I am going no where today!

I said that yesterday, but I found out early in the morning that the farm manager from RHF was going to be going to Newton to take care of the cows so I would have to meet him to get grain.  I needed grain, so I had no choice.  He didn’t know when he’d be going so I was waiting into the early afternoon for his call or text to tell me that he was on his way.  That was frustrating because I couldn’t get into anything because I knew I’d have to drop everything to head to Newton.

I met him at about 2:00 and got over $200 worth of grain (stocking up!) and then had to race the rain back.  I didn’t quite make it.  I ended up pulling into a church parking lot and waiting under their carport for it to let up.  The rain followed me all the way home so I backed Yoda up to the ShelterLogic Hay House and as quickly as I could, off-loaded the grain.  Needless to say, it was more than I should have been lifting and I’m feeling it now.

Grain is expensive!  Especially the organic alfalfa pellets.  I pay $18/50 pounds and I go through three or four bags a week.  The oats and barley is pretty inexpensive.  I am feeding the chickens and chicks a ground mixture of oats, barley, alfalfa pellets, flax seed and supplements.  That only works because I mix it with milk or whey into a mash.  It’s messy, but they love it.  I need to re-evaluate my feeding regimen now that the grass is coming in.  All of the goats and Gwen are fat and sassy.  I can probably cut back on the amount of alfalfa pellets they are getting without a drop in milk production.

Chickens are dirty!  There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it, they are dirty creatures.  People say pigs are dirty, but pigs don’t shit in their food or water.  Chickens do, even if they have room to stand near their feed dishes (troughs) and eat, they have to stand in it and of course what goes in, comes out the other end.  I have to carry a plastic grocery bag out with me when I take the chicks’ trough out of their tractors to clean and refill them.  Because I’m mixing milk or whey with their food, I can’t put it in a hanging feeder (which is made to hold that crumbly food that feed stores sell).  The Cornish X chicks are the worst.  Those things are eating machines.  It must be programmed into them.

I got an e-mail back from the manager of the new small animal processing plant in Marion and he said that I could bring my small batch of chickens up to be processed and wait on them.  Good!  It’s probably close to 60 miles one way to get there.  I really didn’t want to have to make two trips.  The Cornish X chicks should be ready in three to four weeks.

Yesterday was a day of frustrations.  Some of the dual purpose chicks are not feathering.  They look horrible!  This whole batch of chicks has been, for the most part, horrible.  I guess you get what you pay for.  Interestingly, early on, I took one of the Cornish X chicks that was considerably smaller than the others and put him in with the dual purpose chicks.  He’s bigger than they are, but still a lot smaller than the Cornish X.  I guess their genetics are not foolproof and not all of them grow like mutant creatures.

I’ll be more careful about where I get my next batch of chicks.  Unfortunately, I’ll end up paying a lot more money for them.  I’m still set on getting the Delawares.  They are $3.50 each.  I’ll probably get half Delawares and half a less expensive breed.  You have to get a minimum of 25 chicks.  I need to get that order form filled out and sent in with a check.  The next hatch date for Delawares isn’t until May 22, but I expect they’ll sell out of them before then.

E-mail!  Over the weekend, I discovered I couldn’t send e-mail.  I called AT&T support and he did the usual things, none of which worked, so I suggested that we do a web search for the err0r message I was getting.  A while back, my e-mail account was hacked and apparently my e-mail address got blacklisted.  We ended up changing the send option through my gmail account, which worked, however, replies were being sent to gmail, which I wasn’t checking.  I was sending e-mails out days later and not getting responses and I was getting royally pissed off that people were not responding to my e-mails.  Finally, I discovered what happened and fixed it.

The weather over the next few days is going to be unsettled so we will probably put off moving the ShelterLogic Hay House. We are going to completely clean out the rabbit pen and replace the cattle panels with horse wire (2″ x 2″) to completely prevent digging.  Ideally, I want to get all of the Californian/New Zealand X does permanently installed in that pen.  I’ll have to put really small wire along the bottom of the pen to prevent babies from getting out.  Right now, there are two New Zealand does and a buck in there.  I’ll put up the buck a few days before the does are due to kindle.  Almost all of my remaining commercial cross does are on the same breeding schedule so I might be able to get them all in there with the buck for 25 days or so and then pull him out until the babies are 10 to 12 weeks old and then re-breed them.  We’ll see.  The rabbits in the tractor continue to do well.

Off to milk.

Until later …