Saturday, May 31, 2014

Photos of the beeplas in the adult coop @ age 5-weeks 4-days; Dads honey bee's and a bunny

This is an adult female rex my sister would like to sell.  She has too many rabbits and needs to downsize a few of them.

I've dubbed this rooster "Rusty".  He is an Easter Egger (Americauna) and it's going to be so fun to see just how he turns out because even right now he's a really pretty boy.

I've dubbed this rooster "Rusty".  He is an Easter Egger (Americauna) and it's going to be so fun to see just how he turns out because even right now he's a really pretty boy.
One of my Light Brahma Hens

The adults aren't "thrilled" with having the newbies, but they aren't "unhappy" either, nor are they fighting with the littles. :-)

The adults aren't "thrilled" with having the newbies, but they aren't "unhappy" either, nor are they fighting with the littles. :-)

Dads new "toys"... he's not obsessing about his honey bee's at all... ha!

Dads new "toys"... he's not obsessing about his honey bee's at all... ha!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Integration into the flock

Over the last week or so, I've been putting the "babies" into hog gates covered in chicken wire out in the yard so they can learn to scratch and play, with room to stretch their wings.  Yesterday I was in such a rush, I didn't have time to deal with them escaping so I put them into the main adult chicken coop for the day after kicking the adults out to forage.

The babies were thrilled to be allowed so much room, and played all day from what I can tell.  The adult hens were curious but went about their business because they've seen the babies out in the yard for the last week or so and the novelty was beginning to wear off.

When I finally got home from visiting family, it was well past dark, and the adult hens were more than ready to get into their coop to go to sleep.  They had all roosted on the saddles again while they waited for me, and were cackling and chittering at me in welcome and greeting as I came into the barn.  Some even jumped down and started walking over to their door.  I think perhaps they thought I was going to remove those "offensive little fluffs" from their main residence, because when they realized I had locked them all into the same enclosure, there was some unhappy hens lemme tell you what!! LOL!  They flapped back over to the door and started squawking in rather displeased chicken tones.  When I continued choring the rest of the barn and ignoring them, they got miffed and jumped up on their roosting pallet (that the babies can't reach) and hunkered down with some soft growls.  All but one.

Rosemary decided she was going to be the babies "mother & protector".  She is the mother of the flock I swear... she is an ISA, she has no idea how to brood and gets bored/hungry/whatever after awhile and walks away from the plastic eggs she thinks need to be sat on, but something in her genetics is telling her to mother.  She's been trying to go broody off and on for about 6-weeks now.  Just before the babies arrived is when she first started in fact.    Anyway... so while the 5 ISA's are up on their pallet grumbling about the annoying fluff's on the ground, Rosemary is down on the ground nudging them all, smelling them, chittering at them, and pecking them on the heads when they get out of line.

This is how I left them last night.

This morning, I go down to find Rosemary on the ground, with all the babies around her.  There are more babies than she can fit under her, most of them didn't want to be kept warm this way anyway, but some did and when I open the gate, all the others rush out to go forage, but not Rosie.  Rose, has decided she is going to prance around in front of the babies, and tell them what for, and is even growling at me a little bit as I go about collecting eggs and dumping chick starter on the ground for the littles.

I had to forcefully remove Rosie from the coop... strange bird...

She is the largest hen we have, has the pick of the food before the rest of the flock eats, and is our best layer.  She has the prettiest feathers of them all with a nice rich red color mixed with white & a peachy color to her, and is one of the friendliest we have... till I integrated the babies into the flock and she decided to mother them all and protect them from the other flock members! lol!!

Goodness the comical behaviors of chickens are something to behold some days! LOL

Monday, May 26, 2014

What does memorial day mean to you?

My husband is a Unites States Marine.  Most of you probably did not know that, and it isn't your fault.  He is legally not allowed to claim his title any longer, because he chose to forfeit his benefits for the good of himself, our marriage and our family due to an anxiety disorder accrued due to the Marines.  But for the sake of honoring his sacrifices while serving, I'm claiming it for him here.  

August 23, 2014 would have been his standard EAS date (the day his contract completed), but due to un-forseen circumstances, he developed an anxiety disorder from the things he experienced while serving, and was discharged early on April 21, 2012 with the understanding that he would relinquish the title of "Marine". 

It is the way of things that when a Marine "fails", that he is to be shamed by first being punished.  Reprimands, NJP's,  losing his "title" of marine eventually... even though he most definitely earned it...  "Once a Marine, always a marine" they say... but that is only true for those who don't fall through the cracks.  We are legally not allowed to claim his title for any sort of financial gain until 15-years have passed, and only then are we allowed to attempt to change his discharge from OTH (Other than honorable) to a better level.

I never agreed with this specific part of the paperwork.  If it had been up to me, we would have taken it to court martial and he would have received a proper discharge, instead of one intended to shame him.  He had a choice.  He chose to sign the papers to receive his discharge, due to the severity of his panic attacks at that time, combined with the forms of punishment he was sustaining, it truly was the best thing for him/us, and we came home to Indiana.

When someone hears "Marine", or even "military service" generally what comes to mind is something honorable.  Everyone's eyes get misty from memories, or gratitude for the sacrifices made. Mine do too I suppose, but when I cry during memorial services, or during days like today, it is for a different reason.

The United States Government stole from us.  It stole my husbands will, his spirit, his very life force from him.  Stole my faith in humanity, 4 children, countless sleepless nights... and my husband never deployed.  I cannot imagine how much more pain we might have sustained had he deployed...

We came home pregnant, broken, limping and bleeding (literally) across that state line.  We collapsed in our bed for over 3-weeks to sleep off all of the stress, anxiety, sleepless nights and pain.  I lost that baby 2 days after we crossed that state line.  The stress, disappointments, relief, love, pain, fatigue... it was just too much for my body to bear and I miscarried yet again.  God is holding him, just like he is holding all of our other babies, but when I take stock of what memorial day means to me... my mind goes over the pain, the anguish, the disappointments, the pride, the honor, frustrations...

I love our country.  I truly, without any doubt burst with pride & love for our people, for our country. I love our lives together now, as well as our lives then (minus the negative portions caused by a bad command). I thank God for getting us home from California to Indiana safely, for our son, for our family...

Those who have not served, who have never felt the pain of your husband/wife/son/daughter etc. being gone for long periods of time, can never comprehend the level of pain of never knowing if your loved one is coming home.  This pain is made especially more severe when you know your loved one is being unfairly treated, and you know the people involved personally, not just from a distance.

Although military service is something to be proud of, for us even just speaking of it and thinking back is a time of highly painful stressful memories.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throw together chicken tractor

When I bought the first 13 chickens through I wasn't worried about integrating them into the existing flock, or any of the stuff I probably should have been.  It was only 13 of them after all...  Then of course I went to TSC and found all those Easter Eggers (11) & Buff Orpingtons (2), bringing my grand total up to 26 at that point and making my job between weeks 4 & 6 much more difficult of course.

I've realized since they rolled over into week 4 that the stock tank they've been living in, is just too small for them to exist in during the day... The time has now come for me to think about a way for them to go outside without getting loose (their not all "tame" to my liking, and will not free range until I can be sure they will remain "home" and not  wander off).

I think considering the gentle nature of the ISA Browns I have right now that I could put them into the adult coop if I wanted to, but I'm not 100% convinced they are ready yet.  They are only 4-weeks old after all... Not to mention I wanted to use up all of the adult layer feed prior to integration into the flock so I don't need to be concerned about the beepla's getting too much calcium and damaging their kidneys in the process. 

There were some hog panels laying around, some chicken wire, some baling twine, some ice cream pails for water... so after working really hard on Monday, this is the resulting contraption.  The beepla's go back into the stock tank at night (handling each and every chick in the process, thereby taming them a little more every day) and they go out into the yard and garden during the day to learn to scratch for bugs and worms, dust bath etc.

The first day, they were all terrified to even move.  They huddled up into a big pile and wouldn't do much of anything.  It was rather discouraging... but then the second day, they did better, and were less wild when I went to put them into their box to come outside.  The third day (today) they had become so accostomed to the idea that when the "tall noisy lady" comes that they go outside that 3 of them jumped into my hand when I put it on the ground to catch them!  Yay!!  THEN as if that wasn't exciting enough... one of my prized Light Brahma's caught her first worm!  All by herself!!  OMG I was so proud I came inside and told my mom & sister!  They laughed at me and didn't understand but I was so proud!  :-D

So anyway... I've done this system the last 3-days, and although it does not look pretty, it works really really well for our needs.

Its amazing what two hog panels, some chicken wire, baling twine, small pails and ingenuity can accomplish...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Photos of Daddy Frog's new chickens

**  All of these chickens are rescues.  They were being kept all together and were feather picking each other etc. 

This is the male Mille Fleur d'Uccle that we hadn't planned on getting, but Daddy Frog has decided that he likes him because he's a highly neurotic chicken.   He's been dubbed "Spaz"

 We believe this to be a female Porcelain d'Uccle?  ... but we're not sure of the gender because it's so feather picked that it's hard to tell right now.  When it was placed into a "private" cage it collapsed from exhaustion and stress.  It's been fed 3 extra rations of high protein feed and now, 24 hours later, it's doing MUCH better.

One of the three Silver Duckwing Roosters.  Daddy Frog is thinking of keeping at least one... possibly all of them, we'll see.

The Silver Sebright hen.  We are not going to keep her, either butchering her or re-homing!  I can fix the splay beak, but it's a genetic defect due to inbreeding, so she isn't a good candidate for my husband's planned breeding program. 

We do not know what breed this is but we have 4 of them!  They are available to be re-homed!!  

 Silver Duckwing Rooster!  We have 3, 2 are possibly up for re-homing!

Daddy Frog's prized Golden Sebright rooster.  He has named him Larry, and he is a very cocky little guy LOL.  He and I have already had to have a chat about who is going to be the top rooster and who is the submissive one. 

 "Look at me!  Aren't I pretty!?"
Larry has been properly reminded who will be top roo.  Obviously he is humiliated. LOL

Daddy Frog's been biten by the Chicken bug!

Well, he did it.  He got bit by the chicken math!  Ahahaha!!  He can't say a word to me anymore!

He was supposed to pick up 1 Golden Sebright (Bantam) Rooster... but he came home with 10 + 1:  1 Golden Sebright Roo, 1 Silver Sebright hen, 3 Silver Duckwing, 2 Mille Fleur d'Uccle (1 roo for sure, possibly 1 & 1), & 4 of a white breed I'm unfamiliar with that when googled comes up as an "Red Pyle Old English Game".  Hmm... interesting.

I've put them into the empty rabbit cages temporarily until he can built his planned chicken coop/run.  I would let them free range if 1) I knew my standard breeds wouldn't kill them & 2) If I knew they wouldn't get eaten by a hawk.

I think he plans to use an old swing set, cover it with chicken wire and formulate a house for them within it, then put wheels on it so he can roll it around the yard. Sounds like a good plan to me! :-)

I imagine it will turn out looking something like this:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Daddy Frog's First Bird

My husband is officially responsible for bringing our first bantam onto the homestead. After giving me over a year of ribbing over my quaint hobby... he's finally begun to be won over to how neat they can be.

It's kind of funny because although he has had his heart set on either a white silkie bantam, or a golden sebright bantam for the longest time, and I've always told him no, that we didn't really need bantams, that they would most likely get picked on and fight with the other chickens, a friend of ours bought straight run G.S.'s & has too many roo's, so she's giving as many of them away as she possibly can. 

Since I don't have an official photo of the "new guy" this is a photo pulled off google to help you all understand what the new guy will most likely look like. :-)

From what I've read on these birds, they are almost entirely ornamental in their body posture, attitudes, breast's & large tails. They don't lay many eggs, so when you're breeding, you have to make them count.

I am not entirely thrilled with ornamental birds to begin with, but this combined with the fact they are bantam, and will lay very tiny eggs if we get a female... I am reserving judgement on this bird!! LOL

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Beepla's @ 3-weeks old

My mom went out to the brooder room with me tonight to help take photos and look at all of the beeplas.  She hadn't seen them for quite awhile, but knew they had grown a lot.  She just didn't know how much.  It's really fun to watch them as they grow & mature.  It's a little bit staggering just how quickly they are doing so though.  :-)  Such pretty feathers some of these babies will have some day!! 

Unusual coloring isn't it?
I believe this to be a Silver Lace Wyandotte... but I'm not sure.  Either way, my husband believes it to be a rooster; or a very pushy female! lol

1/7 Dark Americauna's

1/3 Light Brahma's.  So pretty... each of them have unique coloring... it's going to be so much fun keeping these babies
1/4 Jersey Giant's

1/4 Jersey Giant's
1/4 Jersey Giant's showing off her newly clipped wing. 

1/3 Buff Orpington's.  I'm not thrilled with them so far, but they are pretty so far...

A lighter Americauna

She got comfortable on my hand... I wish all of them were this calm...

"Ooooooh what's that thing??"

Mom thought I needed to take a photo of the brooder tank so you all could see how much room they do (or don't) have lately.

This is an Americauna, but she is the only one like her.  She looks "brown" here but is actually more grey than anything. :-)  Really pretty.