It was a short night. I had to stay up late doing work on computer (my fault I procrastinated) and Annmarie woke me up at 0330 thinking she heard the chickens squawking. I was not really awake. She got out of bed and saw a raccoon out our back bedroom window. By the time I got the screen out of the window and she got the flashlight (moon was about 90% full, but not quite enough light to see through a scope) the coon was gone. I went back to bed while she did the armed perimeter sweep. We got a twofer!!! Two teenage raccoons in the trap! She left them alone and came back in the house. The rooster started to crow at 0430. It was hot. Needless to say I did not sleep well. So I dispatched the raccoons this morning. Hopefully, the weekend will see the last of the raccoons vanish.
Another one bites the dust! So what is worse than 1 raccoon? Two. What is worse than 2 raccoons? A family! The one Annmarie killed and the one I dusted this morning were both from this year. They are the size of a large cat. A very mean and nasty cat that hisses and spits at you. So based on my last experience with a raccoon family (I had to kill 2 adults and 6 teenagers) I have a ways to go still. I looked into an automatic door for the run so that the chickens would be let out of the yard automatically at sunrise and locked in automatically at sunset. It will cost $200. I could patch one together for about $60, but it would have exposed parts and subject to more external forces. We are still discussing the need for one, and do realize that any lapse in memory is going to mean more dead chickens.
I had two “fairy” eggs for breakfast. They are the first eggs to come out of chickens. They are typically very small and have no yoke. I added them into my scrambled eggs. This is good news. It means my other 11 chickens are going to start laying soon. The people at my work will be happy about that. I haven’t had very many eggs to take to work.
Well this is my catch up post. We have been very busy with other things and haven’t had time to make a post. So I am going to try and catch everything up. For starters I snagged another raccoon in the live trap on Monday night. I had to go to work very early Tuesday morning so Sarah and Annmarie had to finish it off and take it up to the bone yard to dump off the body. Of course I managed to lose one more hen in the last week. I haven’t done an official count in the last week, but I saw a new pile of feathers. I will do one next week. So I reset the trap and baited it with dog food tonight when I locked the chickens up. I have been looking at my new baby chicks and I think I ended up with more roosters than hens. The chickens are definitely of different sizes now. I have 7 huge chicks and 4 small ones, plus one normal small showgirl and one showgirl that is so small if I did not know any better I would say she is a brand new chick. Just tiny! I played with them for a little while today. We try and get them used to some handling. We haven’t had one as friendly as “Wally” our WalMart greeter that got eaten last year. Wally would jump up on the perch and want to be petted whenever you went into the coop. She got eaten by a raccoon.
The barn is dug out!! I am not sure of the total hours exactly, but it is somewhere just over 80 hours.
|Sarah’s sunset picture|
The main section of the barn is shoveled out. Hector is now digging out the lean to enclosure. It is even deeper than the barn. I went out and spent a couple of hours washing the inside of the barn. I had to buy some more hose to reach the barn. The barn floor and walls are covered in sheep shit and it is not easy to get off. The floor has almost an inch of crap glued to the wood. I am having a hard time getting it off. So I will borrow my parents pressure washer and give that a try. I will have to string a bunch of extensions cords together so I can power the washer.
The floor has 1 inch gaps between each board. I am sure this is due to shrinkage over the last 100 years. So I am definitely going to have to do some work on the floor to make it safe for the sheep. We have about three large holes in the floor. I figured I would get the crap washed out of the barn then I will crawl under the barn and shore up the foundation. It is nice and hot here so it won’t take long for the area under the barn to dry out. Nothing like crawling around on top of sheep poop on my belly and back. At least it will be dry. I had to strip outside before coming in the house tonight. I had wet poop all over me.
I did remember to lock the chickens up tonight. I had to replace a couple of the yard sprinklers so I can keep the grass green inside the chicken run. Letting them run around helps immensely. I planted grass, but the chickens ate most of the seed. I did get a little to sprout. We have decided that a door that opens automatically when the sun rises and shuts when it sets is a necessary option. I will need to order one and wire the coop for power. Just one more thing to do.