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Vaping on the Farm

Discussion in 'IBTanked' started by OCD, Jul 21, 2015.

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  1. OCD

    OCD Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    California, Kern
    Not really a farm here but for those who do the things that bring you close to the soil such as keeping chickens or other 'provider' animals or gardening I thought it might be fun to have a thread to post goings on. Maybe a Hibiscus bloomed (always a treat) or the tomatoes are ripe and ready.

    As mentioned in this thread we recently started getting our first eggs of a different color. We have several Americaunas which lay eggs in various colors from light pink to green to blue. For very dark chocolate brown eggs we have French Black Copper Marans and almost as dark but speckled eggs our Welsummers should be coming along soon.

    Thats the first Blue egg second from the left front row Lannie, the large egg in the lid was 2 oz and the second egg of one of our new Black Sex Linked hens. We had two of these hens from last year and one of them lays a 3 oz egg from time to time with most of hers being Jumbo or over 2.5 oz. Getting a good many Peewee and even smaller right now as these new hens figure out their jobs but most of our breeds should be in the large to extra large range as they get a little older.

    Colored Carton.jpg

    We started last year with 6 larger hens and 5 Bantys (2 roos and 3 hens), well it seems there is this thing called chicken math and things tend to grow exponentially when you are using it. This year we built a large coop and between hatching and purchased chicks ended up with 50 more chickens. This years new additions are between 19 and 22 weeks old so while we started getting a few early eggs most have yet to begin laying. I keep tellin The Mrs that pretty soon there will be an eggvalanche and am looking forward to having the excess to share with the rest of the family and friends.

    There were many driving forces behind us expanding on the chickens and high on the list was manure for our gardens which keep expanding all the time. Here in the high desert our soil is pretty much devoid of the life that encourages lush growth so every input we can find we try to make the most of. We are not hard core organic but we dont use harsh poisons and try to let the natural system work itself out. Since we are not gardening as a business (though it would be nice if it began to pay for itself) we are not pressed for any particular yields. Most of the gardening goes back to the chickens so something like aphids is almost a bonus :)


    Each year the soil is getting better, not so much just plain sand any more and the life is beginning to surge in it. For a great many years you could dig for days and never see a worm, now in any of the garden beds just making a small hole for a plant will disturb several. We have come a long ways with it in a short time by putting in a lot of work and by investing in the systems (chickens, composting, worm beds ect...) that provide a high return.

    A few months ago I built a little shade structure in the garden so we would have a place to sit out of the sun and enjoy the new views. We are going to plant some grapes on it that are being started in our little greenhouse and have dubbed it The Whinery as it is the place to go whine about it being so dang hot. It is also our favorite spot to sit in the morning with a cup of coffee and vape. This was built using some old railroad ties, a few old bunkbed frames and 100 year old barnwood from a building I demo'd some number of years ago, very satisfying in repurposing materials like this.


    So whatever your farm interests are little or large if it is one of the things you like to do while jump in and share your favorite vaping spots.
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  2. OCD

    OCD Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    California, Kern
    Ok, so I knew this would be a slow starter :) Heres to those just lookin

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  3. OCD

    OCD Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    California, Kern
    I see the views count continuing to climb so heres lookin back atcha again :)

    This is Bjorn the one Roo we got out of 7 Swedish Flower Hens that hatched this spring, perfect balance in numbers as he will have 6 hens for The Mrs to hatch out more in the coming years. The Swedish Flower Hen is interesting in that it is a Landrace breed, that is it was not bred by combing select parentages to achieve a desired result rather more like all the breeds that were brought to this part of the world 500 years ago just mixed and mingled on their own until there was an established breed of its own. The other interesting bit is they all look different, with most breeds there is a standard of perfection that tightly describes the breeds appearance but the SWF makes for a motley crew.

    The gal in the back is a Welsummer Hen, they lay a very dark egg that is most often freckled with darker spots on it. So far none of the Welsummers have started laying.

  4. Nermal

    Nermal Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 8, 2013
    Farmington, NM USA
    Wish I had something to show, but I'm enjoying the pictures and progress reports.
  5. OCD

    OCD Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    California, Kern
    Will be getting some updated pictures of the garden soon Nermal, I flip flop all the time on how I feel about it. Sometimes it just seems things are not growing as we feel they should then other times we appreciate what we are getting from it. This is the first year for most of our beds and you can see from the picture above we started with bare soil that is almost sand holding very little organic material. Next year all of the beds we have started this year will be much improved, as I mentioned before we are now finding worms just about any time we disturb the soil and this is a great sign of soil fertility.

    This year I started hauling in horse manure in a huge way, so far close to 100 cubic yards of the stuff has been brought in. We found a Wild Mustang Rescue about 20 miles away that we can get all we can haul from. I started a couple of worm beds for both breaking down this manure and for intensely growing the worm population. Eventually the worms will become yet another protein source for the chickens but for now still growing the population and letting them make that black gold for the gardens called worm castings.

    So you see with the above inputs and now the chickens gettin up to full grown and creating their special blend along with compost from anything and everything organic we can pile and let nature do its thing with we are creating a net positive gain for the soil that will continue to get better every year.

    This year we had several setbacks on the garden and learned some valuable lessons that should also improve next years efforts. We started too early putting out loads of plants we had started in the greenhouse figuring we could start more if we did get a freeze, well the freeze came and most were lost or stunted and by the time the ground was ready we didnt really have the best of plants to put out, those early ones if left in the greenhouse for another month would have made for a spectacular garden.

    So we set about getting new plants back out and almost as fast as we could get them out the chipmunks and bunnies ate them down. We started trapping and relocating along with making cages for the small plants but again lost weeks on the growing season. have been working on a fence that should be done soon to help cut down traffic and give us just about 1 acre fenced in that the dogs can patrol and will allow us to continue expanding the garden area for some time.

    So we finally got to the point where seedlings were growing into plants and the first early heat wave hit followed by two more (fourth one coming next week). Things just shut down for the most part as temps in the shade pushed over 100F, a couple weeks ago we did get a reprieve and some welcomed showers to which the plants responded nicely.

    Lessons learned... secure the borders, dont get in a rush in the spring, continue to improve the soil.
  6. oplholik

    oplholik ECF Guru Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Sounds good ocd. Worms, and chickens, good things to have. What's your water situation up there?
  7. Lannie

    Lannie Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    I don't get down to this area of the forum much and didn't even see this new thread until now! Nice eggs! I LOVE those Marans eggs. I wanted some last time we got chicks, but the hatchery was out, so we got Welsummers instead. They have nice eggs, though, and BIG. I like the big ones. I have some pictures of some (I'll have to find them) that you would SWEAR were turkey eggs, and all I could say when I found them was, "OUCH."

    I love the high desert, but holy cow it was hard to grow anything there. We lived in Central Oregon for about 8 or 9 years a while back, and I love the climate, and the place is GORGEOUS, but it's just no good for growing things. If we ever get to a point where we're too old to do this anymore, I'd like to go back to A high desert. Not the one we came from, though.

    Now, we live in a completely different climate than you do, and are very lucky to have sandy loam (ancient sea bed) soil, but add some well-composted cow and horse poop to that, and you get stuff like this:

    All ready to plant...

    06-21-14 Garden 04.jpg

    Muskmelons and Honeydew melons:

    07-28-14 Melons.jpg

    Jalapeno and sweet peppers:

    07-28-14 Peppers.jpg

    Onions, bunching and sweet bulbing... there are some brussels sprouts in that bunching onion bed, but it was just an experiment that didn't work. The cabbage moths ate them just like the cabbage...

    07-28-14 Onions.jpg

    There are tomatoes off to the right in that picture, as well. 42 lick tubs worth, as a matter of fact, but between the chickens who broke into the garden and the starlings, most of the fruit was eaten before we could get any. That's the way it is around here. Too danged many critters.

    Those lick tubs, though, with a surround of hardware cloth just inside the edges, kept the bunnies out of the stuff that was planted in them. The chickens just flew up onto the sides and dined from their perch there, and the starlings landed on the stems and branches and finished the rest. I got a lot of melons, though, because their foliage was so thick, the birds didn't find the fruit, and I got squash and SOME beans, however, I suspect there was a raccoon in the mix somewhere, too, because even though I had a fence of hardware cloth around the beans, *something* got in there and ate the tops off all the stems. No deer in there, so I assume it was a raccoon, or maybe one of those snowshoe hares. We have those around here, and they're pretty tall.

    I won't post ALL the garden pics from last year, but here's one of our fertilizer makers with her new baby last summer:

    08-07-14 Oggie 11.jpg

    And a Welsummer with HER new babies. Out of six Welsummer hens, FOUR of them went broody and hatched eggs. Broodiest breed I've ever had... We actually had about 30 chicks hatched last summer and 24 survived. The guineas hatched a boatload of keets, as well, but the grass was too long, and they lost them all finally. Guineas aren't very smart. :rolleyes:

    09-23-14 New peeps 04.jpg

    And the ones who make this all possible, our White Woofs, who keep us and our critters safe from all the bad guys. ;)

    07-28-14 White woofs 02.jpg

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  8. OCD

    OCD Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    California, Kern
    Oplholik, we have a pretty good well though it is high in dissolved solids. The well isnt terrible I suppose in terms of well water but with 450ppm it tends to plug stuff up quickly and leave calcium stains on everything. Not complaining though because water is only 120' deep and the recharge rate on the well went past measurable when it was drilled. What they do is fill a 5 gallon bucket and dump it while revving the big pump on the drilling rig and floating a bobber on the water in the casing to see if the level drops. They count the number of times the bucket is emptied in one minute with no drop in the casing level, when the poor guy dumping the bucket cant keep up they call it 100 gallons a minute plus, how much plus is anyones guess without going to some other method but that more than enough for us.

    We have a 25 gallon a minute pump at 220' and a 10,000 gallon storage tank. From there the water is pressurized again to feed our main line. The pumping and pressurizing are each about $0.35 per 1,000 gallons so it costs us $0.70 per thousand for water at 40 to 60 PSI. Our tank is a good 20' higher than our gardens so I want to run another line to the tank (about 600' away) for a gravity feed line. I recently put out drip tape which only wants about 10 PSI anyhow so that would work great and halve the already cheap cost of water we currently have since the garden water wont go through the pressure pump.

    Lannie, glad you found us and wow, what a beautiful place you have. You will get a laugh when you see our garden and be even more thankful for your climate there. One thing I will say though is that we will still be picking tomatoes in October or November ;) depending on how winter comes on.

    Those dogs look like they would get the job done on keeping things safe, we just got a couple of rescue dogs 3 and 4 years ago and they are not farm friendly as far as the chickens go. Trying to teach them not to dig up the gardens and hopeful there, they will certainly keep any varmits at bay but honestly we dont have terrible pressure on the wildlife line. The occasional gopher is probably one of the biggest pains once the fence is complete and our cats beat me to them most of the time.

    So you are saying the Welsummers are broody? Thats a bummer as The Mrs is looking for those dark eggs for her carton, we have 2 Cochin and it seems at any given time either one or both are broody. We only have 6 of them but eventually we want to shape the flock to be both the variety The Mrs wants and the productivity that is enough they can pay their own way. The Offspring also has some Bantam Old English Game that probably weigh all of a pound and lay a 1 oz or smaller egg about 40 times a year, the rest of the time they are tryin to convince us they are sitting on that 2.5oz Sex Link egg because they laid it. It really is funny to see a tiny hen claiming three or four eggs that nearly outweigh herself. At least they dont even eat enough to even notice and they are quite cute, another plus for them is that I think they could be let loose in the garden once it is going good and not do too much damage like the large breeds do.

    Your garden really does look amazing, those pepper plants are probably four times bigger than ours. Good thing I planted some of the super hots because it only takes one pepper to replace a pile of the milder ones. The Offspring and I both like spicy so we tried a wide variety of the hot ones this year to see what we might like. Also looking forward to having extras for garden remedy mixes, I read where the Ghost Chile plant is thrashed against fences to keep the elephants out... never know when that might come in handy :)
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  9. Lannie

    Lannie Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oh, you know, you hear different things from different people. I'd heard that Welsummers weren't an especially broody breed (and I also have Buff Os, so I have my "broodies"), but MINE certainly were. I haven't had a great variety of different breeds, so although I have years of "chicken experience" it's only with a few breeds. We started with the Light Brahmas, just because they were said to be cold hardy, and we definitely need that, but after a few years (and after the foxes ate most of them - that was before we got the Pyrs to guard them), I got a batch of Buffs and EEs, as well as some more Brahmas. And then, chickens being chickens, we ended up with a bunch of "mutts" which have turned out to be my most dependable layers! LOL! Then a couple years ago, we got another batch of chicks, and this time ordered Brahmas (I love those Brahma girls!), Rhode Island Reds, Welsummers, and Speckled Sussex.

    I REALLY love the Rhodies. Wow, dependable layers, and lots of extra large and jumbo brown eggs. The Speckles, which were recommended to me as "tame and lap-sitter types" are flighty and spooky, and they don't seem to lay all that many eggs. The ones they do lay are smaller than I prefer. I've had a couple of them go broody, but the last one wasn't tough enough to protect her chicks, and one of the Buff hens STOLE them from her! ROFL! The Buff decided she wanted babies, and the poor little Speckle hen put up a bit of disagreement about it, then gave up, and the Buff raised her chicks.

    Oh, that reminds me, I have to tell you the story of the Brahma rooster who raised 8 fuzzy chicks to adulthood after their momma was killed by a fox. I even have pictures. ;) I'll post them and tell a bit of his story when I have a bit more time. Right now I need to get ready to go milk and do morning chores.

    Have a good day!

    • Like Like x 2
  10. OCD

    OCD Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    California, Kern
    I hear ya on the stories different folks have concerning friendly nature. A lot of this has to do with how they are raised of course as chicks handled when young are gonna be more disposed to being sociable later on. There is certainly breed specific leaning though and one that is touted around often is the Plymouth Barred Rock. I can attest that these can be almost too friendly and being that they are the mother side of the parentage of Black Sex Links it makes sense those are predisposed to being easy to handle. Most all of our Sex Links and PBRs will come up to you sticking their chest out for a pet and many of them are fine for you to reach under and lift them up for a snuggle, a few are even downright demanding about it and will not leave you alone until you cradle them for a moment or two.

    The mention of the mutts being great layers is something else that rings true to what we have learned, the Black Sex Links are a hybrid and though we only had two starting last year they were egg laying machines even through winter and the smaller of the two is consistent with an extra large and often jumbo with the occasional 3.0oz egg which can only be classified as duck or ouch. We did not count but I am almost certain that in their first year they were over 300 eggs and a good size to them too.

    For those who dont know egg sizes

    Peewee (yes this is a usda term) - 1.25-1.5oz
    Small - 1.5-1.75oz
    Medium - 1.75-2.0oz
    Large - 2.0-2.25oz
    Extra Large - 2.25-2.5oz
    Jumbo - 2.5-2.75oz
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  11. Lannie

    Lannie Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    I did have this one Brahma hen... I named her Snuggle. She would run up to me and clear as day, say, "UP, mommy, UP!" I could carry that chicken around all day and she was perfectly happy. The bad part was she used to like to sit on my shoulder, and Brahmas are BIG. The hens weigh 7 to 8 pounds (at least ours did, LOL!) and I could have roasted one of the roos for Thanksgiving, I think. Nah, the roos were sweet and kind, and I wish I still had them.

    We have a totally mixed flock right now, and Snuggle is many years gone, so no lap chickens at this time, BUT, when they see me come out from the cow barn after milking, the whole hoarde RUNS in a big mob from the lilac hedge where they spend the day, over to the horse barn, because that's where the can of sunflower seeds is. :rolleyes: Oy. And can I refuse them? Nooooo. Some for them, some for the horses, more for them, a little more for the horses. Sometimes I feel like I'm just covered in a pile of horses and chickens. I keep feeding them treats, they keep mobbing me. Well, at least my critters like me. :D

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