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Spring has Sprung

April 3, 2012

We’re thoroughly enjoying this 70-80 degree days and 50-60 degree nights. Plants started in trays are growing wildly – tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, as well as the spaghetti squash.

We’ve planted popcorn, yellow zucchini, birdhouse gourds, sunflowers, nasturtiums and more. Another flat of peppers was started. The Californian doe hasn’t had babies, so was bred to the Champagne again and hoping for better results next time. Angelina has been moved into a cage with a nest box but she’s a little ways from due date. We’ll be moving some around to get those due in with boxes. We’ve also priced some additional cages with more nest boxes which eases the congestion some!

Or at least it will if we come up with the $140 each for them…not cheap but long term equipment investment. Each of those $140 rows is 12 feet long, and contains two with drop down nest boxes, one buck cage and three for dry does or growing bunnies. And of course each of those needs a roof – so eying a carport structure to better provide a leak proof  roof – yet another project!

This doesn’t include the approximately $300 slated for brooding areas, to better care for chicks and reduce losses from spring storms. We’re on the hunt for a non working small refrigerator to rework into a larger incubator, a project that will probably be between $50-100 even if we find a free one someone’s getting rid of.It keeps one item out of the landfill and helps us go forward that much more!

All of these are expenses that normally our customers don’t see. It’s not as obvious as feed, but just as important. It’s a part of the “mystery” of raising food. If it was as easy as some represent everyone would have hens in the perfectly manicured lawns that plop out perfectly formed eggs – but of course it isn’t quite that easy! Rewarding, yes! But the lawn isn’t perfectly manicured after chickens scratch in it for a while, if there’s a lawn at all! The perfect picture doesn’t show predators or stormy weather. It’s taking care of our animals at those times that counts big time!It doesn’t talk about the birds hatched together and raised together that wake up one day and decide to try to kill each other. We intervened, and separated them to prevent further injury.

The one above stayed with the Americaunas. The one below – well long term he’ll need a flock, an attitude adjustment (getting along makes a difference!) or a crockpot.

Competing males can cause damage, and attack without mercy. It’s why bull calves are castrated, as are pigs and lambs to be able to be kept together without fighting. Yes many can be kept in groups – these two birds above were together as well as with other roosters for their entire lives – a year! Both will recover, but will not be trusted again due to dominance competition.

In contrast, this pen holds two Rhode Island Reds with the hens, and they get along fine.

We’ll be adding and running some deals for those in the Birmingham, Walker county Alabama and other local areas, so check our page for details and sign up.The biggest is a Vegetarian Package – for $500 we’ll set up, plant, weed, water, harvest and deliver to a pickup point the results of a 50 square foot raised bed and up to 4 dozen fresh eggs per month plus a cup of fresh or dried rosemary leaves. For a six month stretch that comes to $21 per week. What better way to use that tax refund than on healthy food!We have other options as well!

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