Friday, January 30, 2015

Mealworm Update

After a month we're finally getting some pupa. That's the transformation of larvae to beetle. We're on our way in the mealworm farming biz. Stay tuned.

The 3 up front are pupa. Another week and we should have beetles. 

One pupa to the right and another just left, between the black (dead) and brownish larvae. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Very Short Vid of Tractor Loading

I've only let the big girls in the tractor 3 times and they've already become accustomed to loading. Go figure...

Alice standing by the loading door anxiously awaiting my arrival.
And, the loading video. Well, blogger won't download so, I'll send ya a link to my You Tube.

Friday, January 23, 2015

They Think the Tractor's Sexy.

Space is a premium in the Banty Barn so, one day, whilst I was doodling in the shop, I made the Banties a feeder trough. I've since put dividers in it to separate oats, pellets and oyster shell. I can remove the trough at night and store it in Gordon. No more nightly rat festivals. 

I liked it so well, I made one for the big girls, too. And, pulled down their monstrosity of a feeder. More room for them and no room for rats.  They have a separate oyster shell box so, this trough only has the 2 compartments. 

I had some thoughts on building a lightweight tractor for them, too. Yesterday, I scouted enough wire from the old fence line, scrounged some wood and made this new old tractor. Only cost me time. Enjoyable time. Goose chose not to go on the journey for bugs and grass but, Alice and Esther had no problems entering and riding to the feeding grounds. 

When I brought them back to their run, they exited, just like trained little monkeys. Still needs a nesting box and I have a small tarp for shade.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Minor Surgery

Chatty had been gimping and limping around a few days. Went out, caught her and gave her the once over. Hmmm. She has a broken, half severed 'thumb'. Plus, maybe a slight case of scaly mites.

Her left foot's thumb is hanging by skin.

Sure looks like scaly mites.

 Her right foot has some hard mud on her spur. Spur? Here I thought only roosters sported spurs. We clipped her thumb and....

...oiled her down - a treatment I'd read about for scaly mites. 

A week later her legs looks much better and she's barely limping. Still have that mud spot to contend with. We'll do another dip Sunday. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Alice and the Dirty Egg

The past couple months the nesting boxes have been empty on the big girls' side. Lack of daylight, cold weather, molt. Each day I'd check to find nothing. I finally gave up and had decided to wait until Spring before any more daily checks. Then, a couple days ago, I gave a look. Hey! All Alice. She has started her production again. 

Alice is our best layer. Best in quantity. We get 4 - 6 eggs from her a week. However, there's a problem brewing. The quality is suffering. It began late summer, last year. Small specks of blood or foreign matter in the albumin or resting on the yolk. At first, no problem picking it out and using as needed. She's laid a total of 4 eggs for us this year. The 2 I've used have bloody matter in them. Not just the small speck but, a collection of trash. Too much to have to clean out. Her job is clean eggs.
In addition to poor quality eggs, she's a big bully to Goose. In her defense, she has settled down since first arriving Out Yonder but, if any food is available, Goose gets all her wrath. Chasing, pecking, bullying. I know the chicken pecking order can be cruel and I can accept it. Goose has. But, if she isn't holding her own with quality eggs, what usefulness is she doing us? She gets the same food, treat, calcium and water treatments as the others. Yet, poor egg quality. Five other birds lay good, clean eggs.
So, here's the deal. I'm putting her on egg quality probation. I know her attitude will never change, and I can accept that, IF she can clean up her egg quality. If not...
We won't butcher. But, the name of the game is eggs. Yeah, pets too, but she also doesn't play well with others and disrupts the peaceful existence of the flock. It's all in her hands now. Lay clean eggs or it's off the the Flock Swap.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The New Year

The New Year came in warm and dry. A few folks down the street had to shoot firecrackers and bottle rockets throughout the day and night. I keep having to remind myself that I, too, growing up, did some things neighbors or other people might have had a problem with. But, hell, I'm getting old and crotchety and am within my rights as a geezer to not like it.

Oh Dark Thirty. I caught the Bantams still on the roost. 

The whoa-man gave me 2 boxes of bran cereal for Christmas. I purchased this 3-drawer unit and waited for the chicken treats to arrive. 

The treats arrived!  Now we wait for them to...

Mealworms! Breeding. They like apples. 
The tarps I covered the chicken runs with, gathered and held a LOT of water. (it rained all day, yesterday) I bet there was more than 20 gallons accumulated. I'll do some modifications and all should be well. However, if you ever need an inexpensive rain water gathering system....

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Shop

While back I cleaned up the shed and pronounced it a (primary) wood shop. Not too bad for small stuff but, the larger boards need to be worked outside. A bit of a hassle but, do-able. Well, I had several extension cords hooked together running from the house. I plugged it into a 4-way extension plug and had even more extension cords plugged into that. My oh my. More than once, I'd blow the breaker in the house and have to walk those hundreds of miles back to reset it. ;)

Well, I've finally hooked a real wire, 14 gauge, into the house's main and wired the shop. Wonderful. No more power drains. No more blown breakers. I have pics...

The initial, now I can walk, clean up. Work table and band saw. I love my band saw.

The other side with my cut off saw. And, a rat's nest of flimsy extension cords lining the wall. Look at that Green Acres mess at the back. 

Back wall has a freshly wired, real outlet with my band saw and shop light plugged in. 

Step in the door and flip the switch. Power!

Another outlet with my cut off saw and sander plugged in. 

And yet, another outlet with another light and an empty under my work table. 

Extra. I tarped the Bantam's run. No more mud and it will keep them out of the rain better. 
I have another huge tarp for the big girls' run but, it's rainy today. Soon, they'll be completely covered, too.