Emily Smith

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since May 11, 2016
West Central Georgia
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Recent posts by Emily Smith

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Tree roots sap the moisture and nutrients from a garden. I would site a new garden as far away from trees as possible. Right in the middle of a clearing for example. And, no closer to trees than the height of the tree. So if the nearby trees are 50 feet tall, then I wouldn't put a garden within 50 feet of them. I concur with James regarding getting maximum sun exposure.

This isn't possible on property #2.  The trees are TALL and on all sides.  The clearing isn't wider than the trees on each side are tall (put together).  Hope that makes sense.
We're looking at new properties, and things being what they are, likely a small garden will be all I can manage for now.  If I have a clearing in the middle of tall, mature hardwoods, do I want a plot off to a particular side?  Downhill?  Uphill?

Property 1 is raw, long (236ish ft. x 811ish ft.), western facing slope at about 30 degrees.  5 acres--the world is your oyster.  But you have to build a 4 bedroom, 2000 sq. ft. house on it...
Property 2 has about 1/2 an acre cleared, but part of it slopes 45 degrees, west by northwest.  There are high and low spots that are relatively level, though.  It has an small existing plot at the highest point, which is the southeast corner.
Property 3 has a little .1 acre clearing on the eastern side, relatively level, high ground.  There's also about .5 acres in the back, that is on a lake, but pretty gently sloping.  

We're in Georgia, so I think we typically want morning sun and afternoon shade, right?  So isn't putting plots along the northwestern side of a woods-edged clearing best?  
Is low ground a big deal as long as drainage continues downhill?

So for #1, I'd want to terrace a plot in the middle?
For #2 a plot in the northwest part of the clearing (which is also downhill)?
For #3, it's harder to tell.  The little clearing seems pretty shaded, so maybe the northern edge of the property?  It would get eastern sun for sure, but maybe a little western shade.

Am I thinking about all of this right, or do I have it all backwards?  I welcome any input!
I missed that last post until now, I'm sorry!  Thank you for that advice!  I'll tuck it away.  We finally had to cull this hen; she just never stopped and was making skin raw on this one bird.  First time processing a bird, so that was interesting.  I'm not sure it's my favorite thing ever, but we did it!  Anyway, so closes the saga of the bully feather-plucking hen.
1 year ago
You said upthread that I should get an young rooster from a large flock.  How do I go about selecting a rooster?  Assuming I found someone with a big flock with several to choose from, what am I looking for either in observation or from the owner's comments?
2 years ago
No we did have an issue with moldy feed right before all of this started.  My bin was leaking at the seam.  We quit using it once we discovered mold, but it doesn't appear overnight, right?  Maybe it's connected and maybe it's not, but I would never have put those two together on my own.  I was worried about and looking for physical illness, but not behavior changes.  I feel like a dumb now.  Thanks for that info; I will not be a dumb in future.

We do not have a rooster.  This is my first flock, and I didn't feel confident enough to get a rooster with the hens.  Or to get straight run.    I didn't think of a banty; I'll keep that in mind.  Apart from the lack of confidence, we do live in a neighborhood, and I don't want to cause the neighbors undue annoyance.

The runty one does lay and seems fine other than this issue with the other hen, but I may still try separating the lowest two and see what happens.  However, my daughter just saw our "bully/roo" pin another bird and maybe pluck feathers, but at least peck the neck, then let her up.  But I think if she was truly wanting to pull/eat feathers, probably more birds would be more bare by now?  She's been back in with the flock for at least 10 days.

I truly appreciate the replies.  Probably the wisest route would have been to "apprentice" with a flock owner and then set up for my own flock, but that's just not at all how I did this!  Thank you for helping me figure this out as I go.
2 years ago
I can't be of practical use, but I know that "hitting a wall" feeling (another part of life entirely, but a wall, nonetheless), so I'm quite sorry you're experiencing that in this area of life, and I hope you find a way to somehow break through to contentment.  ((hugs))
2 years ago
Thank you all for the information and possibilities.

Is there a way to tell for sure which hen is next lowest in the pecking order?  I think it's my Orpington, but I'm not 100% sure.  

I upped their protein by adding dried meal worms and eggs (alternately) to their scraps & feed (also alternately).  I made sure to get a higher protein feed this go-round, as well.  And we've been making sure to spread it out more; the waterer is big enough, but the feed pan wasn't.  They've been able to be out more this past week, and I cleaned out and moved their coop to new ground (bottomless pen).  But today the pinning thing happened again, and it actually appears to be mating behavior.  I know for a fact they're both hens, and the dominant one has been laying.  Do I just ignore it?  I'm still concerned about the bare spot on the little one's neck.  The others give it a peck every now and then; nothing injurious.  I'd like her feathers to grow back in, though.
2 years ago
I really want a Meadow Creature!

For those who broadfork their spent cover crops, is this all you do to them?  Do you leave the debris on/in the ground, or do you clear it away like weeds after letting the broadfork loosen everything up?
2 years ago
This is practically unnecessary at this point this year, but we are still getting nights in the 30's; the soil temperature is mid-50's, though.  I want to sow lettuce and greens and also start up some transplants for April.  This is the first year trying any of this, so do y'all think I can put all that stuff in the same cold frame--direct sow the greens and put my other seeds in little pots?  
The proposed spot is full sun, as is most of our yard.  The frame is 33"x77" if that's of any importance.  I sized it to the stationary half of a sliding door.
I've got a bully hen, I think.  I caught her the week before last pinning another hen down and plucking her neck feathers out.  Another of my hens had new feathers growing in on her neck but until I saw the bully(?), I was thinking molting or mites.  The rest of the flock seems ok, and they went from being out a lot to being in the coop a lot, so stress is possible.  I haven't had a problem until now; they're 9ish months old.  I separated the plucker into a makeshift enclosure, and kept her separate for about a week.  After that we let everyone out in the yard together, and let them go to roost on their own.  But a day later she did the same thing; pinned the one (the "runt") down and starting plucking out feathers.  She's back in isolation for now.

So questions: is this really bullying behavior, or normal pecking order stuff?  This is our first flock and I'll allow I may be ignorant and/or sensitive.
If it's bullying and not normal, what's a moderate approach?  I know I could just cull her now, but is there any hope or value in trying to "fix" this hen?
If I cull her: I've sort of got cold feet about that, largely because it's an unknown, and I (foolishly?) didn't think I'd need to do it this soon, so am not set up for it either with equipment or location (the neighbors probably wouldn't appreciate me butchering a hen in my front yard, just a guess).  I live in a neighborhood.  So in light of that, suggestions?  Craigslist is not an option, long story.

ETA: mites?  I didn't see obvious signs of mites, but they've had straw in their coop since mid-December and it's been wet here.  I'm wondering if they would be feeling an infestation before my untrained eyes could detect early signs.  I removed all the straw last week; I don't think it will get below freezing any more this year.

And molting: no one else looks like they're losing feathers, can a molt go quickly, though?
2 years ago