Saturday, March 21, 2009

Springtime Chores at the Almost a Farm

Springtime has come at the Almost a Farm Homestead. The weather was great today and I needed or should I say was dying to get outside and get dirty. The chicken coop was getting really smelly so we decided to get the spring cleaning done. Yes, even chicken coops need a good spring cleaning. We took down all the plastic that was providing snow protection for the chickens because it was pretty well shredded by now. Next year we'll have to figure something else out to protect the coop a bit. The outside pen needed to be raked out and the chickens were not happy to be locked in the coop while we did this. They did a great job of composting the pine shavings that were in the pen area all year. They made some great mulch for us and all of it went right into the garden. The shavings of litter that were inside the coop then get moved out to the pen area so the chickens can then compost that. It was still too fresh to use in the garden.

Patrick was a big help this morning.

The nice clean pen area.

The wheelbarrow all loaded up and ready to be dumped in our garden. Look what a great job the chickens did composting this mulch for us.

Our Rooster Cotton. He was very indignant this morning and kept squacking at me. He's really the dumbest bird I've ever met. I usually wear blue pants but the other day had on a pair of red pants. The stupid bird was acting like a bull and kept charging my pants like I was a Matador with a red cape. The dang birds feathers also fall over his eyes so he can't see half of what he's doing. He keeps flicking his head trying to get the feathers out of his eyes and honestly it looks like he has a nervous twitch. I'm beginning to like this bird less and less.
I dug up some of the pen area and the girls were very happy to find some nice fat worms. Of course they see me coming with a shovel and run the other way like I'm going to beat them with it. Chipmunk is the only one who has figured it out. Shovel turning over soil = some nice fat worms. Except she's almost been decapitated several times as I dug the shovel into the ground. She won't move out of the way. Stupid chicken.

The flock waiting to check out the clean coop.

Headless chicken.

Just kidding. It was preening itself on the chicken chair.

See? Nice clean coop.
Now this is the stupid Rooster Cotton. He went into every nesting box, turning around a couple times, kept squating like he was going to lay an egg. He's either gender confused or is a good man in wanting to fluff up the nest boxes for his ladies.

More Rooster spinning. Stupid Chicken-er Rooster.
We also laid out plans today to expand the chicken coop into the other part of the barn to give the girls a little more space. With 12 new chickens coming at the end of May, we need a space to brood them and I don't want to keep the babes in the house this time. While it worked well keeping them in a dog crate last time the chicken dust was horrible. I also want the other chickens to be able to see them without pecking them to death.

The husband plowed out my garden today too. The chicken fertilizer will make my garden lush and green. There's nothing like freshly turned soil. This year I'm going to try squared plots instead of the rows I usually plant. I think it will make greater use of the space we have.
Tae even had his hoe out helping Dad. We had some nice ashes from our fireplace that were added to the garden too.

The weather was good and Morgan and the neighbor girls had an impromtu game of soccer. They won their soccer game this morning 9-3.Yeah!

The ice has finally melted off of our pond. As always, some of the rocks on the edge have heaved in the frost and snow and need to be placed back. Next weekend will get the pump and filter up and running and get it cleaned out. Once the water temperature hits 50 degrees we can start feeding the fish again. That's usually the beginning of April and it's only a light feeding to start as their digestive system is still in hibernation. Some of my Koi are over 18 inches long and just beautiful and we never know if they've survived until the water clears up. So far in three winters, we haven't lost any yet. During the summertime, they eat right out of my hand.
The pool that you see in the background is being opened next week. Much too cold to swim but it will give us a chance to put the solar cover on and hopefully have it warm up by June.

Free Friday for homeschool. Morgan and Tae had a lot of fun playing Monopoly. My little bugger was counting his own money by the end of the game. I'm not sure who won but Tae sure had a lot of real estate the last time I checked.


Kate in NJ said...

Great coop!
I am itching to learn more about
keeping you have a book title you like?
I have no real experience with farm animals.

homeschool mamma said... has a nice chick e-care book on their site
and backyard chicken forums have been my source.