Chickens Roosting

The chickens still will not spend the night in the coop.  I suspect that since they are on a slope now and the coop is at the bottom of the slope most everything is “higher” than the coop, even if they are closer to the ground.  Also some of them like to roost on the ground under a thicket of brush video below.

They will be making a fast path across my lawn area to help it out.  The area in front of the house my wife wants for law was completely dug up to run the sewer & water lines so it is now basically sand with no organic matter in it.  The grass is growing, more or less, but it is thin.  Therefore my plan is to move them quickly over the area to improve it with their scratching and droppings.  We will see how successful I am.

I did find it is MUCH easier to move the electro-net fencing at dusk when they have started to roost, as long as the area they are roosting wont be outside of the new area.  The only problem is you are racing against the dark.

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All Around The Mulberry Tree

I have found two mulberry trees on the front half of my property.  The larger one I found two years ago but lost it last year.  I know how can you “loose” a tree.  Well I’m not that good at identifying trees from just their leaves and the fruit crop must have been low last summer.  However this year you can see all the fruit on the tree from 150′ away, the tree almost has a red haze around it from all the fruit.  My plan is to clear out everything around it and put down a thick layer of mulch, that way I know this tree is a “keeper” as I’m clearing the property.

Mulberry trees are a desirable food source from a birds point of view.  With mulberries available birds will generally leave other fruit trees alone, or at lease that is what I’ve read.  I know the chickens love the dropped fruit and this is one of the reasons I moved the coop to this area so they can clean up all the fruit drop.  I’m hoping the tree will develop some lower branches once I start taking care of it.

Jacob Picking Mulberries

Jacob Picking Mulberries

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July Chicken Update

I got the chickens moved to an area they have never been to before.  It is an area of brushy undergrowth and a few large trees.  It also is the hill going from my high ground to the river bottom land.  However they like the area so much they stopped spending the night in the coop, they are roosting in the bushes.  Even worse they stopped laying in the nesting box, so I have to go one an egg hunt every day.  Just to be difficult once I find an area they are laying they move.

A bigger problem is I think I have lost 6 or so to predators just in the last week.  One was inside the fence, there is no sign of the others except a pile of feathers.  I had a real problem with some of them not wanting to stay inside the fence.  I did catch a coyote on a trail cam behind the creek, so there are ground predators in the area.  To date the electric fence seamed to keep them out, but this week has been the worst looses I’ve had since I started keeping chickens almost two years ago.

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Crazy Chickens

The chickens got moved to a completly new location a few days ago.  This area has some large trees and is full ofu underbrush.   It is close to the house and I want it cleared to plant something that looks better.  Well te chickens like is so well they abandoned the coop and nest boxes.   They are roosting on downed tree limbs or a stump and laying their eggs in the tall weeds,  where it is very hard to find them.  This problem is going to take some thinking to figure out.

I did find another dead chicken today, I suspect a bird of prey got her because what was left of her was still inside the fence.   Two of the white leghorns have decided they want to sleep outside the fence on top of a broken off tree about 8 feet in the air, I don’t even know how they get up there.

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New chicken area

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We Have Mulch

My mother noticed a company clearing for a new bike path and asked them if we could have the wood chips since they were working less than 2 miles away.  They were willing so the wouldn’t have to drive the truck back each night to empty it.  I’m not sure how big the truck is but we got several loads and I know we must have ended up with 20 yards plus.  We will be spreading this around the rest of the summer.

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Asparagus is Growing Good

Two years ago I planted some asparagus crowns.  At the time I didn’t really know where I wanted them so I just stuck them in the ground near the front of my property.   This turned out to be a bit of a mistake because it isn’t an area I walk by everyday so I missed harvesting the edible shoots.  However this has resulted in really good growth so when I do find a better place for it it should transplant well.

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First Mowing With Electric Tractor

I am getting close to working out all the bugs with the Elec Trak electric tractor.   Tonight I actually got about an acre mowed before it got too dark.  The grass is tall in some areas so I had to go at a slower spees, but it looks like it does a good job.  The contactor still isn’t engaging like it should so there is still that to work on.  But it was nice to mow for close to an hour on a few cents of electricity.

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Elec Trak is Moving

Work on the electric tractor is progressing.  I’ve found several places where there were corroded connections.   This is bad is a high current application as it raises resistance,  which produces heat, which raises the resistance even more, which creates more heat until something blows (hopefully the breaker).  I had the mower running for just a few minutes and I have to say Wow is it quite.   However the PTO contactor has some problems (metal melted away so I’ll have to wait for a new one to come in before I can really mow.

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This Years Plantings

We have been slowly adding perennials to our homestead.  This year we have added some lilacs, a mulberry tree, two paw-paws, 4 cornelian cherries and some hardy Kiwi.  Also we are experimenting with starting American Persimmon and butterfly bush from seed.

From last years plantings we lost the peach tree (our winter was particularly brutal), the apple trees are doing so-so.  However the comfrey looks to be doing good and the hedgerow of hazel nuts are still growing.  On the animal side the chickens did good in the cold, but we lost a few to predators, but we did lose both of our bee hives.

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Comfrey Is Doing Good

I planted a comfrey patch last year and didn’t get a lot of growth.  Even this spring I was getting a bit concerned because it wasn’t growing much.  However the cold lasted a long time this year, in fact I have a picture of the last patch of snow that didn’t melt until mid-April.  Over the last 10 days or so growth all over has exploded, including the comfrey which much of it is now about 3′ high.  As this patch increases it could provide fodder for the chickens in the future.

Comfrey

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