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Archive for May, 2015

For the past three years I have been using a hay feeder for the sheep that was originally designed for horses or cattle.  It was designed for animals with longer legs.  The sheep can never reach the bottom of the feeder and I always had to keep it topped up full so they could eat.

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They wasted a lot of hay.

I had company a few days ago, good friends Brian and Shirley.  They insisted they didn’t want to just sit around, they wanted jobs while they were here.  I couldn’t argue with that, there are always projects on the to do list.

So…while Shirley cleaned out the lavender bed,

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Brian tackled the hay feeder.  He took the roof off and cut the sides down to a more manageable height.

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Then he put it all back together again.  I was so happy, now I could feed the sheep just enough hay each day and they wouldn’t waste any.  I was sure they would be happy with the change too.

Cotton, Julie and Abbie hardly even looked at the renovated feeder, but PJ, the littlest sheep was thrilled.  This was just her size!

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Yes, finally her very own bed!

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No more sleeping on the hard, cold ground.

Well PJ, I am sorry to have to tell you, that is not your new bed!

Tomorrow I am going to put some wooden dividers in so she cannot climb in and sleep there any more.

Sometimes when you solve one problem you create another one.  Fortunately this is one that is easily solved.

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It’s a miracle!  Nervous Nellie is over a year old and as we all know, she has been somewhat unproductive.  All the other hens began producing eggs at four months old, but not Nellie.  Nellie just hid under the barn and tried to be invisible.

Well I am thrilled to announce that Nellie is now an egg layer.

Ginger is still serving her sentence so I know she is not laying.

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This morning I gathered five eggs so I was not expecting any more.  Imagine my surprise when I went in to the barn this afternoon.

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There was little Nervous Nellie standing in the corner…looking back as if to say “Did I do that?”

Then she turned back around,

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and thought “Boy am I ever hungry now!”

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and began to eat.

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So there you have it, Ginger is taking a break from laying eggs and Nellie…

Nellie has stepped up to the plate!

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I noticed over the last couple of weeks that Ginger (formerly Thelma of Thelma and Louise, but I always found myself calling her Ginger so I changed her name) was taking longer and longer to lay her egg.  She would be sitting on the nest in the morning, sitting in the afternoon, and still sitting in the evening.

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“Okay Ginger,” I said, “If that’s the way you want it, you can just sit.  You are going to have to work though, you can’t just sit and do nothing.  You can sit for 21 days and raise some chicks.”

I packed in Emma’s dog crate and made Ginger a new home.  Just enough room for a nest, food and water, and room to stretch her legs if she likes.

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I don’t have a rooster in with my hens so the eggs are not fertilized.  Fortunately my neighbour has chickens too, and she also has a rooster.  Down the road I went with my hat in hand.

What beautiful eggs…so coloful!

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I set them in the new nest and waited till dark.

Ginger was not happy when I picked her up off her original nest (with only 1 lonely egg tucked under her).  She squawked and squealed until I set her down on the new nest with eight lovely eggs.  Immediately her squawking turned into gentle clucks and she fluffed up her feathers and settled down on the eggs.

The next morning when I checked on her she was still sitting, I don’t think she moved all night.

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Her feathers are all fluffed up in order to cover all the eggs.

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So Ginger has been sentenced (voluntarily of course) to twenty-one days.  If she successfully completes her sentence there may be baby chicks on Morris Brook Farm.

Keep your fingers crossed!

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My water is stored in a 1700 gallon tank under my porch, and for the past three and a half years I have been regularly hauling water every eight weeks or so.  I usually make five or sometimes six trips and it takes all day.

Is it possible that today was the last trip?

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A couple of years ago I hooked up gravity fed creek water.  It supplies the cows, sheep and chickens with water and I also use it to water the garden.  It is not potable though…too much bacteria.

A week or so ago I invested in an Ultra Violet water treatment system.  it comes with two filters that remove any solids or odour and the ultra violet light kills all the bacteria.  Brother Dan helped me mount it in the porch.  Brother Tom helped me test it the first time and take a sample of the water after it had been treated.

I delivered the sample to the testing facility and was told the results would be back today.

My water light had come on a few days ago so I knew I was getting low.  I decided to make a few trips today just in case the results from the test were not good.

I  had made three trips before the email arrived…the water was pure!  No bacteria!  The system worked.  It did what it was designed to do…make undrinkable water drinkable.

I unloaded the water tank from the truck, hooked up the outside hose to the filter system and turned it on.

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The buckets were there just in case of leaks…they were not needed!  I turned the water tap on and the water flowed through the two filters and past the ultra violet light and into my water tank.  One hour and thirty-five minutes later and the tank was full.

I poured myself a tall glass of water and was very impressed, crystal clear and very tasty.

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So…from now on my water supply will be from Morris Brook!

I will have to watch though and be careful, the water levels in the creek change during the year, less in summer and more in spring.  Brother Tom also uses the water from the creek so I have to make sure my useage doesn’t impact him, he was here first after all.

I may still have to haul the occasional load of water, only time will tell.

It just might be possible though, that that was the last trip!

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I was visiting Brother Dan the other day and I noticed how nice his chicken pen was, a nice big area filled with green grass.  Then I came home and looked at my chicken pen…

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Not so nice…no green grass at all.  The pen isn’t that big and it was never a very grassy area to start with.  I have been giving the chickens their salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers etc) every morning, and they get grain to scratch for in the evening.  I have been hand picking grass and giving them that.  I still felt bad…they deserve so much better.

I thought about letting them run free in my yard but that would mean hunting for eggs every day.  Trust Brother Dan to come up with the solution…keep them penned up until the late afternoon and once all the eggs have been delivered, let them run free.

I opened the gate this afternoon and it didn’t take long for them to find the grass.

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Even Nervous Nellie ventured out…although not far from the gate.

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just far enough to get some of that green grass.

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It gives me a good feeling to see them out there scratching and roaming in the yard.  I know they are enjoying their new freedom.

They truly are free range chickens now!

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