Friday, June 13, 2014

I'm The Momma Bird!!

I'm The Momma Bird!!

Meet Cressy:

One hot, windy afternoon, Stockton found this little baby Oriole in a patch of weeds. She must have fallen out of her nest sometime that day. He brought her inside and started hand feeding her. Well, being the soft hearted teddy-bear that I am, I quickly fell in love with her and have now claimed her as mine. That means no-touchy! She is a Momma's baby! 

I'm feeding her a wet mixture of: mulberries, blueberries, raspberries, chia seeds, cooked quinoa, a millet/flax seed blend, and on occasion some bugs. She also gets an couple eye droppers full of water every day. She seems to be thriving and keeping some weight on, so hopefully we're doing something right!

She resides in a bird cage with several roosts and a nest. She doesn't really use the nest, unless I put her in it, but she mainly likes to roost and do acrobatics in her cage. She looks like a money climbing around in there! Every time I walk in the room she starts screaming really load, with her mouth wide open. Interpretation: "FEED ME NOWWWW!! I HUNRY! I STARVING!! FOOD!!!"

So besides all the other daily chores, I get to feed a screaming (literally) baby every five minutes.

*getting a taste of motherhood...*

Any tips you can give me on raising baby birds? Have you ever been a momma bird?

Blessings - 

~ Momma Bird

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meatie Update: Week 6

Meatie Update: Week 6

Can you believe another week has already flown by? Once again, I wasn't here to take pictures of the Meaties on Friday (6 wks) so these pictures are from Sunday (8th).

We lost two Meaties this past week. 

One evening I had given the Meaties their bowl of evening mash, but after they'd eaten the whole bowl full they still acted hunry (don't give in to their mischievousness!!), so I gave them a little bit more. Well several of them over ate and were sitting there gasping for air. I quickly grabbed them up, gave them some water and stroked their throat to help them swallow it, but one of them still didn't make it. The next morning I found it dead in their nighttime pen. Poor baby.

The other one was a wounded chick that had gotten picked on during the rainy weather we had, when they had to be confined to their pen. He never had quite recovered, but he was doing ok....until I decided that he should be spending the day with all his buddies in the big chicken yard. Well when I came back out to check on him, they had pecked him to death. Needless to say, I felt sick!

So a lesson learned the hard way, don't assume chicken's care about other chickens..they are cannibals and WILL peck/eat each other if given the chance!

If you have a chick that is 'wounded' than you dare not put it back in with the other chicks, they can, and will kill it.    

Now that the bad news is over with, let's get on with the good news shall we!!

The Meaties are very active and spend most of their day running around their big yard, taking dirt baths, roosting on stumps and of course sleeping. I wish I could let them out to free range, I know they would excel at it, but I also know that lots of hungry predators lurk around and that they would be chicken dinners....earlier than expected!

 And, if you're wondering, yes, the Meaties still adore me. ;)

Meatie vs. Red's crazy but the red chicks are several weeks older than the Meaties, but guess who's bigger?? ;)


 It now takes two hands to transport the Meaties around. They are very round!

 Meatie cockerel

So we started out with 26 Meaties, and we're down to 20. Praying we don't loose anymore!

Meatie pullet

Like, I know I'm not supposed to be getting attached to these chooks, but just look at this sweet little face and tell me that it isn't cute! Go on! Tell me!

Evening nap....zzzzz

My boots = favorite roosting spot.

Size comparison of male/female Meaties:

Roosting, favorite activity.

I haven't been feeding the Meaties all they wanted. I usually feed them once in the morning, sometimes another meal around mid-day, then another meal in the evening. 

They might be growing a wee bit slower than "normal" Meaties, but these aren't normal Meaties! ;)

I would much rather have a healthy chicken that grows a little bit slower, than a super fast growing chicken with health issues.

 Only two more weeks to go, if we decided to butcher at 8 wks. We might, however, wait until about 10 weeks, but we'll see.

To be continued - next week:

Blessings - 

~ Aspen

Monday, June 9, 2014

I'm Moving to Alaska!

I'm Moving To Alaska

That's right folks, I'm moving to Alaska. I think I've threatened to do it every summer for the last *several* years, and I'm finally gonna do it!

For all my followers who love summer, just know that I am not among you summer lovin' people. I dislike summer, it has to be my least favorite part of the year. In fact, now that I come to think of it, I dread it. There, it's out in public..and I care not who knows it.

So I think I'll be buying a summer house in Alaska, where I'll be living during the summer months. Yep, so while all you poor people are down here sweating like crazy and drinking ice tea like it's going out of style, I'll be up in my little wood cabin sipping on a cup of hot tea, cuddled up in a warm blanket, looking out the window as the snow-flakes fall, and pile up outside.

But, seriously peoples, I really do not like hot weather. I do not thrive in hot weather! I was not made to live in a hot, dry...also known as a desert. It just wasn't meant to be! I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be living in the woods somewhere in the snow-capped mountains...of NEW ZEALAND! Yes, yes, that must be it. Forget Alaska.....New Zealand is the place for this girl.

I don't know about you folks, but when it's 200F + outside my creativity crashes...and dies. I have no desire to do anything but lounge in a pool, or lay in a completely AC'd room and read a good book..and research Alaska. *ahem* 

All of this is coming from a girl, who's dream is to live on a completely self-sufficient homestead...oh dear, how am I going to survive? 

Since I can't move to a colder climate....yet...I'll just lay here hot, tired, irritated, grouchy, whilst I drink gallons of water kefir.

So, my beloved followers, what say you? Summer or winter?

Blessings - 

~ Aspen

Giant Sleeping Snake Incident

Giant Sleeping Snake Incident...

Late one Sunday afternoon, whilst wandering around barefooted, feeding and watering all the feathered creatures, I walk onto the back porch (where I store all my different critter feeds in big, blue buckets) to grab some feed when I stumbled (literally) upon ^that^ bad boy! Me, being..well me, I screamed bloody murder and ran inside, immediately putting my boots on, before searching for a guy and a that order.

Much to my dismay all the big guys had just driven off into the cow pasture and wouldn't be back for awhile, the only guy in town was my little brother, Stockton, who at the time of my *ahem* screaming my head off, was out catching grass hoppers for his lizards. But, thankfully, when he heard my desperate cry (....OK scream...) for help he came back to the house to see what was a foot. We quickly informed him of the quest, who was sound asleep and completely relaxed on our cool, concrete back porch. He assumed the role of "Snake Killer" and quickly ran inside to grab a gun. Meanwhile, the poor snake had no idea what was going on, and only woke up long enough to rattle once or twice before dying. But, alas, I dislike snakes with an incredible passion and they are defiantly NOT welcome on my back porch or anywhere else for that matter. 

Now, when I first saw Mr. Sacked-out-snake, and then proceeded to scream (quite loudly) I was shocked to find that he didn't wake up from his deep slumber. You should have seen you could have screamed along with, no that's not what I as getting at, you really should have seen how relaxed this snake was. He must have just eaten some mice, rats, eggs, or something because he was as big around as my first. Big, bad, scary snake! Yipes! 

I actually found out later, after this whole event was over, that Mom had been in the front yard when I screamed and she didn't pay any mind, because just minutes before Carolina and I had been spraying (OK soaking) each other with the water hose and were screaming and yelling like wild banshies and Indians. She just took it for normal happenings and didn't know it was actually screams of terror she heard..and not joy! ;)

And there you have it, my giant sleeping snake story.

Now I had better quit talking about snakes because the camera cord that is coiled up on the bed, next to me is beginning to look like a snake. It's time for my bedtime methinks!

Have you had any experience with poisonous snakes? Do tell, so we can all shake, shiver, and scream for fright together!! 

Blessings - 

~ Aspen

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Grow Your Own Wheatgrass Patch

I've already shown you how to grow trays of wheatgrass but now I'm here to show you another easy way to go nutrious grass for your animals!

. . .
Would you like to provide fresh, green, foliage to your critters on a regular basis? Follow this easy step by step guide to do just that!


Step 1. Hoe up the area you plan to grow your grass in.

Step 2. Measure your wheat seed according to the size of your growing area. I used about a gallon of wheat seed for my plot.

Step 3. Spread your seeds out as evenly as possible.

Step 4. Mix the soil up so the seeds get buried underneath a layer of dirt. It's fine if there are still some seeds on top.


I usually watered mine in the early morning and late evening, so twice a day. 

In a week's time you should have a lovely green patch of wheatgrass!

It's time to let your critters in to enjoy the bounty of fresh grass.

Not all of my wheatgrass bed was that thick, some of the seeds fell to the way-side.

Once I opened it up for business the birds destroyed/trampled and otherwise demolished the grass in .586348 seconds.

I used one of my (many) small chicken runs to plant my grass in. It was full of hay, droppings and all that lovely stuff and needed to be tilled up anyway, so this provided me with a way to clean up my run and use the compost and natural fertilizer that was already there to nourish my new seedlings..AND as an added bonus the birds got to enjoy some fresh grass that will then go to provide us with fresh, delicious eggs! It's a win/win situation folks!

So what are you waiting for? Get out that hoe and get to diggin'! 

Have you ever grown beds of wheatgrass for your animals? How did it go? Leave a comment and let me know!

Blessings - 

~ Aspen

Sunday, June 1, 2014

New Flock of Aussies

New Flock of Aussies

Some friends of ours are moving out of state and needed to rehome their flock of Black Australorps. We brought home 17 of them.

Meet the Aussies: 

6 roosters, and 11 hens make up our new flock of chooks.

Four of the roosters will be joining the Meaties in the freezer. The other two boys will be staying with the ladies. 

Why must food always be so friendly? This boy followed me around the entire pen the whole time I was taking pictures.  

Fluffy-rear-end.....your welcome! ;)

Eating some morning glory sprouts, that I picked for them.

There's Mr. Friendly Food again...

The pullets are still several months away from laying, but I'm already looking forward to the lovely brown eggs they will provide for us.

They came from a free ranging enviroment, so once they get settled in I will start letting them roam the ranch.

For the first few days they spent the day in the compost pen with the Meaties, but I soon learned that the two parties involved were not getting along in the slightest. The Meaties were completely terrified of the black chickens and for a good reason. The Aussies would chase them around and around their pen, eventfully making them stay in the corner of the pen, scared to come out. It was so sad! Every time I came outside to check on them, all of the Meaties would run as fast as they could towards me and would desperately try to break out of their pen to get to me.

The solution? Move the Aussies to a new pen.

 They are now situated in a large run area next to the duck yard. Now all I need is a coop for them. *ahem* Volunteers are always welcome.

 Don't everybody raise their hands at once now!!

Size comparison: Meaties vs. Aussies

I think I would be a little scared of a giant Aussie as well...just sayin'!  

From what I've seen, these birds are superb foragers and will be great for pest control. The only down side is the roosters are a little thin from all that running around so I'll have to fatten them up a wee bit. ;)

This big guy wanted to say "Howdy" to all y'all.

They were used to eating just scratch and all the bugs and grass they could find. So I'm getting them used to my wet mash that I feed to my birds. They are taking to it quite well.

The only down side to this breed, since they are solid black, is they are very sensitive to the heat. Lots and lots of shade is a must for these birds. Even with lots of shade and cool water they still pant like crazy on hot afternoons. 

This fella is one of the cockerels that I'll be keeping. Any name suggestions? I'm thinking of something along the lines of Big Jake or some such thing.

Well, there you have it! You have been introduced to my Aussies. Aren't they just gorgeous? Of course they are! How could you think otherwise? Humph.

Have you ever raised Black Aussies? How did you like them and what was your experience with them? Do tell!

Blessings - 

~ Aspen