Monday, April 21, 2014

Hoop It Up

When we brought home our new baby chickens last month, we started looking at the hen house and pen area and decided it needed renovation. 

For one, we had torn down the old pen, which wasn't tall enough anyway. In the past, we've always dealt with escaping chickens. They would inevitably fly over at some point and end up as a chew toy in the dog yard, or running loose in the alley and the neighbors' yards. 

Completely free range chickens are the country. In town, not so much. People have this tendency to get upset when your chickens tear up their flower beds while searching for the tasty bugs under the soil. I can understand. If the chickens got into my perennial beds, I would be quite irritated. 

That always ended with out there in the middle of the night after the chickens had all settled down well on the roost. We'd juggle a flashlight and a pair of scissors while we plucked hens off the roost and trimmed their flight feathers. 

This didn't always work. We found out rather quickly that flight feathers is a relative term. Yes birds need them if they plan to fly high and long. However, they do not need them if all they plan to do is get themselves to the top of the fence so they can flutter down on the other side in the pursuit of trouble. 

So the next night would find us out there with flash light and scissors again, this time trimming tail feathers as well.

We soon discovered that determined hens don't need those either.

So as we looked at our old pen space and realized that this time, something had to be different. 

I looked at the stack of cattle panels we had leaning up (left over from our goat days) and remembered the hoop shelters we had built for the goats. 

Why not hoop a chicken pen? It seemed like a good idea.

We began our endeavor. Thankfully, we've built several hoop shelters in the past, so we have the whole setting up hoops down to an art. 

It didn't take us long. Poles pounded into the ground, panels pulled into a U shape and then hooked with bungie cords so they were easier to carry into place. The resulting hoops set between poles and then the bungie removed. A little adjustment once set to line things up and viola, we had the hoops up.

Now,  when you buy cattle panels, they are marked at 16 feet long. However, this is not always the case. Apparently the tape measures don't always work at the places that make these things. Some are shorter by almost a full foot. This made our hoops different heights and drove my OCD personality crazy. However, setting the hoops isn't necessarily easy work, so thankfully there are enough other people in my head to overrule the nitpicky one and tell her to just live with it.

After the hoops came the chicken wire. Lots of chicken wire and lots of wire zip ties. 

Our arms and hands were scraped and cut by endless chicken wire and my fingers ached from fighting with the zip ties, but we got it done.

We now have our hooped chicken pen that none of the hens can fly out of. No more trying to herd chickens home (they don't herd well), no more trimming feather in the dark, no more squawky, flappy, doggy chew toys, no more neighbors wondering why our chickens are loose again. 

No, its nothing special or fancy, but it will do the job of keeping the chickens where they are supposed to be. We plan on expanding it he rest of the way down the fence line as we can. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wow, it has certainly been a long time since I posted on this blog. A lot has happened. My writing took off and I spend large amounts of time working on that. 

We thought last summer we wanted to step away from the backyard livestock for a while and sold everything off, even the chickens. 

We realized what a mistake that was. Where we aren't going to get back into goats for the foreseeable future, we are getting chickens back and we're going to add in a couple of rabbits.

And of course, we will have our garden and our canning.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Not farm related but,

I published my first novel last week. I am so excited to finally have it published. Anyone who is interested in fantasy (or knows someone who is), check it out. Tell your friends, spread the word. :) 

It is available on both Kindle and on Nook. It will be available in paperback soon. If you decide to buy it, please leave an honest review when you are done. As an Indie Author, I count on word of mouth to get my book out there.

Embers at Galdrilene

“A ray of light, a stain of shadow, shall endure to breathe life and death into the future” 

As a Border Guard, it is Vaddoc’s duty to turn himself in and accept the death sentence with honor when he discovers he can use magic. But the ancient song of the dragons calls to him. Although pulled by duty and the honor of his family, the song proves irresistible. When he is offered sanctuary in Galdrilene, the old home of the dragons, he leaves duty and family behind to answer the call of the Song.

He is not alone in hearing the Dragon Song and he is joined on his journey by five others as the elements of magic are drawn together. It’s a journey that reveals everything they’ve been taught to believe about magic and dragons is wrong. With the last of the dragons and the world at stake, Vaddoc and his companions will do anything, even cross through the realm of the dead, to reach a future they never thought possible.

Link to Kindle (you can read sample chapters there)

Link to Nook

Oat Bucket Farm Website

Friday, March 30, 2012


I have been terribly remiss in my blogging duties, but things have been crazy busy this past week. 

Belly Bean (Bella) finally had her babies last week. She had twins, one buckling and one doeling. She kidded with no complications and is wonderful on the milk stand. Her udder came in beautiful and she is producing well for a first freshener.

We also have a little flock of twelve babies chickens. A mixture of Production Reds, Ameraucana and Lavender Ameraucana. 

With nice weather and the all of the babies, we've spent a lot of time outside. But, as my mother reminded me, I really needed to blog so any followers don't think that Bella is still laying around like an orca.

Introducing, Oat Bucket Farm Just A Kiss (Bella's registered name is CrossRoads End Lady Antebellum)

And her brother Buddy (my youngest thinks Buddy is his goat)

And of course, the new baby chickens in their rabbit hutch turned chicken brooder. 

Oat Bucket Farm Website

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Belly Bean Getting Bigger

Belly Bean (Crossroads End Lady Antebellum) is really getting big and she still has three weeks to go. I'm starting to wonder how many she has in there. And of course, we have started worrying about every little thing. Not because she is acting off or anything like that, but because...well what can I say, we love her and want everything to go perfect with her. 

Besides, worrying about how she is carrying her tail, and worrying about her hopping on and off the milkstand for grain (she won't be starting this evening), and worrying whether she is eating enough (or too much) and everything else, gives us something to do while we wait for the day the kids arrive. Of course, kids being born here is nothing new, but every year, we just can't help ourselves. 

We worry, and we stare at goat butts and udders.

And of course there are pics of the expectant

The ever widening, Belly Bean.

Oat Bucket Farm Website

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bread Day

The house is so warm and cozy and it smells delicious in here. It was really cold and windy today, but that's okay. Today was the day to make bread.

Rye bread on the left, multi-grain whole wheat bread on the right, and cinnamon-raisin bread in the back.

Close up of the raisin bread

We also put a couple of bird feeders up outside the kitchen window. We've enjoyed watching the little visitors show up. 

Sorry for the quality of the bird feeder pics. My camera doesn't like looking through the screen on the window.

Oat Bucket Farm Website