Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Tag: chickens

Three Broody Hens in The Chicken House

Broody hens

Three of my hens have gone broody and are sitting on eggs. One of them even hatched out a chick.

For those of you who do know, broody means a hen has gone into a mothering mode and is sitting on some eggs. The eggs are called a clutch. Some chicken breeds go broody more than others, and some breeds rarely if ever go broody.

What gets me:

Two of the hens are Barred Rocks, which rarely go broody.

One is an Australorp, which has a reputation of going broody.

My first set of chickens was back around 1987 or 1988. My wife and I butchered out that first set of Barred Rocks when they were around two years old, and I did not get any more until 2012.

So in the seven years I have kept chickens, only two barred rocks have gone broody. Continue Reading….

Losing Chickens To Predators

Over the past couple of weeks I have lost several chickens to predators. Several of them have gone missing, with just a few feathers in the chicken yard. From the trail of feathers, something drug the chicken from the chicken house.

It is not a chicken hawk, because there is no body. Chicken hawks do not eat the bones.

A trail camera in the chicken yard showed a couple of raccoons and an opossum.

Opossums will not drag a chicken off. It will eat the chicken in the chicken house. Continue Reading….

Farm Progress February 2017

Tractor moving debris

Time for an update from the farm.

I had some heavy equipment brought out to the farm to move brush, limbs and tree tops. Things are looking up and progress has been made. There is still so much work to do. Small trees need to be be cleared, split and stored, then old fence has to be pulled up.

Hopefully in March I can start setting the first corner post. Maybe sometime this summer start running the first strands of fence. Continue Reading….

Spent day cleaning out chicken house

My chicken house is a mess.  About a year and a half ago I set up a water barrel system inside the chicken house.  It is a 35 gallon drum going to a stainless steel pan with a float.  The chickens have been getting on the drum and pooping all over the top of it.  When I fill the drum up chicken poop is all over the place. Then there is the metal trash can I store feed in.  It is next to the water barrel and close to a corner of the chicken house.  The chickens get into the corner and lay eggs, right where chickens get on the feed barrel and poop. There is barely any room between the feed can and the Continue Reading….

Developing self-sustainable farm more difficult than expected

When I moved to the farm almost 3 years ago I thought this was going to be easy.  Build a nice chicken yard, build a chicken house, plant some fruit trees, and things will be off and running.  Then I can work on the pole barn, barn, and fence in a few acres for goats and cattle. Lets just say things have not been going as planned. Fruit trees have been a failure Either from disease, drought, drowned from too much rain,,,, whatever the reason, my fruit tree project has not gone anywhere near as expected. A plum tree my kids and I planted several years ago died.  A second plum tree is not doing anything.  It is not even hardly growing. Peach trees are Continue Reading….

Tacticool has no place in prepping

While visiting various AR-15 forums and other firearms forums, I see a common trend that only the best is good enough.  Only the best AR-15 is good enough, everything else is junk.  Only the very best magazines are good enough, everything else is junk.  Only the very best ammunition is good enough, everything else is junk.  Only the very best optic is good enough, everything else is junk. When prepping for a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI event, do you apply that same philosophy to all aspects of your preps? Do you have the best tiller? Do you research the parts used to make that tiller, the manufacturing process, the heat treating, the hardness of various metals, what about stress test on parts used to Continue Reading….

Chickens are their own worst enemy

Chickens would be great farm animals for SHTF if they were not so stupid.  The honest truth is they will find a way to get themselves killed. Build them a nice cage and they will find a way to get out. They will wander away from the flock and get killed. They will stay out to dusk, right when coyotes start looking for an easy meal. They will spill their water. They will crap in their food and water. They will crap in laying boxes. They will roost in high places so if they fall at night they will be hurt. They will eat stuff that makes them sick – free ranging eating weeds, rocks, pieces of glass, etc. They will free range out in Continue Reading….

Farm update June 9 2015

Things are moving along nicely, but rather slow.  The new chicken yard is working out well, the new chicken house is nearing completion, a large pen oak fell on the property so I need to cut that up, still need to clear fence rows for the cattle field, have not started on the pole barn, one of my newly planted fig trees may have died, the new pear tree might have drowned from all the rain,,,, just all kinds of stuff going on. Lets talk about target goals for surviving a post-SHTF world. Egg production My target goal for egg production that I think my family would need in a post-SHTF world is at least 2 dozen eggs a day. For my parents, my wife, Continue Reading….

Chicken flock update November 24 2014

Since we got the new chicken yard built losses have greatly reduced. In the original yard the chickens were either bored, cramped, or just wanted to forage. They would jump over the fence, get out of the yard and either the dogs or some other predator would get them.

The original chicken yard is 35 feet wide X 75 feet long.

The new chicken yard is 100 feet wide and 200 feet long.

Part of my chicken flock on Chicken flock November 23, 2014.

In the picture left to right:

  • Golden Laced Wyandotte rooster
  • Barred Rock
  • Jersey Giant
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Barred Rock
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Barred Rock

Chicken flock November 23 2014

Continue Reading….

Mr Man has passed away

Kristy and I knew it was just a matter of time, but we held out hope. We hoped that somehow Mr Man, Kristys Buff Orpington rooster would recover from his stroke. We held out hope that one day he would be back on his feet protecting his girls.

That day will never come.

It started the morning of Sunday, July 27th. Kristy and I walked out to the chicken yard to check on the flock. We found Mr. Man laying on his side unable to walk. We thought that he was suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. He was brought inside to cool off. By Monday morning he had not improved.

He was not eating or drinking on his own. So Kristy and I started giving him pedialyte, gerber baby food and water with a syringe, but with no needle.

After a few days of force feeding Mr Man seemed to regain some of his strength. He was kept in the bathtub so his poop was easy to clean up. By the end of the first week he started growing, however so weak he was. Continue Reading….

Farm update October 19 2014

Things are moving along nicely, but there is always some kind of setback.

When my wife and I moved to the farm I seriously underestimated the time and effort needed to get things up and running. When we moved here in August of 2013 my main goal was to get the small chicken yard built, get the septic system put down, get the water working, then get ready for winter. Winter of 2013 – 2014 here in southeast Texas was rather harsh, by our standards anyway.

Spring 2014 started out with around 18 – 20 new chicks. Things were looking up, then then it went to hell. My wife and I moved to the farm with 13 hens. We lost all of the new chicks to various predators. When the new chickens were moved to the new chicken yard, a couple of Rhode Island Reds kept jumping the fence. My dogs ended up killing those two Rhode Island Reds. Continue Reading….

All of the new chickens are gone

I need to explain the title in a little more detail. When my wife and I moved to the farm in July – August 2013 we brought with us 13 hens. These hens were a year and a half old.

Between February – March 2014 my wife and I bought around 20 chicks. These chicks were only a day or two old and were bought from local farm supply stores here in Jasper Texas.

We are back to 13 hens and one rooster. Some of the original chickens disappeared, and the new ones took their place. But we are back to the original number we started with.

Between a chicken hawk, fox or coyote, and my dogs killing the chickens, the ratio of new chickens that have died sits at 100 percent. Continue Reading….

Update on the new chicken house

Awhile back I started building a new chicken yard. Now that the yard is pretty much complete (for now), the time has come to build the new chicken house.

The size I decided on was 16 feet by 16 feet. 16 X 16 = 256 square feet. I figured 256 square feet was enough to accommodate roost, laying boxes, storage cabinet, water barrels and batteries for the solar power.

The laying boxes will take up 6 feet on one wall, and the roost takes up around 12 feet on another wall. The laying boxes in the new chicken house will be modeled after the laying boxes of the old chicken house.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSOqedj4eKQ Continue Reading….

Buying chicks in the summer

For the most part buying chicks is a springtime activity. The local farm supply stores start getting their chicks in around early to mid February. Then there are the Easter colored chicks. Please do not buy colored chicks for Easter. You do not know what breeds you are getting, what sex, and the “new” quickly wears off.

You may think that after the feed stores stop selling chicks in the spring that there are no more on the market. That is simply not true. Some hatcheries sell chicks all year long. Where do you find these hatcheries? On the internet.

My wife and I had never bought chicks over the internet. We had always gone down to the local feed store, bought whatever chicks they had in stock, then went home. After buying our first set of chicks over the internet, I doubt we will ever buy from a feed store again. The process was easy and straight forward.

Continue Reading….

Next chick order August 2014

My wife and I are planning on ordering some chicks Friday August 1st.

Breed / Quantity

Australorp – 5
Barred Rock – 5
Buff Orpington – 10
Dominicker – 5
Rhode Island Red – 5

Plus the 17 or so we have left after the dogs, fox and chicken hawk got finished.

47 hens with 3 roosters.

My Rhode Island Red rooster is on loan to my cousin right now.

Barred rocks and Rhode Island Reds are, but I have not seen a single one go broody. The instinct to sit on eggs has been bred out of certain breeds. When a hen sits on eggs, companies lose production, which means they are losing money. Continue Reading….

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