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Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

Catching up on comments to my posts
Hey Cats, I just saw this comment about the wild chicken, I have not rec'd any notices of any new comments to my blog. I wonder if that chicken is still around? Check out this website...www.feathersite.com and look at breeds of chickens. You may be able to figure out what this chicken is. I am not sure if I know any with red eyes when they are young.

Taming these wild chickens is difficult, at best. She won't sleep in a dog kennel on the ground, she wants to roost in the trees. I have one young pullet (hatched in June) who sleeps in the (now bare) Mulberry tree. I call her Wild Thing. She has just started to lay eggs in the hen house, but won't sleep inside the coop. Soon, I will get the ladder and haul her out of the tree, clip one wing's flight feathers and put her inside the hen house. She will be very unhappy she is not in the tree and she may be able to fly up there with half her flight feathers, but I can only try.

I have culled 26 birds from the flock. I will cull more on Jan 6. I keep hoping someone will be interested in the Dominique flock, but so far, no takers. I hate to kill these birds.

On the other hand, I have found a home for my Muscovy female ducks. I still have to find a home for Sir Walter Drake, the male in this duck flock. Ducky Lucky, the 10+ year old female, I don't know what I will do with her. She is old and gets lame,  plus she is very spoiled since she was my first duck and is more a  pet than anything else.

I still have 5 young pullets, Wild Thing is one of these Americauna chickens. There are some good layers that are 17 or 18 mos old and 4 yrs old and others are 3 yrs old. These are Buff Orpington X Americauna and have nice temperaments. They are good, occasional layers, not every day but lay nice, big eggs. They just completed their molt and should start laying pretty soon. I hate to kill chickens that will lay in the near future.

Then there are the Narragansett turkeys and the wild poults. Before I can leave the area, all these birds have to be placed.

Then there is "Kitty". I wish I had a place for Kitty to go. He is a barn cat for sure, he won't come inside. He was abandoned by a tenant who lived in the house behind where I used to live. Kitty lived in the falling down barn for almost three years before I realized he was out there. Sure, I occasionally saw him in the fields, but there are many feral cats in this area, so I never paid any attention. Then the guy who bought into the farm behind me told me the cat was wild, left behind and living on what he could catch in the fields and barn.

I recalled the tenant (who left Kitty behind) telling me about the cat and made the connection. I started to feed Kitty in Feb of 2012. At first, he hissed at me every time I gave him food and water (twice daily). It was June before he decided he could rub against my leg...and then I leaned over and touched him. He hissed at me, so I left him alone. But over the next month, he began to allow me to touch him...and then I started to brush him. He LOVES to be brushed. Then I began to feed him on m porch and made him a weather proof bed on the porch. He would wait for me every evening until I was finished with chores. We would sit on the steps, I would brush him and he would purr.

When I got the storage camper in January 2014, I locked him inside with food, water a nice bed & sand box during a very bad blizzard. He was easy to catch because he waited for me on the porch to be brushed. We had about two feet of very cold snow with strong winds, temps in the teens. He hissed and moaned about being locked up inside the camper, but I kept him in for two days and nights. Last July, just before I moved out of the place where I lived for 11 years, I started to feed him in the storage camper.

I have a lot of stuff stored inside that camper and made him a bed in the loft area, high up in the top of the camper on top of boxes. His bed is right next to one window, so he can see outside. One small window screen in that loft area has been pushed out and he can get out of the camper any time he wants...but he can't get back inside. That means no other cat can get inside, either. By this fall, in the rainy evenings, he would stay inside the camper when I locked up the door. He is waiting outside for me every morning when I go to the farm to feed. He doesn't like anyone else, won't stay around if anyone is at the farm and runs off if anyone else tries to feed him. But he loves me, loves it when I brush him and he actually lets me take ticks off the back of his neck. I feel so bad that someone left him behind, but I don't want a cat, don't have room for a cat and they don't do well if they are traveling. He looks like Morris the cat and is a pretty big and healthy cat. Wish someone needed a barn cat! He is a good hunter and pretty fearless.

Pam, I feel for you taking that steer to slaughter so late when it is cold now and long,dark nights. I am culling birds like crazy right now, have NO kitchen space, NO hot water or running water.

I am fortunate to have a friend who lets me use her kitchen to clean, sort out gizzards, etc...weigh and put the birds into FoodSaver bags at her house. I would be up the creek if not for such a good friend. This woman, Norma, older than I, still works full-time, keeps chickens and ducks and bees. We met because we are both on the Agricultural Commission in town. I can't believe I never met her before. She is a wealth of knowledge, is organic minded and we have a lot in common.

Over last summer, she raised her first meat birds. She wanted to raise them organically, I got her feed, showed her how to sprout whole grains, told her what to do so they wouldn't get too big too fast. I tutored her and the birds dressed up at 6+ pounds each. She was VERY pleased. Bragged to all her friends that I really know what I am doing when it comes to raising chickens.

Well, I have gone on enough for today. I am cooking one of my young roosters, he is simmering on the stove. I am going to my friend's (the one who lets me use her kitchen) for her New Year's Day open house. I am cooking the chicken so I have fresh broth to make whole grain rice for the green salad. This should be quite a spread she will set out. I expect she will have a full house.

On this note, I wish you all a wonderful New Year. May you all have good health, good wealth, not too much, but just enough.

Thanks for your comments, again, I apologize for not responding sooner. The comment alerts are not coming into my mailbox.
The days are shortest now, getting things done outside seems to be a challenge. Draining hoses nightly, hooking them up every morning so there is water out in the yards can be a challenge. Two weeks ago, the water in the hoses was slush when I went to late-day feed. No chance of fresh water that day!

More non-laying hens have been culled. I have nine pullets (one "Wild Thing" who roosts in the now bare Mulberry tree every night), 12 layers (some who are molting, others are starting to lay again), one rooster who cares for these 21 chickens, ten ducks and 7 turkeys in the
in the pullet/duck yard. In the other yard, there are 17 Dominique & three Black Austrolorp hens, none laying for about a month. There is a waiting list for eggs, customers are good to wait so long for my eggs.

Last week, I was without a car for five days while the rear-end noise in the Volvo was repaired. The walk back and forth to the farm has taken it's toll on my back and hip, but I am recovering. Fortunately, the entire rear-end didn't need to be rebuilt, just a rear wheel bearing. New fuel filter, transmission fluid and motor mounts completed this job. Next, I need to get the snow tires put onto the car. Not so difficult since I have the snow tires mounted on wheels. Just a change-over.

Living in the camper is space challenging. Not having a washing machine is probably the worst! It costs a LOT to wash a load of laundry! I was going to a close laundromat until I saw how much water was left in the clothes. More water left in the clothing costs more money than it should to dry the clothes. I like to hang clothes out on the line, but the two loads I hung out didn't dry by the end of the day! So, I changed laundromats, only to find the same problem. One day, I drove by a new laundromat and stopped in to see what they had to offer. Brand new machines! There was a man loading clothes into a dryer and I asked him if I could feel his laundry, explaining why. The clothes were very dry right out of the washer. The price for washing was a bit more than the first laundromat and much less than the second laundromat. Needless to say, I now go to the third laundromat.

One would think that at larger shopping centers, such as Market Basket, there would be a laundromat. I haven't seen this to be the case. People would, I think, drop off their laundry to wash, shop some and put their laundry in to dry and finish shopping. Where are the "marketing specialists" on this? Asleep at the wheel!

The next few days will be rainy & windy. I probably won't get my smaller storage rental space cleared out till after Dec. 25. Then the weather promises to clear enough to work on packing up and moving what little is in that space to the larger space. I gave a friend of mine a set of metal shelves to make room in the large storage space for what little there is in the smaller space. I need to get this done before Jan 1, or I will pay another month's rental on the small space. Don't want to do that!

There are a pile of rugs that need washing in the small storage container. That will probably be upwards of $20.00 in machine costs at the laundromat. I don't know what  to do with BB's kennel, guess store it for now. I have so much stuff to sort out, it is hard to know where to start! It ends up with another month rental payment for the storage unit!

Well, I am heading out to chores. Temp is above freezing, but the clouds keep the sun away. Not many sunny days this December so far. Sure miss the sun!

Have a Happy Holidays!
December brings rainy weather
Weather has been unreliable for working outside. I have been trying to get many things done and rain, sleet and cooler conditions have thwarted my efforts. The flock has been culled by 9 roosters (Napoleon among those in the freezer) and seven non-laying hens. Among these was Giselle Mackenzie, Copper and one Buckeye. None had laid eggs in many months. These hens were FAT!!! Most of them weighed over 5# dressed, so they weren't starving!

Since the weather has turned cool and windy, Bonnie is not outside working since she gets so cold and then suffers for many hours with pains in her bones. She is a very good worker. Show her a job once and she knows the routine. Very reliable and honest, she is on the top of my list for getting a job done.

Still settling into my camper. Broke summer camp down last week, got most of the stuff out. Gave some things to Jim (he works for me, too) since he is just setting up housekeeping and is without a lot of items. He was happy to get one of my chests, a highboy. His clothes are in totes and he needed something. I have no use for most of my furniture and appliances, so I hope to sell the best of the bunch.

The fat man's two Narragansett turkeys have moved into my poultry yard. I need to create a roosting place for them...so they are more comfortable at night. The female is now roosting on top of the garage, the male sleeps on top of one of the truck cap shelters. The five wild turkeys (now about 3 months old) fly up into the Leland Cypress trees on the east side of the fence. It is truly amazing to watch them fly up 30 or more feet into the air to roost! 

Two pullets from this summers hatch are roosting in the Mulberry tree, now bare of leaves. I would have to get the ladder to take them out, so they are on their own!

I will be culling the rest of the flock over the next few weeks down to my pullets, some layers I know are actually laying eggs and the Dominique flock. I hope to sell the Doms as an entire flock for breeding purposes. There is a new young rooster ready to step into Napoleon's shoes (tongue in cheek) and hopefully, he will be better at propagating fertile eggs than Napoleon was.

Gota go for today. Glad to receive your comments and posts!