The Productive Backyard

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indy
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby indy » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:52 pm

Part of our work around here has been to get the outdoors back in decent shape and since DH has retired officially he has been working on projects. We have planted four rosebushes in the front but the biggest change was in the back where our orange and apricot tree had died years ago we now have a new apricot and a grapefruit tree. I can't wait to taste the two grapefruit which are ripening on the tree at the moment. Across from those in a space which has been empty the entire time we lived here -- there are three varieties of blueberry bushes specifically geared to our So California area -- and boy did we enjoy the berries from them this year.
Doom and gloom.

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Harriet
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Harriet » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:35 am

That is a tasty variety of fruit available for you right in your own yard, indy, with different seasons. Healthy, healthy. How large do blueberry bushes grow - there are not grown in this area at all. I think Nancy up north of you but on the same coast enjoys blueberry picking, but I'd imagine they are a way different variety. I'm sorry I somehow missed seeing your post until now!

Here is a photo I'm late posting, the chicks at about 6 weeks. Alice (or one of her light colored Buff sisters?), looks so much neater than the others since all her feathers are the same. Dot (or one of the Black Australorps), out in front, is still partly light colored at head and neck, as is the New Hampshire Red behind Alice, so they look turkey-like as their feathers grow in. At this point they were still enjoying their first pen, a little "tractor" or "ark" that was small enough to move easily, so every few days the grass was new.
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Harriet
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Harriet » Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:19 pm

It's December and the "chicks" are only 3 weeks away from maturity. Here are the quarters HRH and I created for them - this little chicken house is 15 to 18 years old, and I had designed it myself (with eye to thrift), helped to build it, and roofed it by myself. It was all white, had a smaller window, shingled roof. It had none of the structural 1x4s that you now see painted white. The original chicken door was at the rear, which HRH thought was unsafe.

HenhouseBarnDec08.JPG


HRH lifted it higher off the ground with the tractor (the orange thing showing in the background). We braced it structurally, put down a second layer of flooring, covered the old chicken door, put on a new metal roof to match our house and storage barn, and painted red to match the barn. He built a predator-unfriendly, covered ramp (also metal-roofed, but not matching) that is on view from the house, and made a sliding door that opens from the top between house and ramp. Looking at the photo I realize that we need a better set of steps to the people door.

ChickenRampDec08.JPG


The run he decided on will never be as pretty as what I had envisioned, but it is nearly predator-proof. Near the ramp he put in a swinging gate that allows us to direct the chickens to either the front 20' by 6' run or to the rear 20' by 10' run or both. He calls them the south pasture and the north pasture. They are completely covered. The photo of the runs is more or less from my kitchen steps, the one that shows the barn is taken from the driveway direction.

ChickenRunsDec08.JPG


I got 8 out of 9 hens in this photo and could have waited all day to get 9 in one - that is hard! But as you can see they are nearly grown and look so fat and sassy. We expect eggs in January and are already feeding laying crumbles (mash).


ChickensDec08.JPG
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Harmony
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Harmony » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:28 pm

Goodness I enjoyed your chicken stories / pictures. You actually have a black one? Pullet eggs are so good, the very first ones they lay, with their yolks so firm and yellow. Boy I wish I could have a few chickens here. You don't have any of those chickens that lay the green eggs? My childhood memories of chickens (in books, I guess) are the famous Rhode Island Reds, but yours are very handsome!

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Harriet
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Harriet » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:13 am

We have 3 Blacks, 3 Reds and 3 Buffs - the other blacks are kind of hidden in this photo. Very easy to count at a glance! Actually, the three red hens are New Hampshire Reds, so in a way we do have Rhode Island Reds, Harmony. The NH Reds were bred by farmers in that state long ago from only the earliest-maturing and best egg-laying RI Reds. Along the way their feathering became a little different - more defined difference between body feathers and neck feathers, but still red.

One of the NH Reds has been the slowest maturing and she had me worried, but she has her tail feathers now and is looking good.

HRH mistakenly picked up the wrong bag at the feed store and came home with feed for broiler house chickens (like, to butcher) instead of laying hens this time, and I hated to do it but I had to ask him to take it back and exchange. They need enough calcium to make strong eggshells, and he buys such big bags, so it would have lasted a long time. It's the difference between 1.5 percent calcium and 4.5 percent, so I knew when I read the labels I just couldn't stand it. Poor dh, lugging back and forth.

They love him, because he comes with treats - rinds, cores, etc. Things they're not even interested in, really, (apple, for instance, is not a favorite), they will eat if he holds it in his hand. When he drives in in the afternoon, they rush to see him.
If you don't believe in miracles, you're not being realistic.

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Harmony
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Harmony » Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:15 pm

Harriet, we gave our laying chickens a trough of oyster shells for extra calcium. Their shells were generally very strong. We kept about 25 laying chickens, but once we got 100 chicks, split those with a friend until the friend couldn't afford the feed and gave them back! These were for eatin'. Our country friends came and butchered for us and I'll never forget the sight. DD was about 4 or 5 at the time and marched up the hill and looked into the bag of chicken heads. I'm surprised she eats any chicken these days!

A neighbor boy gave us his retired show chicken to keep (he wasn't showing any more) and this bird was so spoiled. He would puff out his feathers and act like king of the coup and wanted petted when we'd come in!

Can you tell I used to live in the country?

Indiana

Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Indiana » Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:54 am

Harriet a great home for your hens. They aren't chicks anymore.

Do you leave the ramp open while they are in their run so they can go in if frightened or it rains?

I enjoyed the stories Harriet and Harmony.

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Nancy
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Nancy » Fri May 08, 2009 12:55 am

I called a friend this week she said she still has her chickens
four but gets eggs for them from these hens!

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Harmony
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Harmony » Sat May 30, 2009 3:10 pm

Boy, I wish we could have a few hens out here. Our Code Dept. would have a hayday fining us for that!

We did a bunch of work over at the old house. DH went over to trim the two oak trees that are on either side of our driveway. The branches were beginning to touch our cars when we drove in.

I went over to help and he had branches lopped off everywhere. I drove the dump truck around with him on the rack on top using the chain saw to cut branches. Then we loaded them all up, crushing them down as much as possible, tieing them down and we took everything to the landfill/recycle place. It was harder unloading than loading, but we really filled up a huge trailer-type bin.

When we came back, we cut dead wood off 2 big hybiscus bushes (they got freeze damaged). They are growing up from the roots so there is a nice mound of green left. Then we lopped off the big tall spike with a few green leaves on top of the bird of paradise. DH cut that spike in 3's and I brought the one home that had the couple leaves growing out the top and put it in a 5-gallon bucket of water to see if it would root for us over here.

Whew! That was a lot of work. I also crawled around and pulled massive patches of creeping charlie and some other type of weeds threatening to take over the lawn. DH is cutting the grass now and running over the weeds to cut them up.

At least the house looks trimmed and neat now, and cared for. If only we could get it sold.

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Nancy
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Re: The Productive Backyard

Postby Nancy » Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:33 pm

I saw on a gardening show P. Allen Smith
had a chicken house on wheels!
It was neat!


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