Kristen’s Chickens and Farming Ventures

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Kris5902, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

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    Ok, so I’ve noticed that my posts tend to ramble quite a bit from where they begin. What starts out as a focused query or comment on a specific topic or situation quickly seems to digress into random updates, an entirely different topic or such forth. Sure, a few threads have managed to stay on topic, but that seems to be the exception for me, not the rule!

    So I figure here’s as good a place as any to summarize where I’m at, what I’m doing with my flock, and all the chicken ventures and adventures I seem to be embarking on. I plan on sharing photos of my Chickens, their tractors and coops (once I can get to building one... again, long story there). You can also probably expect to see some cows, some general pictures of our Farm, and I’ll probably whine a bit about building our house as well ( I will expect anyone still around when I’m finally done building it to join me in a toast with their preferred beverage!)

    Please bear with me for a brief catch up to what’s brought me to this point and some slightly dated photos of my Flock up til now... then I can get going with some real-time updates.

    Here is my current problem child “Chickie Hawk” originally named ‘chickie chickie’ by a friends little girl (4). Reason I’m holding him (he’s actually quite well restrained and not in striking distance of my face) is because it’s the only way to get the hay out without him attacking us.

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  2. ECSandCCFS

    ECSandCCFS Free Ranging

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    He is stunning!
     
  3. N F C

    N F C is it nap time yet?

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    He might be a problem child, but he's a very handsome problem! :D
     
    Roostie, mumofsix, MaryJanet and 7 others like this.
  4. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

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    Thanks!

    So this whole journey started for us back in 2017, when we sold our house in the city and moved to my husband’s family farm. They bought the property back in the 1930’s, and have been living and farming here since. Our Parents are getting older and (they are in their mid to late 60’s) it’s getting to be time for another generation (namely us) to start taking on the responsibilities of the farm.

    The farm is about 600 acres in the Southern Gulf Islands of BC Canada (like the San Juan islands in the USA). The Northen side of the farm is a cliff that is a rookery for Turkey Vultures... and we have way too many bald eagles. Our southern property line abuts a thin strip of parkland (they sold to the government). Our eastern property line borders a beautiful beach, the Western one a Vineyard established when about half the original farm was sold off in the 90’s. The island also has a huge Feral goat population as well. We farm Sheep and beef cattle, and have a licensed abbatoir operated by the farm owners. Current owners of the Farm are my husband’s Father, two Aunts, and his cousin.

    We are building an off grid house about two miles away from the original farm house and surrounding out buildings. We’ve been struggling with our municipal government, and the build. Mostly the regulations, permits, and the fact they keep not reading our geotechnical engineering reports, and forgetting to request we fill out forms and covenants against the property. We plan on pouring the foundation this spring, only a year and a half or so behind our predicted schedule. In the meantime we are boondocking in a 25’ 5th wheel RV on generator and solar power, as well as propane.

    I’ve always wanted chickens, and have spent the last 3 or 4 years watching you tube videos and researching them. Having them though is an entirely different experience. There are chickens on the farm already, but they have health issues and I don’t like the way they are housed and cared for. Back in September I got hatching eggs and set them in the incubator, and on October 20th my hatch was complete. There were problems with my humidity, and that’s how I found my way to this site.

    This little guy hatched on day 18, just before lockdown and surprised me immensely. I’m certain it was partially set when I got it, because my temps were either good, or a little low, and everyone else hatched day 21,22, and a few stragglers on day 23.
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    Some others catching up to my “lil peeps” boy
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    And their doggy #1 fan, he was fascinated by the chicks, but is known to kill ducks and attack ravens and even eagles, so I trust him not at all... plus he would always drool suspiciously when watching them!
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    It was a struggle, and I had to cull four chicks, but ended up with 14 healthy chicks, from 48 set eggs. 10 were clear or early quitters. Most made it almost full term, and my humidity issue at lockdown was most likely to blame for their failure.


    Chickie Hawk is the little yellow guy in the Centre with the brown wings. I assisted his hatch.
     
  5. I am soo glad you are doing this! I have been fascinated by your whole journey so am looking forward to hearing more. Plus, there is that island connection... ;) I know you face extra issues just by being isolated ~ & I don't get your snow!:lol: So nice not to be the one watching a boat pull out without me! :lau
     
  6. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

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    I had been helping to care for the farm chickens, insomuch as treating them for lice and mites and making sure they actually got semi clean water. Not wanting to expose my new chicks to their nasties, I allowed the owner and farm help to continue their care. The coop is, IMO, well beyond salvaging due to rot and infestation.

    In November of last year I got 14 chicks that were available from the breeder that sold me the hatching eggs, because I had only hatched out one blue layer and did want some more. 10 CCLxLH “sapphires” and 4 more Barnvelders, as by now I had established that yes, I had indeed hatched 4 cockerels and just 1 Barnvelder pullet. They were about a week old when I picked them up, I lost one Barnvelder to Complications from pasty butt that had been removed along with all his butt fluff. 9/13 are cockerels... yay! (sarcasm)

    They also brought coccidiosis. In late December I lost one of my older hatched chicks (then almost 9 weeks) to it. I’m certain I managed to cross contaminate the brooder or feeders. Of course there are no vets that will deal with poultry and Chris is only available with a prescription. So I managed to get my cats vet to get me some. Treatment went well.

    Also over Christmas, the owners and pretty much everyone but my husband, myself and my mother left the farm to visit other family... so I was left to caring for the farm chickens. This is when I discovered “Tippie” in the farm coop, barely able to stand and unable to walk to the feeder or water due to scaly leg mites... she had already lost part of a toe to them! Apparently, when I stopped treating and checking the chickens the coop deteriorated horribly, and no one kept up the treatments or even really paid much attention to the state of the birds.

    With much help from people here, Tippie made a great recovery, and is now In the barn by my trailer. Also in there with her there I have two other rescued hens from that coop, both with suspected ascites. And Chickie Hawk... who decided he couldn’t get along with my dominant boy Mr Marans any longer and was not coming out the better for it. The three older girls are just slightly less annoyed with his current attitude than I am.

    Tippie, before and after treatment:

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    It was a long process, but over a month we pretty much slaughtered all the mites and lice and healed her feet.

    Edit: link to Tippies full foot story...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/posts/20784654
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  7. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

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    Thanks! You and “FluffyButtAcres” inspired me to put most of my rambling in one place, lol... tomorrow is a town day for me... Saturday the ferry schedule is the most convienient, strangely, but the stores are a PITA with all the traffic. You couldn’t drag me kicking and screaming into a Walmart or grocery store... but the feed store and big box construction stores should be relatively ok! I should manage to get basically all caught up by tomorrow, I hope!

    Thanks again for the support and inspiration... it’s pretty amazing to find such community worldwide :) we do all love our little feathered fluff heads, eh?
     
  8. Tomorrow is a mainland day for us too. You couldn't pay me to live in the city again. We make these days bearable by planning an iced coffee & sweet treat stop ~ something we can't really get on the island.

    BYC's a great little community. So much free information I wish I'd had last time I kept chooks.
     
  9. ellend

    ellend Songster

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    Thank you for caring for those neglected chickens. :love
     
  10. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

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    British Columbia, Canada
    Also, in December I moved my chickens outside and onto grass in their finally finished chicken tractor #1. (We have very mild winters here thankfully) Building it had been more challenging than I expected, as we were doing it based loosely on Suskovich Style tractors, and I mostly just kept the design in my head, which made working out the details and building it with my Husband a little challenging. The chickens adjusted well and seemed quite content with their new home.

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    Then we had our just before Christmas windstorm... I got up and serviced the chickens, it was a little gusty out, but things seemed fine. I had coffee and loaded up the Jeep with hay for the cows, drove out to find them, and as I was feeding the wind ramped up... I heard and saw a few trees come down, so I rush back to my chickens to find them distressed and the tractor was picked up enough by the wind to move it about 20 feet from where I had parked it.

    I was standing in the tractor trying to figure out what to do about this as the wind was howling, looking for something to gather my babies into, and it launched again knocking me over and landing on my lower leg. And then the wind picked back up a little bit and dropped it on me again, and again. By the time I managed to free my leg from underneath it, having lost my boot under it in the process, I was heavily bruised from my knee to my ankle. (It’s surprisingly hard to lift things when lying on your side with your leg pinned to the ground!)

    Chickens were all safely relocated to the barn in two trips while wearing one boot and just a soggy sock on the other foot... but priorities! Power was knocked out for over a week, which didn’t greatly affect us at the trailer because we don’t have any to begin with!

    Construction started almost immediately on tractor #2, which saw several small immediate improvements in design. This one took less time to build but was delayed by rain and mud as I opted to build it outside because it was a little tight building the first one in the barn, and transporting it the end of the property I live on was a challenge. (See below!) My second batch of babies moved outside in early January.

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    The tractors are 6x12 with a 3 foot deep roosting and nesting box at the back. They seem to accommodate 10 hens easily, and get moved to new grass daily. The roosts are over a 1” hardware cloth floor, which has so far allowed almost all the droppings to fall through to the ground. The sides are both openable on model #2 (#1 will be retrofitted shortly as well)

    Edit: link for thread on my tractor build
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-tractor-first-build-suggestions.1284475/
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019

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