Saturday, April 26, 2008

Feeders and Waterers

This is becoming a more difficult to manage expense than I expected. My husband can get 7 gallon plastic buckets free from his work (like five gallon, but taller). So we planned to make a feeder out of one. I found directions somewhere on line. (Sorry, I seem to have lost the link.) Basically what you do is get a plastic tray used for setting a planter pot in and then bolt that to the bottom of the bucket and also put holes in the bottom of the sides of the bucket to let the feed flow into the tray. Sounds like a great and cheap wonderful way to make a feeder, right? And it's even easy to hang due to the handle on the bucket. Well wouldn't you know I can find any of those trays? All the planters I've seen this year have them built in.

I also found for about 1/2 the price of a one gallon waterer, a base that goes on a five gallon bucket (which means it will fit our seven gallon ones). Sounds great, right? Well the place that I found them at couldn't calculate my shipping and I have to wait. They said someone would be calling me shortly. Guess what? I've not heard a word in two days.

I'm sure it will all come together in the end, it usually does. It's just frustrating when I know what I want and what I need. When it sounds so simple and yet I can't seem to get ahold of anything I need.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What a Beautiful Day

Sunshine and 70 degrees. A bit too windy, but as long as I have warm and sunny I can put up with the wind. It was hard to concentrate on any chores today.

I ended up spending a good part of the day outside with the kids. We went for a walk down the road and Megan picked up trash. She was doing her part to save the earth. When Jade got home from school, we walked out back. Things are turning green and even the slow to bud trees are starting to show signs of spring.

I still feel stuck in limbo with the chickens. However, I did walk the area we are going to put them in and have a good plan for the set up of their yard. It looks like it will take up a good part of the area directly behind the house. The next day that it doesn't rain, I'm going to stake out the spot where the coop will go so we can start to level the ground. That's the one thing we have a lack of here....level ground.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Omnivore's Dilemma

I have just started to read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan over the weekend. I'm barely through the first chapter and I'm already thinking very differently about the food I eat every day. Who knew we eat so much corn.

It really makes me think harder about working to become more self sufficient. I know we will never be fully self sufficient, but there is a lot more we could do than we are now. It's so easy to make excuses as to why things don't happen. I heard someone say today:
"If you want it bad enough, you will find the time. If you don't want it bad enough, you will find excuses"
How true is that? Thanks Terri, you have no idea how much you motivate me in many areas of my life.

What does this have to do with my chicken coop progress? you might ask. Well.....nothing directly. I haven't made many strides in that area as of late. However, the rain is gone and the sun is back. So maybe this week will be better than last.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How quickly things change.

We decided today that it would be best to hold off getting chicks until after Memorial Day. We plan to be gone a couple days that weekend and we would feel more comfortable not leaving the chicks that young.

So today I place an order for 25 assorted brown egg layers and 3 straight run Amaraucana bantams. They will be delived the week of June 2nd.

On one hand I'm disapointed at having to wait so long for my chicks. On the other hand, I get twice as many. It also give us more time to get the coop ready and really decide how we want to do things.

I finally feel ready.....sort of.

The brooder is finally done. Although it's not the prettiest thing I've ever made, it's functional and that's what matters at this point. So now I have everything I need for the chicks except the feed, litter and the chicks themselves.

Speaking of the chicks themselves, only three more days. A month ago it seemed so far away. Now it feels like it's coming so quickly. Now that I feel as ready as I can be, I'm anxious for them. I'm sure that means that time will seem to stand still the next couple days. Maybe if I work hard on the house work it will take my mind off it..........nah. :)

I can tell I'm going to have a hard time sticking to just a dozen chicks. I've looked at so many pictures of chicks and full grown chickens lately that I'm dreaming of having a large flock with plenty of eggs to share wtih family and friends and possibly to sell. It would be nice to make a little money to help with feed and such. The one thing that keeps me from wanting to go crazy buying twice as many is that if I wait and let a hen or two set, I could end up with plenty of nice laying hens in a year or two that I get for free.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Slow Going Can Get Frustrating

Why is it that the closer I get to Sunday, the hardder it is to get anything done? Chick prep. is moving along very slow. Of course Meg picks now to suddenly act like she's in the terrible twos as well. At least Jade has been on her best behavior so far this week. I've been quite proud of her. Since Braden is only one, I don't expect him to be anything less than high maintenance, it's his job.

Honestly, I think the reason it's so frustrating is that I don't have much left to do, I just have to be able to get it done. I have to move one table out and a different one in. Then put the hardware cloth on the brooder. That's ALL I have to do. Why in two days have I not been able to do either thing?

At least the girls and I are still excited about getting the chicks. I'm really looking forward to them. One of my favorite sounds is the crowing of a rooster. I just hope it doesn't bother the neighbors too much. I don't know them well, but they seem pretty nice. Given that we have three farms on our mile, I can't imagine they are going to be too bothered by the sounds of chickens. And if they are, maybe I can buy them off with free eggs. :o)

That's enough rambling for one night. I need to get some sleep so I have something worth wile to say tomorrow.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The coop is on hold

Here is the storage shed we are going to use for our chicken coop. For now I've had to put the transformation on hold. Since we have to move it, Rob pointed out that anything I do such as putting in roosts or nest boxes may have to be redone due to shifting when they move it. So I guess that means it's time to focus on other things.

I also realized that the chicks will be here a week from tomorrow. A week ago it seemed so far away. Now it seems like it's coming up faster than I'm ready for. So this week will be spent finishing the brooder and getting the house ready. I have a lot to do in the house since I've neglected it to clean out the shed.

Here is what will become our brooder:
So that's my main project for this week. I need to cut out the center of the lid and put hardware cloth on to keep the cat out and let the heat in. With any luck I'll have plenty of progress to report soon.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The first thing I have learned.

We haven't even gotten the chicks yet and already I've learned a very important thing. If you ask 10 people how to raise chickens, you will get 10 different answers. Given that everyone we have talked to has been successful raising their chickens, I figure we can take the bits from everyone we talk to and use what works best for us. Then we will have our own unique method of raising chickens.
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