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I lost all but four of my barred rock pullets... to one of my dogs. :(

I had trained the dogs to leave the free ranging chickens alone, but the hens started coming up to eat any left over dog food and one of my dogs took exception to that. There were never any marks or saliva. She evidently scared them to death by passive aggressively holding them in a corner.

I had planned on crossing these hens with a Rhode Island Red rooster to make black sex link chicks. You can tell at birth whether this particular cross is male or female and you do not have to waste all the feed and time raising roosters that you do not want or need. I still have four barred rock hens and the RIR roo, so I might try it on a smaller scale I guess when they start laying better.

I have another batch of sex links called Black Stars that I bought as my next batch of laying hens. They are four months old, so I don't have too much longer.

I am moving my poultry out of my fenced yard back under a barn in a feed lot. The poo on porches is just too much. I took some pretty high night predator losses down in that barn previously, so I bought an automatic chicken door. It opens at sunup and closes at sun down and runs of 4 AA batteries. I'm in the process of installing this and soon the Black Starts will have open range to graze on during the days. Clover and rye grass are knee high. :)
 

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REM, I'm pretty close to you, however, going to till the early season garden this weekend. Other than it being a poor propane winter so far it's not been bad.
Are you guys still living in Texas? Or is that place up north ready now?

I disked the garden a couple of times so far this winter. It was fallow the past couple of years. I'm looking to plant zipper cream peas and maybe another variety of peas. That's what we've had the most luck with in the poor hard pan clay soil that I have.

I actually took soil samples and turned them in for analysis. The soil needs all the help that it can get.

I bought a cheap $8.95 soil test that said my soil was alkaline. My soil has always been acidic along with all of east Texas, so I sprung for a $10 soil test at the local University. I'm curious to see what they say.

It's been over 25 years since I tested and back then I was raising grass for cattle and hay.
 

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Are you guys still living in Texas? Or is that place up north ready now?

QUOTE]

All I need to do is paint, still have loose ends here in Texas to tie up and a house to sell. I'm ready to go but can't make the move until we sell our place here and I have to see to some renovations first.
 

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If anyone has any experiences with berries I would love any feedback that you might offer!!! This is what I have come up with.

Berries are a fruit with many antioxidants that come highly recommended for diabetics like me.

Off season berries come from who knows where and have who knows what pesticides, herbicides, funcicides and other chemicals to treat plant diseases on them. I wash them thoroughly, but I know they are coming from Mexico this time of year and berries are susceptible to soaking up toxins.

So last year I bought a few blackberry and raspberry plants to see what I could do.

My hard clay soil is bad for them. My raspberries are living in one spot that I planted them because they are between shrubs I planted and they have a drip irrigation line to water them through the brutal summer heat. These will be 3 years old this year and they still haven't really produced more than a couple hand fulls of berries.

I also built some raised beds out of treated lumber and lined them with tar paper and then landscape fabric to keep any chemicals from leaching into the soil, but this did not have drip irrigation and as much as I dragged 200 feet of water hose all over the place watering trees I had planted, tomato plants and these berries only two of them made it. Grass overtook this box last year. I pulled it a couple of months ago and added even more mulch.

I should get some production from these if I add drip irrigation:



That's not really large enough for mature blackberries. I will probably dig them up and transplant them.

I did some reading and came up with this. They need well drained soil. I have one corner of my garden that has sandy type soil, so I disked and raked it up into rows. They might be a tad tall. But I was too tired to spread the dirt out more after raking these up.

I found 6' x 50' rolls of landscape paper at Lowes. I bought some 1"x2"s and some 2"x2"s to staple together to hold the rather delicate fabric down in high winds.



That's one row covered with one yet to go. That will leave 100' of space for berries and avout 25' at the end of the row for fruit trees that also need a well drained place.

I ordered 2 year old bare root plants and some are in 1 gallon pots from this place. I was looking for production throughout the summer, good tasting berries and large sized ones

All Summer Long Blackberry Plant Collection

A bounty of blackberries! Each collection contains three thornless blackberry varieties — Arapaho, Chester, and Triple Crown. Arapaho bears in mid June, followed by Chester bearing in July, and Triple Crown in early August. Enjoy blackberry harvests all summer long.

http://www.starkbros.com/products/b...s/all-summer-long-blackberry-plant-collection
That's a good mix. I also got some Kiowa blackberry plants:

Kiowa Blackberry



The world’s biggest blackberry — up to 3" long! This thorny variety blooms earlier and longer than others. Fruit is large enough to make fresh cobbler with just a few. Also great for juice or wine. Summer-bearing floricane. Early season. Ripens in early June. Self-pollinating.

http://www.starkbros.com/products/berry-plants/blackberry-plants/kiowa-blackberry
And I bought some raspberry plants:

Heritage Red Raspberry

Harvest raspberries your first year. This variety produces abundant crops of large, sweet, dark red berries that are perfect for eating fresh, canning, freezing, or making jams and jellies. Self-supporting, upright canes are hearty enough to grow in poor soil, but requires a well-drained site. Cold-hardy. Fall-bearing (everbearing) primocane with a summer crop. Floricane berries ripen in July. Primocane berries ripen in September through frost. Self-pollinating. A licensed variety of Cornell University.

http://www.starkbros.com/products/berry-plants/raspberry-plants/heritage-red-raspberry
Most of these are going to take 2-3 years to start producing well. In the meantime I have to keep the grass and vegetation out and they have to be watered regularly, so I ordered more drip irrigation equipment. During those really hot days I'll just have to turn a faucet on and off mornings and evenings. Forgetting to turn it off is a real mess. I tried an auto control, but it broke open under the constant water pressure and I really don't trust them anymore.

I hope to raise these with as few additives and chemicals as possible and freeze them for year round availability. :thumb:
 

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I lost all but four of my barred rock pullets... to one of my dogs. :(

I had trained the dogs to leave the free ranging chickens alone, but the hens started coming up to eat any left over dog food and one of my dogs took exception to that. There were never any marks or saliva. She evidently scared them to death by passive aggressively holding them in a corner.

I had planned on crossing these hens with a Rhode Island Red rooster to make black sex link chicks. You can tell at birth whether this particular cross is male or female and you do not have to waste all the feed and time raising roosters that you do not want or need. I still have four barred rock hens and the RIR roo, so I might try it on a smaller scale I guess when they start laying better.

I have another batch of sex links called Black Stars that I bought as my next batch of laying hens. They are four months old, so I don't have too much longer.

I am moving my poultry out of my fenced yard back under a barn in a feed lot. The poo on porches is just too much. I took some pretty high night predator losses down in that barn previously, so I bought an automatic chicken door. It opens at sunup and closes at sun down and runs of 4 AA batteries. I'm in the process of installing this and soon the Black Starts will have open range to graze on during the days. Clover and rye grass are knee high. :)
You CN sex all chicks by their wing feathers pattern easily variety does not matrer
 

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богдан;8270089 said:
You CN sex all chicks by their wing feathers pattern easily variety does not matrer
Do you have any links? I've heard that before, but I was not sure if it was true or if it was accurate. Sex links work for sure.

The hatcheries here used to hire Japanese that passed down per generation the ability to sex new born chicks.
 

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Unless He didn't open the thread.. I dunno, my world has been turned upside down.
Haha, I did open the thread and the OP is missing, but it is functional. I'm not sure how complicated or time consuming fixing that is. If it's too bad the thread is fine as it is. :thumb:

Thanks!!
 

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I've always had horrible luck with growing berries (black/dew/rasp). The dang things grow wild all over the place, but I can't get the store bought plants to stick for more than a year or two before they die. However, Mulberry trees grow very well. They are a lot easier to manage than vines too...

PS. I'd like to know if that automatic coop door works well for you. I've considered it in the past and never got around to it thinking it would create a bad habit for me.
 

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I've always had horrible luck with growing berries (black/dew/rasp). The dang things grow wild all over the place, but I can't get the store bought plants to stick for more than a year or two before they die. However, Mulberry trees grow very well. They are a lot easier to manage than vines too...
I hope that's not how my adventure goes. I'm spending some bucks (way more than I probably should) in it and I would hate to see it fail.

This is what I started out reading and it suggests that they should grow over a very wide area of zones 7-9.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/files/2010/10/blackberries.pdf

Regular watering is important according to that article and I am doing drip irrigation and crossing my fingers.

Some varieties have a higher number of cooling hour requirements than others. As mild as this winter has been I'm wondering if that's going to be a problem.

Then there's the plant diseases. Keeping native berries away helps some in protecting them from disease.

In the end I hope that I am not going to spend a whole lot of money and have this fail on me. But nature is fickle and far more determined than I will ever be. Fingers crossed.

PS. I'd like to know if that automatic coop door works well for you. I've considered it in the past and never got around to it thinking it would create a bad habit for me.
It had a fairly rare 5 star rating from 60 people on Amazon.

Amazon.com : Automatic Chicken Coop Door Opener : Patio, Lawn & Garden

I hope the weather will be nice enough that I can install it Sunday afternoon.

I have 5 acres fenced off for our yard that the poultry currently free range on and my dogs have kept night predators at bay leaving them neatly at the front door threshold after dispatching them. I haven't had to worry about closing the birds up in that arrangement.

Between congregating on the porches and messing them up and not staying away from the dog bowls and getting scared to death they have created a problem that means moving them back outside the fenced area the dogs prowl. I'm pretty sure that this will work nicely from the reviews that I read.

I never had a problem with day predators other than chicken snakes. I have a pair of hawks that sit in a tree right above them hunting field mice and rats on further over the fence in the pasture that have never messed with them.
 

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Hawks

You shouldn't have to worry about Red Tails. The Coopers Hawks and the Sharp Shin hawks and the Falcons should be the only chicken eaters unless you have any Owls that stayed up too late.
(at least that is what the biologists told me when I was working with them at Hawk Watch.

sf
 

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You shouldn't have to worry about Red Tails. The Coopers Hawks and the Sharp Shin hawks and the Falcons should be the only chicken eaters unless you have any Owls that stayed up too late.
(at least that is what the biologists told me when I was working with them at Hawk Watch.

sf
That's good to know. I cannot identify different species, but I have not had any daytime losses... except for one of my dogs... so I guess that I have Red Tails.

Is this a good photo of a red tail hawk?



***** and possums were constant threats causing steady losses the last time I had the flock down at the barn. I do have a wired in area for them, but I was not so good at consistently opening and closing the door. It tended to stay open until I had some kills and I'd be vigilant for awhile in a repeating pattern.
 

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When I've bought berry plants from nurseries or big box stores, they die. I have found that ediblelandscaping.com has the best plants.
I planted raspberries 4 yrs ago this Spring. Last year I got 2 quarts and this year I am hopefully getting more because they are doing really well. I keep them watered and mulched REM, it seems to help them. Soil is clay here but I've amended it with compost and tried to make it more acidic by using sulfer I got at the nursery. Make sure you prune them to 18 inches before winter (or do you not have winter down there?)
 

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Winters down here are getting milder and milder, but we have enough frosts to stop any thing subtropical from making it.

Thanks for the information!! I am hoping that I can nurture them into making it, but it does sound like the deck is stacked against me from the feedback.

We have acidic soil I am pretty sure, but I did a soil test to be certain.

After I get them planted, my drip irrigation line in and they have the spring sale on mulch I will buy a bunch and cover them to keep the black weed guard from getting too hot. Two rolls of that weed barrier stuff is $80. :xeye:

I probably should have taken baby steps, but after reading and having a couple of plants survive last years summer I jumped in pretty deep financially. That's good motivation, but it's no supplement for a real green thumb. :)

The plants should ship on Feb. 10th. Fingers crossed.
 
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