Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cleaning the barn

I have been having problems with my six-week old chicks – I have lost a total of five out of the fifty this past week. I have tried a lot of things – vinegar in the water, medicated feed, but Candy suggested that we totally clean up and sterilize the area the babies are in.

Yesterday was a hot day, but we started early. Candy and Wayne came over to help and we started by cleaning out the runway … the floor is cement, so we will be able to clean the runway easier now that we have all of the junk off the floor. We also cleaned out the corners that I had not gotten around to, limed the floor where the feed bins were moved to and got a door open in the south side of the barn. We made temporary half-doors with pallets to keep the chicks from going out the wrong door and to keep them out of the feed bin area.

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Clean runway

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Wayne at the half-door (sounds like a movie)

We sprayed 10% bleach water on the runway and in the raked yard to help kill any buggies that are killing my babies. Wayne weed-whacked the yard, even getting rid of the tall grass next to the fence.

Oofta, it was tough! All four of us worked all morning, then had tuna-fish sandwiches and watermelon for lunch. Went out to check the chicks and found that the littler ones could sneak through the slats of the snow-fence because the tall grass was gone. It evidentially made a good enough barrier so they didn’t think they could get through. Little “Tiny” was the first – he’s a brave little explorer. So we put boards around to stop them; we were going to put wire around this morning, but we are out of wire, so I raked up piles of hay that had dropped out of the neighbor Bill’s bales he had made in the pasture. I put the piles around fence to hopefully fool the boys into thinking it’s a solid fence again.

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The hay makes them think it's a solid fence

Of course, Tiny was trying to eat grass through the gate, so I hope he doesn’t think he can squeeze through there!

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Notice how small Tiny is compared to a normal sized cockerel

During breaks, we hung over the pen wall and watched the boys scratching. I want to keep one for my rooster, but can’t chose, right now. There are so many pretty ones. We have chosen two, though, I think. We are not sure which breeds they are, but these are the two (of the moment). But, then? Maybe tomorrow another one will catch my eye!

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"Harley" - notice the chaps - bare on the inside, feathery on the outside

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The white and tan one has blue legs - he says his name is "Rupert"

Right now, the boys are doing well. Whether it was the vinegar or the changed feed or just dumb luck, we seemed to have stopped the “plague,” and our cleaning and sanitizing should help keep it from recurring!

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The boys peeking out the gate

It is a beautiful day – it started out with a rainbow. You have a beautiful day!

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Simplegirl (Teresa) said...

What beautiful pictures! You have some cute chicks there. Glad you got the 'plague' taken care of. I love when I can catch a rainbow picture. They are such rare occurances!

Candy Duell said...

I am sorry about the 5 chicks. I hope all of your efforts are rewarding. Your pictures are great. I love the chick with the chaps. Did you get a variety of chicks with the last batch? I aggree the rainbow is great.