It felt very odd this morning, not heading out to the field to move shelters. I was done chores in about 5 minutes – top up waters, check feeders, and that was about it.
There are 73 birds in that hen house, way too many. At least 20 have to be sold ASAP. That’s up to my older daughter, as 25 of these birds are really hers – she changed her mind mid-summer about having her own layer flock so decided to sell them as point of lays. Since they are due to lay at the end of November, I’d say we’ve reached that point.
After chores, I drove the elder daughter to university (this is the last week of that; toes are pretty much healed), and got back in time for coffee and conversation up at Saanichton Farm around 10 am which was a nice treat after a week of keeping my nose to the grindstone. It was a gathering of some interesting folk and our topics ranged from family history to immigrant labour to sustainable agriculture.
An hour later, with my coffee needs taken care of, I loaded up the car with empty feed sacks and empty paint cans and headed up the the recycling area at the landfill, and hit the feed store on my home. After lunch I drained and stored all the hoses I’d been using to deliver water out to the field (5 hoses), tidied up the field shelters (lids and waters were spread all around the field, where we’d left them in the dark last night).
I was just heading out the veg garden with wheelbarrow and fork when hubby came out and offered to help – so the potatoes were dug up in double quick time. He went and spread them on the rack in the barn to dry, while I took the kale and weeds we’d acquired while digging over to the chickens to distract them from fighting over the pecking order.
We went back to the garden and between the two of us had the garlic bed dug, weeded and ready for planting in about an hour. It is amazing how pleasant such work can be with company. It almost didn’t feel like work. Of course, it’s not a very big garlic bed :). We got about 50 garlic cloves planted, which is not quite as much as I wanted to plant, but all that I had allowed space for. If I get a chance, I will maybe plant another dozen somewhere else.
By 630 pm it was dark enough to shut the chickens in for the night. Because the hen house is new for them, I keep them confined to the house and lobby for a couple of days so that they identify it as their sleeping place. With the pecking order issues of combining the flocks from two field shelters, half the birds were out in the lobby and did not want to go in. The good news is that most of them seem to be roosting. Henny seems to be holding her own in the pecking order battles – no one seemed to be picking on her, and I saw her attack a rooster and take a chunk of neck feathers from him. She did give me a reproachful look this afternoon, when I was tossing some weeds in for them.
Astute readers will notice that I have not mentioned the nest boxes that I was going to assemble. That’s because I haven’t done it. I decided with so many birds in there and laying not happening for another month that we needed the floor space more than the nest boxes. But I am going to get those started this week, so that we can install them when the 20 birds are gone.
Everything else got done, with a little help from family. That feels pretty awesome.
I’ve learned a lot from this race, which I’ll delve into next post. Back to work tomorrow, which will be quite a change of pace after this week. I’m ready for it.