In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine
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First Frost? Bring it on!!

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Friday, September 25, 2009

Sounds like the next few days are going to be cooling down quite a bit.  I'm glad we've got our chickens into their new routine.  For the past few months the girls have been sleeping high up in a tree right next to our barn.  It worked for them and we didn't have any trouble with predators- except that one time- but thats another post altogether.  With the cooler weather approaching, our first frost scheduled for tonight, we decided that we'd better start having them sleep in the barn so they didn't try to forge through the winter on their outdoor perch. 

So a couple weekends ago Kyle and I installed a nice long peice of wood- a recycled 2x2 that we rounded the edges on- for their indoor roost.  We've got it suspended about six feet off the ground- not nearly as high as they would go in the tree but I figured they didn't have as much space to land- we don't want those girlies to smack into the wall on their way down.

It definitely took a few days for the chickens to even really discover that it was there but after a couple weeks of feeding them early so we could shut them in the barn before they would get the chance to roost in the tree, I think they've got the hang of it.  They even go in during the day if it is breezy, cold, or raining- so they're catching on pretty quick.

I love going out to the barn now and seeing all those gals up there, cuddled up next to eachother.  The roost could probably could be longer, but they're doing well with sharing the space.  We also made eight nesting boxes, but we're kind of jumping the gun there, these ladies aren't due to start laying until November...and I'm not sure how much luck we'll have at that point due to the lack of daylight.

On another note, the broilers are doing alot better now that they've had more room to move.  We've had one little guy who couldn't even stand on his own- his legs splayed to either side of him as he sat continously on his butt.  We tried bracing his legs underneath him as we had seen done online but the bandaids would never stay put with his thick legs.  So, for a week we had been debating what to do with the poor thing.  He appeared to be doing alright in all other respects, he is just as large as the rest and made it around by scooting.  But our consciences were wearing on us. 

Although their purpose is to be food for our family the whole point was to raise them ourselves so we could provide them with a happy and healthy life until that time came.  We bought them too late in the year to be able to keep them outside, much to our disappointment, even during the day when the sun is out the chilly breeze is just too much for these half-feathered-in broilers.

This morning Kyle came into the kitchen to declare that he thinks the little guy is better.  Perhaps with the extra space and the need to move around more to get to the food and water he strengthened his legs and has made a full recovery.  I certainly hope so- I was thinking of naming him Tiny Tim but considering the circumstances I don't think that would be such a good idea.

1 Responses to First Frost? Bring it on!!

  1. Baker Betty Says:
  2. Tiny Tim is appropriate if you go on the assumption that Scrooge did nothing to help his family....didn't he die in that senario? Sorry, yes, good idea not naming him....