Chicken Saddles

I have been wanting to blog, but my thoughts have been quite jumbled lately. Many things vs on my mind, several projects, along with busy days at work. Sometimes life just gets busy.

I noticed feather Missing on Noodle as well as one other hen, originally I thought it was from the chicken killing Labrador. However it was getting worse not better. So I started researching. The verdict was that my red rooster, Roy, has been too rough with my girls! My research led me to chicken saddles, which I had never heard of before this. Pinterest to the rescue! I looked at several pins that included patterns, measurements, instructions etc. They were all basically the same, Andover that went over the back held in place by the wings.

I found a pin that included a free pattern. Backtobasicliving.com is where I got the pattern, but I made a few adjustments as I ten to do with any pattern.

Noodle tried to take it of initially, however she decided it was better to leave it on. The other hen, now called Doodle, had taken hers off this morning. When I put them up this evening I will put it back on her.

The adjustments I made to this, were I took information and after compiling it decided fleece was the best choice in fabric. This is a self lined/reversible saddle, so I only put interfacing, I used fairly stiff, on one half of it. Also, instead of sewing it inside out and turning it before sewing it shut, since keece does not ravel,I sewed it wrong side together and trimmed the interfacing shorter than the seam allowance. I saw where fellow chicken owners used snaps,Velcro,or just cut holes in the fleece. I elected to use Velcro. This has proven a good choice so far.

I plan to make several more of these to keep the girl protected and healthy. This wet together very quickly. And was also easy to put on. the girls seem to find them comfortable enough that are not terribly bothered by them.

Hopefully this helped someone else make the best decision for their flock! Also hope you all have a happy new year!

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Rainy Saturday

What a week it has been! In a lot of ways it seems I blinked and yet another week has passed even though another ways this week has been full and long. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs done.

Christmas is just a few days away and I am not feeling it. Two weeks ago, I was a little excited about Christmas and looking forward to the holiday festivities and traditions. Now, I just feel like this click is ticking down and I’m not ready.

Sewing projects while several are almost done, I think I can only say that 1 of several is completed leaving numerous projects to be finished. I have not been in the mood to wrap, so as the time has come for various gifts to be exchanged I have wrapped as I have needed to and not a single thing more.

Things at the shop are even different compared to years past and I think all of it together has me in this rut. I bought Christmas cards even last week and I did fill out 1 of them, but that has been as far as I have gotten.

Crazy thing is, none of the above mentioned things make or break Christmas. While each one has a purpose, other things are more important. This is the best time of year to celebrate Jesus and not only his birth, but His salvation for us and his sacrifice. If I can get myself to focus back where I need to, on Him, then I have no doubt that everything will fall into place like it needs to.

My challenge to myself for this next week or two, but focusing heavier on the next few busy day ahead, to keep my priorities straight. To keep Jesus in Christmas and share His love with those around me. Everything else will work out, if I can just keep myself focused.

Chickens First Real Snow

Yesterday, here in southern Ohio, wd our first real real slow of the season. The big round flakes reminded me of something you would see in a Christmas movie! The chickens got to experience something new.

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My sister, I was not home at the time, said how excited the Guineas got as they realized the sky was falling! When I got home a few of my birds were in the yard, but it did not take them long to migrate to the cozy chicken coop…. That is, all except 1, the little black hen that went missing a few weeks ago.

I discovered the little black hen while I was in the barn feeding the horses. She was hiding under Big Red. I watched as she walked to one end of the truck, looked around and meandered back to the middle, far from whatever that white stuff on the ground happened to be. I tried to shush her out gently, and we went from one of the truck to the other a few times before she made a break for the horse trailer. I was laughing as I followed her across the yard. Ultimately after a few more minutes of my insistant pushing, she did decide that the chicken coop was honestly the best place for her.

I enjoyed watching the chickens flutter and flap around the yard playing in the large snowflakes. Their enjoyment was not as much as mine, but once they were all nestled into the coop for the night they chirped contently in front of the heat lamp. These guys just crack me up when I open the door of the coop and see a hen sitting right above the heater, not enjoying at all the breeze I let into the tiny coop.

I thoroughly enjoy my chickens and it tickled me watching them play yesterday! They will have many more snowy days to enjoy in the coming weeks, and I can’t wait to watch them another day.

Playing in the Mud

Today was a busy day trying to catch up on the farm. Unfortunately I hit a few road bumps, but was lucky enough to get the most important things taken care of thanks to the help of several family members.

This morning, I hoped to load the plows back up to take to my Grandparents when I picked up a load of hay. One thing after another led to a down tractor and Matilda going out of commission all in the matter of about an hour. I am no mechanic, but one of these days I may have to learn a few things to maintain the tractors.

Once I finally got on the road for the load of hay I was relieved. Big Red fired right up and down the road we went. After a couple more little hiccups, the hay was loaded. It may have taken a little longer than anticipated, but the extra few minutes I got to spend helping Grandpa was worth it. I doubt I will ever tire of tractor rides with him, even if it is just up to the garage from the barn to replace the bale spear and air up tires. He drives and operates the old Ford tractor very efficiently, someday I hope I can come close.

I brought the hay home, with the tractor still down, I was dead in the water until Dad got home to help get Gerdie started. Many jobs were waiting on him when he got home tonight, and the tractor fell to the bottom of the list. My brother in law was kind enough to step up and help my unload the hay by hand! He made it so much easier, I never would have been able to do it on my own. The kicker was, it rained last night and it has not been cold enough today for the ground to freeze. Needless to say, the field, barnlot, pretty much the whole farm is a muddy mess.

Even though Big Red is a 4×4, wet clay is slicker than snot. I walked down around the gates and while it held me it was slick. I thought it worth a try anyway. So, I gently drove down the bank into the field, my brother in law helped my kick the hay out, which went much easier than I thought. Now the most challenging part, getting her out of the field, empty. I lined the old truck up with the gate, there are 3 total to go through and I did not back out of it until I was almost through the final gate. I fixed the final gate and slid back behind the wheel.

The old truck thundered to life once more, and while she did slide a little bit, she walked up the bank and back into the driveway! Big Red did it! I was one happy girl!

Watering The Flock

For those of you following my blog, you have watched me slowly make improvements. The chicken waterer, which I was really excited about, did not work nearly as well as anticipated. I was disappointed when the fixture going from the 1/2″ PVC pipe into my 2.5 gallon bucket leaked, so I cut it apart and my buddy helped me reseal it with silicone…. only to have it leak again a few weeks later. Not much of a leak, but a slow leak that kept the coop wet, defeating the purpose. So I brought the old waterer out that dripped while I puzzled over how to fix the problem.

I tried a different sealant on the bucket, and it still leaked, so now back to the drawing board. My buddy came up with a PVC idea, and honestly I was skeptical, unsure of how the fitting would work, but once we got it all plumbed in and together, it looked promising.

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Because of the catastophic leaking before, I let everything dry over night before testing the waters with this new setup. I filled it today, and NO leaks!!! This holds just under a gallon and a half and fits in the small area in the coop even better than the bucket did! I am kicking myself and wishing that I would have just splurged for this in the first place. The pieces and parts to do this, not counting the threading tool for the 1/2″ pipe threader were around $15, and I had a few inches of the PVC, both sizes, left over.

The top cap is just sitting on, and we drilled a small hole in the top to allow the gravity feed system to work properly. The small pipe is connected to the drinking cups and the fitting that takes it into the larger pipe is threaded in. Best part of all, NO leaks!

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This is a photo of the underside where the pipe runs to the horizontally mounted drinking cups.

The terra cotta pot, was an idea I read on another blog, and I made some changes. It sits directly beneath the water system to ideally keep it thawed out through the winter. I purchased a lighting kit and my buddy helped build the platform which has a hold drilled into which the lighting cord is threaded through. There is a 150 watt incandescent bulb inside which puts off heat. The birds were knocking the top off, which is just a drip pan for the terra cotta pot. The solution there was actually suggested by a regular at the shop, the plumbing strap keeps the lid on and I do not have to worry about it getting knocked off!

One Day At A Time

Several weeks ago, a long time family friend sang a beautiful song at my Great Grandmother’s funeral, One Day At A Time. It hit home that day and has been stuck in my head the past few in a row. This special song reminds us to ask Jesus for just one day at a time. Grandma loved the Lord, and I know she is resting in a better place, but she wanted us all to remember to take life one day at a time,and that He will be right there with us to guide us.

I have had a lot on my mind the past few days, mulling around and around over and over again. Even when I do not make the best choices, which happens more often than I care to admit, I take a moment and remind myself, there is tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, a new chance to start fresh and make a positive impact. Another chance to make someone smile and to improve myself.

Life is full of challenges, good days, bad days, up and downs. I know that God is with me, working on me, helping me as I do my best to make each day better.  Days that I am down, God gives me many reasons to pick myself up and try again the next day.

In Jeremiah 29:11 God promises that He knows the plan He has for me. He already knows the choices I will make before I make them! His plan is better than anything I could ever come up with on my own. I just have to trust Him, which is easier said than done.

Limiting my focus to a single day makes it easier to find the good in each day. I know that life is full of seasons, and some of which we enjoy more than others, but each one will pass in time. The trick is remaining faithful and trusting in Him.

My challenge to myself has been to stay positive. Some days it is easier than others, but each day is a new chance to stay positive. That is still my challenge to myself, because by staying positive my goal is to have a positive impact on others.