Our morning ritual around here in the winter season begins shortly after breakfast and I always fix us a good breakfast to start the day.
Hubby heads out to feed the three small herds of cattle. Each herd is a little different but the two biggest herds (25-30 cows) get two 4×5 round bales of hay every day. One of these herds also has 24 calves with them which are 2-3 months of age. They mimic mom and eat some of the hay too but mainly depend on her milk until they’re about 5-6 months old. The third herd consists of 14 heifers that will be bred in June. They are fed one 4×5 round bale each day along with a five-gallon bucket of corn gluten/whole corn mixture every other day. Then we have our herd of bulls which is only three but those guys can eat and get two square bales of hay each day and corn gluten once a week. Everyone is fat and sassy!
My feeding schedule consists of three rabbits that we use for breeding stock. They are part Lop but the perfect size for meat rabbits. Each morning and afternoon they are given fresh water, a cup of rabbit pellets, a carrot and half of a sweet apple. They love apples and I treat them in the winter time because there is no fresh grass to feed them. I keep a bat of hay in their hutches for eating but I also keep hay covering the wire floor of the hutch to keep the frigid wind off of them. They have a nesting box in the hutch in the winter time to get out of the wind. Their hutches are cleaned weekly regardless of the weather.
Then I head out to the chicken house with a gallon of hot water, an egg basket and any scraps from the table. I have 33 chickens, one of which is a rooster. I have five young hens that tend to roost in the egg nest every night after I shut them in the building. Each morning those nest have to be cleaned out so the eggs aren’t nasty because chickens just don’t care what they lay those eggs on. The chickens have a large tub outside of the building for water during the day and a large pan inside that doesn’t freeze often but when it’s in the 20’s it has to be refilled four or five times a day and the eggs are gathered more often too. They have a feed trough that is four feet long, six inches wide and about four inches deep. I fill it every day with scratch grain, black-oil sunflower seeds and during the winter laying crumbles. In the summer they forage the entire farm but there’s not much to be found in the wintertime. A few times a month they get a treat of dried mealworms which they love. Currently with all those chickens I’m only getting about a dozen eggs a day but they’re wonderful eggs that are large, brown, pink, green, blue and a couple white ones. Egg production will pickup in the spring!
Once the feeding is done and the eggs are gathered, I’m off to the wood shed to bring in enough to fill of the stove for the night and if it’s calling for rain or snow, I fill up one end of the porch. The bird feeders are then filled and then it’s time to come in and make preparations for dinner!!
One of 27 of my hens that heads straight for the bird feeders as soon as the hen-house door is opened.
Part of the bird feeding station.
I love feeding the wild birds in our back yard during the winter. There’s just so many species that flock to the feeders all during the day including my chickens!
I have 10 feeders in the back yard and the wild birds depend on me during the winter months when they can’t find seeds and other food. I use black oil sunflowers that we raise in our garden, wild bird feed from our local farm supply store, and saved grease from my kitchen which I save in foil pans and stick in the freezer all year round. We also dry any leftover sweet corn from the garden. I pick it, shuck it and air dry it in our grainery and then place in mesh bags which are stored in lidded trash cans until feeding time. I put the corn on a squirrel feeder and the birds and squirrels love it. We had such an abundance of corn leftover after freezing for ourselves and sharing with our family, friends and neighbors. I hate waste and the birds love it and so do my rabbits.
Sweet corn dried from the garden and now feeds the birds and squirrels. They love it!
Another feeder in the back yard.
The wild birds scratch it out on the ground which the ground feeders love and so do the chickens! The bucket holds walnuts that I gathered in the fall, dried and de-hulled for the squirrels. The bluejay like them too. The metal feeder, box feeder w/gallon jar and the gourd feeder are all handmade. At the back-end of the station is another handmade feeder with four sections which the wrens prefer over the others.
The collection of birds grows with each year:
Posted in Animals, Farming, NATURE, Wildlife, Winter
Tagged birds, birdseed, blue jays, cardinals, corn, doves, feed, feeding station, junco, sparrows, squirrels, sunflower seeds, titmouse, wrens
We have some fox squirrels that keep the feeders empty all year round. I’ve made a point of gathering walnuts, hickory nuts and chestnuts for our squirrels every year. We’ve had a few lean years in the way of food for all of the wildlife. We have orchards for the deer to feed in but these guys will move out of the area if there isn’t any feed and we love watching them from our kitchen window. I found out last year that all of the excess sweet corn at the end of the growing season is also great for the cattle but the squirrels, wild birds and deer will eat the sweet corn after it dries up. We pick it off, shuck it, and then lay out on a screen to dry and then store the whole ear in barrels with a lid for the really bad winter when the ground is covered with snow and ice for long periods of time. We saw a small buck in the garden last night digging up frozen turnips too. If you love watching the wildlife as much as we do, help them out a little. Baby, it’s cold out there.
Eddie built this squirrel feeder about 10 years ago and the wildlife still love it. You’ll laugh yourself to death when you see a full-grown squirrel in that gallon jar!!!
This guy watches me when I’m moving around in the kitchen or the bathroom.
A few weeks ago when the weather got colder and most of the weed seed was gone I filled up the feeders at the bird station. I had dried some sunflowers of different variety and sizes and hung them in the wood house to dry so I would have some new things to put out for the different birds. I had also picked a lot of different varieties of grasses and hung them to dry also.
Hubby’s uncle made this whopper of a feeder years ago and it holds 20 pounds of feed.
Hubby made this squirrel feeder for me years ago and I’m begging for more.
The birds love the feeders and I have doves, bluejays, juncos, wrens, sparrows, cardinals and three different woodpeckers feeding from them this year. We also have this little rascal feeding as well. I grew up calling them fairy diddles and my husband’s family calls them mountain boomers. They are a miniature squirrel and you won’t believe how fast he moves.
We call him “Boomer”. He’s eating a piece of corn.
He’s hilarious to watch and I’ve decided he’s living in our wood house and may have been the critter that ate all the seed pods and sunflowers. They mysteriously disappeared right before we started seeing boomer. He chases the birds but I think in fun. I’ve started adding mixed nuts, peanuts and fruit on the table where the big feeder is stationed. Boomer takes all of the nuts and puts them in the gallon jar on the swing post. If you look closely you can see the bottom half is whole shelled corn and the upper part of the jar is FULL of nuts.
Boomer is so tiny!
That’s a six inch stretch from tree to corn.
The squirrel feeder is a tractor with spikes coming up on both sides of the seat.
Boomer sitting on top of the squirrel feeder.
Hubby was cleaning up apple trees brought down by the duratio last summer and he brought me these treasures!! I’m so excited!!
Hollow apple tree stumps
Three hollow tree logs for crafting.
Fuzzy thinks this one would be good for squirrels!
I think the first two will be new birdhouses as I like to use natural things to make the birds feel more at home. All I’ll have to do is screw on some barnwood to the bottom and top and drill a small hole for the bluebirds to enter. Drill holes in the bottom board for drainage. I like to use screws so I can take the top off in the winter and clean them out for arrivals in the spring. I like to put a little overhang on the top to keep the weather out and a place for the bird parents to perch between food breaks. I also put a short perch in the front right below the entry for them to perch while feeding the fledglings.
The third one though will make a perfect nest for the next orphan squirrel we save. We tend to find them in the woods fallen from their nests. If their bodies are still warm we let Mom come back to get them and carry them back to the nests. If their bodies are cold, I snatch them up in my pocket and get them home quick as possible and feed them some warm milk with a little honey to warm them up and boost the energy.
Baby squirrels are so easy to care for and they usally bond with only one person after being orphaned and thats usually whoever feeds and bathes them.
Hubby is always looking out for things in the woods that he knows I’ll put to good use. We’ve been looking for a hollow tree about five to six feet long to make into a flower box for the yard or the gazebo. I’ve also been looking for just the right knarly stump to put in one of my flower beds for the natural look. You will see it when I find it 😉 .
Posted in Animals, Crafting, Creativity, Fun on the Farm
Tagged birdhouses, birds, cleanup, crafting, homes, nests, orchard, squirrels, stumps, trees