Monday, November 9, 2015

Autumn Turkey Coop Prepping

Before Sean's Mom and Dad returned home to North Carolina this year, Sean, our friend, Matt, and Daddy Dale gave a mighty effort to move a large ice shack from its home in Swanville to our homestead. The building hadn't been used at all in a couple years, but it's last purpose was as a chicken coop. Vinyl siding and asphalt shingled roof in good condition, large windows for light, linoleum flooring for easy care, a door for people and one for the feathered animals, it would need just a little TLC to make this into a very serviceable Turkey coop for my babies. The only trouble? Getting it out.
Despite their best efforts:removing small Sumac trees and birch branches grown up around the shed and using metal runners as a lever, the shed refused to budge.

The guys attempted to use Matt's truck to pull it out. This moved the shed diagonally about a foot, but the stubborn shed refused to give up. Then the metal rings ripped out of the sill, taking siding and wood with it, there was nothing else to do, but call it for that day.

Matt suggested that he and Sean return with some tools another day to cut off the roof and the four side walls. With the shed dismantled, the guys would load it into the truck in large pieces and reassemble it once they got it safely to our homestead. I was not in love with this plan, but there did not really seem to be an alternative.

The shed on the left cannot be used another winter. The yard is a good size, but needs to be
moved to give the Toms more fresh greens- while they last. As you can see, the teens 
come and go as they please. 

So, the Turkey Coop project was put aside for the time being. We really need that shed for our turkey birds. We have been able to extend their yard to a decent size for them, but their shelter this summer will not work once the weather turns. They are using one of the small, square coop boxes gifted to us a couple of years ago. These are really no longer habitable. It was built with a flat top and after a few years of usage, that top is no longer in good repair. We'll still salvage any usable 2x4's, the vents, and any screws that we can from it, but the rotting plywood top and base will be burned in our next bonfire.

The weather this fall is cooperating with us and that is a blessing. I am worried, though. Winter is not long off and besides resolving the turkey situation, we still need to build new doors for the barn stalls, move Ebony up to the barn, and cut and stack our firewood for the season. It is the time of year when we start getting phone calls asking us to take on animals that need to find new homes. At this stage, we are full when it comes to providing for large animals. It is going to be a hard winter just to provide for those that we already are responsible for. We can do it and will, but only if we continue to be careful about our herd management. So, no new mammals being added to the homestead.

On the other hand, there was a little room for additional birds. In addition to our two new muscovy ducks, Chapelle and Boris, we agreed to take care of two new adult turkey hens, Riley and Maggie. Miss Riley has a tassel on her chest. They are a cross between a Royal Palm and a Naragansett. Right now, they live next to the main turkey area while they get accustomed to their new flock-mates. Also, I am given to understand that these ladies have a habit of roosting high up in the tree tops or on roof tops. We want to make sure they are happy with their new arrangements before releasing them where they can come and go as they please.

Besides these four, Sean and I went for an adventure day two weeks ago to collect our four new Silkie pullets in Augusta. Our lone Silkie has been living in our family room because the other hens in our flock bully her. The thought of living with a chicken inside all winter long was not one I relished. We hope that adding several other hens of her same breed will give her some companionship and stop the others from chasing her. If it doesn't work, the Silkies can take up residence together in the barn. Phase One went as planned. All the Silkies are getting along well, living next to the main coop. Phase Two will happen on Saturday and we'll see how that goes.

Billy Roo was very interested in the new ladies.
Yesterday, a neighbor friend stopped by to ask us to take his flock of six hens; four Rhode Island Reds and two Barred Rocks. His family is heading south for a bit and has decided not to have chickens at this point. They are large, lovely ladies. And, they help to solve the problem of having a few too many roosters on the homestead right now. We still need to find homes for a couple of boys that came with some straight run chicks earlier in the spring, but having a total of ten new teenaged-young adult hens to add to our flock will spread the attention somewhat.

We have not given up hope on our Turkey coop project. I will keep you posted with that saga as it unfolds!

Thanks for stopping in to visit with us, friends. We're sure glad for your company.

Sonja ♥

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