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Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

April 24
Here is the end of April coming on pretty quick. I have not sold the turkeys or the Dominique chickens. The rooster has attacked yet another hen and she is pretty badly injured on the back of her head. He pecked a hole larger than a quarter through her skin down to her flesh. After I spoke with the state poultry specialist, he reminded me the rooster might be trying to drive off the hen who hatched him. Lovely, matricide. She is now in the emptied out pullet house under house arrest. She is getting bored and lonely, so I have been digging up weeds with root balls of dirt and giving them to her. Keeps her busy for about a minute. I poured raw honey over the opening of the wound to kill off any infection. The day after this first application, I noticed some green pus and poured more honey on that area. The next day, the pus was gone. The last time I pullet had a similar injury, raw honey worked miracles. It took three months for the injury to heal and the hen laid eggs through the entire healing time. This hen is laying every other day. She has a long road of healing ahead of her. So do I.

The past few weeks have not been a total loss in time...I did sell my aviary. I had to find someone who was willing to deliver the aviary but the trip wasn't too far. Taking the aviary out made a lot of room in the garage, so now the other stuff that needs to be sold has come to light!

Weather has been a bit warmer than I would like. Earlier this week the temps got up to 77 degrees. Now temps have moderated back to the 50's and I am a bit happier. But that one day was enough to push some of the trees into leafing out. The fruit trees are now showing leaves, so the winter moth larvae will be chewing their way through the tender leaves. Time to spray Garlic Barrier!

I wonder if anyone reads this blog anymore. I did hear from a couple of people who had some interest, but not for the past few months.

Sure would like to know if anyone is out there!

April 12, 2015
Today is my mother's 89th birthday, or would be if she were still alive. Last night, before I went to bed at midnight, I lit a candle and let it burn all night. It finished burning at 8 AM. I will think of her often today, since I will walk by her old place, now changed by the new owner. But her life will continue in the spring bulbs that will come up for many years. At one time, she had probably a thousand tulip bulbs, twice as many daffodil bulbs and hundreds of iris along with other unusual plants. She planted two elm trees, only to cut one down because it was too close to her septic system. She gave away her Japanese Dog wood several years back. I friend of mine came and dug it up to plant in his yard. He says the tree is doing just fine. My father planted Zoyosa grass into the lawn many years back. It has thrived and now covers most of the 2/3 ac lawn. It turns brown in winter but comes on strong once May comes. It is drought tolerant and is green through hot July and August.

I have sold most of my birds, or will at least have sold them by the end of this week. Some guys have said they are interested in my Narragansett turkeys, I have a pair. She started to lay eggs about ten days ago, I don't know how she will do when she is moved. I have not seen them mating, but I hear they do this in the early morning, probably in the pre-dawn light. I have put her eggs aside for incubation, should she decide she wants to brood eggs. I can't find my stone eggs to put into her nest as I remove her real eggs, so I may have to order some ceramic eggs online. Or maybe not. Haven't decided yet.

Yesterday, a man came to look at the Dominique flock. He wants to buy 10 out of 14 layers. He said he would be back Thursday night to collect them. My friend in Athol will take the remaining four layers for her Dominique flock. The rooster will go to freezer land since it appears he does not complete the mating act, but has been pecking holes in the hen's heads. I now have two layers in confinement with serious injuries to the back of their heads. He has traits I don't want to propagate. At first I thought the one hen had suffered from a hawk injury since the would was a three-corner tear and quite clean. The second hen wasn't so lucky. She has a hole about the size of a penny, skin gone and flesh exposed. I treated both hens with raw honey. Worked very well to control infection and aid in quick healing. I am sure the second hen will take a lot more time than the first since the flesh is actually missing.

As spring finally comes to my neighborhood, I have decided to put my Muscovy ducks on CL to sell them. There was a guy I was willing to give them to last November, but he didn't get their housing together before our hard winter hit. I had to winter them, it was very hard on me. I am advertising them for $25.00 each. They are beautiful birds and well suited for breeding. I can only hope who ever buys them doesn't eat them!

This will leave Ducky Lucky, my 11+ year old Muscovy female. She has been failing for the past three years, first showing signs of lameness, then loosing a lot of weight two winters ago. I brought her back from being a feather weight by feeding her organic bread and organic whole corn, but she must be fed by herself since she is very submissive and is easily chased off from the feed bowl. I don't know what I shall do with her. I don't know anyone who would care for her as I have been doing. She goes into her own large dog kennel every night so she isn't beat up by the other ducks. The kennel must be cleaned and that is a chore. She lays very few eggs now and doesn't go out into the yard b/c the turkeys chase her and she can't move very fast. What to do...

I have been trying to pull up all the aster plants that have overtaken my poultry yards since I bought in some mulch hay that was infested with aster plants in seed. If you can imagine 1/8 acre completely overrun with asters, you have imagined my pullet yard. Once covered with clover, it was all killed when the neighbor used herbicides that washed over my pasture during a heavy rain. All the broad leafed weeds were killed (clover is very susceptible to herbicide) and the asters went to seed on bare ground. It is a mess. Since then, I have been replanting small areas with annual grains with flax and clover seed. Some has sprouted. The challenge was to keep the chickens off the newly planted areas so the seed remained on the ground and didn't go into their crops! Now, I am wondering if my old seed is still viable. Time will tell since two new areas have recently been seeded. I have to put fence up since I know the ducks will eat anything green ( except the asters!).

My friend comes from Arizona. He said I might want to look at New Mexico rather than AZ. He says NM is prettier. I have been watching the Weather Channel's weather on the 8's where they show temperatures for different cities in the US. Seems that Phoenix is a lot warmer than Albuquerque by about 15 degrees. I like the cooler rather than the warmer. So, I am looking more towards NM these days as a destination.

I have been looking online for free campground or camping areas and have found a website that tells of some free camping sites. What I have to now do is get everything in order so I can depart in the future. This involves selling all my personal goods that are stored, selling the poultry equipment, my  Old Town canoe, finding a home for the cat that was dumped by an irresponsible person back in 2009...I have been feeding and housing him since 2012...when I discovered he was living on field mice, squirrels, etc without any other food. He has since decided he likes me and allows me to pet and brush him. He spent the majority of this harsh winter in my storage camper and has found how to use a litter box.

Well, time to get going to the farm. Hope you are all finding signs of spring in your neighborhood.