The day old chicks we were raising outgrew their cage in the house after about 4 weeks. They were ready to move outside to the barn. They didn’t need the heat lamp any more and were ready for more space and fresher air (the house needed to be aired out by that point as well!).
I used an outdoor pet exercise pen and covered the outside with chicken wire to make sure the chicks couldn’t squeeze out between the bars. I added a wooden crate and a cement block inside to give them something to climb and roost on. The floor is covered with pine shavings to help maintain cleanliness and provide the chicks with something to kick through. The roof over the pen was just a scrap of wood from the barn to prevent them from flying out and any other chickens from getting in.
Four week old chicks out in the barn.
Click through for a video and more photos of the baby chicks.
You may recall that we got the chance to bottle feed an orphaned calf last year at a neighbor’s farm. This year, there wasn’t an orphaned calf, but there were some orphaned piglets that my neighbor took in to raise. He let us stop by to help with one of the bottle feedings earlier in the summer.
Bottle feeding a piglet.
Our neighbor took in 3 of the piglets from the litter. He had 2 black and white piglets and 1 red piglet.
With a good portion of our pasture surrounded by woods, we sometimes get a chance to see young birds learning to fly – they take off from the trees on the edge of the pasture and flap / glide into the field. The pastures are relatively safe as the fences block most ground predators.
This year, a juvenile red-tailed hawk came to our pastures to practice flights. However, on one attempt, the hawk’s foot got stuck in the fence and the hawk was stuck hanging on the fence, unable to get free.
By the time we noticed and began to approach, the hawk was able to free itself, but was still either in shock or needed to rest. It sat on the ground near the fence for a couple of hours before flying away. We checked on it periodically to make sure it wasn’t permanently injured and didn’t need any human intervention.
Juvenile red tailed hawk on the ground.
Here is a video of the hawk on the ground, turning its head to watch us closely as we approach.
We saw the hawk around the area for the next few days afterwards, but it always flew away before we could get anywhere close it.
You may recall the old stone pillar along the road that used to be at the end of the driveway of our property many years ago. However, of the 2 pillars from the old sketch, only 1 stone pillar is still standing. The other pillar was missing, presumed destroyed.
Sketch of our house from the 1950s or 60s.
But.. we think we found the other pillar! Click through for the details.
We didn’t have to wait too long to test the earthen dam that we built to stop the flooding. A couple of weeks after building the dam, we had two days in a row of constant heavy rain (at least several inches per day).
The completed dam in the dry before the test.
Click through to see how the dam handled the heavy rain.
Following the earlier flooding, we decided to try to build a small dam to try to block the water, rocks, leaves and other debris from flooding out into the pastures.
Here is a reminder of what it looked like during the flooding with water and debris flowing out from the woods.
The creek flooding out into the pastures.
We stacked up the logs again in the water channel where it floods out of the woods. This time, instead of just stacks of logs, we put a metal post behind the logs and covered them with a couple feet of dirt and rocks. Hopefully the post and earthen dam will help keep the logs in place and divert the water and debris.
Close-up of the “dam” with metal post holding the logs in place.
Earlier this spring, we had a period of heavy rain combined with melting snow. This led to the increased volume of water over our waterfall.
However, it was too much water for the small creek bed to handle within its banks. The creek burst over its banks at the bottom of the mountain and flooded out into the pastures.
There was some minor flooding the prior year in the same location so I had attempted to block the channel that flooded with piles of logs from downed trees to divert the water away from the pastures. It didn’t work.
There was so much water that it simply pushed all of the logs out of the channel into the path behind the pastures. It even pushed some of the logs several hundred feet away.
The creek flooding out into the pastures.
The water also carried a lot of sticks, leaves, rocks and mud (also several golf balls!?). A lot of this debris was caught in the pasture fence. The debris blocked the bottom portion of the fence for at 3/4 of the way along the entire back fence line. In some places,the mud and leaves was more than 6 inches deep. Even with assistance from visitors, we haven’t been able to clear the entire fence line yet.