Bye Bye Birdie

November 2, 2015

I've all but abandoned this blog, but I have a need to talk about what I'm feeling and twitter's character limit is frustrating so here we are.

Today was the last good day for my chickens.

I say "good day" because tomorrow is actually their last day, but good probably isn't how you'd describe it.

Early morning wake up, put into a crate, transported for a couple of hours, unloaded into a holding area, dead.

The chickens are going to be processed into whole birds, to eventually become soup, stock, or some version of a pot pie. Don't get me wrong, I have really, really enjoyed having chickens. They are weird and they make me laugh and I like watching them scratch around the yard. Their lay rate is still pretty damn good, but winter is coming. Imagine a Game of Thrones meme here. These are not cold-hardy birds. Their cartoon-esque combs got frostbitten last winter, and I'm still not over the guilt of it. So, away they go.

Will I be sad? Yes.

But their purpose was always to be food animals, not pets. First as providers of eggs, and then as stewing hens. 

Although I'm not a farmer, and chickens definitely aren't cows, I really like this post by Modern Milkmaid. It's helping me not to feel like a completely insane person for the feelings that I'm feeling.

Next spring will bring new day old chicks. I've already got my heart set on breeds that are better suited to cold temperatures. And I've got some coop plans in mind, too. 

Three Losses

April 2, 2014

13 baby chicks are now 11 baby chicks.

One died during the night on Sunday, and one died sometime during the day today.

The one I found Monday morning was a complete surprise. She was generally the same size as the rest, and her wing and tail feathers were starting to grow in. There was no sign of any physical trauma, and she was warm from the heat lamp when I found her. I did move the flock of them into the milk shed on Sunday afternoon, so I guess I'm just going to chalk it up to stress.

The one that died today...I sort of knew it was coming, although I was hopeful that she was perking up over the past few days. She hadn't grown much at all since they arrived last week, and was always falling asleep on her feet. Though she did eat and drink, it wasn't nearly as much as the others. She also had a case of "pasty butt" which is a pretty clear sign that something's not right inside.

Poor little chickens.

The rest of them seem like they're going to be fine. They definitely don't look like they did a week ago! They are easily double the size and they're no longer just balls of fuzz. They're starting to practice their flying moves, and whenever I have the door to the crate open for any length of time, one or two of them are pretty sure they can make a break for it. The picture below is from Saturday - they're way different even from then!


Now, the third loss?

Our old house! We officially no longer own it. I hope the new family is happy there!

Hobby Farm Beginnings

March 27, 2014

I finally did it - I got chickens!


I picked up these 13 balls of fluff the other day from my local Tractor Supply Co. When I ordered them, I had originally planned to have them come in on April 9th, but at the last minute I changed my mind and had them come in 2 weeks earlier. Apparently I had high hopes that winter would bugger off in timely fashion.


I have them set up in Tassy's old dog crate in the living room right now, but I'm hopeful that it will be consistently above zero soon so that I can move them out into the milk shed attached to the big barn. With 13 of them, it's going to get tight in the crate pretty quick, so I'll have to figure out what to put them in when they move to the milk shed. With their heat lamp and a space heater they should be fine to grow out in there until I have their permanent enclosure finished for them in the big barn.


The dog already pretty much ignores them. The cat is way too interested for my liking (not surprisingly), so whenever Mike or I isn't in the room, she's locked out. Meowzer's exclusively an indoor cat so I'm not even going to bother trying to get her used to them because once they're out of the house, she'll never see them again.

I'm spending far too much time watching them, and I pretty much think they're hilarious. They're scared of me, but that's honestly fine. They're livestock, not pets, so I don't need them to be cuddly!

Tapping Trees - Maple Syrup 2014

February 24, 2014

Although this seems to be the winter that never ends, spring really isn't all that far away. Which means that maple syrup season is quickly approaching. This past weekend we decided to tap our trees even though it's still a little early. The sap won't start flowing until the temperatures warm up a bit, but at least it's done and we won't have to scramble to do it on a weekday if the weather decides to shift.

Somehow in the move we ended up misplacing all of our spiles and lids, so Saturday morning we made the trip out to our local maple syrup supplier to pick some up. In the past we've used plastic spiles, but we bought metal this time around since they're cheaper and we're hopeful that the others will show up at some point.

Armed with buckets, lids, spiles, a battery powered drill, a 7/16 drill bit, a cast iron spile driver, and a hammer, we put out 15 buckets (on 10 trees). The snow has drifted and is pretty deep in some areas, so we kept things pretty close to the house. In the future we may come up with some sort of plan to tap the trees further away on the property, but who knows. We're quite happily "hobby" scale and have no visions of sales in our future.

This will be our third year of maple syrup making. The trees at our old house produced tons of great sap for us, so we're hoping the trees at the new house are just as good!

maple syrup buckets

We got one!

February 20, 2014

Just a really quick update...

We accepted a conditional offer on the old house last night! There are of course still a lot of ways that it can fall apart, but we're hopeful. If all goes well, we'll be closing on April 2nd!

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