A Lot of Work Today

A Lot of Work Today

Today was a very long day and I’m dealing with the nice spring cold my mother loaned to me and my son and allergies to all the very beautiful flowering trees, but stuff still needed to get done. The husband and I got the pasture tilled and then we spread more wheelbarrow loads of compost and rabbit manure all over it than I can count. It will need to be tilled in tomorrow.

The hens were in heaven and constantly in the way. They couldn’t decide what was better, the fresh parts of compost that were being unearthed or the little field that had been tilled. There was a lot of running back and forth. We had two wheelbarrows going. While I took one to the field and dumped it, the husband was filling up the next one. By the time I got back with the empty it was full and we switched. It is nice not having to buy compost in, but to be using our own that we made ourselves.

Only problem was one neighbor came out to yell at his dogs who were yapping because they think they own the world and can’t stand anyone else to be in sight in their own yards and he came over to get them at the fence and then complained about the smell. We generally keep the compost covered over with a tarp now to keep the chickens off and if there is a smell you won’t smell it that way. Some of it was anaerobic so we were turning the pile and putting in straw to add more brown material and he happened to come out at that point. We had waited until there was a day without wind to do it so the whole neighborhood wouldn’t smell it. He wouldn’t have been able to smell it if he hadn’t come to the fence to get his dogs. He didn’t even know we had a compost pile there before today. It is pretty far from his house towards the back of the lot.

We told him we’d cover it back up when done and that would take the smell away again. Hopefully it won’t be an issue, but these neighbors can be touchy about things. They are the ones that have the super high security light that shines right in my bedroom window at night and don’t care about it. They are also best friends with the loudmouth Hummer owner who only lives here half the year and thinks that kids who are loud should be lined up against the side of the house and beat with a belt. (My kids aren’t loud, but other neighbor kids are and this was said in regards to them).

They also use Round Up by the gallon on everything in their yard and are not careful to keep it away from the property line and don’t like it when we ask them to be careful because we are organic and don’t want the animals to get sick or for it to get on our garden or to poison the bees. They mow their lawn at seven in the morning. They are not on speaking terms with the neighbors on the other side of them at all, so I kind of count us as lucky there. So…we never really know what we’re going to get in having a conversation with them or whether they might call someone for some reason on us. I kind of dread the day we put compost on the front garden now.

The rabbits are doing great. Lola and Serenity are still rearranging their nests, building them and tearing them apart and rebuilding them. Everyone seemed to want some affection today so we gave out a lot of head rubs. Lola even wanted her back scratched, but only for about a minute and then she was done. Kalia is starting to get a little cage defensive. Not badly, but she is definitely at the point where it is better to take her out than to reach in and try to change out the dirty bedding. She does a little charge, but doesn’t make any contact. The red does continue to get more friendly, though Wildfire is still the friendliest by far of the three newbies.

We haven’t gotten around to slaughtering the 3 kits that need to be slaughtered. I am hoping for the next day or two, but we’ll need to put a tarp up between us and the neighbors. I don’t want them looking through and seeing us slaughtering. I think that would totally freak them right out.

We still haven’t gone and bought our freezer yet, either. I’m starting to think that may not get done until the next time the husband comes home from Alaska. Tomorrow he is taking the van into the shop in the morning for an oil change and check up. It’s just hit 18,000 miles. It is 3 years old come July so we are doing pretty well on not putting mileage on. We’ve done 3 road trips in it to Eastern WA, the Olympic Peninsula and Salem, Oregon or it would be less than that. It is our only car though, so we are careful to keep it maintained.

I started giving the ducks chopped up dandelion greens in their water yesterday and today. They love them.

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After two times of that they now run over to the side of the brooder box when they see me coming. That makes me happy even if I know it is just because they are expecting treats.

The little chicks are starting to fly. A couple of them have made it to the top of their waterer. It is really cute, but I have a feeling that in another week or two they will be flying out of the brooder box. We might have to put a screen door over the top of it or some netting to prevent that.

Our feather plucker arrived today. The husband tested it with all his drills. It works on the biggest one. The other two drills are too small. It is really solid and well-built.

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We need to get the duck house built before the husband goes back to work. I don’t think it will take more than a few hours, but we need to carve those hours out. Sometimes, with homeschooling to do, we don’t get as much time to do the outside chores as we would like. But this will need to be done, because they’ll have to be moved into it before he gets back the next time. I’m sure it will all work out. Hopefully I can beat this cold and be a little more useful than I was today.

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13 thoughts on “A Lot of Work Today

  1. Good stuff today. I am interested in your “chicken plucker” where did you get it and how much was it? Hearing about your challenges dealing with the neighbors makes us feel very lucky about our situation. We have only one neighbor touching on our property line, and with 50 acres to work with, we can afford to leave a buffer of intact bush around the perimeter.

  2. tntdreaming says:

    Will you show us this feather plucker in action? I can’t visualize it at all!!

  3. Neighbors are a pain, aren’t they??? I have the exact same problem going on here. My back neighbor, who I was trying to strike up a freindly conversation about her grapevines with, decided that the rotting leaves under water at the back end of her property which were smelly, were in fact my perfectly cared for CHICKENS that were smelly and started complaining about them while I was in my yard and she didn’t know it. I popped over the fence and tried to explain that it was, in fact, the rotting leaves that she’d let sit underwater in the shade anerobically composting, that she was stirring up by cutting her grape vines way back, and that rotting vegetable matter and chicken poo smell quite different, but it didn’t really click. Now I am moving some anerobic compost that was in their pen under snow all year and it smells the same. I am sure if she could smell it shed freak out hardcore and blame the chickens again. Lucky me the chickens are totes legal.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      Yeah, there is a huge difference in the smell between anaerobic compost and chicken manure. And rabbit manure doesn’t even smell. But I just know the guy would blame it on the animals even though it was just an unbalanced compost pile, because people see animals and assume it’s going to smell like a CAFO or something. All of our animals are legal, too. There’s actually no limit on the number of chickens, waterfowl, or gamebirds you can keep so long as you have sufficient housing and fencing.

      I found out that I could actually have a rooster in my city. There is no law against it. But then we really would have big neighborhood problems that a dozen eggs now and then can’t fix. I could also keep 2 pigs and 2 goats if I had the proper housing and fencing for it, if I wanted to. I’m going to laugh the first time they see our turkeys once we get them.

      I will be so glad when we buy our farm and can get out of the city and away from the folks who don’t want urban farms anywhere near them.

      • I know! I feel much the same way and have a very similar situation. Have you looking into no-crow collars? I even know a vet who will “decrow” a roo permanently and was impressed with the humaneness and good results he’s had with the procedure. I’m thinking of having my Ameraucana roo decrowed so I can sell my eggs as Easter Egger hatching eggs!

        • LuckyRobin says:

          I have heard of the collars. I didn’t know you could have a rooster decrowed. I don’t actually want a rooster, though. I don’t want to wake up that early every morning and I don’t want to deal with their bad attitudes in limited space. Maybe when we move. I wonder if a rooster who can’t crow would get depressed? Have you ever seen anything on how it affects the bird’s personality?.

          • The way I found out about it was through a public forum. The vet in question who designed the procedure made the thread to get feedback on it but has NO control over the responses given. Every single person who went to him has reported nothing but happy normal roosters in return… Just quieter ones. Though people who tried to have “other” vets preform the procedure reported almost exclusively deaths which makes sense given the delicate nature of operating on a bird. The vet spent years learning to do the operation.
            They can still “crow” and make all the normal sounds, it’s it’s just much quieter like a hen. The procedure is much different from a debarking in dogs and from what I know of vet sciences (which is a lot) it would be no worse than any other small surgery done well like a spay/neuter or an appendectomy… And carries a similar pricetag to a spay at a normal vet (which is granted a lot for a rooster, but when you live in the city and have few options, well). Plus you can ship birds to/from his state with just a salmonella test. Shipping chickens is super common and doesn’t effect them much because it’s dark so they just chill out and sleep.
            All around I’ve been impressed. Since he has no control over the feedback given on the website, and he’s had nothing but happy customers, it makes me feel pretty confident that it’s a good procedure. He’s been doing it for a year and a half now. It’s a really exciting concept. 🙂

            • LuckyRobin says:

              Well, that’s something to think about then. I wonder if there is anyone around here who does it? I’d consider it when we move to my farm.

              • As far as I’m aware there’s two vets who do It, in the USA. This guy in OK and someone else in AZ..? I wouldn’t suggest trying to have any unexperienced “local” vets do it. 😦 Everyone I know that did ended up with a dead bird because of how delicate the procedure is.

  4. heidiskye333 says:

    Wow! Sounds like you have serious neighbor issues. Hang in there! 🙂 I really admire all of your hard work around your farm.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      They can be a pain, but most of the time they don’t even notice what we are doing. Most of their ire is directed at the rest of the neighborhood. It’s usually just when a chicken hops the fence and wanders into the garage they leave open all day long and poops on the floor. Which I totally get, but it’s only happened twice in four years, and never since we raised the fence. Their animals wander over here all the time. Their dogs bark at the chickens and try to chase them. We don’t throw fits about it though. We just shoo the animals home.

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