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Thursday, October 13, 2011

6 less things to butcher before winter.

Our local news is doing a decent job letting people know about how bad things are for the farming community right now.  It is a pleasant change. Now I don't have to go out of my way to find out what's going on, but you know I will.

One of Husband's clients asked after our lambs the other day. He bought one last year. This year he has offered to purchase all the lambs.Of course he now gets price cut because a) returning customer b) buying all the lambs c) if I ain't selling them I am eating them.

I will not be making any money on this deal. It merely saves me the energy and hay costs. I am however keeping one of the lambs for ourselves. I am also thinning out a couple of the ewes. They were so neglected that they just never seem to be healthy, and their lambs suffer because of it. I did try my best with them, but I fear it came too late.

The deal with the client is he will pay for them now, we separate them out, and he buys the grains he wants to fattening them up on, and we feed them until they are the weight he wants them to be. I am also hoping to get the skins back, so yet another price cut if he goes for it.

As for the cattle. We have made our decision and it is a hard one.

Momma
Uma
Xuxi
X (ten)

And we have legitimate reasons why we have chosen these 4. It was so difficult as only X was slated for butcher the moment he was born. This will leave us with 4 cows, 1 bull and several calves. We should be able to feed them through the winter.

My hens have stopped laying for the past several weeks. And I am not sure why. I have cleaned the coop, sanitized their feed and water buckets, checked for mites and dusted just in case, I have even changed their feed. Still nothing. The only thing different for them is that we removed the roosters. This shouldn't have stopped the egg production, but nothing else makes sense. I thought molt was the culprit, but they have long come through that. Snakes can not get into the coop because of how it was built. No sign that anyone is eating the eggs, no shell fragments anywhere. No one is stealing them because they lay in the day and I check the coop every evening, and I am home all the time.

 Frustrating.

13 comments:

Kris said...

I'd bet a lot that you would know way better than me, but I always heard that chickens wouldn't lay eggs without a rooster around...

eagergridlessbeaver said...

..our hens ( only 2 ) have recently stopped laying too..odd. I am sure it is a coincidence. hehe

Just found your blog..great content so far!

Phelan said...

Kris, no that is a myth. They lay if there is one or not. Besides, the roosters are caged right next to the hens, they are near each other, just not able to mount up.

eagergridlessbeaver, have your's gone through molt? It's that time of year. Mine just seem to have plugged it up for way too long. And welcome to my odd little world!

WorthlessSackO'Shit said...

Since we are in the full swing of fall, it is getting colder and there is less light during the day, and that might be the cause of your hens not laying.

Possibly try putting a full spectrum light in the coop itself on a timer, so your birds are getting 16-18 hours of light a day.

linky love: http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_laying.html

WorthlessSackO'Shit said...

Whoops. I guess full spectrum isn't best. This other poultry site http://poultrykeeper.com/chickens/general-chickens/light-for-layers.html says yellow or orange light is better.

Michelle said...

If they're finished moulting, I'd go with adding light. I use a brooder lamp with a 60 watt bulb - that's it. I put it on a timer and have it come on at 4 AM, so they lay earlier in the day. A friend here locally put her light on in the evening, and her hens didn't lay until mid-afternoon. Good luck! You could also doublecheck that they're getting enough protein - can't hurt.

Phelan said...

These are heritage breeds that lay the same amount of eggs in winter and summer. Light should not effect them at all. Only time I have ever used light was to help keep them warm.

TransFarmer said...

talked to the wife last night. she's not quite ready to go through a whole butchering process from start to finish, so it looks like a no go for me. maybe in the future.

Shanna said...

My friend's chickens did that in August for about a month and she never did figure out what was going on. They are laying again now though. August was the tail end of our super hot hot weather here in Wisconsin so maybe the chickens just had enough and needed a break.

Donna said...

I had that happen and I read to feed them more protein. I used the alfalfa pellets that are sold for rabbits. I mixed some with hot water. They loved them and I was getting eggs again within a week. Hope this helps.

rachel whetzel said...

Mine have stopped laying too... but they are in molt. VERY much in molt. I also need to clean the coop. (gross)

Phelan said...

Thanks Donna, unfortunately they have always been on a high protein diet. I have moved the roosters back into the hen house as a desperate measure.

Transfarmer, maybe next year then. We will have several calves ready to go and lambs. We will be doing a pig shortly as well if she would rather start on something a bit smaller. Oh and bring a cooler.

Shanna, they did break for 2 weeks after the heat finally broke. It has been over a month now. ~sigh~

Rachel, agree, coop cleaning is gross. :D

Desert Cat said...

Molt is still ongoing in our flock. Last year they did not pick up their laying again until after we had butchered off the spare roosters from the spring hatch. Purely conjecture at this point but I thought the rambunctiousness of the young cocks had the old biddies nervous.

We also added a CFL light for a couple hours in the morning starting in February, to good effect. There was a noticeable increase in egg production.

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