February has been a very busy month. This long winter filled with snowy days has it’s advantages – being stuck inside without having to run the “school/activity shuttle” has provided uninterupted time to work on prepping the homestead for the upcoming season. Here is what we worked on and learned in February 2014:
Around The Homestead
– Learned to grow fodder – I’m not sure how I stumbled on this method, but I was hooked pretty quickly. The thought that I could give my chickens more nutrients, less cost and would keep them happy this winter – woo hoo! Click links below for more information.
– Shoveled lots of snow – Lots and lots and lots of snow. We had to dig a path around the house to allow for the melting snow to move to the proper drains (ya know, so it doesn’t end up in our basement.) At least and kids and dog are enjoying the snow 🙂
– Cooking From Scratch– Before we grow our own grains and attempt to process it ourselves, I thought it would be a good idea to make sure I enjoyed (and coud successfully pull off) cooking food from scratch. Bread, pasta, baked goods, etc. Turns out, I DO like it! Click here to visit some recipes I enjoy!
-Wry Neck & Crop Issues – When our Silkie got sick this month, I immediately scoured the internet looking for ways to help her get better (without spending a fortune to save a $10 chicken). At first we thought she had “Impacted Crop”. That was something I never heard of before, but upon further investigation we found it was not her crop that was inpacted, but rather her neck that was twisted. “Wry Neck” is common in silkies – I had no idea. “Fluffster” was at the bottom of the pecking order and she was being starved out but the other hens. I believe that becuase she wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed, she then developed Wry Neck as a result of vitamin difficiency. We attempted treatment and she was doing better for about 5 days, but then I believe she aspirated after a feeding becuase once I put her down, she fell over and died quickly. It was a sad moment for the kids and I. We tried to nurse the chicken back to health and ultimately failed. But, that’s farm life and lessons were learned. I’m posting the pics to give you an idea of what “Wry Neck” looks like. See the links below to learn more about “Wry Neck” and “Impacted Crop.”
-Starling Invasion – This winter has been awful and the wild birds are looking for food wherever they can get in. Unfortunately a flock of Starlings (which come in droves of 50 – 100 birds) decided to feast on our chicken feed and attack our hens. Our chickens are fenced in, but they are not fully inclosed. The Starlings eat just about anything, including eggs! We attempted to put netting over the coop – the Starlings got in. We put up shiny bird reppellers – the Starlings could care less. After much research, we learned that Starlings are indeed invasive and the only was to get rid of them is to kill them. So….. I learned to use a pellet gun and fight the Startling fight almost daily. Click the link below to learn about these awful birds.
-Basement Chickens – That’s right, our chickens moved into our basment for about 2 weeks. The weather got so bad the chickens would not leave the coop and turned to picking each other bare (not to mention the Starling situation). We seperated them into two groups, ran an air purifier (which worked AMAZING) and put them back outside once the weather got a bit warmer (and the Starlings seemed to have moved on). On a positive note, I didn’t have to trudge through the snow various times of the day to care for “the girls.”
Kids & Organizing
– Pajama Themed Birthday Party – My daughter turned 6 and she wanted a “Pajama Party” – without the sleepover part. Guests came in PJs and we had a great time playing “Pass the Stuffed Animal”, “Pin The Pillow On The Sleeping Bag”, “Musical Pillows” and “Freeze Dance.” We decorated pillow cases with fabric markers and after eating pizza and sundaes, we ended the night watching a movie while eating popcorn.
– Homestead Log Book – In an attempt to get more organized and on top of my chores, I created a binder to hold all of my charts and calendars. I’ve never been one to keep all organizing charts on the computer – I enjoy have paper copies (sorry trees) that I can write on and cross off. Here are a few of my charts: