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Fall Maintenance

Discussion in 'Chickens and Domestic Fowl' started by Peanut, Oct 19, 2019.

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  1. Oct 19, 2019 #1

    Peanut

    Peanut

    Peanut

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    Today I started long needed chicken pen maintenance that turned into fence building. This year I’ve only had 4/5 chickens. That’s not enough to keep the weeds eaten down in the main pen. I used to run 40+ chickens in this pen.

    Back in the spring I lost a couple hens to raccoons. I wasn’t up to making repairs/maintenance to the main fence. So dad (who’s been taking care of them), has been keeping them in the fort knox coop.

    I took the riding mower down and opened a large panel to get it inside the pen. It doesn’t look like it now but the weeds were as high as waist deep in spots, knee deep in the rest, mostly lady’s thumb, perilla and sida.

    I put the lawn mower in first gear and cut all of them down at the highest deck setting. Then lowered the deck two more time… no weeds left now but the chickens loved all the seeds.

    While I was doing this I noticed my grtnephew’s cows were out again, actually inside the barn eating hay. The electric fence was shorted. Around the outside of the chicken pen and hay barn the weeds were almost shoulder deep. Every time we get a shower of rain or a weed falls over the fence shorts out and the cows get out. I’ve been hinting to him for 2 months that the electric fence needed rolled up and then he should bushhog around everything. He didn’t take the hints.

    Dad happened to walk down and saw the cows were out again. He was more than just annoyed… So, he and I rolled up all that fencing and I bush hogged everything into the ground.

    My nephew came by just as we finished putting back up about 150ft of fencing. He needed to take the weedeater and power saw to another 100ft section and this problem would have been completely solved until next spring when weeds came back up. This was the easy part. He could have finished it in 20 minutes.

    Did he do this? No, he wanted to sit on the porch and talk until dark. Was dad impressed? Not by a long shot… he’s 85 and I’ve been in and out of the hospital for 3 months yet we had to spend 1/2 a day cleaning up most of the mess. This 19yrold kid couldn’t take 20 minutes and finish this for good? The real work was done! I hope I have the energy tomorrow so I can going to finish this… I’m tired of finding cows out every time I turn around.

    You really can’t tell from the photo’s but when I bushhog or mow weeds… I grind them into the ground. I also got fresh hay into the laying nests for the chickens. The cows were hoping I'd let them get to the hay again.

    [ For those who might not know... a bush hog is - http://www.bushhog.com/ It’s a name brand of a farm implement company. Over the decades this brand name has become the generic term for all implements of this type in the south. It’s a really large lawn mower pulled by full size tractors to cut down brush, small trees etc. I’ve seen them 4ft wide to 30ft wide. ]


    chicken oct 2019 01_v1.jpg chicken oct 2019 03_v1.jpg chicken oct 2019 04_v1.jpg chicken oct 2019 05_v1.jpg chicken oct 2019 06_v1.jpg chicken oct 2019 07_v1.jpg chicken oct 2019 08_v1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
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  2. Oct 19, 2019 #2

    backlash

    backlash

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    Sounds like the nephew needs a swift kick start. Some tough love is in order.
    Here's something you may not know, guys don't take hints. We figure if you want something you will just ask straight out. It's just the way most guys are wired, or some are just that dense.
    So instead of hinting just tell him in plain language what you want and when you expect it to be done.
    Don't finish the job yourself. Make him do it or he will never learn.
    Good job on the mowing.
    A bush hog is on my list of wanted implements. But first I want a 5' blade.
     
  3. Oct 19, 2019 #3

    Peanut

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    This is between my dad and him! I'm not going to give a swift kick start.

    I also need to sharpen the power saw and take down the 30ft sweet gum in the chicken pen tomorrow. There is a princess tree about 8 inches in diameter in the side pen that needs to come down as well. A pain to do by myself but I've taken down trees in even more confined spaces. The easiest way is put a piece of 20lb test around the top with my wrist rocket sling shot and use it to pull up an aircraft cable. Put a little tension on the cable with the tractor and the tree will fall just where I want it.

    Might as well finish the fence while I'm at it.

    @backlash I have a little 4ft bushhog, a lift type I pull behind the ford 2000. It's great for tight spaces, couldn't do without it.
     
  4. Oct 19, 2019 #4

    Bacpacker

    Bacpacker

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    Nice Job Peanut. Look good. I've got to clean my chicken run out, and add a covered area and then get more birds. Coons wiped mine out.
     
  5. Oct 19, 2019 #5

    Peanut

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    @Bacpacker A few years ago before I turned the coop into fort knox I lost about a dozen hens to raccoons one spring, only had 2 or 3 left. Each night I’d put them in a live trap as bait then suspend it from a pole. Underneath I set steel traps. I think I got a couple coons that way.

    I don’t play when it comes to coons. I set steel traps everywhere and chain up the dogs.

    I keep a steel trap permanently attached to the coop and another to the main fence. They are nice and rusty and smell like chickens. A coon never realizes they are even there. I got two this spring.

    Rebuild 05.jpg
     
  6. Oct 19, 2019 #6

    phideaux

    phideaux

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    You need to be very careful, take it easy... don't overdo it.

    Sound like a parent huh?

    I just know how easy it is to get into a project and overdo.

    Anyway, looks like you got a lot done. Nephew needs take some responsibility.

    I got a 5 ft bush hog, gotta have it.
    Gotta keep them weeds off the hotwire.

    Tree falling alone is dangerous.

    This work is exactly why we been looking for nice small house on 1/2 acre. Done got too old.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  7. Oct 19, 2019 #7

    Bacpacker

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    Peanut, when I started loosing my birdsI started trapping. Got 3 coons and 2 possums. But I also saw a hawk get one. I ended up loosing all 15 birds. Took a couple years off to focus on other stuff. But I miss my fresh eggs. Just got to upgrade part of my fencing as well.

    I've got a 5' bushhog as well. It's an older one, but it still works well. I don't use it a ton, but I wouldn't be without it.
     
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  8. Oct 19, 2019 #8

    Peanut

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    I have a 5ft pull type bushhog over at the old barn but it's about rusted out. I'd be afraid to run it, could come apart anytime.

    The one I used today is a 6ft lift type my grtnephew brought up here. Bigger than I like to use in tight spaces but it got the job done. It's a good piece of equipment.
     
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  9. Oct 19, 2019 #9

    The Lazy L

    The Lazy L

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    Appears the kid learned that if he postpones long enough others will step up and do his work for him.
     
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  10. Oct 19, 2019 #10

    phideaux

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    Mine is a really old "Sidewinder" brand,I 3 point hitch, pull it with a 35 hp Kioti
    CK 35 tractor . 4x4 .

    In spring time mowing is no problem, but in fall , I have to stop about every 15-20 minutes and clean all the fuzzy stuff from radiator screens.

    Jim
     
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  11. Oct 19, 2019 #11

    VThillman

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    Bush hogs have made it to Vermont too. For decades now. There's an outfit up Middlebury way, DR, that builds self-powered 'field and brush' mowers in several sizes. I bought their smallest one - so small they don't make it anymore - to clear the brush and &$#@!! raspberry bushes from around the back of the garage and house. It needs a new carburetor now, and I haven't got around to see if DR still has them. The raspberry bushes are happy.
     
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  12. Oct 20, 2019 #12

    Peanut

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    I've heard bush hogs called all sorts of things through the years... even used the term bush hog and had folks ask "What's that?".

    Here a "harrow" is called a "gang disk" and what is a hay "tedder" up north is called a hay "fluffer" here. Sorry if I over explained... just wanted to be clear for folks in different areas of the country.
     
  13. Oct 20, 2019 #13

    VThillman

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  14. Oct 21, 2019 #14

    The Lazy L

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    Other than the leaves my fall work is done.
    Gutters - first year for the the Leaf Guards, no gutters to clean.
    Drainage ditch and culverts cleared and cleaned, ready for Spring rains.
    Mule. Oil and filter changed. Air filter blown out. Sometime this week put the snow plow on.
    Thermostat controlled heater under the chicken's waterer.
    New tires for the truck sometime before the end of this month.
     
  15. Oct 21, 2019 #15

    VThillman

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    Lazy L, you are on it!
     
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  16. Oct 21, 2019 #16

    angie_nrs

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    I absolutely LOVE this time of year! Although, the chore list does get long doesn't it?

    Peanut, doesn't it feel good to see the final result of all that hard work? The chickens are probably loving you right now.......the cows, maybe not so much.:p The final result of all your labors looks fantastic! So glad you are feeling better, but Jim is right.....take it easy. You deserve a nice long break now for sure. Your dad sounds like a work horse.;)

    Since it looked like this was going to be the last really nice weekend in October without rain, we blended hard work with some play. We had some drinks around the fire at night and took down a big dead tree and did chores for friends during the day. We took down the tree while the leaves were off the surrounding trees to make it easier to fell and also keep damage to the surrounding trees minimal. Hubs dropped it perfectly and blocked it up with the saw while I hauled and stacked the firewood. We cleaned up the brush and raked up the old leaves and twigs. It looks so much better now, but we were spent. We didn't have access to anything but a chainsaw, wheelborrow, and a rake due to the area we were in, so there was lots of bending and lifting. We earned those few drinks by the fire and slept like babies that night.

    We also got the camper winteized yesterday too after we took a nice ride out to see the beautiful colors in the sun, which were soooooo pretty. Within the next couple of weeks I need to get an oil change but am waiting a bit so that I can get the snow tires put on while I'm there. We've got a couple of small propane tanks to get filled before the snow hits, but for the most part I think we are ready for old man winter.
     
  17. Oct 21, 2019 #17

    Peanut

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    After mounting a new led shop light in the little tool room I could see to sharpen the saw. It was pitiful... Didn't make sense, dads 85 but he wouldn't have done that to a saw chain. I bought a new one in town this morning, of course it's the wrong one. I can never remember the bar length for some reason.

    I have to go get a scan tomorrow at the little hosp, so I'll return the chain and get the correct one. When I got back my grtnephew pulled up. He'd bought 4 heifers at a sale barn this morning and was dropping them off here. At least I know these won't be getting out!

    He told me that my nephew (his uncle) had borrowed the chainsaw last month and got the blade into something... Makes sense now, dad wouldn't have done it. My nephew made a mess of that chain. I'd rather spend $25 on a new chain than to try and fix the mess he made of the old one. I could file all the bad spots out but there wouldn't hardly be any chain left when I finished. Also, I could see where someone had sharpened it at least twice but they only sharpened the teeth on one side of the chain. Kids! He's nearly 40 and should know better.

    Gripe, Gripe, Gripe, Gripe, Gripe... I feel better now! :)
     
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  18. Oct 21, 2019 #18

    VThillman

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    You are on a roll, Peanut.

    I, on the other hand, am not. Finally got up the gumption to go out and rake some of the leaves that my maple tree dumped in the driveway. Got the chore about half done before the gumption tank went empty. I am in poor shape, have been dragging for at least a month now. At least the allergy attack (mold) is done; all I have to do is start the exercise routine from the summer all over again. Yep, that's all.
     
  19. Nov 2, 2019 #19

    Peanut

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    A little more to be done before winter... The nest box (cola crate) had been on the ground. Winter rains have set in so it was time to raise it. I had a 2x2ft piece of 3/4 inch plywood. I got a coat of paint on it before the 7 inches of rain/flood but it was still outside.

    It bowed... I installed it so the high point of the bow was up, makes it a littler easier to clean. The little platform will hold 2 nest boxes, no need now, only 3 hens laying so I put fresh hay in one.

    The backside is attached with tie wraps/zip ties to a cross bar. If they stretch I'll replace them with 1/8th inch aircraft cable which I used to suspend the front. I attached two quick disconnects in cable loops so I can let it swing down for cleaning.

    A simple little fix and at least they are off the ground for winter.

    I still have to drop those two trees and put down wood shavings in the coop.


    chicken lay 01 (1).jpg chicken lay 01 (2).jpg chicken lay 01 (3)_v1.jpg
     
  20. Nov 3, 2019 #20

    Peanut

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    We had chickens my whole life when I lived here on the farm. Many years past before I returned and got my own chickens. I went big, 40+ laying hens. I went to extremes to make sure there were plenty of nest boxes available.

    What I soon learned, even with that many hens they are only going to use 2 or 3 nests. I’ve looked in nests only to see 7 or 8 hens piled up on each other cackling and trying to lay in the same nest.

    I’ve 4 hens now and only 2 are laying, both used their new platform/nest box today.

    eggs new_v1.jpg
     
  21. Nov 5, 2019 #21

    Peanut

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    The little snots (4 hens & rooster) have been testing my patience. If I'm 5 minutes late getting to the pen to shut them up at dark I find 3 of them roosting in trees and the rooster on top of the coop! The only one where they are supposed to be is the old hen.

    Last night I used a 15ft aluminum pole to push the rooster off the top of the coop, catch him and put him in the coop. I found two hens roosting on the chicken pen fence, scooped them up! I couldn't find the last hen.

    This morning I went prepared. I got the last hen back in the pen and started trimming wing feathers...

    *Trick for those who might not know... I only trim one wing on a chicken. I've found if I trim both wings they sometimes can get enough air to fly over the fence in a straight line... By trimming only one wing they can only fly in little circles and can't get out of the pen, sort of funny to see! :D

    trim chicken (1).jpg trim chicken (2).jpg
     
  22. Nov 6, 2019 #22

    phideaux

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    Trim them rooster spurs..o_O;):)



    Jim
     
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  23. Nov 6, 2019 #23

    Peanut

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    Tell me about it! I noticed yesterday the spurs on my rooster were about 1.5 inches long, looked nasty! All I had were old meat shears that were no longer good enough for the kitchen. He hasn't threatened anyone since I drop kicked him across the pen a couple of years ago. I'll wait a see, maybe catch a nice warm day some time soon and I'll break out my hoof trimmers.
     
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