Sunday Homestead Update

Being stuck at home when you already spend the majority of your time at home and have a homestead doesn’t really change much in your lifestyle.  There is an endless to-do list and always something to work on to keep ourselves busy.  It actually means we have more time to spend on those things.  I really feel for all those who are being significantly negatively effected by all this.  Hang in there!

Garden

We had a few warm days this week in which we continued work on the new garden fencing.  All the fencing is up except the gate, and we have about 3/4 of the chicken wire up and buried around the entire fence.  Because the fence is made of a plastic netting material, we have to attach chicken wire to the bottom 2-feet of the fence so bunnies can’t chew in, and then the chicken wire also gets buried for about a foot out so they can’t dig in.  I would include a picture, but at the end of the week we got a nice big dumping of wet spring snow on us, so I can’t take a picture because it is buried in snow.

Cleaning, Organizing, Mending, Sewing, etc…

While the snow has been flying, we have been working on indoor projects.  Cleaning and organizing in the basement areas, finishing hanging decor in the basement (we completed the remodel a year ago but haven’t finished hanging up decorations), fixing odds and ends here and there that get ignored for more crucial things.  Plus, the girls and I have been doing a lot of sewing and mending catch up that has been piling up for months.  There was a mount Everest sized pile of jeans that needed patching (I know, holes in jeans are in style right now – but I guess we just aren’t in style and we are OK with that).

Chickens

One of our full-sized hens, Cinnamon, has decided to set.  We are happy about this because for a couple years now we have only had bantam hens willing to set, and they can’t set as many eggs – though they are great mamas.  So we set her up in the broody coop with 12 eggs.  Looking forward to seeing how she does.

We are having some trouble with our rooster situation.  We have had so many mean roosters over the years that we are constantly changing them out, until Ben came along a couple years ago.  He is a very gentle and kind rooster, both with the hens and with the humans.  Plus, he has all the features we are wanting to breed into our chickens (small comb and wattles, good body size, feathered legs, cold hardiness).

Ben the rooster front right

So we have happily kept him around for years now and enjoyed having a nice rooster.  But now our flock is starting to get too closely bred, and we don’t want to cross the line into too much inbreeding.  So last year we bought some Dark Brahma roos, hoping one could replace Ben.  Long story short, they ended up aggressive and didn’t work out.  Then we decided to buy some hens from the hatchery, but the hatchery messed up and didn’t ship them and we didn’t want to do a second brooding this year.

However, we were able to hatch out one rooster from those Dark Brahma genetic lines late last fall.  The kids call him Nilo.  Nilo joined the large flock with Ben when he was a little guy.  We have found that if we have an adult roo with the flock, and we put in a young roo and let him grow up in the flock, they generally don’t start fighting each other.  It isn’t until we separate them apart from each other that we are unable to put them back together due to fighting.  Well, a few weeks ago we noticed that Nilo was getting himself into trouble bothering the hens, which would cause fights between him and the hens, and then Ben would come running to protect his hens and break up the fight and Nilo would run away and chill out.  It looked like Ben had it under control, but then one day when we were closing them all in for the night a couple hens and Ben went after Nilo very aggressively, causing comb injury, and we had to separate them.

Since we are eager to open up the flock genetics some, after Nilo’s comb healed, we put Ben in a rooster pen alone and put Nilo with the hens to see if he can #1 be nice to the hens and get along with them, #2 continue to be nice with humans, and #3 give us some chicks to open up the genetics.  Time will tell.  If he gets aggressive with us or can’t settle the girls then he will have to go and we will put Ben back in.  At which point we will really need to bring in some more hens that aren’t related to Ben so we can continue forward.

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