Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013


6+ inches of snow today - more to come on Tuesday.

I guess the hens will have to wait until Friday.  I am not processing in a snow storm.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Unwanted hens

One of the downsides of the urban hen trend is what to do with hens that have outlived their usefulness.  Hens that are aggressive or eat eggs.  Hens that have stopped laying or that the laying has slowed enough to make the cost of each egg higher than the owner is comfortable with.

The web is full of ideas on this subject.  There are those for whom the hens have become pets and they are kept as such living out their full 8 to 10 year life span.  There are shelters with hens and unwanted roosters on their list of adoptable animals.  There are self righteous vegan "farms" that will take them for a price and a signed document that you will never keep chickens again.  Historical farms all over the country find new chickens on their property - thrown over the fence the night before.

Or apparently you can give them to us.

This small flock of 6 will be processed tomorrow.  They are 2 years old and all except one have stopped laying consistently.  4 are known egg eaters.  3 are aggressive to their previous owners.  I'm not really sure what we will do with them.  Winter is not the ideal time to process outside.  There is an acquaintance of mine who feeds their dogs the BARF diet.  Old hens make great stock.  Chris wants some for crayfish bait.   We could just sell them on Craigslist and make them someone else's problem. (The last one is not gonna happen)

Well we have until tomorrow to figure it out.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

My tub floweth over

This morning the girls and made the trip to Kiowa to pick up 4 chicks. 

It didn't work out quite like that.

We picked up the 2 Welsummers,  layers of dark brown eggs to replace Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (Cuckoo Marans)  I admit some hesitancy in this as they do have a reputation of being loud.  But they are also colorful and new to us.

Also on hold were 2 Iowa Blue chicks.  These I picked because I had never heard of them before. Their heritage is mostly unknown but the story is good.

The Iowa Blue was developed in the early 1900's near Decorah, Iowa.  A folk legend tells the story of a white Plymouth Rock hen emerging from under a building with a clutch of chicks colored solid chestnut to striped.  Old-timers tell the tale that the chicks were sired by a pheasant.  With its plucky attitude and proud carriage, the Iowa Blue is a dual-purpose homesteader chicken, known to be an excellent forager.  Hens will go broody, exhibiting good maternal characteristics.  Though very aware of their surroundings in a free-range situation, the breed is fairly docile and not particularly flighty.  (Quoted from the Iowa Blue Chicken Club)

They are also supposed to be a smaller hen, not quite a bantam, but with the 2 bantam cochin frizzle roosters . . .

Honestly that was all I was planning to pick up.  I do want a couple new Amerucanas to round out our color selection, but I was going to wait until the local feed store got theirs in.

Then Mesha saw this chick:

She announced (to the amusement of the people working) that she had 3 weeks of  allowance with her and she wanted her own chicks.

This one is a Silver Campine.  It is the most colorful chick I have ever seen.  Under its wings it is patterned similar to a Bengel cat.  She also picked out a black cochin.

Then Juju found the buff bantam silkies.  To be fair, last January she used her allowance to purchase chicks and I bought 2 for her sister.  Turnabout seemed fair.

Chris had mentioned he would like Brahma hen.  They happened to have them in the Elizabeth store so we stopped there on the way home.  We picked up 2 buff Brahmas, 2 black giants (not sure what makes them different that the Jersey giants but they were 50¢ cheaper) and 2 Golden comets.

With the 3 pullets we got earlier there are 17 chicks living in the guest room bathtub.

I do not plan to keep them all.  But I plan on losing some to cats, dog, or carelessness.  Others I will trade (in theory) for meat rabbits.  The rest will go to the poultry swap in June or July.

Yeah, that's the plan.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Well, it's not pickles!

It's milk.

Local milk.

Pasteurized yet non-homogenized milk from 1 mile away.  (see the cream line?!)

I'm so excited.

I think Mesha and I will make butter today.

That is if the whole jar does not taste of bread and butter pickles.

Fingers Crossed.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Anticipating Spring

Saturday is the day, if I am not working, that I get to sleep in.  Hubby wakes up, lets the dog out and makes coffee - delivering it in my favorite mug with the most important news from CNN's website.

So at 8am (a decadent time of the morning for a wake up) he hands me a cup of Dazbog's Mocha Java (with cream and brown sugar in the sunflower mug he painted for me while we were dating) with the news that Phil the Groundhog has predicted spring.  I don't remember a time that he did not see his shadow and scurry back in his den.

But maybe I should plant tomatoes this week.

There is, of course, still snow on the ground.

Friday, February 1, 2013

new babies

So we begin again . . .

We think they are red star, amerucana and speckled sussex.

I commandeered the heat light set up from the hens (I have another set up, but could not find it anywhere)