Friday, January 30, 2009

Tanning Chickens

The weather here today was in the high 20's and we were able to let the girls out of the coop for the day to forage around in the barn. They do not go out into the snow. No Way! I checked their vents and they were dry, no coughing or sneezing, everyone was active walking around, they ate their layer pellets and corn and had plenty of water. We made the girls a big bowl of warm oatmeal and added dry cat food for protein enhancement. I never knew that chickens enjoy oatmeal. They did go crazy this morning for left over brussel sprouts. If only I could have gotten my kids to eat them the way the hens did!

We changed over the brooder light bulbs to infrared bulbs so they would have some night time. I think they were a little confused here.

Some of the girls got up on the roost to check out the new bulb. The thermometer reads 32. They seem to be content. One of our biggest surprises came this morning when we got home from work. Alex went down to the basement where she had put the hen that died last night. We were going to bag her and take her for the necropsy. I so dreaded this but was ready for answers. However, the hen had a different idea. She scared the poo out of Alex when she popped her head up and put her wing out. She had spent the night in a pet carrier in the warm basement and was feeling much better. Last night she had no movement and we thought she had died. What a surprise. We gave her fresh water and she drank most of it. I made her oatmeal with cat food. I'm not sure she ate much of it. Her poop is watery. She has a quarter size spot on her back where they had pecked her. Now I need help again. What should I put on her wound? What antibiotics should I give? How do you give antibiotics to chickens? I'm going to my resource people again. Thank you for your help and support. Take care and keep warm. Big thanks to Peggy and Farm Mom.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank YOU!

Thank everyone for your help. You guys are such a valuable resource. We had another hen die this afternoon. She was down and not walking around this morning when I got home. I put her in a carrier and brought her into the house to keep her from being attacked. She died before I left for work this afternoon. Alex called the University of Maine, Extension Services today and even they were stumped. They did have some good ideas. We will take our hen to Orono, Maine to have a necropsy done tomorrow. I'm familiar with an autopsy because of being a nurse. Now we do this on chickens! What an informative act. Hopefully we will have some answers. Per the extension center, chickens rarely attack a healthy bird. These birds have no outward symptoms, no cough, no nasal discharge, no diarrhea. We are changing a couple of the brooder lights to infrared to decrease the stimulation. We have to keep the lights on 24/7 to keep them warm, now they will have hours of darkness. A more natural state. We are not changing their feed. Evidently that may stress them more. We do hang cabbagges from string for entertainment, both theirs and ours. With the warmer days (>0-20)we are letting them out of the coop to roam around the barn. We are giving them warm oatmeal, compressed seed/foraging blocks and the occasional eggplant and squash. Next they come into the house and watch TV on the sofa. Well, not really but it is an idea. Thanks again for the moral support and advice. Blogger friends are very supportive and highly intelligent. I took a poll!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I don't have any pictures today. I am so glad that I wasn't even home to see the eviscerated hen. We don't know why she died, so we don't know if the other hens killed and ate her or she died first and they ate her. Alex went out to feed the girls and get eggs. She found a hen shell. There were only bones and wings. The chickens are well fed. The get all they can eat of layer pellets. We give them cracked corn at night. I have noticed that they are not eating their layer pellets lately. The will eat all of the corn given. We try to give them fresh veggies but that is limited due to cost. I called the feed store and they recommended that we switch to a different texture layer pellet and a block of compressed feed/seed. I'm heading there first thing after I get off work in the morning. I went out before I left for work and gave them a whole box of Chex Rice cereal, a whole loaf of stale bread and 2 whole acorn squash. Maybe it was overkill, no pun intended, but I really can't stand it when they do things like this. Does anyone have any other ideas?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter Wednesday

We hope that all of our blogger friends are staying warm and toasty this winter. We have had a really hard winter so far and are making it. I joke and say that we are learning to be Mainers. It is said with amazement and respect. These are hardy people with skills up the wazoo for surviving.
After suffering through -31 degrees we finally had a warm up and got about a foot of snow. It was too cold to snow. I went out this afternoon and took some pictures of the pasture and the front of the house. It is beautiful and I never get tired of the snow. We did find out that our thermometer goes to -28 and croaks. Our neighbor has the old fashioned kind and was able to tell us what the actual low was. Ok, I'm not the most graceful person and I'm glad that no one was taking a picture of me today because I fell in the snow and had the darnedest time trying to keep the camera up and get up too.

We called around and found someone, probably the only person who still has seasoned wood, and ordered 2 cords. Why do we need wood? We were in Home Depot last week and they had a wood stove on sale for half price. I guess this was an impulse buy but one that paid off with the low temps we had.
We traded out this lovely old antique, but not really functional ,for this not quite state of the art wood stove. Anyone want to purchase this turn of the last century Imperial Clarion? It is made by Wood and Bishop Company out of Bangor, Maine. If so just let me know and we can arrange something. It has it's own water tank. It needs refurbishing but is beautiful. We can make a deal!
The chickens are surviving well. We added another brooder lamp, which makes 3, when the temps are really low. So far they are doing well. We get about 2 dozen eggs a day. Notice the new feeder? We bought it at Perco Feeds so that they will keep the shavings out of their corn.

A great way to end the day is with a big pot of homemade soup. It warms the kitchen and warms the soul. May everyone be well and blessed. Keep warm and happy. With Love from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Off the Farm Time

Alex and I just came off of 3-12 hr night shifts, slept all day Friday because we were just beat. We decided that Saturday needed to have some off farm fun. So what can we do? We aren't the party all night crowd, not the shop till you drop crowd. We are more of the chicken and sheep folks. We were watching the news and there was a segment about Belt-Sander Races. What is that? I had never heard of it and never imagined it. So we decided to go. It was for a good cause and sounded like fun. We arrived at Dino's Pizza in Brewer, Maine and this is what we found.

Grown men and women with families in tow involved in a very serious drag race using modified tools as power source. It was a hoot. Everyone was having a great time. The reporter said that this sport started in a bar. I can just imagine how many beers it took to come up with this. I love it. A nice, family place to have a few beers, pizza and hot wings. Notice Santa on the Belt-Sander. He sand and bounced all the way down the track.

It was sponsored by many companies in Maine and put on by the United Bikers of Maine, Penobscot. This is the track, notice the power cord grooves in the center. These things flew past to everyone's amusement.

Then when all the races were completed it was time for the kids to get into the fun by themselves. I never knew that my palm sander could lead another life and purpose.

Notice in lane one a turtle, land two Scoobie Do, Lane three Nemo, Lane for T-Rex. It looks like Nemo took the blue ribbon. Scoobie was my favorite. He was a bobble head and he really rocked.
After a great afternoon we headed south to Thomas College in Waterville to pick up my son Teddy. He turned 19 today. We all went out to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. Here is his room mate Juco and Teddy's girlfriend Tarah. What a beautiful ending to a fun day off the farm. I hope everyone is having a great New Year. Good night from all us chickens.