Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A perfect morning

Today was a perfect morning. It was in the low 60s, no wind, crystal blue skies. I decided to sit with the goats and pet them for a bit. My sweet boy Orion climbed into my lap like he used to do when he was little. We cuddled for 10 minutes. All I could hear was the birds singing, the chickens cooing, and Orion chewing his cud. It was perfect! I am so lucky to get to live here.

Then the peace was broken by a cacophony of excited clucking from many chickens. Further investigation showed that Buttercup had finally laid the long awaited egg! Woo Hoo! We have eggs again. I know the new girls are going to lay soon too.

Life is good in Northern Georgia.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Broody chicken prison works!

Using the advice from the link Linda put in the comments of the last post, I set up a broody chicken prison for Buttercup. It is a dog cage raised off the ground so she can't sit comfortably. I put mine on my garden cart. She was really unhappy at first but calmed down after a few hours. I left her in prison for 2 days and 2 nights.

She had a lot of visitors and was never lonely, unlike when she was in the coop.

When I let her out in the morning, she instantly started acting like a normal chicken! She took a dust bath, and pecked around for bugs and explored with the other chickens. That was yesterday. So far today, she is still out with the other chickens and acting normal. It is so nice to see her happy again!

No eggs yet, I imagine it will take a few days to lay again. The chicks are getting close to laying. A few of them have become REALLY friendly and we know what that means.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quick question

I have a quick question about broody chickens. Will Buttercup eventually snap out of it on her own? Or does she have to hatch out chicks to snap out of it? I found someone selling hatching eggs that I can put under her. But she's already been broody for 4 weeks. If she is going to snap out of it soon, I don't want to put eggs under her. However, if that is what it will take, I'll do it.

I had to buy eggs this week! 1 month without eggs is not cool!!!!

Advice needed!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thank you!

Thank you everyone for the encouragement. It was late last night and I was feeling down about everything, particularly the meat birds. You are all right, I took on too much and am disappointed everything didn't work. The garden really has me down. Not having a tiller is killing me. I need to save up for one.

There is no one to process the meat birds. I checked. None of the meat processors do chickens. I put an add on Craigslist to see if I could find someone to do them, no luck. The laws regarding chicken processing in GA are very strict. I know a few people in GA that bring their chickens to SC to get them processed. But the place in SC has a minimum number they will do. It looks like raising meat birds and getting someone else to process them isn't an option here. I've decided I will gladly pay the $11 a bird for already processed, pasture raised chickens. I will just get a lot better at stretching the meat. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with the 7 that are left. I put an add on Craigslist, but nothing. I guess I will lower the price or offer to trade for laying hens.

To counter yesterday's negativity, I thought I'd write some things that have been successes.

I got lots of zucchini and tomatoes! We have tons in the freezer. I'll be making sauce when it cools off.

I did get some peas this spring. I planted more for a fall crop but the meat birds ate all the seeds I planted.

I'm still milking my goat 6 months later. It is easy and just part of our routine.

The goats are all healthy and happy.

I raised 19 chicks to adulthood with only 1 death and that was Scissor Beak.

I raised 5 guinea keets to adulthood with no deaths.

I have a great food storage area!

For awhile I was providing the neighbors with eggs, thereby building community and my place in it.

Logan is happy and thriving.

I've learned A LOT! That will be another post.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Feeling like a failure

I've been feeling like a failure as a farmer lately.

My garden produced nothing but zuccini and tomatoes this year. I planted a lot more than that!

I planted 2 apple trees and a cherry tree, they all died.

I planted 6 blackberries, they all died.

I planted 3 blueberries, they all died.

My laying hen hasn't laid in a month. She is showing no signs of giving up on being broody. My other laying hen got eaten by a hawk.

My goat is giving barely enough milk for us to drink each day. We aren't getting any extra to freeze or make cheese.

My garden is now lawn. Seriously, you can no longer tell where it was except a small part I manage to keep cleared.

My garlic bed got totally overtaken by weeds. I can't even find the bed anymore!

I have 10 meat birds ready to process. I've managed to process 3 of them and I hate it! I don't know what I'm doing. It takes forever and seems unsanitary to me. I dread doing the last 7 and am honestly not sure I can do it. I now need to figure out what to do with these 7 birds. And the thought of eating the meat I did get makes me ill.

My family would starve if feeding them was up to me. To make matters worse, I've been buying more convenience foods lately because I'm stressed and busy.

I feel like we've invested all this money for no return.

Some farmer I've turned out to be.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My awesome boy!

Look what my boy made me! He's the best.