The blog of Hope Grows

Check out to learn more about our farm.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Auto Waterer

Revision June 6, 2010 - If you would like to see the right way to make a gravity fed water please look at this post.

Good evening. Today was interesting, we went over to our neighbor's farm to help him worm his goats and plant potatoes. It turns out that a goat's horns are just the perfect height to gore your testicles. But I escaped unharmed and I'd like to think the goats are slightly less worm infested.

The other contraption I have been working on is a gravity fed watering system. Right now we need to give water to the chickens we have to go into the coops, pull out the 2 three gallon water buckets, rinse and refill them, and put them back. This is all very labor intensive and takes quite a while. So what other people have done is put a bucket on the outside of the coop and have it feed water to an automatic waterer by gravity.

This is what I came up with:

Basically, it is a 5 gallon bucket with a hole in the side, there is this handy little fitting that lets you put a valve through it, then I have Mr. Tube there run the water down to the waterer which is actually meant for horses. I found 8 of them and they are worth $30 each so I figured they would be good to use as we are trying to not spend a lot of money we don't have to.

It worked well enough except it was too close to the ground so when the chickens scratched they filled it with dirt and chicken poop, leaving a less than hygienic result:

So, back to the drawing board, I am going to try and suspend it rather than have it raised on a little platform like I did with version one.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Egg House and Fridge

As promised, one day late, is the very large fridge that we put in the other day. Our original fridge looks pretty puny here.

Here is what approximately 1 ton of chicken feed looks like.

This is one days worth of eggs, about 400 here. Those "egg containment units" are our blue buckets.

And finally, the egg house bathed in golden hour sunlight. Eat your heart out Unabomber.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Rumors of My Blog's Demise Have Been Exaggerated

I will not let my blog die damnit! Today was a long day. To recap:

We have been have a very big problem with the fact that our hens have been laying 400+ eggs a day and we have one regular size fridge. So we have pretty much been having to give them away promotionally which is good but we kind of need to be able to sell eggs to survive. Also we have not been inspected by the USDA yet and you need to have all of your eggs refrigerated to pass! Whoda thunk it! This is also a big deal because once we pass a large distributor is going to buy a large quantity of our eggs. More on eggs later.

Anyhow, the previous owner of the farm got a second hand giant commercial fridge about 5 months ago and proceeded to leave it outside in the elements. I assumed was busted but a friend of a friend showed up today and got it working! So we spent about 5 hours cleaning it, getting it almost inside our egg house, having to take the door jam out to fit it in, and then putting it back together. I'll post some pictures of the ridiculousness that is this fridge tomorrow.

In the meantime here is a picture of Blackie Brownie, the friendliest cat in the world.


Monday, February 2, 2009

First Post - Let's Jump Right In

I'll show you all the parts of the farm as I go along but I'll just jump right in for now on something I recently did.

Here is my "Mobile Hospital Coop Prototype Mark I"

To explain the purpose of this contraption. We have 650 hens in 7 coops. Within each coop there is a social hierarchy or "pecking order" and if you are on the bottom of it you are picked on by the other hens, like High School, so you wind up missing feathers and having exposed raw skin.

This smaller pen allows us to pull the hens that are being picked on and let them get a break. The hens also scratch up the ground and prepare it to be turned into gardens. This pen is actually in our backyard.

It is made of 3/4# PVC pipe and some wood scraps zip tied on for stability. On the sides and top are chicken netting which is plastic rather than metal and a tarp so they can get out of the rain, not pictured is a little roost for them to go up on at night.

They are very interesting to watch and sometimes I'll sit for hours just staring... staring... staring...