Category Archives: Animals

Chick flip over brooding chick lessons with heat lamps

I feel terrible that 11 chicks died the first night we got Cornish rock chicks.  I believe I over heated the chicks by using a 250 watt heat lamp bulb.  We ended up with a 75 watt house bulb which can still hear the area up under it to 100 if it is low enough.  I aim for 95 degrees for the first week.   I knew I should have put a thermometer in the brooder to begin with.  The next morning 5 were dead and others looked and ended up dying.  We saved one and kept others alive with the follow

ing techniques.

We noticed the chicks would start a death run throw their heads back, stretch out and die. If we grabbed then while they did this we would then hold them, massage them a bit while blowing  air at their beaks.  This kept them alive for quite a while as in over 30  minutes in some cases.  The next challenge was to keep them from doing this again and dying.

We were successful in keeping one chick alive who did this several times.  We used a syringe to give the chicks electrolyte infused water while we were holding them.  Dropping a drip on their beaks.  The healthier chicks kept drinking this water once we gave it to them.  A sign they were hot a dehydrated.  Another sign they were hot is they were spread out.

The final step we took with the chick that lived was to get her to start eating food.  I set the chick down next to the feeder and moved the feed around with my finger for several minutes until the chick decided to eat.  At that point she stayed calm and has lived for another day.

We started with 15 chicks which was well less than originally planned.  This enabled me to use a smaller brooder than originally planned which in combination with the 250 watt heat bulb that TSC  uses led me to assuming I should use the same bulb.  I promise to not make assumptions again.  I knew about using a thermometer but I didn’t. A bigger broder would have enabled the chicks to get away from the heat.

Hopefully these techniques will help you save some birds that are to hot or are dying of what I think is refered to as chick flip over death.

I plan to switch the heat source over to bulbs that produce red light or the heat stones that plug into bulb sockets sold for reptiles.

This photo was evidence to me that the birds were already to hot.

A photo of baby chicks that are to hot
A photo of baby chicks that are to hot
Hay feed in the pasture where we want to add more ground cover/litter.

Cow manure and compost for home and for the pasture

The cows are great at producing manure. I remembered to bring some home for some new beds we are going to put in this spring.  I used to scoop a lot of horse manure growing up since we had 21 horses.  I’m now scooping up after the cows.  Some of it I’m palcing on the Swales and others in piles for composting in the spring.  I think the asparagus is going to benefit as well.  asparagus likes a soil food web with extra bacteria so the manure should help there.

I’m now giving the cows bales of hay out in the pasture in different areas each time so as the part they don’t eat is providing ground cover.  I’m glad I heard Greg Judy recommend this.  He said they unrolled all their hay at once.  I’ve not been that brave but I did put four or five bales out this week.

As part of my friendship practice I fed the cows alfalfa from my hand and fed them some organic feed treat.

Cow manure for compost from the mini herefords at RegenFarms.com
Cow manure for compost from the mini herefords at RegenFarms.com.
Hay feed in the pasture where we want to add more ground cover/litter.
Hay feed in the pasture where we want to add more ground cover/litter.

 

The cows are back and I have a mess of wires

The cows decided to go exploring last week.  They were fine until I decided to come back and check the fence before leaving for the day.  I must of surprised them because they took off like I was the big bad wolf trying to eat them.  They jumped the electric fence, ran through a barbed wire fence and then when the one came back she ran about half a mile away.  Through the gate I left open, DOH.  After two hours of trying to get her back I have up since I was heading out of town.


Aluminum and tape mess
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When I came back my neighbor said the smaller heifer made her way to his pasture with his cows but he had not seen the other one.   He suggested I head south and look since that is where his cows once went. I found her in a pasture to the south with two other cows.  Then my neighbor helped me get her all the way back to his pasture.  He was in his truck and after a few minutes I was on foot crossing the creek trying to convince her to head north.  Finally with food to bribe her we got here to the his pasture with the other cows.  The cows then started working on a pecking order.

The next day I had to take down some wire and tape to put up a temporary fence to get them back to Regen Farms.  In the process I created a huge mess of wires.  I will never take down fence again without a handheld reel to keep it contained.

 

Cows in a new mob grazing paddock

Cows were excited for a new area

Cows in a new mob grazing paddock
Cows in a new mob grazing paddock
Hay rack for cows
Hay rack for cowsr

Cows were excited for a new area.  They ran back and forth once they crossed the old fence line.  Then they jumped the fence and ran around for a while.  I was happy they came back around and walked in rather than having me chase them.  I also made a test hay holder since they are wasting a lot of hay on the ground in their shed.

 
A few days later the cows got out of the electric fence and the barb wire fence that surrounds the 20 acres. Lucky I found them when I drove up just after dusk. They followed me for a bit. Then I needed some food to get them the rest of the way back in. I wonder if a short in the electic fence near the water trough scared them enough to keep them from getting to the water andthus they felt it necessary to jump the fence. The electric fence and barbed wire fence are now fixed.

 

Polycarbonate panel on chicken coop for solar heat gain

Chicken coop gets Polycarbonate panel for solar heat gain

The orange PVC panel on the south side was replaced with a polycarbonate twin wall panel. The thought is this will all light in during the day to heat the ground. Also letting more light in which can help the chickens produce more eggs. After I seal the edges the panel should have a better R value than the PVC panel it replaced. I might cover the polycarbonate panel with the PVC panel in the summer time to help cool the coop.

I found the panels at homedepot. I was looking for a clear PVC panel when I found these. Not ever homedepot carries PVC or polycarbonate panels. I was told at the store that didn’t have them that they didn’t carry them because they were not approved for roofs in that area.

Polycarbonate panel on chicken coop for solar heat gain
Polycarbonate panel on chicken coop for solar heat gain

Speaking of eggs we are up to 7 eggs a day from the 9 chickens. They molted this past month and have come back strong. I think putting a heat lamp in the coop that comes on when the temperature approaches freezing is helping with they production. It is keeping them warm and providing some light.

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And a view from the inside. Even thought it is dusk the panel is letting in good light.

A view of the polycarbonate panel from inside the coop at dusk
A view of the polycarbonate panel from inside the coop at dusk
Sea minerals for the cows

We are offering the cows sea minerals

Lets see if the cows would like some sea minerals.  I read that many cows and other animals like sea minerals.  Some people mix it in the water for animals like chickens.  Once I get a free choice feeder made the cows will have a choice of over 14 minerals.

Minerals can help the cows and should benefit the life in the soil which can then benefit the plants via the soul food web.

Sea minerals for the cows
Sea minerals for the cows
Mini Herefords on eastern plains of Colorado

Mini Herefords are here and the bee hive was destroyed

Mini Herefords are here and the bee hive was destroyed.  Great morning getting the two Herefords out and on the property. The plan is to do mob grazing on the micro scale with these two girls. They are 7 and 11 months old. The thought is they can help the soil an soil life a lot. Oh and it looks like they will eat some tree leaves which we usually have a lot of :)

Mini Herefords on eastern plains of Colorado
Mini Herefords on eastern plains of Colorado
Stolen chicken feed found

Chicken food thief

Update 2nd week of December, I caught and moved him out of the coop, about 1/2 a mile away. He kept hiding the chicken feed.

Chicken feed thieving mouse
This is the mouse who was hiding all the chicken feed and living in the chicken coop.

Something is taking the chicken food and storing it in the walls of the chicken coop. I noticed some near a window and then discovered several cups worth of food in about a one inch gap in the walls. It also looked like the critter wanted to make a nest in the food box. There were sticks feathers and poop all over it. Yesterday I discovered sticks, leaves, feathers and an old bagel in a slit between the walls.

Stolen chicken feed found
Stolen chicken feed found
Critter packing materials chicken food thief
Critter packing materials chicken food thief

 

an look who I found in the coop.

Mouse stealing chicken food
Mouse stealing chicken food
Chicken molting and losing feathers

Chicken molting and losing feathers

Chicken molting is losing feathers at about 16 to 18 months of age or a multiple of that. It is obvious when your chickens are going through a molt because many of their feathers fall out and the egg production stops. The chickens look really bad when their neck feathers fall out.  She is missing neck and tail feathers.  It will be interesting to see how much the egg production decreased after this molt.  A good reason to have different age chickens is to always have some producing eggs.

Chicken molting and losing feathers
Chicken molting and losing feathers