Friday, April 18, 2014

Backyard Broilers -- Round 2: Week 2

I can't wait to get these things into the yard and out of my garage.  They're a lot of work.  They pretty much just eat, drink, and sleep.  I can see why they are the bird of choice for meat. 
I fill their feeder and waterer every night before I go to bed.  When I get up in the morning they are both empty.  I've actually had to refill their water after just 4 hours! 

Up to this point I've been moving them between the tub and the cage.  That way I can clean one while they're in the other.  Unfortunately they've gotten too big for that.  They don't all fit comfortably in either.  So I split them up.  I put 8 chicks in the tub and 7 in the cage.  This also allows me to double the amount of water and food accessible.
They sure aren't the prettiest breed of chicken. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nature was kind to me after all.

I wrote a post the other day complaining about a late cold snap.  I am happy to report that all of my plants survived.  They were calling for it to go down to 32* both nights.  Instead, it went down to 34* both nights. 
The picture above was taken after the first night.  I left the buckets in place and didn't remove them during the day.  The picture below was taken after the second night (that was today) after I removed the buckets.
The biggest problem I had was that the plants were really too big to be under those buckets.  The tomato in the picture below looks unhappy.  The top of the plant is going out and not up.  It'll survive.
I really didn't mind waiting until next year to test my new greenhouse climate controller.  Even though I didn't see it come on, it must have worked.  I have the controller set to turn the heat on at 40* and the minimum temperature recorded in there was 39.2*.  So that's good news.  I'm real happy about that actually.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Baby Rabbits -- Week 4

Rabbits get big fast!  We can hardly call them babies anymore.  They run around all over the hutch now and don't spend much time in what's left of the nest.
I found all of the rabbits piled into the front corner sleeping this afternoon.
They still try to get under the momma rabbit to nurse.  She doesn't have time for that and just hops away.  Unfortunately for her, there just isn't a lot of room in there.  When she gets away from one there's another one waiting to pester her.  I don't think she's going to mind much when they are gone.
The ears are sticking up less and are starting to turn down.
4 weeks old.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nature is cruel.

I thought Winter was over.  I thought I was done with freezing temperatures.  I thought I was past our last frost date.  I was wrong!  It's supposed to go down to 32* tonight and again tomorrow night. 

I started moving tomatoes to my raised beds two weeks ago.  I was hesitant to plant too many at once.  So I've been planting 3-4 at a time.  Well, now I have 15 in the ground.  There's a chance I could lose some or all of them.  I'm hoping to prevent that.

How?  I dug out all of my 5-gallon buckets.  I didn't have enough to cover all of my plants.  That didn't really matter since several of them were too tall to fit under a bucket.
I sat pots full of soil on top of the buckets to weight them down.
 I took the trash can out of my garage and used it too.  It was tall enough to fit over one of my tallest plants. 
It's supposed to go down to 32*.  With any luck, all of the plants will make it.  If I do happen to lose some, I still have extras in the greenhouse.  I'm not worried about losing anything in there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Backyard Broilers -- Round 2: Week 1

The broilers were actually a week old last Thursday.  I just haven't had a chance to write anything about them.  They're eating and drinking like crazy.  I'm filling their 1-quart waterer in the morning and again in the evening.  Their food gets filled almost as frequently. 

I put them in the yard for a few hours on Saturday.
They didn't seem real excited to be out there.  They mostly just ate and sat in the sun.
They're already putting on some meat.  Now they just need to get some more feathers so they can go outside full time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Baby Rabbits -- Week 3

All of the baby rabbits now have their eyes open.  They started opening their eyes when they were about 14 days old.  They still spend most of their time sleeping.  Once in a while they'll get up and explore the hutch. 
They've started to show an interest in the hay.  I don't know how much of it they are actually eating.  My wife said she saw one of them chewing and chewing and the piece of hay didn't get any shorter.
I don't know if the momma rabbit is still nursing them or not.  They try to climb under her and she gets annoyed and promptly hops away.  She was very protective of them when they were first born.  Now she acts like she's ready for them to go.
I spent several minutes watching them today.  They sure are entertaining.
3 weeks old.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saddle Style Poultry Water Nipples

With the threat of frost pretty much gone I decided to reconnect my PVC chicken waterer.  Much to my dismay it leaked.
Two of the poultry nipples were leaking.  One of them wasn't too bad, but the other was.  It looked like the silicone around it gave up and wasn't holding anymore.  I've had this problem before.
This style of poultry nipple isn't meant for PVC pipe.  The silicone helped, but didn't last through the winter.

I didn't want to deal with fixing it only to have it fail again.  So I ordered some saddle style poultry nipples that are made specifically for 3/4" PVC pipe.
The project was pretty straight forward.  I cut a new piece of PVC pipe to the same length as the old one and then held the two pipes together with clamps.  Then I drilled 5/16" holes in the new pipe using the poultry nipples in the old pipe for reference.
Then I snapped the new saddle style nipples into the new pipe.
The last step was to re-attach the pipe to the chicken coop and connect the water.
There were no leaks.  If you're going to use PVC pipe to water chickens I'd highly recommend these poultry nipples over the ones I originally used.  The only downside is price.  These were ~$14 for 5 of them.  The last ones I got were ~$8 for 10.  That's quite a difference.  It's the reason I bought the ones I did the first time.  I've learned from experience that it wasn't worth it.