Monday, December 28, 2009

Plans for the near future...

Tomorrow is supposed to be a clear bright day in the mid 40s without this Blasted wind. I will be taking lots of Pictures. I have informed the birds, so everyone should be ready. YES, I am crazy and thank you for reading this and joining on me my mind trip. At least I try to make it entertaining.

I am waiting for Jan 3 to come around so I can make my Pullet order to Cackle. I need new layers for later next year. My gals are getting up in years and once they hit that 3-5 year old mark they just don't lay well during winter. A good influx of Black Australorps and Buff Orpingtons should keep my customers and me in eggs next winter. Right now 33 standard hens are only producing 2-3 eggs a day. Freeloaders. What I haven't told them is that some are heading to the freezer soon.

I do process my laying/production birds, but they live the same happy life that my pet chickens do. The same fate is destined for extra Roosters as well. I don't beleive in wasting anything. The old gals will make their final contributions to the family and complete their cycle of life in this world. Alot of the pets, mainly bantams, I just can't bring myself to process. If they die or get killed I give them a proper burial somewhere in or near their house and lot.

I have some money set aside for a couple projects. The first is a split house for my Mixed bantams and pet Bantam Cochins. 1 house leaks and both keep getting dug into when the Rats come back. I get rid of them for a few weeks and then they show back up again. The new house will be divided by a solid wall, Dot and Chitter don't mesh, but the top will be open for shared heat. 26-28 bantams should keep an 8'x8' house nice and warm at night. The entire house will be on 8" legs. This will keep rats away and provide another place for shelter.

The second project is a few Small coops and runs for folks that want to keep 2-3 standard hens. Can also house 4-5 bantams. I have a couple different plans in my head, but getting them finalized on paper is my problem.

Today was Mom's birthday. I was sure to get her something for christmas and today. Most years gifts get combined from most folks. She hates having the days so close together.

I think that is all for now.

~~Matt~~

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Day

We got about a foot of snow yesterday and last night.
Barbara is an Outdoor cat, but she is only 8 months old and this is her first snow.

She took a couple hours to get used to, but then loved playing in it. There was enough of a crust that she could walk on top, until...

Oops...fell through.

That is 'Crow', an Ameraucana Pullet, on the grape vine frame.

Concrete picnic table.

The freerange bantams in front of their house in the cleared area.

The layers have NO interest in coming out....so, I put their food and water inside.

Picture of the house from in front of the Mixed Bantam Lot.

From the Back Porch.

From the wood shed down to the henhouse. The mutt bantam house connects on the right of it and the bantam Pet cochin house is on the far right.

My Truck ain't going anywhere.

Work for next week. This PVC pen is too useful not to rebuild.


I am way too fat for this. I went out 6 times in this stuff and each time was exhausted to the point of collapse by the time I made it back in.

~~Matt~~

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chicks

The Blue one is Petie. He is a silkie. His sex is not known, but since he was the only one to hatch I am assuming it is a He. The rest are chicks that a friend hatched that is such a great person that she sold me 4 so that Petie wouldn't be alone. The yellow/white one is a mystery color Silkie. The Black and whites are either Mottled Cochins or mixes there of. All are bantams.

They were just put into this new box/brooder that is slitely larger. It took them about 15 seconds to get comfortable and attack the food.

Next week they will move to a much larger box and they will be on shavings at that time.

The black and white that hangs back is most definately a small Rooster. Just look at his little comb that is already starting.

I was not in the box with them. I put a large window in one side. "Chick-Vision" is alot more entertaining then TV. Tabitha, my cat, laid in front of the box all night watching.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Contrary Hen

Yesterday Caramel needed her beak trimmed again. This happens about every 2 months, but we missed last month. In this pic from Nov 9th you can sort of see that it is long in the front. She has a curved beak and the top grows down. The right eye is deflated and blind.
She did not want to be picked up. Mom went into the coop to get her and Caramel kept walking around the platform of perches singing. The coop is a truck camper with the bottom boxed in. 5' wide with a platform of roosts that covers the entire area. That is not Caramel in the house picture. That is Snickers, Caramel's Mother, that I lost in August of 2008.She had no interest in being picked up. You have to duck down to get to the back, but Caramel would walk to the front before you could stand back up. Took about 10 minutes to finally catch her, she stayed just out of range. The little lady seemed to find it amusing. Most of the time you can pick her up without issue.

That's ok, she got a dozen+ mealworms after the beak was trimmed. She is normally about 2-2.5 pounds in weight, but the little fat butt is pushing 3 pounds right now. Holiday Weight? LOL

Caramel was attacked by a hawk back in January. Once she was on the road to healing, she adapted to eating with only 1 eye very quickly. She eats sideways so that she doesn't miss, but the tip of her beak doesn't file down in the normal fashion. She also gets tired quickly and retires to a hen house to take her naps, so she also doesn't dig and forage as much to work it down. She has some neurological issue that gets her tired quickly. The hawk tried to pierce her skull for the kill, but luckily didn't get through. After the attack, her good eye was fully dialated for 2 weeks. Then finally began reacting in a normal way. I assume that is when the swelling went down in her brain. Other then getting tired quickly and overwhelmed easily, she has no other lasting nerological problems.

In case anyone is wondering she is a mixed breed bantam. Dot, the rooster, is a color match and they breed TRUE. If I had more to start with I could start a new breed. Dot and Snicks were the start, but Snickers was also Dot's daughter by Oreo. I currently have Caramel, Nougat(Caramel's Sister), and Peanut(Caramel's Daughter). Did you pick up on the Snickers theme. :)

~~Matt~~

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hatch Results

USPS really shook these eggs up, but I hope for a few to hatch. Sadly a single Blue Silkie is all that hatched. $55 in shipped eggs for 1 chick. I have got to quit giving in and getting shipped eggs.
Little Petie, yes he is already named, was a loud little baby at first. Luckily an online friend had some newly hatched babies as well. I drove down to SC, 150 miles round trip, to get Petie some family. I brought back 3 Mottled Cochins and a mystery colored Silkie. I will get pictures of them when they move a larger brooder/box on Wednesday.

Petie is happy with his new family and they are all eating and drinking well. They are so quiet that I keep checking on them to make sure that they are ok.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Educating a Rooster

This is Screech. He is a Cream Light Brown Dutch Rooster that is not getting his job done. Ok, so I normally don't hatch during the winter, but that is no excuse. With none of Cream's eggs fertile I decided to give him a good talking too. I picked him up, which is easy with him being a friendly little man, set him inside a KFC Bucket, and told him that this was his future if he didn't start hitting the mark. I wish I had taken my camera out with me. He just stood in the bucket, stretched his neck to look over the edge, and crowed at me. Intrepretation: "Yeah Right, like you would ever EAT ME!"

Yes I talk to my chickens, but the problem is that they talk back. While he was in the bucket he must have found something because he started calling the girls to him. Once he hopped out Raymond(dog) took off with bucket.

The eggs due this week are now in hatch position with the humidity up. Nothing to do now but watch and wait.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Candled eggs

I candled the eggs yesterday and am down to 9 eggs and 4 of those don't look so good. There are 6 of the silkie eggs in there and 3 of the other shipped eggs. 3 of the silkie eggs and 1 of the other are the ones that don't look quite right for day 15.

Not a single one of Cream's eggs were fertile. Screech, dutch rooster, is going to get a talking to. He also doesn't get the treats of mealworms for today. I guess it will be spring before I get to hatch any little dutch babies.

Matt

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First post and intro

I am located in the Foothills of North Carolina and raise Chickens. That is the basics of how the name of my little hobby(obsession) came to be. After a few years of going over names I finally settled on Foothills Poultry.


I raise a few select breeds and a couple groups of mixes. All together I have total of 89 chickens on this 1 acre of land. I have 4 from an August hatch that I will be relocating eventually, so that will put me at 85. I have a website setup at http://foothillspoultry.weebly.com/.

I won't be at 85 birds for long since I have 20+ eggs in a bator right now. Most were shipped eggs, so I don't have much hope for them, but hopefully a few will hatch. I would be happy with half a dozen. These will raised in an inside brooder till they are old enough to go out. For this reason I don't normally do winter hatches, but just couldn't resist. The batch is due on the Dec 11th. I am candling tonight to see if anything is progressing.


6 of the eggs are from my Cream. She is a Blue Cream Light Brown Dutch. She normally has very nice coloring, but took a dust bath in some damp carolina clay and that turned her red. Her fat butt weighs in at about 18 ounces.



The shipped eggs are 12 from Nice quality Blue, Black, and Splash Silkies, 6 from Mille Fleur d'Uccle, and 3 from Barred Old English Game Bantams. I don't really like shipped eggs, but I wanted to run something else with Cream's eggs incase only 1 hatches. Besides the incubator holds 42 eggs and I couldn't just run it with 6. ;)

Matt