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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Chicken State of Address

The time had come to separate the chickens by breed. We plan on selling chicks for the next couple of months and we wanted to offer pure bred stock.

The birds are still pretty nervous in their new digs. The main chicken yard and building was divided in half. Black astralorps on one side, buff orpingtons on the other. The americaunas were moved to a new pen. We remodeled the greenhouse for the americaunas. Twenty by ten feet is for the chickens and the other twenty by ten is for the greenhouse.

It's quite spacious for four birds, (you can see the greenhouse side beyond the storm door) but I feel sorry for the lone hen. I need to get her some girlfriends because roosters have no qualms about ganging up on a single hen. Males! Actually one of the roosters needs to go. I'm keeping only two males per group.

The chickens can't figure out why they can't seem to mingle with the others. They keep meeting at the fence line, clucking away. But they've been laying like crazy. We've been getting so many eggs, I even scramble some for the dogs. They don't mind in the least. :grin:

Our next project is setting up the incubator/hatching room. We've got a 3-car garage and one of the bays is nicely finished and temperature-controlled, so that's where we'll put the machines. I'll post some pictures once we have that set up. 

Everything is starting to green up. My pear tree is already leafed out. The plum, apple and tangelo trees have blossoms and the rest are getting ready to bud. If it weren't for getting the flu and bronchitis back to back, I would've had the garden in by now. But hopefully I can do that next week.

Have you priced tomatoes this week? They were $1.89 at my local grocery store--and those were the cheap ones. I'm planting extra tomatoes this year. And now that the greenhouse is in place, I'll be growing hothouse tomatoes over the winter.

Anybody else planning a garden this year? I'm trying to encourage everyone I know to at least plant a container garden. Peppers, cherry tomatoes and herbs are easy to grow in pots. I have a feeling prices are going to get much higher this year.


Dru said...

I love what you did with the place. I feel sorry for the lone chicken. She needs a BFF.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: LOL! A BFF!! Yes. That's exactly what she needs. :-)

Darke Conteur said...

I can just picture these chickens stopped by the wire and trying to figure out why they can't mingle!

I'd like to do a garden this year. Wanted to do one last year but Husband didn't get around to roto-tilling the garden. Was way too busy with other stuff. Hopefully this year he won't be so busy.

Angela Felsted said...

Good pictures. I can't even imagine raising chickens because I've lived in the suburbs all my life. This is awesome that you know how to do this.

Bernadette said...

I have a feeling prices are going to get much higher this year.


Mike Keyton said...

Hey, how come my name's changed to Bernadette?

Maria Zannini said...

Darke Conteur: In the old days I used to till the ground by shovel. The rototiller makes fast work, but it's too big for me. I need Muscles to push it for me. :)

Angela: This is our second homestead. We had to give up the first one when I moved to the big city. But now that I'm back in the country, I'm in heaven.

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: Hey, how come my name's changed to Bernadette?

LOL. You really don't want me to answer that in public do you, Mike?

Ref: food prices
They are most definitely tied to oil prices. What is aggravating is that oil producers use every excuse to jack up prices. Recently, we've been told it was due to the unrest in Libya. We don't even get oil from Libya!

The US has huge oil reserves, but for some financial reason we use very little of it. Perhaps they're holding onto it in reserve for when the bottom drops out. Not for civilian use of course, but to keep the military and infrastructure intact. That's my theory, anyway.

Either way, the price of my tomatoes are going up. If prices keeps skyrocketing, I might set up a roadside vegetable stand and give up writing. :)

Joanne said...

I do plant a garden, with lots of tomato plants. We like the Jet Stars, which is our main veggie grown. Then we add a little bit of lettuce, eggplant and peppers too. Here in New England, the planting doesn't happen until mid-May at the earliest. There's nothing like eating food fresh off the vine.

Jacqueline Howett said...

Very cool photos! Something about chickens gives me that feeling of a nice easy laid back life style. I use to live in Maine before moving to Florida, and I had a beautiful vege and herb garden. Good luck, sounds like fun.

Marian Perera said...

Chicken segregation!

I live like a troll in a basement so I don't even have pot plants, let alone a container garden. But some day I will. :)

Mason Canyon said...

We have a garden every year and this year we plan to expand it a bit. With the crazy weather we're having we'll probably wait a few more weeks before getting started. I'd love to have a greenhouse but we've never gotten around to building one. Good luck with the chickens.

Thoughts in Progress

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

AWWW! I want chickens SO SO SO BAD!
Please keep the pictures coming! I need to live vicariously through you.
And yes on the garden. We plant a pretty big one. BUT, we're getting another 6 inches of snow today. We can't start gardening here until May at the earliest.

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: I should try lettuce this year before the hot weather hits. Cool weather plants have very little chance down here.

Jacqueline: I think the chickens are more laid back than I am. LOL.

Marian: Considering your history, I have no doubt you will succeed. If you ever decide to relocate, I hope you'll pick Texas. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Mason: Makes sense to expand the garden this year. Georgia ought to be getting warm soon. You won't have to wait too long.

Sarah: If you had chickens where you lived you'd have to get them little coats. LOL.

Actually, chickens do remarkably well in cold weather. As long as you can keep their wattles from freezing, they're fine.

Lynn Colt said...

I think I inherited my mom's anti-green thumb :( Also, I have no yard. But fresh green peppers would be soooo good!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

We plant a small garden. A couple tomato and pepper plants and cucumbers.

Marianne Arkins said...

Wish you could send your eggs up here!

They were $1.89 at my local grocery store--and those were the cheap ones.

Cheapest tomatoes here are $2.99/lb -- it's disgusting. But I have little bitty tomatoes on the plants I brought inside so I'm feeling hopeful *G*.

We're still buried in snow -- but are expecting a pile of rain this weekend. Maybe it'll melt it all away. I won't put in most of my garden until late May. :0(

Maria Zannini said...

Lynn: I had to get a thumb transplant before my veggies would grow. :)

Susan: Every little bit helps. And nothing beats the flavor of fresh. Hope you have a good year.

Marianne: $2.99? Ouch!
Where are you keeping your winter survivors until the thaw? That is so great they survived.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I have a black thumb, so no garden for me.

Kaz Augustin said...

You know of course that chickens come from my part of the world. Ahem. In our estate, we now have two roosters and associated broods pecking their way from one green thicket to another. The roosters can fly quite long distances and quite fast. I like listening to them and watching them scratch their way in the orchard below us. I'll miss them when other people start building houses on all the plots of empty land.

No containers for us. It's too hot for anything I want to grow. Good luck with your plans.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: But you collect pens. You are forgiven. :)

Kaz: I wanted to let mine out for a while, but a couple of red-tail hawks have been patrolling the area, looking for chicken dinner. Grr...

Madeleine said...

What a lovely clean home your hens have got.
My mother's parents had a poultry farm at one time. :O)

Jayne said...

The poor lone hen! I feel quite sorry for her. I can just picture them all meeting at the picket lines, wondering what's going on!

I am also having fun picturing a tangelo tree. I have no idea what it looks like (am resisting google) but am imagining a tree tangled in knots. Ok, now I have to check google and see if I'm right... Blimey! What are they?! The fruit looks delicious.

Maria Zannini said...

Madeleine: Thanks. I do try to keep it pleasant--for all of us.

Jayne: A tangelo is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. It tastes very much like a tangerine though. Easy to peel, no seeds. I got quite a few from my young tree last year.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Chicken racial profiling? A lone female being victimized by three male bullies? Frozen wattles? Are you sure this isn't your latest sci fi WIP?

We plant a garden every year, at least tomatoes and peppers. But our year is too bunny friendly so they get as much of the harvest as we do.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I really have to write that zombie chicken apocalypse story. ;)

Knock on wood, despite the fact we live in the boonies, we've had very little problem with deer, rabbits or moles. But maybe that's because the predator population is so high.

When I lived in east Texas, I use to bunny-proof with a simple two-foot fence. The deer were a lot harder to deter.

No thanks to Greg who kept inviting them over with free corn. When they got tired of the corn they nibbled on my green plants.

To this day, the deer know that Greg's place is a no-kill zone. They even bring their babies there.

Theresa Milstein said...

I live in a city. There are a few community plots. We had one for the allotted three years, which was great. When we don't have it, we do a share from a local farm.

TerriOsburn said...

I grew up working in the farm with my grandparents, but that was long, long ago. I finally have my own little patch of yard this year and was hoping to plant tomatoes. Then got this severe reflux and can't have acidic foods. *sigh*

Oh well.

Those are very nice areas for the chickens. The only thing I ever saw in AR was those long chicken houses that stunk. Your chickens are living in paradise compared to those.

Melissa McClone said...

I haven't grown anything but flowers. This year I may try a couple container gardens (in half barrels). We used to belong to a CSA farm where we got fruit, veggies, honey and eggs. But we moved and couldn't justify the drive. I really miss the freshness and plus with what some things cost I think it's time. Crash course in growing coming up.

Linda Leszczuk said...

I have very creative bunnies. I think they use ropes. They are as good at getting in over, under, and though my garden fences as Brandi and Chance used to be getting out of the yard.