Chicken and duck wrangling

Yesterday, Wally and I worked on getting the chicken and duck houses in better shape.  Wally was cursing me throughout the project.  Well, he wasn’t cursing me, he was cursing the chickens.  Wally’s never really been on board with the chickens and right now, I don’t blame him.  They’ve almost become more trouble than they are worth.  Many of them are refusing to go up in the coop at night and I feel quite sure at least some of them are laying in a place that I can’t find.

So, the chicken house is now clean and a few feet higher.  I have to stoop to go in it, which isn’t ideal so we are going to arc cattle panels over the top of it to raise the roof high enough so that both Wally and I can enter it without stooping.  Once it got dark, we began chicken wrangling.  With Gel’s help, we got, I believe, all of the ducks up and most of the chickens.  They are going to stay up until late morning today and this afternoon, I am going to do aggressive culling.  We counted over 40 chickens in the house and to be getting less than a dozen eggs from that many chickens is ridiculous.  Feeding that many chickens for less than a dozen eggs a day is plumb stupid.

I will bet, once I get to counting and culling, I’ll discover that we have about 20 hens born this year.  Those will be the ones we’ll keep.  Any of the older chickens who are still laying will stay, but the rest will find a new home.  I would so like to be able to butcher and process them … and I might do some of them.  Venison season is almost over and I do not have a lot of it stored in the freezers.  I need to do some rearranging to make more room.

Wally and I talked about Christmas and he said that he didn’t feel right not sending out Christmas cards so he was going to go to a local discount store and get a pack of “cheap” Christmas cards.  Then I told him about a few friends of mine who sent out holiday newsletters and I thought that was a much more personal way of connecting with friends and family over the holidays.  So I’ve been going back through the year of posts to this journal making notes about what’s happened over the year and I’ll work on the newsletter today.  Hopefully I can get it done today or tomorrow.

I rode Sudi on Saturday and he was jerk, but I think I made some progress with him.  The ride didn’t end well because when we got back to the trailers, as I was trying to get out of the saddle, he started following the other horse and I couldn’t get my foot out of the stirrup before the saddle turned and I fell off.  Luckily Sudi didn’t panic with the saddle hanging off his side, but we had a little bit of trouble catching him again.  I had a lot of trouble with the saddle rolling on this ride.  I was using my Woolback pad and I think the next time I ride, I’m going to go back to the Theraflex to see if that makes a difference.  I probably did over 300 one rein stops up and down the mountain.  Whenever Sudi decided that he was going to go faster than what I wanted, I disengaged his hind quarters using a one rein stop.  The few times I tired to slow him down in the normal manner, the nose went in the air and Sudi got his way.  Enough of that crap.  I went back to a plain snaffle with no other contraptions, i.e. a running martingale.  I’m pretty sore from the ride today.  It takes a lot more work to ride Sudi, but I do love riding him.  My Western saddle is still not done and I’m not happy with the saddle maker.  He promised it on Saturday, I talked to him Saturday morning, but I haven’t heard from him since.

Wally only works three days this week and then is off six days.  We’ll work on the top to the chicken house and probably work on more rabbit cage stands.  I picked up six cages in decent shape off Craigslist last week.  They are smaller than what I like to keep the rabbits in, but for grow-out cages, they’ll be fine.  So far, it seems the two does with the young babies are doing fine.  I haven’t found any dead babies in the nest, but I haven’t taken them out and counted them, so there may be dead ones in there that I can’t feel.  In addition to the two projects I just mentioned, we need to make more nest boxes.  The rabbits are producing better than I ever imagined.

Damn, I just looked at the 10 day weather forecast and rain is forecast for the next eight days!  I hope that’s wrong!

Until later …