Tabatha Mic

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since Feb 02, 2011
North Central Mississippi
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Recent posts by Tabatha Mic

I'm ordering my 3rd batch of cornish cross late this summer. We've done 2 sets of 25 each. The first round we lost almost half. Crowding under the lights, flip, etc. The second round we lost 3 and they didn't look good when they got here. I believe they were older chicks. We counted them as packing peanuts since we actually received 3 extra.

We still have 5 of these ladies awaiting butcher. They are in with my laying hens and get fed scattered feed twice a day with the others. No mass feeder filled up unless we have to go out of town and must confine them. They have full freedom of our lot and they DO walk around, scratch and chase bugs. They are 7 months old, almost the size of turkeys and waddle just fine. Their legs are further apart than my laying hens, hence the waddle. But they are quick on their feet! And no gross leg bending! They don't deal with the heat as well if they are confined, but give them a cool shady spot to access and they will use it. When we want to process one, we just go grab one and stick her in a cage with fresh water for a night.

The second batch we used 2 lights on opposite sides of the brooder and gave them yogurt mixed with crumbles right away. I also mixed ACV with the mother in their water, just a glug in a 3 gallon waterer.
The other thing we did was encourage their "chickenness". We scattered feed on the floor and ground for them right away and let them outside (protected) from the time they had decent feathers. We brought them bugs and let them chase them. We cut down to twice a day feeding at 2 weeks and fed only fermented mash. I just used a mesh strainer to let most of the liquid drain out and dumped it into a standard trough feeder. We also gave them layena from time to time.

Their poops did NOT smell any worse than my layers and as long as we kept the brooder clean, it was just like having "normal" chicks. Except for the growth rate!
So I wanted to agree with Jay in that, if you treat them right, culture their guts and encourage them to be chickens, they are just fine. Darn tasty too

Funny story, my roofer cage raises CX every year, 2 batches of 50. He's raised almost 1000 of these guys. He saw ours wandering around and asked "What kind of chickens are those?" When Hubby told him CX, his jaw dropped and he say "How'd you get them to WALK?!?" We made em act like chickens!
5 years ago
I've put up a bit of lawn hay using my scythe, a leaf rake and a tarp.

Using the scythe really shouldn't be hard on your back. Do you have an american or an austrian? I can't say enough about the austrian styles. I'll never put hands on a weedeater again.
The motion is almost like turns in Thai Chi, which can be very soothing to muscles & is low impact. If you haven't, I'd highly suggest watching videos from Scythe Supply for proper technique. Also, scythes cut better when the grass is damp or moist. I like to start shortly before sunup & work til I get too warm. I can do our whole yard (1/3 acre) in an hour. You do get to rest every 10-15 minutes or so, since you need to whet the blade. That helps a lot.

Also, is there any reason you would have to bale it? Baling is really for convenience purposes for shipping & stacking.
If you have a place (perhaps one of those slabs) where you can get it off the moist ground & covered, there's your hay. Just pile it up & cover it. There is a way of stacking that will shed water, but I don't trust my novice stacking skills with that. Hence the tarp

Just my $.02

Oh, you might want to try a reel mower. I have no experience with them, just thought of it.
6 years ago
Goat is a stronger tasting meat than beef (in general) and lends itself well to stronger spices. Like the others have said, young goat will be milder and more like beef. I personally find it delicious. Makes a great sausage too. Looking forward to our next butchering, very soon.

This is a recipe for kebabs or skewers The instructions say to broil or bake, but its awesome on the grill.

1lb meat, trimmed of fat & gristle, cut into 1" cubes
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion
4 green chilis (optional)
4 cloves garlic (optional)

Marinade
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon powdered cassia or cinnamon bark
6 tablespoons red wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Combine all marinade ingredients in bowl, add meat, toss to mix. Cover & refrigerate 6-24 hours.
Preheat oven or broiler to 350 or start charcoal.
Cut bell peppers & onion into 1" diamonds or squares. Separate onion layers.
Thread onto skewers, alternating meat, pepper & onion. Add a garlic clove & chili pepper to each skewer if desired.
For even baking, place skewers on wire rack & place a baking dish underneath to catch drippings. Bake or broil until done to your liking.
Rare: 8-10 minutes, Medium: 10-15, Well: 15 or more

I use this recipe for the liver. Very tasty, even folks who don't care for liver like it.
http://www.food.com/recipe/calf-liver-in-bacon-cream-sauce-32471
6 years ago
Shade and lots of it, without being closed in at all. We used a reflective tarp held about 3' above the cages. It was open on all 4 sides. We need to get that back up too...
Marble slabs frozen every night & taken to the buns by 10 am. Marble's ambient temp is typically lower than the surrounding air, so it works better than just ice bottles.
Plenty of water, especially at night.

Your bunnies aren't going to drink nearly as much water during the heat of the day as they will at night. Or at least mine don't. They drain their bottles at night though. I've been filling up waterers once in the morning, once when I get home (around 5:30pm) and once right before bed (around 10pm) The bottles are usually half full at 5:30 and almost always nearly empty at bedtime & in the morning.

I have a 10 day old litter of kits from a mom who was accidentally bred (free ranged for a time) and all her kits are looking fantabulous, even with the 98+ temps we've been having. I've only brought a bun inside once, for doctoring. This is my second year with bunnies in Mississippi and we haven't lost a single kit.

Can you setup a simple solar powered fan? Airflow really does a lot to help cool them off as well.
ETA: Never mind, just saw the the solar mention in your post. Poop...
7 years ago
Totally by accident I discovered an easy, no pesticide way of controlling squash bugs.
Check the leaves & stems for eggs & squash them. I just pull off a small chunk of the leaf & mash it. Spray any nymphs with soapy water. Yes, regular old soap. It kills wasps too, deader than dead. DH fills a super soaker with soapy water to get rid of the gigantic red wasps around our doors & windows. Knocks them down like the cans of spray, for real. I've used dish soap, hand soap and homemade lye soap.

Now the adult squash bugs are wiley and they'll hide in the mulch and down under the leaves and so avoid the soapy water. They HAVE to be drenched to kill them. However, if you flood the base of your plant with water, the stoopid things climb up onto the leaves where you can grab em & squash em or spray them with the soapy water. It kills them just the same, they just hide so they don't get sprayed.
I do have bush zucs, so not sure how they hide on running squashes. But all I did was direct the water hose to the base of the plant and out they climbed.

Here's a really good link on this, I haven't noticed any adverse effects on my plants and I have sprayed with soap for a while now. I really try to use a combination of hand picking, water hosing & soap spray as my main protection against most insects.
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/Pubs/insect/05547.html

For borers, cut a slit in the stem & pull out the bug or even just squish it inside the stem. Then go a little beyond where the borer was and bury the stem in a bit of soil, the squash will survive & make new roots. Just keep checking back and if another one gets it, do it again. Kinda like rooting a plant by layering.
ETA: A Little more info
7 years ago
Another vote for baking soda & vinegar.
I've been using it for over a year now. My formerly greasy, needing to be washed every day hair has calmed down a LOT. I can go 3-4 days now without shampooing.

I take a couple of tablespoons baking soda, add warm water & pour on my scalp. Then I scrub gently & rinse with water.
Then, I rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar (the cheap stuff, the good Braggs & homemade goes in food ) I do not rinse the ACV out.
I've also simply sprayed on a diluted ACV mix & let it dry without rinsing. The vinegar smell goes away very quickly.
7 years ago
You can liquify bar soap & add in a nice scrubby material to it.

For liquid soap, grate the bar soap, add a little water & heat it up until it melts. While its still warm, add a bit more water until it is a bit thinner than regular liquid soap (it will firm up a bit when it cools) Mix it well using a wire whisk or blender.
Then add in some pumice, coffee grounds, clean sand, ground apricot, kelp, oatmeal or other abrasive material, and put in a container. You will need to shake the container before using.

The scrubby stuff will help get the grease off.

I also have made bar soap (hot process) that had coffee grounds in it. It works very well.
7 years ago
They like spare or soured milk too
7 years ago
I was given the advice to "embarrass" the rooster. Not fighting him, but simply grabbing him, holding his legs together gently, his wings to his sides & carrying him around tucked under your arm like a baby for about half an hour. Then give him food. They don't know how to deal with it plus they get the added idea that you=yummies. Worked like a charm.

That being said, unless he was the only rooster or the best protector, I'd eat him too.
7 years ago

These are the rebar post. They are a triangle metal brace on a 4' piece of rebar. These are the "anchors".


Closeup of the door configuration. It simply wraps around the first post placed & slides over its own rebar post. You can barely see the mesh, so I've highlighted the path in blue & purple.
You can see how easily the top rail slides over the rebar post. The rebar posts are easily bent and mostly snap back into place, taking the top rail along with it, which pulls the mesh tight.


The whole kit & caboodle. Posts are located at the blue arrows. Left forward corner is the door post, so there are two posts there.


With the chickens, waterer, nest box (cut up piece of wood in the center is for privacy while egg laying the nest box is behind it)

Okay, tips.
Don't use deer netting. It is too flimsy. But it's working for now while I pay off some stuff on my account at work. I'll get a roll of poultry netting. That will keep it light & moveable, but be more durable than the deer netting. We've already had a couple of tears.
When you plant the rebar posts, angle them away from the center of the square. This will make them pull tighter across the top.
Move ALL your chickeny stuff (waterer, feeder if you use it, nest box, etc) BEFORE you move the pen.
Let your chickens out (if they don't have a shelter inside) about 15 minutes before sundown, or even a bit earlier. I let mine stay in just a bit past sundown and they were already trying to roost. I had to toss them out to make them go to the coop.
I'm thinking about using the same logic to lure them into the coop at night that I use to get them into the pen. Food
I can go out at ten o'clock & rattle a feed bucket and they would come running if they could get out of the coop.
7 years ago