looks good, it has pretty good reviews, and best of all…it’s FREE!

Click here or the picture.

 

 

 

 

book

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Coop Security and a New Waterer

This morning when I went out to let the chickens out of the coop and into the run my dog was sniffing around the run furiously. The only reason I can think he would do that is because something was snooping around. That made installing the hardware cloth around the bottom of the pen more urgent.

I also needed to get the new waterer completed. I had started it the other day.  The kids and I met my wife at Home Depot on her lunch break so I got some things I had been needing to get, including some chain and quick links to hang the waterer.  A couple days ago I had cleaned out a food grade five gallon bucket I had.  One thing I had been trying to figure out is how to hang the bucket without having the chain possibly slide around on the handle.  This is what I came up with.

I took a scrap 2×4 and cut it down the middle giving me a 2×2-ish.  I then cut that down the middle again.

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I then scribed a line down the middle of each piece and carved it out a little using a flat head screw driver and a utility knife.

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This channel was for the wire handle of the five gallon bucket.  I figured that by making a new “handle” that would be too big for the chain to slide past I would be set.  It ended up looking like this.

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I simply drilled a couple pilot holes and screwed it together.

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Last night I drilled four 5/16″ holes in the bottom of the bucket and threaded in the water nipples.  I got 25 of them from amazon for under $8.  After screwing them in, I took four scrap pieces of 2×4 and glued them to the bottom of the bucket.  I did this so that I can set the bucket down without breaking the nipples.

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Today after having purchased the chain and quick links I hung the bucket over the 2×4 I have added to the run for just this purpose.

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I added a couple screws in the 2×4 to keep the chain from slipping or sliding.

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After getting it hung I went to check and make sure it was working.  I pushed on the nipples and hardly a drop of water would come out.  It didn’t matter which one I tried.  The only thing I could think of was that since added the top to the bucket a vacuum had been created.  So I added a couple holes to the top side of the bucket.  As I drilled the first one I could hear the pressure release.

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So now the waterer works, I just need the chickens to figure it out.  All of the reviews say that the chickens will figure it out themselves, no training is necessary.  Until I see them using it, I will make sure they have plenty of fresh water.

This evening after dinner I got to work on adding the hardware cloth.  I started with an electric stapler but quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be sinking substantial enough staples to hold the skirting securely so I brought out the air stapler.

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One side done

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Another side rolled out. Head of security is checking my work

Rather than cutting out squares on the corner I just cut a slit in the hardware cloth and overlapped it.

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The door side involved the most cutting because I had to cut not only the corners to overlap it, but also around the door.  I tried to be as careful as possible about leaving sharp ends anywhere because there will be plenty of kids around the chickens and I want to eliminate as many scrape and cut hazards as possible.

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You can tell from the pictures that I finished by the last light of the day.  I did take a minute to look at the sunset, it was pretty spectacular.

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Hopefully the skirting adds just a little bit more security to the coop such that if I needed to leave the door from the run into the coop open for a few days, I wouldn’t have to worry too much about the chickens safety.  Hopefully they figure out the waterer tomorrow, we will see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feathers!

I picked up our eight new hens this evening. They are about thirteen weeks old and are Amberlinks. They should start laying in about a month. The kids are understandably excited. Our oldest has always really liked chickens, and second son just today realized how much he likes them.

The Amberlinks are the latest hybrid that are supposed to lay as well or better than ISA browns, although they lay a slightly smaller egg. They are also supposed to do better free ranging than ISAs. Not only that, but they are supposed to be very docile and friendly and if today is any indication they certainly are. Our kids had no problem picking them up and petting them. Our friends at Destiny Farm have been selling started birds this year and luckily for me they had these ones available to pick up today.

I am now in the process of making a nipple waterer out of a five gallon bucket. I will post on that separately later. I also need to add the skirting to the coop.

Our dog is very interested in the new additions and his scent all around the coop should hopefully help to keep them safe.

It is nice to have chickens again. I can’t wait until we start getting eggs, one month! Now I need to fight chicken math, which is a way to describe to multiplication of chickens once you start with them. Did I mention I have a friend giving us a free rooster?

We had my sister in law and nephews over for dinner tonight and one of my nephews said to my kids, “I liked your old house better.” Both our older boys answered that they liked this house so much better because we had a golf cart, and sheep, and chickens, and so much space. I’ll be honest, it warmed my heart.

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Release the Chickens

That’s what I hope to do this weekend. I need to go pick them up from our farmer friend who sells started birds.  I decided to leave it outside the sheep pen and closer to the house so that it is easier for us to get into and out of.  I have a feeling that at some point I will move it into the pen, but this will be it’s home at least temporarily. This is the view out our window.
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I had used some moving dollies and a hand cart to move the coop off the trailer. I blocked it up in order to get the dollies underneath it and the whole thing went rather well.

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I got the hardware cloth the other day and still need to put that onto the coop but it shouldn’t take long with an air stapler. You can see in the following pictures that while some skirting is better than nothing, I want something more substantial.

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