Monday, May 9, 2016

Getting my Aggie on.

I'm sure I've said countless times how I spent 4 years in university studying agriculture. All the joys of manure management and rotational grazing and...I work in public health. Go figure.

Well, this weekend we OFFICIALLY have a farm! Okay, not a real legit farm with enough production to make it count, but we have something other then a dog and a horse. Two livestock species makes a farm right??

Start small ;)

Dog and a chick??
Pardon me while I divert from my tales of ponies for a second...

Cat and a chick??

Friday we got our first batch of chicks!! The day-olds arrived at the local store for pick-up at 12:30...and it took until 2:15 for me to get mine thanks to the learning curve of the staff in handing these things out. I rushed home with our box of 20 and since I was heading right out and the delay was so long, agreed with the husband to lock them up securely in the basement furnace room. In their dog kennel brooder with a heat lamp...

20 chicks in a box...let the adventure begin!

I got them all settled and headed out the door...

The thing I didn't think about was how much cooler our basement was and that the chicks would knock over their waterer....

I came home at 10pm to find that they were soaking wet, on chilled bedding and one poor fellow had not only gotten soaked and chilled, but I guess semi stampeded by his siblings and was laying prone off in one corner of the kennel. I was pretty sure he was dead.

When I picked him up, he took tiny jagged breaths, eyes held tightly shut.

Okay, these are $3 chickens that we're raising for meat. Culling it wouldn't be the worst thing.

Death, after he started to look a little better. 
But nope. I raced the kennel upstairs to the warmer pantry and lowered the heat lamp. I quickly changed out the bedding and gave everyone a rub down to dry them off. Fresh water and food, and then time to take care of "Death".

Chick magnet....
I thought "Maybe I could warm him in the microwave??" Nope, probably wouldn't end well. What about the oven?? Nope, too crispy. The steam shower?? Too humid. I opted to rub him briskly and wrap him up well. He couldn't keep his body upright so I put him in a tupperware container to prop him up, and under the heat lamp he went.

After about an hour (yes, I pretty much stared at him until 11:30), he was able to hold his little head up. So I dipped his beak in water a few times (full of sugar), and he seemed to take a few sips. Another rubbing and back in his cup. I kept checking on him all night long...

By morning he was out of his cup and traipsing around with his siblings!! :D I was thrilled. Over a $3 chick :P

Good puppy. 

Cutting my chick story a little shorter since this is a pony blog, I'm happy to say that today we still have all 20 chicks and they're doing great. Death is named and marked, and let's hope he's a she and I can convince hubs to keep her around as a layer ;) Even though she's a broiler ;)

Chick asleep on the dog...


Okay, pony stuff.

I got some rides in last week, which was awesome. The scratches seem to have really gone down; just a bit on the outer edges still seems a bit crusty. Hoping we're through that soon.

Pony ride

Moon I'd say is totally settled in. He seems like a normal happy horse, doing normal happy horse things. He still hates his beautiful run-in, but what can a girl do. And he's taken to galloping across the paddock which is just beautiful.

Flies are getting bad so he's masked and blanketed now. He doesn't seem to be dropping weight, though we really need some rain because the grass is all brown and not doing so hot.

Happy and content pony face. 

Saturday I spent an hour and a half and picked all the poo in the paddock, which felt AWESOME. I loved it. Total aggie (someone who studied agriculture) moment. I love manure management! And clean paddocks! No flies making worms! No weed seeds gathering there. No loss of grass because the horse won't eat where it pooped! Just nice and tidy pastures!

Got an entire quad trailer full of poo :) Not bad for a week! I'm hoping to stick to the once a week picking.

One week. And a lot of that is dead, dried grass...we need rain. 

I even got to start our muck pile!! :D That was exciting. It seemed a bit dry, so Sunday I added all the bedding with some water from our chicken coop! Composting makes me excited lol.

One fence wire came down, but it was a ground wire. I got that hammered back up Sunday as well. Nice thing about picking poo is it's a great chance to inspect all the fencing and wires.

I also spent Sunday evening, though I was utterly exhausted, installing eavestrough on the shelter and then connected the eaves to the water tote. So if it actually rains this week like they promised, we should have a decent collection of water in the water tote, for filling the trough. Right now I'm hauling 2 garbage bins full of water to Moon every 3rd day. It's a lot of work.

Sophisticated poo pile. Beside our composting grass pile....

He got his blood taken for an Eastern and Western Encephalitis titre study, and his West Nile Vaccine as well.

I'm still loving him at home, because even when I'm tired, I still have a reason to go see him. And it takes all of 5 minutes. No matter how tired you are, you can spend 5 minutes throwing food at a happy horse.

That's my story. Farrier comes to our new place for the first time on Saturday. The trees are finally budding out and we've got the start of leaves. It's wonderful. Shade! Chance of snow for Friday, but I'm sure it won't amount to anything.

Just keep on trekking.
Ride shadow


  1. Do you really think you'll be able to eat the chickens if you're already this attached? I'm not blaming you, I eat chickens. I'm just curious as you see really attached already.

    1. Totally understand what you're saying Olivia :) I won't say that I won't get attached, but I do know that they're a) Going to get a lot less cute, b) 18/20 I still call chicken nuggets ;)

      I've had the privilege (or dis-priviledge) of working in agriculture for a lot of years now, and have seen (and been the deliverer of) many animals I've named and worked with for months come to their end. I guess to me, I want to provide the best lives possible while I'm caring for them; losing a chick at a day old because I provided a bad environment is something I'm not okay with. Putting a grown broiler in the freezer at his 14 weeks after he's spent those months hunting the yard and doing chicken things?? That just feels alright. Not to say that Brown Streak and Death won't end up kicking around longer then expected if they're hens ;) But I know that these broilers are just as likely to break a leg or die of a heart attack if you keep them too long, so knowing that they're put to good use as dinner instead of a waste product, is important to me. We'll see how it plays out in reality though.

  2. Hey Neighbour. Glad to see you happy & busy with all the day to day of farm life - Yes, I do think your place qualifies. Chickens are livestock!
    Just be careful, in my experience buying a farm for your horse leads to more horses, more dogs, then a couple of barncats, maybe some rabbits & chickens & then layers & then maybe a cow or 2 or 3.... the fun never ends.