Homesteading and Survivalism

Ramblings Of A Bored Survivalist

The ‘Farming and Gardening’ Category

Lost a Rhode Island Red

Posted by Kevin Felts On April 22, 2014 0 Comments
Rhode Island Red

Monday April 22 one of my best Rhode Island Red hens got out of the chicken yard and the puppies tried playing with her. Lets just say things did not turn out too well.

A couple of weeks ago the puppies tried playing with the same hen. A lot of the feathers on her neck were pulled out. Besides a couple of small bite marks she was otherwise ok. It looked like she was going to make a full recovery. Then Monday came along.

After my wife and I got home from work I opened the chicken yard for the chickens to free range until dark. The puppies were roaming free while the chickens were in their yard.

Maybe around 6:30 or so I opened the chicken house and that is when I saw her. She was in the nest with a broody Australorp. I knew right then something was wrong. She was missing feathers around her vent and she acted scared.




One of my Silver Laced Wyandottes died

Posted by Kevin Felts On April 5, 2014 1 Comment
Silver Laced Wyandotte

The day start out as any other. I woke up, threw some clothes on and went out to the chicken house to let the chickens out. This has been my daily routine for 2 years.

Today was different. When I opened the door, one of my Silver Laced Wyandottes was laying on the floor dead. I opened the door to let the chickens out, then grabbed the Silver Laced Wyandotte to get it out of the chicken house. The body was cold and rigor mortis had set in.




My chickens are being killed

Posted by Kevin Felts On April 4, 2014 0 Comments
Chickens in the chicken yard

Something is killing my chickens. In the past 2 weeks my wife and I have lost 3 chickens. Overall we have lost something like 5 or 6 chickens.

1 Speckled Sussex
1 Rhode Island red
1 Barred rock pullet
1 Australorp pullet
1 Black Jersey Giant




Potato plants three weeks after planting

Posted by Kevin Felts On March 26, 2014 0 Comments
Potato plant

The potatoes were planted March 1st. Here we are three weeks later and the potatoes are starting to break through the soil. One of my favorite times after planting is seeing the first sprouts break through the top of the ground.

When the cuttings were planted they were not planted in a mound. The mound will be made as the plant grows.

A common question is how far down do you plant the seed potatoes? I usually plant them about 3 inches deep, or the width of your hand. With well drained sandy soil the potato sprout will have no problem pushing to the top of the soil.




One month update on the chicks

Posted by Kevin Felts On March 14, 2014 0 Comments
Rhode Island Red about four - five weeks old

It is amazing how fast chicks grow. In 1 month they went from being totally helpless, to foraging for food. With every passing day the chicks move further away from the chicken house.

The more I watch chickens, the more I understand why the species has been so successful, and why humans have grown dependent on them. While cats, dogs, humans,,, are still dependent on their parents at one month old, chickens are pretty much independent. At 4 – 6 weeks old chicks need protection from full grown chickens and predators, but they do pretty well at foraging and looking for food.

The colors of each breed are becoming more defined. The Barred Rocks are getting their distinctive white specs, Rhode Island Reds are getting a deeper colors red, Australorps are still black as they should be and the Buff Orpingtons are turning a bright yellow gold color.

At around 4 weeks old the chicks have shed their soft birth feathers and have got their real feathers in. Some of the chicks have bald spots from shedding (molting) one set of feathers and getting another set in.




Mulching around peach and plum trees

Posted by Kevin Felts On March 13, 2014 0 Comments
tree peach

Several years ago my kids and I planted some peach trees and a plum tree. At least one of the peach trees died and was replaced with another plum tree.

The oldest plum tree is doing well, a couple of the peach trees are doing ok, but two of the peach trees are not doing anything. They are just “there” not growing at all.

Now that my wife and I have moved to the farm I am resolved to take care of the fruit trees.




Planting potatoes for 2014 garden

Posted by Kevin Felts On March 2, 2014 0 Comments
Growing potatoes

If you plan on gardening during a long term SHTF event, the potato is one of your best friends. Not only are potatoes easy to grow, but they also store well, are easy to cook with, and any remaining potatoes at the end of the year can be replanted for next years crop.

Unlike a lot of crops that require special storage, such as canning and/or drying, just keep potatoes dry and in a cool dark place and they will store for close to a year.

Small potatoes can be eaten straight out of the ground. Larger ones can be baked, boiled, mashed, or made into a soup.

Potatoes grow well in loose soil free from rocks, sticks, tree roots and other obstructions. Work the soil with a tiller, plow, disk,,, something that will break the soil up. Make the rows, add fertilizer, I like to mix the fertilizer into the soil using a tiller, then plant the seed potatoes. Plant the seed potatoes about 3 inches deep and about 12 – 18 inches apart.




Taking care of new baby chicks

Posted by Kevin Felts On February 17, 2014 0 Comments
Chicks around the feeder

Are you interested in raising some baby chicks, but are worried about how difficult it is to get started? If you take the right precautions raising chicks is neither difficult or hard, but it is a labor of love.

Chicks are small and cute, but provided they have the right conditions they are not fragile. During the late winter and early spring hundreds of thousands of chicks are mailed from hatcheries to farm supply stores and directly to customers. The vast majority of those chicks arrive alive and well.

Baby chicks should be provided with 5 things, safe place that will protect them from predators, heat lamp / heat source, food, water, and a clean place to sleep.

Let’s discuss each of those points in detail.




Help make a chick growth chart

Posted by Kevin Felts On February 12, 2014 0 Comments
Australorp chick about one week old

Any readers of this blog and forum members wish to contribute to a chick weight / growth chart?

In my possession I have Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds and Australorp chicks. All of them are less than a week old. When I get some Barred Rocks on Thursday I plan on weighing them also.

Yesterday I weighed a random selection of the chicks and recorded the weight in ounces. Ounces did not seem to be accurate enough, so I switched to grams.

The plan is to weigh a random selection of chicks everyday, record their weight, then figure out an average.

Out of my 6 australorps and 6 buffs I weighed 4 of each breed.

Out of my 3 rhode island reds I weighed all three.

The project will continue until I get bored and decide to work on something else. But I would like to continue this for at least 4 – 6 weeks.

Anyone wish to be part of this project? If so weigh at least 3 or 4 chicks in grams, post the weights or averages, age of the chick in days, type of feed and breed.

Type and brand name of feed is important to know, as we can chart that as well

The goal is to enter the information into a spread sheet and chart the growth of each breed. This will give survivalist an idea about which breeds grow the fastest.

Visit this link if you wish to help with the growth chart.




First chicks of 2014

Posted by Kevin Felts On February 8, 2014 0 Comments
Chick waterer in new chicks

My wife and I got our first new chicks of 2014, 6 Buff Orpingtons and 6 Australorps. Circle 3 Feed here in Jasper Texas got an early shipment of chicks. Usually the chicks do not start shipping until late February and early March, which is when Kristy (my wife) and I got our first set of chicks 2 years ago.

Circle 3 had Bantams, White Leghorns, Australorps and Buff Orpingtons. My wife and I were only interested in the Australorps and Buff Orpingtons.

My wife has been wanting Buffs for a long time. Now that we live in a rural area I told my wife to get as many Buff Orpingtons as she wanted. On Friday February 7th I picked Kristy up 6 Buff Orpingtons, and we are supposed to get another dozen on Monday February 10th.

We have two Australorp hens that are turning 2 years old in 2014. While Circle 3 had them in stock I picked up 6 more.




Chickens see snow for first time

Posted by Kevin Felts On January 27, 2014 0 Comments
Barred rock hen in snow

Thursday January 23rd we started to get snow here in southeast Texas, I am in the Jasper area to be exact. Between Thursday night and into Friday morning at sunrise we ended up with 2 inches of snow on the ground and 3 inches of snow on the top of the chicken house and other places off the ground.

When I let the hens out in the morning they usually run out of the house and start looking for food. With snow on the ground it was a nopeday. As in nope, they are not going outside. The hens would go down the ladder to under the chicken house. Look around for a few minutes, then go back up the ladder.

After about 6 hours I finally took a couple of hens and set them out in the snow. From there things were ok.

When my wife and I built this chicken house off the ground I was worried about how the chickens would do in cold weather. This is the second winter and so far none of the hens have shown any signs of frostbite.

Forum thread – Chickens see snow for first time




Chainsaw accident

Posted by Kevin Felts On January 19, 2014 3 Comments
Resting in ER bed

It finally happened, I had an accident with my chainsaw. I used to think that accidents were for people who careless, or for people who rarely use chainsaws. All it took for me was a split second of not paying attention and having my mind on something else.

There is this field I want to put some goats, sheep and some cattle on. depending on how the fence is ran there is between 5- 7 acres, maybe as much as 9 acres that needs to be fenced in. The last time this field was fenced was back in the early 1980s. Falling tree limbs, rotting fence post, and a variety of other causes have downed large sections of fence. All along the old fence row there are sweet gum trees that range anywhere from 6 inches to 2 inches in diameter. All of those sweet gum trees need to be cleared out before the new section of fence is put in.




December 2013 update from the farm

Posted by Kevin Felts On December 8, 2013 0 Comments

After looking through my youtube video I realized I have not uploaded a video in a couple of months. The last video I uploaded was on September 15, 2013, which makes 3 months. In all honesty I had not realized it had been so long.

So what has been going on?

Added some lean-tos on the shed to park the tiller and lawnmower under.

Got a deer feeder setup about 100 years behind the house.

Added some pvc pipe to the deer feeder legs to prevent coons from climbing the legs. Raccoons have been climbing the legs and turning the spinner, which dumps a lot of corn on the ground. the corn is not for coons, it is for deer and hogs.




Got our first rooster

Posted by Kevin Felts On October 3, 2013 0 Comments

My wife and I obtained two heinz-57 roosters that have been rather “neglected.”

The roosters are going from being wild, never handled, roosted in trees at night type of life, to being in a chicken house with a dozen hens who have been socialized.

Rooster #1 – looks like it has some Rhode Island Red, or maybe Delaware. Its spurs were maybe one and a quarter inches long.

Rooster #2 – is a white body with long black tail feathers. The people who handed the roosters over said #2 had been fighting other roosters, so it had been kept in a cage.

Both roosters are very skinny.

Feather quality of both roosters were poor.

Bantam rooster




Thinking about 2014 spring garden

Posted by Kevin Felts On September 29, 2013 1 Comment

While it is drizzling rain here in southeast Texas I am using the damp conditions to burn a brush pile. The burning brush pile is where wife and I are planning on planting potatoes and corn next year.

I am standing in the rain, wearing my boonie hat, when I start thinking about what crops would be good to raise next spring.

Some of the crops I thought about are corn, squash, zucchini, purple hull peas and potatoes.




Categories: Farming and Gardening