Today started pretty early, though not on the farm.
Thursday mornings I head down to the high school for 730 to set up the breakfast club (run by the parent association), which provides bagels, juice, hot chocolate and tea, for a nominal cost (25 cents per item) – no student is turned away hungry. It’s not so much about feeding those who don’t have adequate food at home, though there are probably a few kids in that category, it’s more about feeding anyone who skipped breakfast for any reason – many of them have to be at their bus stop by 7am, for example. It’s a nice volunteer job, as I enjoy getting to know some of the kids. When the bell goes at 830, I start cleaning up, and usually get home by 915 or so, which is what happened today.
After my own breakfast and coffee – desperately needed, I might add, I got my tools out and got going.
I got the big gate finished (wire stapled on), and I got the little gate installed and working, so that I can now control access to runs #3 and #4. That felt good because those two gates are probably the only things from the grand plan we drew up last winter for a complete makeover on the hen house set up. I celebrated with a second cup of coffee and got the laundry out on the line, because at that point it was a lovely breezy, sunny day.
I then got going on cleaning out the lobby – there was a lot of wasted layer pellet all over, I think the wild birds who find ways of getting in spread it around. Unfortunately, the dropped feed was going mouldy, so I made sure to clean it all out. That all pretty much filled the little trailer, so after a very short lunch break, because I could see the sky starting to loom darker, I took the trailer down and spread the load on the field.
Next thing was to spread some straw in the lobby to give the pullets something to scratch in. I originally devised the lobby from a description of Lady Balfour’s method of chicken housing , as written of by John Seymour, but if you don’t stay on top of cleaning it out, the system is a total fail – and I totally failed about 5 years ago, and just didn’t bother. So the straw is my way of beginning again. It had the Henny scratch of approval.
Rain was imminent, so the laundry came in, and so did I, for a cup of tea.
The rain began just as I was returning from the field after delivering a bunch of transport crates to the field ready for tonight. And boy did it pour.
Our younger daughter (16) and I got started on loading the crates around 830pm. Catching layer birds is not like catching the phlegmatic and heavy broilers. On the one hand, that’s good – they’re not nearly as heavy. On the other hand, they’re much harder to catch, even in the dark. We had escapees (daughter had one escapee and went to chase it, leaving the lid of the crate open…) we had wily hiders, we had aggressive tooth and nail types, in short – all kinds. Hubby arrived home about halfway through proceedings and added some useful muscle to the proceedings, and by 930, we had all 73 birds in the hen house, much to the bemusement of Henny Penny, who never left her roost, but kept craning her neck down to check out the intruders.
So that’s how Day Four ended – my last day of moving field shelters this year! Three thousand cheers!
One more day…