Saturday, July 2, 2011

Our little straw spreaders

I learned today that our chickens will spread straw for us. Good chickens. We cleaned out the coop today, and put linoleum down on the floor of the coop, trying to extend the life of the floor. I raked the chicken run and yard, and we tossed down a couple flakes of straw. We hadn't spread the straw, because we got distracted. Later, we went out to find the girls taking care of it for us, scratching away at the straw piles. Again, good chickens.

The meat chickens are getting huge, and we're restricting their food, trying to take them out to the weekend after next. Mom is coming to visit this next weekend, and I don't think she wants to take part in the processing. If we process weekend after next, that will be at 10 weeks. Should work, as they're all still getting around just fine, fat and sassy. We've been restricting food for the last two weeks. We only give them access between about 6am and 5pm. They are awfully friendly, and I try to ignore it, knowing that they will be in the freezer soon.

We moved the goat pen, which we should have done two weeks ago. These guys are nuts, stripping vegetation in record time. I've made a flyer to advertise Lyle. We need to go put it up at local feed stores.

Anyhoo, lots to do before Mom comes next weekend. Hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th!!!


Paula said...

Good to know. Do you put the straw in the run too?

Why are you restricting feed for the meat chickens? It seems counterintuitive to restrict feed when you're fattening them for the knife. Just curious.

Have fun with your mom!

Toni aka irishlas said...

I do the same thing - just throw in flakes of straw bale and the hens love it!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Rae said...

Toni- Have a great 4th!

Paula- We're restricting their feed in an attempt to keep them healthy and active until we can process them. The idea is that by restricting feed, you can stave off the leg and heart problems. Otherwise, they just lie in front of the feeder all day. Some people swear by it, and others think it's ridiculous. We're trying it, and they are still growing rapidly, yet seem healthy, active, and happy.

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Sounds as if you'll have some delicious chicken. Feel free to share the good and bad side of processing your chicken. I want to learn how to do this one day. I'm not sure I'm ready for processing because I've made friends with my chickens. I will eventually get a batch strictly for meat and then I will write you while crying as we are serving chicken salad sandwiches! haha.

LindaG said...

That is what I am going to learn to do. Raise chickens.
I had heard about restricting food. Do you cut it off a few days before butchering?
Thanks for sharing this with us.

Rae said...

Lana- Mmmm... Chickens salad sandwiches. Best I can say as far as feeling bad about meat chickens is this... Remind yourself constantly that they are food, not pets. It helps that they're only around for about two months, and that they are poop machines... Kinda icky yicky. Lol. I'll be a little sad, as a couple of the pullets are pretty friendly, but I keep telling myself... chicken salad sandwich, BBQ chicken, roast chicken, teriyaki chicken... :)

Linda- We're restricting food in an attempt to stretch out their lives/health until butcher day. They only have access to feed for about 12 hours a day. We'll have to look up the food cutoff before processing, but I think it's only for a few hours before you butcher, the idea being that less food/poop in their systems makes for a cleaner processing experience. :)

Gina said...

I love hearing what others are doing on their homesteads!

Carpe Diem said...

Oh, I never thought to put lino down on the hen house floor. What a good idea and I bet its much easier to clean up. I'll have to do this before I transfer the new hens in the fall.

Rae said...

Carpe Diem- I don't know if I describe it accurately as linoleum, or if it should be called sheet vinyl, but you can get it at home depot in precut rolls. The patterns are usually awful, but it's relatively inexpensive. We just stapled it to the plywood floor. Our friend recommended it, as the plywood floors in his coops would eventually rot out, no matter how often he cleaned out the coop. Plywood gets so grody, we figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out. Definitely easier to clean. :)