Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes are an awesome perennial that can get over 9' tall.  I've read that this plant is usually somewhere between 4-9' tall.  It is native to the eastern parts of the United States (where I live).  They are related to sunflowers and have really pretty yellow flowers.   Like sunflowers, they may need staking in really windy areas (like my place).  I'm planting mine along the south facing length of the rabbit shed to provide some summertime shade for the buns.

People can eat the underground tubers which others say taste like water chestnuts if eaten fresh and potatoes if cooked.   I've read that they are sometimes called fartichokes- thinking this is fairly self-explanatory. 

Rabbits can eat all parts of this plant, which makes me really excited!  I'm hoping to (eventually) grow enough to make a significant dent in the rabbits feed bills.  Be aware that this can be a really invasive plant and almost impossible to get rid of.  Make sure it's planted where you want it to be in 20 years. 

These are fairly expensive tubers and I was lucky enough to be given some from a homesteading friend- TYTYTY Farmerwilly2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rabbit Barn


We got the rabbit barn done today!!!!  I am SO HAPPY!!!!  We bought a 12' x 20' shelter logic garage in a  box.  We did this because both ends can be opened up almost completely and will allow maximum airflow during the summers.  These shelters are a major pain in the butt to put up, but as this is our second attempt, things went much smoother and only took 2 days.  I highly suggest that if you build one of these, do what we did on our second attempt- anchor the shelter to 4" x 4" x 10' cants and then anchor the cants to the ground.  We got it done just in time for a big storm to roll through and I really think the cants helped in stabilizing and weighing down the structure.  I am so lucky that I married a guy who understands these things!!

We also built cages and moved 13 rabbits into the barn.   They didn't seem freaked out or anything which makes me even happier.  

We have two batches of chicks in the barn.  They are not very happy about the new surroundings, but I'm hoping they settle down soon.  The older batch seems okay, but the younger group is not happy at all!!!  I guess the old saying is true:  You can't ever make everyone happy. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Crashyitis or Chicken Addict

Hello, my name is Jasmine and I am an addict. *insert* helllooooo Jasmine.

Went to TSC and came home with 12 more chicks- 4 black australorps, 4 black jersey giants, and 4 silkies (probably white).
So the chick count is now:
13 Cuckoo Marans
8 sex-link packing peanuts
4 BA's
4 BJG's
4 silkies
7 Barred Rocks
and about 40 or so that I hatched out (I have 6 left that I'm keeping)
Oh and I'll be getting White Leghorns from the school hatching.
Oh and if Chickenista's black copper marans ever come off of strike I will hopefully get some hatching eggs.
Oh, and I'll probably have to order 15 mille de fleur d'uccle pullets from a hatchery as I can't even begin to find any locally.

Let's see if I can approximate how many I have now:

5 Black Australorp hens
4 BA chicks
2 Barred rock hens
7 BR chicks
7 white sex-linkishs
1 white leghorn hen
1 Cuckoo Marans hen
1 Cuckoo Marans roo
13 CM pullet
4 bantam cochins (2 hens and 2 roos- not matching colors OF COURSE)
1 mille de fleur d'uccle roo (need hens)
2 Buff Orpington hens
1 BO roo
4 Black Jersey Giant chicks
4 Silkie chicks
7 dual layer mutts, some of which are mixed with cochin bantams (feathered feet)
14 red sex-link hens
1 Welsummer red hen

OMG I have 79 chickens, and I'm not done yet, lololol

=Expecting around 15 white leghorns from the school
=Gonna have to order 15 mille de fleur d'uccles when I can find a hatchery that only sells pullets. These should only count as a half a chicken as they are so small, lol
=want to get matching colors for the bantam cochins so looking at 8 more of them
=I NEED black copper marans, lol

Attack Flemish!!!!!

I was checking nestboxes today after feeding and watering. I've been working on handling all four of CindyLu's popples at least 2x per day. Anyways, I stick my hand in her nestbox and got lunged at by a 2 week old popple!!!! He/she did it 3 times before I picked him/her up and cuddled and then (as usual) I got it to go to sleep on it's back. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen!!!! I also gave it a lecture reminding it that it is a flemish and flemish's are friendly and that if it didn't want to become a barbeque it had better learn to mind it's manners!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I have to say that I am rather impressed with Ideal Hatchery.  I went on their waiting list for cuckoo marans pullets and within a week I had 13 adorable cuckoo marans chicks in my brooder at my house.  It's now been a week and besides the 2 that got squished in transit, all are doing really well.  Ideal refunded my money when I called and told them what happened.  Oh, and they sent 8 sex-link cockerel "packing peanuts" to keep the marans warm.  My original hens came from Ideal via my local feedstore, and I have a horrible time convincing people that my adult hens are not for sale.  I really hope that the cuckoo's lay the gorgeous dark brown eggs that my adult cuckoo hen is laying (every day no less).   I have a 1 yr old rooster who is just absolutely gorgeous and will begin breeding cuckoo marans next year, provided the new pullets lay the nice extremely dark eggs. 

Went to the mall a few days ago cuz I got a tip that the petstore had "weird" chickens.  All they had left was 7 barred rock chicks that were a month old for $3 each!!  I told her I would take all the pullets.  The lady asked me if I knew how to sex them and I taught her how to sex the chicks.  She then asked if I would be willing to take the cockerels for free.  I said sure!!  Now I have 4 barred rock pullets and 2 barred rock hens that are 2 yrs old.  I also will raise the cockerels and keep the best for breeding next year.  I'm so excited!!  I really like my barred rock hens, they are sweet and friendly.

I adopted a gorgeous buff orpington rooster.  He isn't the friendliest thing in the world, but he isn't outright mean either.  He will be paired with two buff hens I will be getting from mom as soon as I get a breeding pen built. 

All in all it's been a great week!