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Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Hatchings

Today was the 21st day of setting. I guess its that time of year, the warmer temps, the greener forage, I really don't know. I have so many chickens that are getting broody and trying to set. Well being the lover of life, and enjoying some of my mutt type chickens running around, I picked out a few and let them have a go of it. A couple of weeks ago, I had one hatch 4, but only 3 made it. I never found the 4th chick but I think it fell through a space in the ceiling where they hatched and probably got snatched up by a cat. Who knows. So this gal began to set and I could tell she was serious. She has some bantam in her which makes her a great mother. Initially she had three eggs under her so I added 11 more making it 14. I put a mixture of all kinds but mainly bantam eggs and a few other types. Who knows. Well who would have guessed she would hatch 13 out of 14 eggs. Thats a whopping 93% hatch rate. The bantam chicks are so small it is hilarious. But what an amazing mother she is.

Next Monday, this gal will be hatching her eggs. I think there is 10-12 under her. She is the sister of the first chicken that hatched the 4 chicks. They look identical except this chicken doesn't have as big a red thing on her head. Then the next Monday after that, I have another bantam chicken that is setting on 10-12 eggs. It will be nice having chicks hatching each week and with my new brooder house, I have room for about 600 chicks. Good thing since next Thursday, I will be getting my shipment of 300 in. Excitement.

I got my warm season seed ordered and it should be in any time this week. I am going to be seeding a Texas Tuff Bermuda mix along with Crabgrass. Tonight and tomorrow it is suppose to rain so that will help prepare my seed bed. I am going to be broadcasting over existing native grasses and allow the cows to press them into the soil. Our rye grass and Clovers, Durana and Bur, are coming up more and more with the warm weather. I need to get out and take pictures of that. I am experimenting with some new pasture applications so more on that later.

This week I plan to finish building our paddocks weather pending. I went to the NRCS Friday and got Mr. Dan Wilson to draw them up for me. Its so much easier to get approximate acreage sizes on their computer programs than for me to go out and estimate. Not only that, but at our NRCS office, I try to really push Mr. Wilson to see what all he can do. When I got ready to leave, I realized that I had locked my keys in the car. I have a Honda Civic that I use to drive to Houston and to putz around doing errands. It gets 35 mpg vs. 12 mpg in Big Red. But back to Mr. Wilson. We quickly put our heads together and rounded up the necessary tools to keep us from calling Pop-A-Lock. Some High Tensile Wire and a Flat Head Screw Driver. I held the door pried open and he worked his magic with the wire. Since it doesn't have power locks, we had to pull the trunk release so I could go in through the trunk. Within a few minutes, eureka, we were in. Thanks Mr. Wilson for all your help. If I had a pic of you, I would put it on here. (Lucky you, your daughter, Sarah Shalley, hooked me up.) He does smile though.

But this is what the remaining 8 paddocks will look like which will give us 40 paddocks total. I may try to get him to print a printout of how all my paddocks are situated. It looks like one pig puzzle.

What a wonderful week it will be. We always need the rain, lets just hope it doesn't get too soupy.


Sarah Shalley said...

Jason, I am DYING laughing. I heard this same story from Dad's perspective. It sounds like ya'll have a good time together. Dad can't believe that I still haven't met you. Soon! I know that he really enjoys your visits and helping you make improvements on the farm. I just went searching for a picture of my Dad for you and realized that I have few of him by himself. It got me motivated to take some. What's your email address?

Copy/Paste this in and steal it from my blog...

Much love - Sarah

ps - The chicks are so cute.

Woody said...

Jason..I found your blog last week and have been reading your old posts. I just wanted to let you know that I have enjoyed the read and look forward to you sharing ya'lls experience here.


Kramer said...

Thanks Sarah, I put it on there. Hope he doesn't mind.

Woody, thanks a bunch. We have a vision for this place but I always have to remind myself it takes time. I appreciate you taking the time out of your life to read about ours.

Sarah Shalley said...

Haha. I don't think he'll mind. Yes, he DOES smile! Daddy has a great smile...he just has to look serious as a hunter. That seems to be the only time that I can get a picture of him alone. THANKS, Jason. He'll get a kick out of this. I'm sending the post to him. Talk soon.

Rich said...

After recently fighting the brush, weeds, and trying in vain to splice old brittle wire while fixing some of our older barb wire fences, I'm inclined to just tear out all our older fences and start replacing them with an electric fencing system. I was thinking that a good electric fence would solve alot of maintenance problems (if it didn't create new maintenance problems) , while giving me the option of more easily implementing a MiG system in the future.

On the topic of MiG, I am interested in the reasoning behind your grazing paddock setup and have a number of questions. What is the thinking behind your paddock layouts? Are you following the topography, existing fencelines, your watering system layout, etc.?
How large are you making your paddocks?

Anonymous said...

THAT'S my boy!

So proud of him

Js Dad

Kramer said...


First off I think you would be making a good decision going with High Tensile Electric fencing when you go to replace your existing fence. Also, incorporating a MIG operation on land will be a huge benefit to your animals but most off your soils and forage.

I want to get a full map of all my paddocks. All interior fencing is on poly wire on reels and step in posts. Essentially, I have 5 large pastures split into anywhere from 6-8 paddocks in each. I try to keep paddocks around 2 acres each but some are a little less and some a little more. However, if needed, I have the capability to cut these in half when it comes to allowing plants to go to seed head for reseeding.

As far as the layout of the paddocks, I just went with the best way that our land is laid out. I try to run all my water lines along permanent fences that way I know where they all are. Due to the way that some of our paddocks are set up, I use temporary alleys to connect my herd to a another pasture. I wouldn't say its perfect, even for us, but right now it works. This spring, my paddocks will get a minimum of 40 days rest with the possibility of 80 days. What I have learned is that your land will be your laboratory. By having several different pastures that can be divided into smaller paddocks, you can apply different things on different pastures and document easily. Plus, by having all your interior fencing temporary, it sure is easy to get a tractor in rather than having to get around in a 2 acre pad.

Hope this helps. #1 thing, buy a good charger for your fence.