Posted on

The tricky business of adding more quail to an existing covey

If you have had quail, then you know they will fight. And when they fight, they fight dirty. For some reason they like to go for the eyes and head. It can be quite gruesome. Generally these fights are between males over females, or when a new bird tries to join the current group. The term pecking order is not for nothing! Hens are just as brutal, the top lady doesn’t take to new birds (male or female) entering her domain. This can be quite problematic when your teenage quail are all grown up and ready to join your layers, or when consolidating groups. So how do you do it with minimal bloodshed? These are a few tried and true methods I use.

1. No ones land… territory is a main reason quail fight. If they are moved to a new pen, even the next pen over, and there are new birds that join them in the move, they are unlikely to take offense. If a new pen is not an option, pull all the existing old birds out into a box, and put the new birds in the box with old birds. Then you move everyone back in to pen together. All the confusion usually dulls the territorial issues.

2. Entertainment. Nothing like a distraction to take their mind off the new guy (or gal) Try to use something they don’t already have in their pen. A dust bath, mealworms or crickets or even some grass clipping or hay to play in will serve as a temporary distraction while you stealthily add in the newcomers. After all the excitement of the new entertainment they usually don’t may too much attention to the new guy.

3. Make sure your ratios are right. We put in 1 male for every 4 hens, excess of males will fight and overbreed hens. Overbred hens loose back feathers and neck feathers. Prolapse can also be caused by overbreeding (as well as other issues- age, weight, ect) On the flip side however, if you do want eggs to be fertile you cannot house too few males per hens or your hatch rate will drop significantly. This is a delicate balance that may need constant attention. Keep in mind your hatch rate and hens health when deciding who stays and who goes. Another thing to consider is if birds are overcrowded this can also lead to fighting especially if new birds are introduced. Check and make sure ratios are correct,and everyone has enough room, as this is an easy fix for fighting.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Hope this helps in your addition of new birds to you flock! If you have other ideas please share with us!

Posted on

Quail is the new chicken

 

Yep move over chicken…. The quail is here to stay! It has earned top spot at Myshire, and I’m sure many more farms and urban homesteader will make the switch too. Here is the case for changing the way you do birds.

1) Space efficiency. They just don’t need a lot of space! The coturnix quail is quite content with 1 square foot per bird, and even then they still love to cuddle and sleep together. You will usually find them keeping the same sleep patterns. Everybirdy being awake playing and eating, and then all taking naps together in their odd sprawled out way. Most people keep them in rabbit hutches for added ease of cleaning.

2) Eggs. At 300 eggs a year, the chicken has a hard time keeping up. Add in the fact that egg to feed ratio is better with quail, and many claim the health benefits of quail eggs are far superior. Said to help everything from boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, to preventing cancer. Some people allergic to chicken eggs can consume the quail eggs without any reaction. And my favorite part….. They start laying as soon as 7 WEEKS OLD. Chickens take 20+ weeks to lay. 

3)Meat. Sure they are small, but don’t let that fool you! These birds can hatch and get to butcher weight in 8 weeks with less cost and labor than the chicken counterparts. The quail meat is higher in protein and lower in fat than your average chicken broiler too. Their small size makes them easy to dress out without any fancy equipment. They are easy to store in the freezer, and fast to cook. The best part is quail are sustainable! No more ordering in cornish rock cross chicks for $2.50 EACH CHICK year after year. The coturnix is easily hatched out in your home incubator in just 18 days.

4)No ban! Most in-city ordinances ban livestock, this includes the chicken. Quail however, are not in this category and can be kept as pets. Coturnix quail are not “game birds” either so most states don’t require permits that are necessary for other quail such as the native bobwhite. This opens up the possibility for millions of Americans to have their own sustainable protein source.

5) Lots of personality. For little birds they come with a lot of spunk! They love their dust bathes and treats (mine are getting leftover cucumbers from the garden now and will eat it down to the peel!) They will pop around like popcorn and call out when their humans are near. They also come in lots of color choices.

Myshire Farm Quality Quail

 

WARNING: SWITCHING TO QUAIL IS HIGHLY ADDICTING.

Posted on

Top 10 tips for raising chicks…These you need to know!

I raise birds… Mainly quail, but with a few turkeys, geese, chickens, and ducks thrown in. I have come across some tips over time, some of them mine, some stolen from others. Here are a few of my favorite unconventional or $ saving ideas.

  1. To prevent water dish drownings from day old chicks, add rocks to water dishes
  2. Instead of grinding quail food for the babies, use the leftover crumbs from the adult quail feeders….I feel like it is free food!
  3. If you have a power outage, and hence no heat lamps, fill gallon jugs with warm water for chicks to huddle against.
  4. Make easy homemade no-waste feeders from tupperware container with holes cut into the sides. Leave enough room to fit their heads in, but not enough for them to scratch the food everywhere.
  5. If your chicks run out of water (which they shouldn’t-but sometimes it happens) fill up waterers with WARM water, to prevent them from getting chilled as they all rush into the water source.
  6. Old fish tanks and water troughs make excellent brooders
  7. Turkey poults are DUMB make sure the heat source is VERY close…. they can freeze to death a foot from the lights range.
  8. Goslings love grass clippings. Make them happy by adding it to their diet…plus its free food….I like free food….
  9. You must hatch babies in groups. A single healthy baby will not survive on its own
  10.  Wash hands after caring for your babies, and refrain from kissing them! I have to keep reminding the kids of this one! Nobody wants salmonella poisoning but it is so easy to forget when they are soooo cute!

I hope you learned a tidbit that will help you on your own homestead journey! Please leave a comment of your own tips for me and others!

Posted on

The lost art of homesteading: I am TRYING to find it

I moved to the country five years ago. I didn’t know how to garden, can, raise any kind of animal, and defiantly nothing about processing any kind of animal. I knew nothing about greenhouses, cisterns, rain barrels, wood burning stoves, or smokehouses. I knew nothing about homesteading. All of this learning has been on hyperdrive, a whirlwind of books, you tubes, and asking neighbors. An on the fly education that is usually learned by first doing it wrong, and learning from mistakes. And I am okay with that. That is what I signed up for with this back to our roots dream of mine. But still I wonder, how did it come to this? How did all this knowledge get lost in two (maybe three) generations? Back before freezer dinners, and McDonalds we used to know all this stuff. We as a people tapped trees, stretched hides, and wintered over potatoes. We used to make our own soap, and grind our own flour. We used to homestead when all there was was homesteads. And now, children have no concept of what food even IS. Food comes from the store, or a restaurant and that is all they know. That is all they know because that is all their parents know. Now we are here. We have gotten to the place that our entire existence relies on someone else’s system. I am sick of it. I am ready to get back to knowing some stuff! I want to teach my kids how to get a chicken from the barnyard to the table. I want them to know how to save seeds, milk a cow, and tend to a hive. Maybe they will move to the city and never use these skills again, maybe they will stay and take over the farm, but at least they will KNOW. I can’t say we will ever be completely self sufficient, or live completely off-grid..but I am going to try to find this thing they call homesteading, and I encourage you to find it too.

Posted on

Winter is coming

Yes we all know it is true, yet for a few more months we may flirt with denial. On the farm every season plays a key aspect in the whole of farm life. A season for planting and baby animals, a season for growing, a season for preserving and butchering, and now I am looking ahead to the season of planning. It used to be that winter meant only planning. Mornings were spent homeschooling in front of the always humming wood stove, afternoons spent creating different soaps, breads, or some grandiose mess of a school project. Evenings were spent looking through seed catalogs highlighting nearly every add, plotting out hatching schedules, and many other planning ideas that rarely went as planned. As our farm progresses, winter is starting to become an extra long, very cold spring. Where animals still have to be fed (the bad side of heritage breeds-wintering over all your animals) the greenhouse still has viable crops, and things aren’t quite as sleepy as they once have been. Yet there still is a lot to do before winter is here. Electric water heaters need tested, bedding needs deepened, food stores need increased. Wood for the stove needs moved, blankets taken out of storage, and can goods need one last look through. Never can be too prepared. Winter is coming. The last of the fall crops should be harvested in the next few weeks. The dead corn stalks a haunting ghost of a once bountiful garden. They too will be pulled and given to the cows and hogs as the pasture slows and stops growing. Everything is getting ready for a much needed rest. I am ready for a rest. I am ready to cuddle up in front of the fire, read some mother earth news, and get inspired again. There is a sense of peace that comes from a soft blanket and the sound of a crackling fire, a mental recharge. I hope that you and your family will get inspired to take the winter as a planning season. To take some down time and prioritize your next season whatever that may be, and get inspired again.

Posted on

Gloria: our bottle pig

The main thing you need to know about raising piglets is that they are ROTTEN. They want what they want, when they want it, exactly how they say they want it. So don’t get any ideas that you are in charge, because your not. The pig called the shots in our home for nearly a month. This is our story.

Three months ago our sow had to be put down. She had birthed a single piglet. The next got stuck into her birth canal and she was unable to pass it. After many attempts of human intervention, a vet was called. He preformed a c section to try and save the piglets still in uterus, but they had already died. Momma pig had to be put down and we we left heartbroken, but with her tiny daughter. We named her Gloria. Gloria was tiny, as in Chihuahua sized. Its strange to think that one day she will be 500 pounds. So, we were stuck with the very daunting task of raising a baby that we didn’t know how to raise. I had never really thought about raising an orphaned pig. And although charlottes web was cute, it wasn’t ever an experience I wanted personally.  Luckily, we had a wonderful lady farmer from our 4h group that gave us solid advice for starting our journey. She recommended what nipple to use, how often to feed, and most of all encouragement that we COULD do this despite our huge loss of momma pig and the rest of the litter. This is a time lapse account of what happened:

Night 1, while we were battling to keep momma pig alive there was not much sleep. The kids took turns holding Gloria inside their coats, while us adults tended to momma. Finally, in the wee hours of the morning,when we decided to call it quits til daylight, I took Gloria with me and the two of us fell asleep together on the bathroom floor. (she was so tiny I was afraid she would fall out of the bed and break a leg, and she had to be kept warm, as in 100 degrees.. perfect for me to be her human heater. Apparently most orphaned piggie babies die from cold, rather than malnutrition. Because like most animal babies, they can’t regulate their own body heat.) Anyway we got a few hours sleep on the bathroom floor, then back out to the barn at first light. Gloria was fortunate in the fact that she got to nurse from momma, and so received precious colostrum. It was terribly heart wrenching in that momma pig was more concerned about nursing her baby, than in her own well being. She took care of her baby, until her death a few hours later. So now heartbroken and tired, the clock began ticking of when Gloria would need her next meal. Papa went off to get milk supplement and nipples, and our 4h neighbor and aide, who had also been in the barn with us all night had come back and was trying to now teach me the basics of bottle feeding. PATIENCE IS THE KEY. Gloria did not like the bottle. In fact she hated it. She wanted momma, and I knew exactly how she felt. I wanted momma pig back too. I had become quite fond of the big sow, she was quite charming with her snorts of approval whenever she saw someone she liked, and always appreciated a good scratch behind the ears. It was the one pig I had let myself grow attached to, knowing that she would be a breeder pig, one to be a part of the homestead family for years to come. But it was not to be, and now it was just baby Gloria. It took time to get the bottle in her mouth, as she kept fighting it, finally she would take a sip, then spit out the nipple and we would have to start over again.

My oldest daughter Ashley, bravely volunteered for night 2. I got some sleep, and Ashley took great care of Gloria. Something I forgot to mention, because I nearly forgot, is that Gloria along with hating bottles, hated to be picked up. She would squeal like her life depended on it. It the wild of course, her life would depend on it, but in the middle of the night, when it is potty time, the eardrum shattering squeals were not appreciated by the humans. So that is how life went on for the next few days. Me and the girls took turns on the night shifts, and every time we got nudged in the ankle by a rubbery nose, we would fix a bottle. (By day 3 she was used to the bottle) Most farmers I’m sure have a better set schedule, but I figured if she was still with momma, she would have had a 24 hour all you can eat buffet. Plus, all the kids wanted turns holding bottles for her, and after all she was really REALLY cute.

Day 8 Gloria was now an expert at taking bottles and being carried around without squealing. Of course night after night of no sleep, was starting to wear on all of us, and we were all getting anxious to get her eating solid food so that she could self feed though the night.  The thing about that idea was she was not on board. Those green pellets labeled “pig starter” were certainly not made for her. So we tried to get a little more creative, we mixed some starter into a mush with her formula, it apparently still was not up to standard. So we tried applesauce. This was a success. Of course Gloria would only eat it if it was spooned into her mouth, if it was in a bowl, it apparently tasted disgusting. So now we were spoon feeding the pig which was needless to say quite messy, so this was only done outside. However even outside after every bite she had to let you know she wanted more, and to do that she had to nose your leg. And while nosing your leg applesauce was smeared everywhere. There are times, I’ll admit, I pretended I didn’t notice the pig was hungry, then she would move on to someone else. Then they were suckered into feeding the poor, helpless, spoiled rotten, brat of a pig.

Day 14: Gloria was eating more solid foods by this point. She would eat apples, musk melon, sometimes oatmeal cookies, and of course she always wanted her beloved bottles. These were only given twice a day now, although she complained all the time about this fact. She literally nosed my ankles until their were bruises.I am not exaggerating. I was more than ready for her to move out. I was tired of sharing the house with the pig. Although I will give her some credit about the potty training thing, she was good about not going in the house. Of course the front porch was her designated potty area….so there is that…. Anyway Gloria got kicked out of the house.

Day 21: The end of the bottles! Gloria was officially weaned and me and my big girls were quite relieved. We had actually done it! We successfully reared a piglet and kept our sanity…sort of. Little miss attitude still was sneaking in the house and going up and down the stairs( she thinks pigs are supposed to do that), then back outside to pee on the porch. She still was following people around like a little lost puppy, squealing at them when they would walk too fast and leave her behind.So yeah, maybe she was driving me a little bit crazy.

She is now 2 months old. More rotten than ever, and she thinks she runs the farm. I suppose she does. She has made friends with the pilgrim geese, and has somehow talked them into “pruning” her on a regular basis. She hates our feeder pigs, stating that the have no sophistication, and will Houdini her way out of the actual pig pen, screaming the whole time. The feeder pigs have no idea why she is making all the fuss, they hardly glanced at her. The poor ducks can’t figure out why all their eggs are disappearing, and I think Gloria told them it was me. Of coarse this is not true, I personally saw her eating them but she denies it. Most of the time she will bite peoples ankles, which really has lost whatever cuteness it had before. And so we are stuck with this pig we don’t want to breed (since her momma passed down the whole narrow hip problem) and we don’t want to eat because now she’s has somehow claimed the coveted “pet” title. ( I do threaten to turn her into bacon every time she pees on the porch, but she just wags her tail and laughs) So thats our story for now, and I’m not sure how it is going to end, but I am sure it is a summer that we won’t forget. 13450163_258217154555368_8935281217006463820_n 13432409_261078634269220_1985234504927263176_n 13620206_274100879633662_6520307389160926833_n

Posted on

Ideas for making poultry easier to raise

Lets face it… Infrastructure is not glamorous. It my opinion, it is not fun (my Dad would say otherwise) Yet it is a necessary component of this thing we call homesteading. Outbuildings, electric, water, compost piles, animal pastures and garden space must be utilized to make working your homestead easier. It is hard enough with a good infrastructure, a bad one… well… it is quite near impossible. The following are ideas that we have come up with along the way, and hopefully they can aide you in your own homesteading journey. Raising poultry is a fun and rewarding experience, but at times can be challenging.

Lets start small.. with chicks. Chicks need to be kept warm, dry, and fed. Our brood boxes are set up so they can be sectioned off into 3 parts. These sections can be opened up as the chicks get older and need more space, until eventually they going into a floor brooder after they are feathered out. But, while they are small, all that space could be deadly. Turkey pullets, for example, don’t realize they should go under the lamp if they are cold, they must be forced to stay under it. I have had turkeys freeze to death just feet away from their lights. They are not the brightest of God’s creatures. The heat lamps that we use are made up of string hung from the ceiling on pulleys. One end attached to the heat lamp, the other anchored to the wall so the pulley can then raise the lamp to decrease temperature for the chicks as they age. The food dishes that we use are the standard metal ones that attach to a mason jar, water dishes are the same. A word of advice though, when putting your chicks in their new brooder, wait a few minutes until they have calmed down before adding waterers. Excited chicks don’t look where they are going any many can end up in the water dishes. This can be fatal for day-old chicks on a cold day. Again, I say this because I have learned the hard way. Temperature I’m not to much of a stickler on, I’d rather watch behavior. All huddled up, literally trying to stand on one other,too cold. Panting trying to get away from light, too hot. As a general rule, start around 95 and reduce heat by 5 degrees a week. If its hot summer day, I keep the lights off, and just put them on at night….basically a common sense approach rather than a rule set.

Fast forward to adult birds, and the wintertime, uggh. I hate the winter. My main problem has been the frozen water, however this past year we did purchase an electric heater that the water sets on top of. Much nicer to have the heater, but if you don’t have one, I would suggest to have 2 waterers. Then they can be switched out a few times a day as they thaw out in a mudroom or garage. Also it is nice to have a light on a timer system to encourage your birds to lay year round. These can be purchased online, or you can sometimes get a deal on them after christmas as stores use them for christmas lights. We have our set to come on BEFORE sun up that way we can collect a few eggs when it is time to let them out when the people get up in the real morning. Otherwise, the eggs may freeze and bust if they are left out too long, and thats just annoying.

I hope these tips help you in your own poultry raising adventure! Please message with your own tips!

 

Posted on

5 homesteader skills you should know

Being a homesteader isn’t like a thing that you can wake up and one day decide that you are. It isn’t something you become after you move to the country, or even after you buy a pair of overalls. To me, being a homesteader is a state of mind, backed by skill sets. These skill sets are learned over time, through sweat, and adversity. It is a constant way of life that I continue to add new skills along the way. I’m still not sure if I am a true homesteader. After all, the goal of self sufficiency is still so far away. We are still quite dependent on the grocery store an don’t even get me started on the feed store. That remains our biggest challenge. How can we grow THAT much food for the chickens, turkeys, goats, pheasants, quail, geese, hogs (at least the cows are grass fed) and whoever else I might be forgetting? A problem for another day…. Anyway, on to the skills.

  1. LEARN TO GARDEN. Seems simple. It is not. Gardening is in in-depth learning experience that takes time to learn. You must figure out what to plant, when to plant, how far away to plant, when to water, how much to water, how to weed, how to deal with pests, when to harvest, and how to store your harvest. Then when you get all that figured out, their is still soil amending, plant rotation, and seed storage. But DONT GET DISCOURAGED just because it might not work the first year, doesn’t mean it won’t work the next. Ask an old timer for advice, or join a Facebook group, people generally are pretty awesome about sharing knowledge.
  2. LEARN TO STORE FOOD. Food storage can be attained in a number of ways. Freezing, dehydrating, canning and the root cellar are the way we handle it around here. But, there are many other ways as well. Learning to pressure can and hot water bath are essential for our food storage systems and I highly recommend learning. There is nothing better on a cold winter day, than being greeted by a plethora of jewel toned jars in your pantry. It is much easier for me to open a jar than it is deal with frozen bricks of food. However with that being said, I do freeze corn, spinach, and all my meats. Potatoes, onions, and winter squash go to the root cellar.  Make sure to store potatoes away from onions, or they will greatly shorten your shelf life.
  3. LEARN TO CARE OF YOUR CRITTERS. Unfortunately taking care of livestock is more than just keeping them fed and watered. Although that is definitely the most time consuming of chores, there are other skills to be learning along the way. How to keep chicks at the correct temperature, how to administer medication, tattoo ears, and clip hooves are skill sets learned along the way. These are nuggets of information that can be passed along from year to year, and hopefully, generation to generation.
  4. LEARN TO USE A FIREARM. Guns are used more than just for personal self protection. Guns on the homestead are another part of keeping things running smoothly. Although they are not used often, guns are used to protect livestock, cull old or sick animals, and aide in the butchering process of large animals. THIS IS NOT A MAN SKILL. Ladies I know it is easier to have hubby go out a cull old Ms Waddles, ( and lets be real, my husband does this job ) at least know how to use a gun if you HAD to. As in, raccoon in the henhouse type situation. I think a shot in the air is better than nothing.
  5. THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL IS TO LEARN TIMING. What do I mean, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you! The timing of seasons on a homestead are critical in making it work effectively. You must know when to plant specific crops in order for them to survive. Some plants like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts and kale, like the colder climates. You can plant these early in the spring and again for a fall harvest. They don’t do well in the heat and will not produce like they should. Everything equal except timing, the same plant cared for identically only in different months will either succeed or fail. Chicks, as another example, you also must keep on a close timing schedule. If you order your meat chicks too early in spring you will be doing constant battle with the cold, and may end up losing them due to uneven temperature. If you wait too long into the spring, before ordering meat chicks, then when it is butcher time you will be battling the heat and flies. TIMING IS CRUCIAL we order meat birds early, and have them delivered may 1, that way we can raise them until the first of July. Then we can  have them in the freezer forth of July weekend. Keeping a calendar of crucial plant dates, harvest times, breeding seasons ect. will keep your farm running efficiently. Otherwise you may forget you need to breed back your cows, or when to get a hen of a nest of unviable eggs. Not that it has happened to me or anything….
Posted on

10 confessions of a homesteader

THIS POST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT MEANT TO BE TAKEN AS ADVICE.THESE ARE TRUE STORIES.

 

  1. I have worked all day in the garden growing beautiful organic produce only to come in and feed my kids cereal for dinner.
  2. I have been snooty about chemical bug spray… and used a can of raid on a wasp nest
  3. I have ran out of chicken feed and fed them bread for dinner
  4. My kids have learned sex ed from livestock
  5. I have given away produce like a saint…. because secretly I just don’t want to can it
  6. I am terrified of mice and snakes
  7. I hardly ever make scrambled eggs, even though we get beautiful eggs everyday. (my kids hate them and they wore me down with the eewww gross!)
  8. I would much rather clean out a chicken coop than clean my house
  9. I spend more on animal feed than I will actually confess to
  10. I tell every baby animal THEY are my favorite

 

 

 

 

Posted on

Mommy! Daddy! There’s a snake in the sandbox!

Mommy! Daddy! Come quick! These are the words that I hear from my littles a few hundred times a day. Nearly every scrape is an emergency and every drawing must be viewed AT ONCE or it may disappear altogether. So -sigh- I will go look at another “emergency”. My husband walked out with me to the backyard. He made an EPIC playhouse/sandbox combo. This thing is amazing. It has two stories, thatch roof, sandbox underneath. The cats thought it was for them of course, pooping in it immediately. So a plastic netting was added to keep the cats out of “their” sandbox. Now back to the story, as we are walking back to the sandbox the two boys are talking a mile a minute “its totally NOT a gardener snake …and I think there is like 3 of them!” Gardener snake have not been all that uncommon this year, I see them almost every time I cut the grass. The boys both age 6, are pretty familiar with their coloring. So as they say that it is not one…I’m starting to get a little anxious, but the snake would surly be gone by the time we got there..right? Wrong! This was a for-real-mommy-is-freaking-out emergency. There were snakes tangled in the plastic netting literally right next to where the kids had been playing for 30 minutes. They had to have been there the whole time, so my babies were inches from sudden death! Poisoned or strangled or whatever these devilish looking creatures do. True to the boys identification, they were not the small dark green annoyances that I was sure they would be, rather, they were very large, black snakes. Did I mention, large? My husband runs to the garage for some kind of killing device. I jump up on the trampoline for some vertical protection. I happened to remember my oldest daughters were giving the neighbors a farm tour. The neighbors are more “county raised” then we are, and was hoping they could help identify this terrible creature. So they get called over to all the commotion.Neighbor Phil, reached down, almost sympathetically, to untangle the beast. “Its just a black rat snake” he says, picking up the snake and cutting the plastic away from its wriggling body. The snake lashes out biting him, but he just continues his work until the plastic is all removed. A few drops of blood emerge from the bite. He said it was just “gumming him”. I never want to be gummed like that. The monster was huge, dangling down it was almost as tall as him. It turned out there was only two snakes, they were just both huge, so it seemed like there was more there at first glance. After untangling snake one, my daughter Allysa, who had never taken her eyes off the creature volunteered herself as a tribute. “I’ll let it go!” Phil suggested to let it go in the barn. Over my dead body. That thing would eat my baby quails as a appetizer and the chickens for main course. Apparently, true to name, they eat rats and mice. I don’t really care. They were lucky they were getting off death row as far as I was concerned. Allysa grabs the snake around the neck, close enough to the head that it couldn’t turn around and bite her. It quickly coiled up around her arm. She grinned, obviously impressed with herself. The second snake was also freed. My husband grabbed the second, and him and Allysa went to the pasture to let them go. Just like Jack Hannah or something, the walked off like it happened all the time. I finally hopped down from the kids trampoline. Safe now that they were far away. I had to laugh at myself, and what I baby I was being. But at least my kids are going to be country raised. Plus now they know how identify another type of snake. The next day my son found a shed skin from one of them. It was like a thanks-for-not-killing-me gift from them to us. Now I have tangible proof of how big they were, which is nice. That way its not another big fish story.13412914_254721044904979_9031994869406604637_n