Things Moving Along Nicely At The Farm

Things are moving along nicely as my wife and I settle into our new life in rural southeast Texas.

Power has been hooked up to the house.

Deck has been moved to the house.  Now its just a matter of leveling the deck.

Air conditioner is supposed to be hooked up today (August 15, 2013).

Hopefully I will be able to buy a 1,000 gallon septic tank and 100 feet of field line in the next couple of days.

During the weekend of August 23, 24 and 25 I have some help coming over with equipment to put the septic tank and field line down.

After the septic tank is installed hopefully my wife and I can get moved into our house.

The chickens are doing very well with free range.  When they get out of the chicken house in the morning they head straight to an area of grass they like to forage in.  The spend the hottest part of the day in some shade where they also have a large water bowl.  When the sun passes over the tree line the chickens leave the shade to continue foraging.

Moulting looks like it is just about over.  The majority of the chickens are getting their feathers back in.

Chicken feed consumption has dropped quit a bit.  When the hens where confined to their run they would go through 2 scoops of feed a day.  Now that they are free ranging that same 2 scoops last around 3 – 4 days.

To keep egg production up, and to make sure the hens are getting enough protein there is a feeder in the chicken house that has laying pellets in it.  It appears to me the chickens would rather free range then eat laying pellets.

The only time I see the chickens eating laying pellets is first thing in the morning after they get off the perch.  After a few quick bites of laying pellets they leave the chicken house to spend the rest of their day free ranging.

My wife (her name is Kristy) would like to get some Buff Orpington chickens.  I am a little concerned about getting the chicks this close to winter.  We might wait until spring to get the new chicks.

This is what we would like to get:

1 dozen Buff Orpingtons
4 or 5 Dominicker
3 or 4 more Barred Rock.  We currently have 2 Barred Rock, I would like to have a total of at least 5.
Maybe some more Rhode Island Reds

The current chicken flock:

4 – Rhode Island Reds
2 – Silver Laced Wyandotte
2 – Barred Rocks
2 – Australorps
2 – Black Jersey Giants
1 – Speckled Sussex

Between the Buffs, Dominicker, Rhode Island Reds (we already have 4 of them), and Barred Rock we should have a well rounded chicken flock of dual purpose chickens.  Dual purpose means they would make a good meat chicken and are good layers.  Egg production is one of my key points in surviving a long term SHTF situation.  Besides egg production I would like to stop buying chicken meat from the grocery store.

The 2 Silver Laced Wyandotte my wife and I currently have are great hens.  They are quiet, seem to do well at foraging, so I might get some more of them.

The Black Jersey Giants seem like great chickens.  One of my Black Jersey Giants has gone broody.  Due to her size she breaks a lot of eggs she sits on.  The broken eggs create a mess in the laying boxes that has to be cleaned out.

The current chicken house has 13 hens in it.  We might be able to keep 20 hens, but that might be pushing it.  Somewhere between now and when the chicken flock is expanded my wife and I will have to build a larger chicken house.

In a previous article we talked about how many chickens would be needed for TEOTWAWKI.  In that article we came up with around 75  – 100 chickens.  The next chicken house my wife and I are going to build will be designed around the goal of keeping 100 chickens.  We may not have 100 chickens, but I would like to have a chicken house that can hold that many.

My goal between the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014 is to build a larger chicken house, then increase my chicken flock from 13 hens to around 30 hens, and 2 roosters.  Once we reach around 30 hens my wife and I will evaluate the situation and go from there.

As for the rabbits, I would like to increase the number of rabbits to maybe 6 or 8.  The rabbits are not so much for meat production, but for their manure.

My wife and I want to build some raised beds for tomatoes, cucumbers and beans; I would like to use rabbit manure as a key fertilizer for the beds.

The main thing right now is to get settled with water, septic and power.  Hopefully we will have all of those fixed up in the next 2 weeks.