Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winterizing trees

Winter is especially harse on trees and shrubs. Newer plantings are especially vulnerable, but even mature species can sustain damage. Ice, snow, wind, sun, dry air, and low temperatures all take their toll. Fortunately, taking protective measures now can minimize damage and keep your trees and shrubs healthy until spring comes.


Winter’s lower temperatures and humidity dry out plantings, sometimes killing all or parts of them. To prevent winter drying, water trees and shrubs regularly throughout the fall, watering heavily in late fall before the ground freezes.


On cold winter days, heat from the sun followed by sudden cooling can damage bark on the south or southwest side of a tree. This is called sun scald or southwest injury. To prevent it, wrap the trunk with tree wrap, which reflects the sunlight and keeps the bark temperature more even. Tree wrap also discourages wildlife from feeding on bark. 


A layer of mulch around a tree or shrub acts an insulator, warming the soil and retaining precious moisture. To protect trees and shrubs, mulch them with 4–6 inches of wood chips or straw. I also use old dry leaves and straw that I have cleaned out from my chicken coops.


You can also provide physical barriers for young trees and shrubs by driving a few stakes into the ground around the planting, wrapping burlap around the stakes, and securing the burlap with staples. This will protect against damage from sun and wind. Evergreen limbs, which are often bent or broken by ice and snow, can be tied together with strips cloth or old nylon stockings.

Plant Now

Fall is an ideal time to plant a tree or shrub. 

Don’t Prune Too Soon

Fall often provides good weather for pruning trees and shrubs, but it may not be a good time for the planting. Late fall and winter is the best time to prune most trees. For shrubs, it depends on when the plant flowers. Ideally, you should prune a shrub as soon as the last blooms fade. If you prune a spring-flowering shrub in the fall, you may be removing next year’s flower buds. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Turkey talk

Eastern Wild hens

Eastern Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) 

     I have researched eastern wild turkeys and have found out these incredible facts about them that I think you will enjoy. Read this and let me know what you think about these incredible majestic wild birds. 

The eastern subspecies of wild turkeys is the most widely distributed and abundant of the five distinct subspecies of wild turkey found in the United States. They can also grow to be the largest. Surprisingly, though, they are very mobile birds with running speed of up to 25 miles per hour and flying speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. 
      The general appearance of the wild turkey is similar to that of a domestic turkey, except that a wild bird has a more streamlined body shape. The head is featherless and is generally red, white, and chalky blue. The adult male, known as a tom or gobbler, is larger and more colorful than the female. He has spurs on the back of his legs for fighting, and a beard of stiff, bristle-like feathers protruding from the center of his chest. No one is sure why a tom has a beard. An adult gobbler may range from 16 to 25 pounds with a juvenile male (yearling) weighing around 12 to 15 pounds. 

     A hen, is smaller than a male and lacks head colorings as well as a beard and spurs.  A hen may range in size from 9 to 14 pounds with a juvenile female ranging from 7 to 10 pounds. A young male turkey is called a jake and a young female turkey is called a jenny. The young are smaller than the adults, and share the coloration of an adult female. A wild turkey is well adapted for survival. A turkey sees at least ten times better than people, and it can distinguish colors. A turkey can see almost 360 degrees, so it is very difficult to sneak up on a turkey without being detected. 

     Vocalizing is something turkeys do often. Members of a flock will cluck to let others know where they are. They make purring sounds when feeding, and a loud "putt" sound serves as a warning. Toms gobble during mating season to attract females. Hens will cluck to their young while they are still in the eggs. Once young turkeys, or poults hatch, they listen closely to their mother. They follow her commands to scatter, hide, or come back. 

     The reproductive cycle for the eastern wild turkey begins in spring. As days get longer and warmer, toms can be heard gobbling and seen strutting to attract hens. Turkeys are polygamous, mating with more than one partner, and a relatively few dominant gobblers do most of the breeding. No breeding is believed to be accomplished by one-year-old gobblers when adult gobblers are in the vicinity. Young poults will need high protein foods for rapid growth and to prevent health problems such as weak legs. In the wild the hen will take the poults to open fields and meadows to catch insects, which they really like. Turkeys also eat plants and seeds if allowed to free range. 

Wild turkeys are social birds and prefer to live and travel together in flocks. Every turkey in a flock has a place in the social order, and there is usually one dominant male turkey. 

I am sure that you will be pleased with having a few turkeys around. My big eastern tom male is very sweet and always comes to visit me when he can.

Eastern Wild Tom

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wood Pallet Shed

Finished shed for under $500.00

Are you are in need of a good shed and don't want to spend a lot of money? We all are. Do you see pallets all over the place at businesses just laying around? 
Well the idea of building a tool shed out of wood pallets is no longer a dream it is possible with these plans.  
 You can use pallets that would have been headed for the dump, so this is also a recycling project.
Your first task is to find suitable wood pallets.  Pallets come in all sizes.  If you search around you will find places where the pallets will happen to be in nearly new condition! Be sure to use the 42" X 42" square pallets so there wont be a need to modify them.  The less cutting you have to do to the pallets, the better, because they are made of extremely hard wood. Ideally 36" square pallets should be used, but I didn't know where a good source for that size was available.
To make one wall, bolt 3 pallets together, end to end (42" X 126" inch wall, about 10½ feet). For the rest of the details please click here.

Its actually very simple
Almost done with the frame

In summary, this 10 ft X 10 ft shed made from recycled wood pallets turns out very well.  Stronger than you can imagine, less complicated to make, and saves alot of money over the conventional building method or store bought sheds.  Since there is no plastic in the construction, it should last many years.  Total cost is under $500.
You can also add a smaller storage shed off the side of the main shed using 4 pallets and a 2X4 frame, fold-up roof attached with 4 hinges.

Smaller storage shed attached to the side

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is it necessary to refrigerate my eggs?

The USA is the only country in the world that requires its citizens to refrigerate eggs.  And there's a good reason for that!  Pharmaceutical companies pour millions of dollars into campaigns for politicians to get elected.  In turn elected officials "reward" the pharmaceutical companies with legislation that helps them sell more drugs. 
Let me explain:  When a hen lays an egg, her goal is to hatch that egg (ours is to eat that egg).  Since she can lay only one egg each day, it takes her 10-14 days to lay a "clutch" of eggs.  When her clutch is full, she settles down on the eggs and heats them up to 101 degrees.  Inside that egg is an enzyme named "trypsin," which causes the egg to begin to develop when the hen heats it to 101 degrees.  If the temperature falls below 50 degrees the trypsin dies...this is mother nature's way to telling the hen not to hatch the eggs because it's too cold for the chicks to survive.

Trypsin also lowers cholesterol.  (Something the pharmaceutical company would rather do by selling you drugs!)  Pharmaceutical companies know that your refrigerator will kill the trypsin in the eggs.  So, the favor they got from the newly elected politicians was legislation that requires us to refrigerate our eggs.
A second enzyme that your refrigerator kills is Lanamine.  Lanamine is responsible for healthy joints.  But, if your eggs are meeting your body's demand for lanamine, then the pharmaceutical companies wouldn't be able to package and sell their drugs...and politicians wouldn't have campaign money to spend.  So...refrigerate!  Lets keep those politicians politicising!
I recently learned of two other enzymes in eggs that die when refrigerated, but I've not been able to run down the benefits from those enzymes.  But, I bet the pharmaceutical companies know!  I think I'll ask them. 

Also note that If you pick up your eggs directly from the hen house, you do not need to wash them.  I use a damp sponge to knock off any dirt on them and then put them on the kitchen counter. 
When the hen lays an egg she puts an antibiotic coating on the egg.  This protects the egg from things like salmonella from getting into the egg.  However, if you wash off the antibiotic coating, you wash away the protection. 
It's interesting to note that the government also requires egg distributors to wash the eggs before they sell them.  Isn't that just great?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chicken Guardian Dogs

Puppies stealing food from guineas
My dogs are trained to be used as guardian dogs for many breeds such as chickens, ducks, guineas, and geese. I place considerable value on my birds due to the fact that I show them which in itself is a large investment. Having a guard dog to protect my birds and to keep predators at bay is a necessity. Predators are always going to be near your livestock so we are one step ahead.

The training process starts as a pup. Our pups are penned at night with the poultry in predator safe pens and in the morning placed with free range birds to learn correct interactions. This is how the bonding process works. The dogs eventually are friends to the birds and can be trusted around them fully. In the initial learning period they need a lot of guidance. Never put a young puppy in with your birds without being prepared to assist him in his learning journey. Also be aware that even a very young puppy can damage or kill a chicken in the mildest of play activities. I  usually train my puppies in the beginning with guineas because they can fly out of reach if they need too. The boundaries of permissible behavior is set at puppy hood and firmly instilled in dogs. These limits of appropriate and inappropriate behavior are set under close supervision.
Pyrenese mix Puppies trying out some poultry food
   I use mixed breed puppies of the guardian dog bloodlines, Pyrenees, border collies, Australian shepherds and other related breeds. They seem to be the best candidates for training. Neighbor children come and interact with them so they are well rounded in all areas. My older dog Cody keeps them in line. They learn to respect their elders. Cody is a irreplaceable Livestock guardian, who is a non aggressive protector and is a role model for my pups. I use Cody as the guideline to mold their behaviors. The ideal poultry guardian dog has to have the following behaviors
  1. Likes children
  2. Does not harm cats
  3. Chases off all predators such as coons, coyotes, unfriendly dogs, birds of prey, skunks, opossums, rats, mice, etc.
  4. Watches the poultry and does not bother them
  5. Does not hurt a chicken that disturbs him
  6. Barks to let predators know hes there
  7. Loves his owner
  8. Tolerates other friendly dogs
  9. Stays away from rattle snakes
  10.  Alerts me when strangers approach
Puppies playing while guineas eat

   There are other benefits of a guardian dog but the list is long. The above list are the more important issues. Our dogs also learn to avoid rattlers if the time of the year is right. That is a very important issue out in the country. I recommend that all guardian dogs receive a rattlesnake vaccine shot.If you would like a Guardian dog and live in Texas please email me at

Bearsey as a puppy

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chick sale buy 10 get 2 free

My chicks are sweet  and not the least bit ANGRY.....all they need is fresh water, feed and a warm brooder.
Silver Sussex - $10.00 each
Welsummers - $5.00 each
Golden Laced Wyandottes - $5.00 each
Blue Laced Red Wyandottes - $5.00
Silver Laced Wyandottes - $10.00 each
Mottled Javas - $5.00 each
Partridge Rocks - $5.00 each
Australorps - $5.00 each
Runner ducklings - $10.00 each
Cayuga Ducklings - $7.00 each
You can email me at to place your order.You can also call at 619-301-4538. We are located in Caldwell County near Lockhart, Texas in the city of Martindale. We are also 25 miles south of Austin.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Website and Graphic Design Services available

Blogs as websites

Reaching your target audience for your blog or small business is one of the key ingredients to being successful in the business world or on-line. I realize that you need something that says “Hey! Look at me!” and at the same time will also allow you to display all your information to those visiting your website. I can provide you with a beautiful site design that will interest your readers, and keep them coming back. Hey, its happened to me. I currently have several blogs advertising my poultry business and I can not keep up with my chick orders due to the influx of customers. My blogsite specialty is small farms and pet businesses, but I am able to design anything else that you want done.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The early bird gets more eggs

Welsummer chicks
I start my chicks for the new year in January. It is colder this time of year, but with careful planning it is relatively easy. Remember that it is important to keep your baby chicks warm and free from drafts. They will also need to be properly fed and watered, and be protected from predators. A 95 quart Rubbermaid plastic bin can be a satisfactory home for up to 20 newly hatched chicks. The size and shape of the bin is not as important as long as it provides enough space for the chicks and the equipment to feed and water them.  Next I take the lid and cut out the center leaving a 2 inch edge and attach chicken wire with plastic ties.This is to protect the chicks from cats and other predators. The sides of the box provide adequate protection from drafts. Next I place a brooder lamp on top and use a 65 watt light which is adequate if your chicks are kept indoors in a heated room. Make sure that the lamp is attached safely so it won't be a fire hazard. During the 1st week the temperature should remain at 90-95 degrees. As the chicks get older reduce the temp by 5 degrees a week. When the chicks are cold, they bunch up and give off a distressed chirp. When they are too warm they will pant with their mouths open. I use rubber shelf liner the first few days so that the chicks can get a firm grip as they walk. After that I use old newspaper and change it out every day. Make sure the paper does not have a strong ink smell. Be sure to change their water twice a day, or more frequently if necessary to keep the water clean and fresh. Clean the waterer each time you make the change, and refill it with fresh slightly warm water. Although chicks don't need feed or water the first 48 hours after hatching, both are usually provided as soon as the chicks are transferred to the brooder. I use a small dish the first few days for a feeder. Let the chicks scratch around in the feed for the first few days so they get off to a good start on the feed. Chicks are best started on a 20 percent chick starter mash. Remember the better you feed your chicks the healthier they will remain and they will also grow faster. When the chicks are approx 4 weeks old I transfer them outside to an outdoor brooder. Once again this all depends on the weather and time of year.We currently have week old baby chicks for sale, in the following breeds.

Silver Sussex - $10.00 a piece
Welsummers - $5.00 a piece
Golden Laced Wyandottes - $5.00 a piece
Blue Laced Red Wyandottes - $5.00 a piece
Silver Laced Wyandottes - $10.00 a piece
Mottled Javas - $5.00 a piece
Partridge Rocks - $5.00 a piece
Trout or Black Runner ducklings - $10.00 a piece
You can email me at to place your order.You can also call at 619-301-4538. We are located in Caldwell County near Lockhart, Texas in the city of Martindale. We are also 25 miles south of Austin.