I'm down to 13 meat chickens and they're all small and sickly looking. Despite following all of the guides and suggestions, giving free feed all day and no feed at night, fresh water all the time, glass and weeds to browse, protection from the rain and predators... they just keep dying! Not only that but we are now WAY past the nine weeks it was supposed to take to get them full grown and they're still only "game hen" size. I'm feeding them the meat maker high protein food they're supposed to have. What am I doing wrong? Why are they dying at such a steady rate and why aren't they growing properly? At this rate it's going to be a total loss if I wait for them to reach a good roasting size. Any tried and true advice from folks who've raised meat birds?
I got a little more crochet time in on the pink blanket I've been working on lately. I should be able to finish it this weekend (I hope). I'll be excited to share a finished photo soon anyway!
Today we did a little experiment with Luna's kittens. They'll be four weeks old tomorrow. Today I brought Toby (our youngest puppy) into the screen porch and let him meet the kittens. Then we let Arya (Saint Bernard pup) in. Then eventually Moose too (our adult dog). We discovered that three of the kittens don't care about dogs at all. Genji, Mercy, and Lucio don't seem to mind when the dogs come up and lick them or sniff at them. Tracer moves a little slowly yet and got stepped on by Arya a couple times, but didn't seem any worse for it. Mei isn't a fan of dogs, but will only hiss when they get in her face. If they walk by her she won't seek them out. Hanzo on the other hand... Hanzo actively hates the dogs and will follow them to hiss and swat at them even if they are not paying attention to him. We are already working on this. By the time we let the dogs out, #3 had Hanzo and Toby together in her lap without an issue. Yay for small victories!
Rascal escaped his cage again. He learned how to pull his food bin into the cage and escape through the hole by watching Peanut in the cage beside him. I latched Peanut's food bin differently this time, with one side hooked one bar higher, keeping is ever-so-slightly off-balance, and he hasn't managed to pull it in yet. I really think Peanut needs a home where he can have a whole room (or better yet, an entire house or apartment) to run and play in. He doesn't seem happy locked in his cage, but he never really goes very far. He checks out the other bunnies, and jumps right back into his cage to see what we're doing when we put his food bin back in place. No chasing required. Rascal on the other hand doesn't go back as willingly and does need two people to catch him - one to distract and guide and the other to sneak up and pick him up.
I noticed recently that Amos has retained both of his top canine kitten teeth, which are starting to look a little discolored and his breath smells a little off. I'm going to have to call the vet to see about having them removed. I'm considering bringing him to a different vet to get a second opinion on his eyes as long as he'll be sedated for the dental extraction. I love my regular vet, but they didn't even put their hands on him when they looked at his eyes. They pulled out a book, looked through the photos in the book and said "look like this one..." and called it good. Unfortunately, he continues to have yellow to brown discharge constantly, so I suspect he may need to have his sockets flushed out and his eyelids sewn shut to prevent future infection risk. The regular vet pretty much poo-poo'd me off for suggesting it.
Today my husband told me that his boss offered him a new position. He would still be a manager, just in a different part of the store. He's not sure if he wants to accept or not. It sounds like he's going to sit down next week with his boss to discuss what the new position would mean as far as changes in scheduling, pay, bonuses, and responsibilities. I'm always leery of change, but we could certainly use the combination of a raise and fewer hours so he could be home more and still be able to pay the bills. It's nearly unheard of for a family as large as ours to be able to live on one income, much less a non-trade-professional type income (my husband is not a lawyer or a doctor). We've been extremely fortunate for the combination of my husband's constant promotion through the ranks from morning stock boy, and our frugal living (for the most part). I always say - rather than "how to earn extra income on the homestead" people should be learning "how to budget better" or "how to cut costs on the homestead." Finances go so much further when you don't have to pay for alcohol, tobacco products, make up, eating out, cable television, internet services, salon/spa/tanning trips, name-brand clothing, etc.