The Weekly Digs #148

by Becky

Anxiety over Chickens

This week had a few bitter cold days. We huddled inside as much as possible but still had some outdoor chores to do. It mostly revolves around the animals right now. One day this week I was at a church activity and Cam called me and told me one of the chickens had died. 

There were no visible wounds from a predator attack so we couldn’t figure out why. That night, I was feeling worried about it and couldn’t sleep. Then I had the idea that we needed to move all the chicken tractors into the garden and let the chickens free range with the garden fencing.

We have one too many stray dogs around here to let them fully free range but I thought it would be good to let them have some more space while we finish building the rest of the chicken tractors.

So the next day I told Cameron my idea and he was on board to help. We moved all the chickens and tractors into the garden. 

Cam and I went out for a date that night and the kids put the chickens away. One of our kids called while we were out and said his chicken was missing and he couldn’t find it. We had seen a hawk flying around earlier in the day but didn’t think much of it until that moment. 

Once we got home, we helped him look some more but we never found the hen. Only one day out free in the open and another chicken was gone. It was one of our small breeds. 

I think we may need to keep the small breeds in the tractors and let the bigger ones out because the hawks seem to like the small ones. I asked the kids what they thought about keeping the small ones in and I was surprised at their answer.

They still think it is better to take the risk of having another disappear and would like to let them free range in the garden so that all the chickens can enjoy the space. We didn’t have any losses today which is good! We’ll be watching them closely to see how it goes.

In the Garden

It warmed up a bit today and I got a good sunburn! I worked on preparing my garden beds for onions. I’m planting them where our watermelons were last year and before that winter rye. There is still some residual winter rye cover crop. It’s a wonderful mulch!

I got them almost completely ready. I am really hoping I can get them planted on monday. I am direct sowing them this year. It’s a little risky because it’s still winter here but I’m hoping it will be ok.

In progress prepping garden beds by raking rye to the aisles and exposing soil

Last year in February was when we had some of our coldest temperatures ever -15ºF. I don’t think we’ll hit that again this year, thankfully. Our lowest temperature is usually about 0ºF. 

I am trusting that they will sprout naturally when the time is right.

You can see a little bit about the chicken move and some of the other projects I’ve talked about here over the last month on our latest YouTube video here:

YouTube video

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Beth January 31, 2022 - 3:26 pm

I am in Texas and we had an awful time during the winter weather event last year around this time but I hear we’re not expected to experience that kind of weather again this year. We planted our onion sets over the weekend and next year if we’re feeling brave we’re going to try onion seeds.

Joanna February 2, 2022 - 7:47 pm

The YouTube video was awesome ❤️


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