Monday, March 21, 2011

Woah. It’s March people, what have you been up to?

My hens are going broody, the raccoons are out. The coyotes are enjoying the closest full moon they have ever seen and I am enjoying every minute.

Just skinned my first full body animal. I mean, the whole head is attached and will be made into some hat a Boston Irishman would possibly wear (well according to a Bostonian). :P      My rabbits, yeah I save their fur, but have just been treating them like chickens, chopping off the head pulling off the skin and taking the meat.  But wildlife, oh I have to respect that. Those coyotes are next… new jacket anyone? Hehe, am I bad?

Broody Hens in March
Now my current broody hen, it’s the black half-bantam female, well she is setting as early as geese and I hope I can even get a second hatch out of her this summer, but I bet I’m dreaming.  She seems to leave her nest at irregular times but always when the sun is out.  She eats, preens (every feather I swear), drinks and makes her way back to the nest within the hour. I happened to start reading the April/May, 2010 Backyard Poultry issue yesterday and learned some interesting things.  This issue by far was the most relevant read I’ve had in a long time.  Relevant to me that is.  Including some facts about the relation to egg and meat quality and some grains I have been supplementing, including oats. According to the article, “How to get more Eggs!” Oats have plenty of calcium and also make for tender muscles.  Excellent, because they are cheaper than most grains around here.
Also in the same issue, the article, “Herbs for spring Eggs and Breeding”, not only clued me in that in the wild hens will line their nest with herbs that are anti-parasitic, antimicrobial, anti-fungul, or serve as insecticides or even calming agents.  Needless to say I grabbed any suggested herbs I had growing inside and ran them out to my broody hen’s nest.

Rapist Roosters Or Unwilling Hens?
Now this very same article also gave me a reason to why my roosters seem to be rapists.  Well, because they are.  I have now become upset with my roosters.  This article educated me on the fact that roosters should be doing a courtship dance and then the hen will know to lie down, no harm no stress.  However since this mating ritual has been bred out of most chickens, like most other natural things, hens get feathers ripped out and are slammed to the ground, which can cause cuts, bruises, and sore spots ready for pecking and disease.  So now I have decided to take on the task of breeding “courtship” back into my flock.  If anyone knows of breeds they currently have or have read still own this trait, let me know.  But for now… research time.

I plan on reading Animals In Translation as soon as I can get my hands on it. Anybody have a copy?

Also… best issue, I swear.  “Breeding for improvement” says when breeding to make a herd, I should be keeping only 10% of each hatch.  If I keep 10% of the whole I may not get the genetic diversity I am looking for.  So now I must remember to cull a few hens from last years hatch who just are not the size I am looking for.  Sorry girls, it’s for the greater good... of my meat and eggs. Hehe   I will however keep and line breed my rooster, Big White, because he is a beast! Actually he does do somewhat of a mating dance with his wing down and circling and such… it seems to be the hens who run off. Figures, it seems he may also be holding the wrong wing down… could that really matter that much?

Currently my flock is a sufficient egg machine for my needs.  With a total of 15 hens, 4 of which are over a year now, getting a dozen eggs a day seems like a good amount without wearing out the birds, crowding the nests or finding eggs everywhere.  This year I will be trying to add breeds with more weight and deeper breasts for a meatier chicken.  My broiler chicken from this last year tastes amazing! And is tender and juicy.  Oh and guess what, broiler hens lay eggs!
Broiler Layer
Here's my laying broiler hen who can't fit in the other nest boxes but enjoys this vacant rabbit house.

Chicken Crops: Constantly searching for supplements to my chicken’s feed, especially in the winter. Also, ask me about my mulching system (and force me to write about it) that had a temperature of 129degrees today and keeps my chickens warm all night in the winter… It also adds valuable microbes to help keep them healthy and worm free.

High Mowing Seeds
Lakeview Organic Grain

Woe is me, the wind turbine. I am working on it: trying to get an anemometer that I can actually record.  So far I have the cheapest Lacrosse weather station available and it has no direct to computer data communication so far.  I have been hearing and reading about anemometers, chips and software and still do not know what is going on. RJ11, Transmitter signal, “connect a separate wire to the output of the amplifier following the magnetic sensor”, Dataq data logger … Help anybody?
In order of find:
Windmeter / Anemometer by Infidigm
The Back Shed
Picaxe Microtrollers from phandersons.cpm

OK and House Bill 0495 in NH, voted to ‘inexpedient to legislate’ or whatever that means. To me it sounds like yeah, it should be passed because the people want it; but what the republicans heard was “It’s not a state problem; other republicans didn’t care, so why should I; it’s a community or federal issue, not state” Thanks NH, thanks.  And oh yes I talked to one of these republicans who seemed very interested in the fact that 2,4-D, which is used on school grounds is related to agent orange but did not think he should care because some “well respected republican” had voted against the bill already.  He also went on to feel defensive and say “so all republicans are wrong?!.” Yes, our republicans are very level headed and think for themselves…

NH was also fighting for a medical marihuana law this year…. Again.
HB442 Woah, just learned last night. 14:3 committee vote…
IT PASSED the House on March 16th, 2011.  221:96 : to the Senate… Thanks NH, Thanks.  Keep up the good work. Apparently it takes 3 years to convince you.
Also, Rhode Island is trying to pass two marijuana laws. A similar law to Massachusetts where public use is only a fine and a private use law, which would make it “legal” to smoke it in your house. No, the Cadillac with its couch-like back seat and surround-sound-like audio system, is not your private property and can not be smoked in, in town. Too bad…


Pond location before excavation.

Now, our fish/duck pond. I still haven’t posted on this long and involved project that needs an appropriate dam that will create energy to keep it thawed and a natural water flow.  The pond needs work but I researched, compared and realized I already have all the native grasses and weeds ducks prefer.  I need to find generator information and correct dam building help.  Anyone?
Aquatic Biologist, Inc.
Cultivated crops for ducks

It is between four and six feet deep in the center.


Courtesy of Facebook friends…
Cat   vs   Internet

BTW totally found someone using my homepage image map idea

Anybody use Picasa? Slowest loading and stupidest photo center, I’ve ever encountered!!! Where is Iphoto for XP? Can anybody tell me???... !

No comments: