Belle Rock Farm

Fine chickens in Goodhue County since 2011.

A tragedy, a comedy of errors, and other misadventures in farming…

by allison - June 15th, 2012.
Filed under: General.

It’s been a very busy month as I’ve wrapped up the school year. Now that summer vacation is finally here, I have a chance to recount the highlights of our progress (or lack of it):

1. I’m getting better at milking the goats. They are getting better at tolerating it. I finally gave them a good “dairy clip” today, and I’m planning to start keeping the milk rather than feeding it to the pigs and kittens.

2. The tragedy of the month was the death of Nellie’s buckling. He got himself tangled in the netting I had protecting my garden and strangled. I hadn’t considered that danger before, but I guess I know now.

3. ┬áImmediately after taking care of the dead kid, I was putting down fresh litter for the chickens in the garage, when they managed to break out of the their draft shield and started to run loose. Most voluntarily came back in to their food, but some were definitely not interested in being “inside” anymore.

4. Since the poultry clearly needed to move outside, I set up the electric poultry netting.  I started by moving the ducks out, since they are easier to catch. The promptly squeezed through the fence and commenced a terrified run about the property. Herding ducks is actually pretty easy, but I felt pretty bad for them.

5. Since chickens are not quite so excitable (and more easily bribed with food), we put the chickens out in the electric fence, and they stayed put all afternoon. Finally, a victory!

6. Until we came home from a late lunch in town, when 40 of them had decided to ditch the fence. We installed a secondary fence until the chickens until they got big enough to not squeeze through.

7. We set up an automatic nipple watering system for the chickens, and it works like a charm. The ducks also use it.

8. We got the ducks a wading pool this week, and they were thrilled to have a place to swim.

9. We got seven inches of rain yesterday, and in their panic to get out of the rain, three chickens managed to get trampled/suffocated/drowned. I was worried about them catching a chill, but I was worried about the wrong thing. The ducks were none the worse for the wear, however.

10. My Araucana chicken went broody last week. Since we have no rooster and she was sitting on “duds,” I procured some fertilized eggs from a coworker. In a few weeks I should have a small flock of American Java chickens to complement the rest of the layers. I will also have some roosters to get rid of!

11. I have a buyer for my two remaining goat kids and a home for three of my five kittens. As cute as they all are, I’m ready to have a few less animals around here!

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