Truth.

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."

Ariel Durant

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Chicken feed.



Even in summer, I have to feed the chickens. They can forage in the woods, so I don't feed them as much as I do in winter, when they are completely dependent on the cracked corn and scratch they get from the barn.



I have started buying forty pound sacks because the fifty pound sacks are getting hard for me to lift. Feed is like cement. It shifts on you, and it's like lifting a dead body. Harder than it sounds.

I keep a lot of animal feed stored in the barn, and I try hard to keep the supply levels up.

Once, years ago when I didn't store as much as I do now, we had an ice storm. It was almost three weeks before I could get a vehicle up to the house because the sun never shines on the jeep trail in winter. I had to park the truck down on the hard surface road. When I ran out of chicken feed, I had to haul it from the truck, to the old forest service road, then up the dirt county road, then up the jeep trail, on a sled. I could do that when I was in my thirties. I doubt I could do it now.

Cracked corn runs about eight dollars a bag here.  Scratch feeds run about $12.00 a sack. I don't buy a lot of that. I don't buy laying mash, or pellets, or any of those.



I get eggs from my chickens, but the dogs eat more of them than I do.

After this summer, I have about 75 chickens, more than I need. They are free range, so they aren't much of a bother.

If events dictate it, I'll eat the chickens. I have plenty of roosters I could spare. When I was a kid I had to help my mom butcher chickens. I didn't like it then, and I don't want to do it now, but I could if I had to.

For the most part, I have chickens because my wife likes them. She likes to feed them and she likes to watch them foraging in the woods while she sits on the porch swing.

I don't mind them. They keep the area around the buildings free of weeds , they're a good alarm system, and they eat snakes.



With winter just a couple of months away,  there are things I need to start doing. I have to put the heater back down in the pump house soon.  Then I'll put bales of hay around and on top of the pump house, and it won't freeze up in sub zero weather.


This year, we've decided to bring the dogs inside the main house during the winter.  Tuggy is too old to survive another cold winter outdoors, even with the straw bale dog house. 

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They can go out for awhile to roust around during the day, but at night when it's so cold that pine trees limbs are cracking out in the woods, they will have to stay in the house. We will put a rug for them by the hearth.




Time to get ready for winter. But we still have some summer like weather ahead of us. The drought here is getting serious now, and I'm hoping we will get some rain as October comes in .  By the end of November we will be having snow, if this is a normal year.  Supposed to be lots of snow and ice this winter, but we can just fort up on the mountain top and ride it out if need be.






Some Signs of the Times:




























26 comments:

  1. Yeah, feeding critters is a never-ending job, and you HAVE chosen a rather remote site. I trust you have plenty of mouse-proof storage.

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    1. I have a barn with open air space and environmentally controlled space. The barn cats keep the mice from being a problem. I lost some cats this summer, to causes unknown, but we had two litters and they will replace those that disappeared.

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  2. Harry, I had that winter feeling just the other night. The feeling you get when you can just see the snow coming down when you just stare at something after a few minutes.

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    1. I think most of us are tired out, and ready for a change. Winter is much more peaceful than summer, and since you can't work outside a lot of the time, you can relax without feeling guilty.

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  3. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    I have neighbors that have chickens. I thought about getting a couple of goats, small hogs or maybe rabbits. I don't know really. What I really want is a cattle ranch like my grandfather. I know people that are getting into sheep but my grandfather would make fun of sheep and sheep herders endlessly. The age old competition between sheep and cattle ranchers. My great grandfather worked the 'Goodnight Loving cattle trail' in New Mexico in the 1970's. Now that would have been the time to live, the time where real men tamed the west.

    'Dogs in the house. Now that's a great idea. I really like old dogs. Old dogs have their priorities strait like old people. They just want a comfortable spot in front of the fire and less mayhem to worry about. The human race could learn a lot from old dogs. We would live longer, have fewer wars and no one would be killing themselves or killing others over allah, oil or land. Dogs don't behave like that and in many respects I think dogs are higher on the evolutionary chain than many humans.

    I also have been getting ready for winter, albeit winter wont be here for quiet some time yet. We are supposed to have a colder, wetter winter. I have been working on some things outside the house so I can stay indoors during the cold, wet snaps.

    Garden carts! Harry for carrying things around your property. I would recommend getting an aluminum garden cart from an outfit in Oregon. I cant remember the name of the outfit. I gotta look it up. I have one of their all aluminum, welded garden carts that retails for about $300 but it found it in brand new condition on craigslist for $120. That's one of my best craigslist finds.
    Those garden carts are foldable and collapseable with air inflated tires and a few other nifty add on's.


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    1. I have a garden cart, not as nice as the one you described, it's made of plywood, and has big wheels that are easy to pull around the place. We use it for moving mulch and things like that. Carts don't work so hot in the winter because the snow can be a couple of feet deep or more, and the bottom of it is all melt that has frozen again over night. I have two good sleds, one an old timey wooden and steel , and the other plastic but they both have tow rope hookups.

      I know my dogs will not be all that happy inside, but they are both getting on and Tuggy is about 14 now, her muzzle has gone completely gray. I will get them a good bath, make sure they have no fleas, and bring them inside before the first frost. I will take them into town to the pet spa for their baths, as I usually bath them in a big zinc galvanized tub, but I don't bath them when it is cold.

      I had goats, it was a real pain in the rear. They ate up all the flowers, they ate on the logs that the house and outbuildings are built of. They ate on the sides of the truck. I had to give them to a guy who ran a petting zoo. I really liked the goats, but it just wasn't on. If I want to eat ham, I can shoot wild hogs here. They come down into the meadow all the time.

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  4. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    I found those garden carts.

    The 'Foldit' garden carts by Timke. They are on amazon for $225. I swear up and down on those garden carts. Two big thumbs up!

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    1. If my wooden cart wears out, or I can't get tires for it when these go, I'll sure take a look at these. My cart is 32 years old, it's seen better days, but it still works for the moment.

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  5. Harry,

    How do your chickens like the cracked corn? I don't see it for sale around here. I haven't considered the scratch grains, I figure i'm spending enough already with the regular pellet feed.

    I finally trapped the skunk that was getting into the hen house this week. The chickens woke me up early in panic mode. I went out there with the .22 and dispatched it. Luckily nobody was sprayed. Never a dull moment with the chickens!

    Great story you told regarding the "cholos". If they had rear-ended my truck I don't know what I could be capable of. Most surprising to me was that they laughed at you while the 1911 was drawn. They had to be high if that pistol didn't put the fear of God in 'em. --Troy

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    1. My chickens do really well on cracked corn, and it's cheaper by far than the others. You can get cracked corn here at any feed store. I used to buy it in big burlap sacks but they are too heavy now, so I buy the 40 pound paper sacks of it.

      I've lost chickens to predators, but not many. Ice storms are the biggest chicken killer I have to worry about.

      These Hispanic gangs are unpredictable and dangerous. The bunch that started bumping me were stoned out of their minds, but I think the truth of the matter is that even if they hadn't been, they wouldn't have been very concerned. They have a reputation for unreasoning violence, and it could have gone either way. Maybe they didn't think I'd use the gun but if that's what it was they were far off the mark. People like that are so unpredictable, and that's one reason everyone is afraid of them. I once saw a bunch of Latin Kings driving a brand new black commercial "Hum V" down the middle of a four lane road in Gainesville, pushing everybody off to the side lanes. Windows rolled down, bandanas around their heads and red clothes on their wrists. A fellow at a gas station told me that was how they "challenged' the local black gang that supposedly "owned" that part of town. There aren't any black gangs in Gainesville now at all, the Latin Kings eradicated them. I never go over there if I can help it anymore, though before all this got started in 1988 I used to go there frequently and my son was born in the hospital there.

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    2. We feed the scratch and cracked corn and a finer chopped pig ration our feed mill makes. It is quite affordable and Non GMO. We feed no pellet feed at all, the chickens are doing well on that combination. The grains are just snacks for the summer, we will feed more when the grass dies off.

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    3. Mine forage in summer as well. They have the woods and the meadow to scrounge around in. I can't understand how I am overrun with huge wild turkeys, who get no feed, but my chickens can't feed themselves.

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  6. Harry I have 23 yard chickens I started spring with 6. Hawks got 30+ chicks 17 have lived. Best thing about them no ticks around here, worst thing chicken shit on the porch. I plan on penning 9 of them end of October.

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    1. I have to watch where I park my vehicles or I come out and find them covered with white splotches in the morning. The chickens roost in the trees and you don't want to be under them. I have that problem with them coming up on the porch and dumping on it. Nothing like walking outside in the morning and stepping barefooted into a pile of steaming chicken crap to wake you up.

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  7. Replies
    1. Rambling on. I guess it's old age. I spent most of the morning looking for a propane bill that I wrote a check for, put in an envelope, and put a stamp on. Then I set it down to be mailed today and now I can't find it to save my life.

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  8. Old dogs and old women like me have things in common. We like a warm comfy spot to nap. We like our lives peaceful. And we don't go outdoors in the middle of winter if we can help it.

    I don't mind winter so much now that I don't have a need to start a car and go to work. It is the time of year when the food preservation activities slow down some and I can spend time doing other things. Inside. Where it is warm. :)

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    1. I like winter as well, and for the same reasons. It's when I do the vast majority of my reloading. I can work out in the shop and be quite comfortable even if it's below zero outside.

      I have to be careful though, since a slip and fall is a lot harder to recover from now than it was years ago. Once my dogs came running down off the mountain and crashed right into me because there was ice and they couldn't stop. They knocked me down and broke two ribs, the same ones I'd broken before by falling off a ladder.

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  9. I had not checked the almanac but the signs...animals, plants, etc...show it may be a bad one.

    I never liked butchering either so I volunteered for the other unsavory tasks like gutting and cleaning the gizzards. We are down to one rooster so I guess if we get in a bind we'll eat cats. My sister had scads of those!

    The name of a flower matters not only the pleasure you get from them and also some medicinal uses.

    Have a blessed.

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    1. I am not sure where the farmers almanac comes up with the data it uses, but I saw a segment on one of the news programs years ago that said they were usually right. I am going off what others have told me as I don't buy it anymore, it has gotten to be hard to find up here and I don't go to the bookstores in Chattanooga anymore.


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  10. You do have a lot of chickens! We have around 25 now I think, five being roosters. We have about 125 lbs of processed chicken (halved) in the freezer in vacuum sealed bags. I thought I would hate cleaning them but since we did it with neighbors, it went fast and easy. I hate to think of winter approaching but all the signs are there.

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    1. It's good to have all that stored away. I buy a lot of canned chicken, and I put it in soup or on rice or potatoes. I save the cans and use them for candle holders, or I make candles right in the cans with wax I have saved.

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  11. Harry....Your snow photos spooked me! Then I read the post. We do not "like" butchering our chickens but we do like the meat, and eating so we enjoy them alive knowing where they will end up. Feeding you dogs eggs must be why they look so shiny and healthy! Thank you for the political cartoons....man we are in so much trouble as a country! Keep safe and well!

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    1. I was thinking about the onset of winter and what all I needed to do to be ready. I have everything about squared away at this point. The pictures are from last winter.

      The dogs eat all the eggs they want as they find the nests. But they are burned out on eggs right now and so lots of clutches hatched out that I didn't really need.

      I get those cartoons from a friend who sends them. They make a point and are humorous at the same time.

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  12. Sounds like you've got your plans ready. I had a dream a couple of weeks ago that we would have an epic hard winter this year. It'll be interesting to see if that happens (I sure hope not!)

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  13. My wife had a similar dream. When I was younger I fancied myself a great rationalist and derided the idea that dreams could intersect with reality. But after traveling the world, and living in these mountains for so long, I don't do so anymore. Some of the worst experiences of my life were preceded by dreams or signs.

    I have done what I can do. Most of the work needed to get ready for a hard winter is done. I think I may build a chicken coop to keep the flock out of the ice, I've lost more chickens to ice storms than to any other factors combined.

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