Ode to a Manure Spreader and Poultry Uncertainty, Part 5

Our spreader has officially died.

This ratchet will not move forward so the spreader won’t move forward either.

We estimate that it is around 100 years old.  And it has served us well for many years.  We are hoping to buy one at the Meridian Auction.  We have items for sale in this auction so hopefully some of the proceeds will help us get a new one.

But it is time to scoop out the barn. So we are piling up the poop while we wait on spreading it.  This is one of the two piles.

Tom put a few tractor buckets’ worth in the pig pen.  They acted like it was candy.

And here is our scooped out barn.  We do have to pitchfork out a little more on the front half of the barn, but the majority of the work is done.

Our young chickens did not stay in the “pheasant pen” long.  At 6 in the morning I found these feathers, and one bird was missing.

So they are back yet again in the “weasel-proof pen” while I contemplate our options.  I am confused about why the birds in the pheasant pen keep getting eaten while the free range chickens in the barn with a lot less protection are not.  Then I got to wondering if the predator is living in the pen, under the grampa shed floor. So we flooded the ground under the shed, but nothing came out.  Then I started wondering if maybe the free range chickens are not doing as well as I think and are being picked off too.  They are hard to count since they are free.  But I am starting to count them each night as they roost to see.  I contemplated buying or building a chicken tractor, but these young birds only have less than 2 months to go so seems a waste of time, money, and energy.  I also thought about making a pen in the hay loft, but I do not think that would be pleasant for them or us.

I wish I knew what predator we are dealing with.  It doesn’t seem like a weasel anymore.  Tom does occasionally smell a skunk odor.  We are thinking about putting a game camera in the “pheasant pen” in case it comes back looking for  a meal. We can’t put it in the barn as we will get a million chicken photos.  We have done that before.  Any advice would be apprecaited.  I want these chickens to have a pleasant lives, not a terrorized ones.

In other news, Ryeleigh continues to watch the property from the outside and the inside.  She has been chasing squirrels which we appreciate.  It does not seem like they are eating more of our corn since the beagle is back.

And I put the flax into sheaths today and decided the best spot to dry them is against the windmill base.

Tom and I decided to take the afternoon off.  The farm is wearing us out.  We went to downtown Mount Vernon and went shopping.  I found this cool book with lots of old photos.

And we ended the afternoon with cocktails at the Revival Cocktail Lounge.  Tom had a French 75, and I had a Mai Tai.  It was lovely.

For dinner I made Lowcountry Chicken Bog using our chicken, rosemary, thyme, homemade smoked venison sausage, green onion and parsley.  It is really good.  Not spicy but rich and comforting.

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6 Responses to Ode to a Manure Spreader and Poultry Uncertainty, Part 5

  1. Jeanne says:

    Oh my. I’m so sorry that you’ve lost another chicken! It must feel a little like a losing battle. So sad.

    I figured that your manure spreader was pretty old, but didn’t expect it to be THAT old, until I saw your close-up picture! Then it was obvious. I looked up the auction. I was surprised to find that it’s only online and that it started on the 27th. I wish you good luck on finding a better, newer, spreader.

    What year was that old book printed? It looks very interesting.

    • Donna says:

      I am trying not to lose this battle but my poor chickens are terrorized by the predators and me moving them all the time. The auction moved to online with the pandemic and they are going to keep it that way. There were no spreaders yet but they are still listing stuff. The book was printed in 1967. I mostly like the old photos.

  2. Jeanne says:

    I’m really sorry about the problems you are having. Honestly, I hadn’t thought of how the getting moved around was for the chickens. Of course I’m not there to see it.

    I take it the turkens are doing okay? Are they getting big?

    I would think an online auction wouldn’t be was good, financially, for the people putting it on. I hope it goes well. Also, that you’ll be able to get a working spreader. Please let me know how it goes.

    • Donna says:

      The chickens are scared of me now. I am trying to spoil them with bread bits to get back on their good graces. The turkens are still fine, thankfully. They say that they have a wider reach with the online auction and need less employees. So far all I found was way too expensive. Tom knows a guy who fixes old spreaders so we may end up going that route.

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