Friday, July 22, 2011

A quick update

The chickens are still locked up - they hate it and won't lay any eggs.  The egg business (which basically just makes the chickens support themselves) is in the toilet.

We went out of town!  Up to the cabin, aka The Broken Badger!  Husband did quite a bit of work, including one more window and caulking it up so the wind isn't so intense inside.  I verified the hammock still works.

New window and cedar shakes done

We had a coyote siting!!  It was checking out the trap but did not take the bait.  I would have shot it, but we had just gotten back from being out of town and the guns were all locked up.  D'oh!

The chicks are getting feathers and are out of the cute poofy phase.  If they could only stay small forever!  This one's pretty cute though:

Cammie exhausted on ride home

I'm working on a new guest post for Suzanne over at Farm Bell Recipes... I don't want to give it away, but it includes:

Okay - off to go hunting in my back pasture!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How many chicks does it take... screw in a heat lamp?  No, but really, how many times can I go visit the new chicks without taking my camera?  Evidently every time.  Luckily Chicken Auntie posted a pic of the new babies.  Here they are with their temp mama:

And here are the little ones that we got from the feed store:

They are Gold Sex Links (2) and Speckled Sussex (2).  We tried to stick them under the mama, but she really wanted nothing to do with them.  So they came home to the brooder.  Their 'siblings' will join them in a couple weeks, once mama has gotten tired of them. 

On a slightly different note, we have rented a live trap to catch the coyote.  Wish us luck.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


And now for something on the less-sour side of life.  The eggs that we took up to our "Chicken Auntie" are hatching!  4 out of 7 so far.  We went to visit them yesterday and managed to forget the camera (will get pics tonight!).  Two of them look Cuckoo Maran-y, one looks Amerucana-y, and the last looks like a White Leghorn.  Of course, they are only half these breeds.  Daddy was half Road Island Red Banty and half Amerucana.  I think the technical term for the breed is 'farm chick'.  Kind of like 'barn cats'.  We're so happy Cuppa-Soup's genetic line is carrying on.  Here's hoping for a rooster!  (That is probably the last time you will ever hear me say that!!)

We're also going to trick that poor little broody mama.  We're going to run up to the feed store tonight and buy a few more chicks.  Then we'll slide them under her when she's not looking!  Since the chicks from the feed store are only a few days old as well, there shouldn't be any issue, she should just accept them as her own.  Yay for chickens that can't count!!

I'll get pics up as soon as I can!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The D-List

I am full of D-words.  Disgusted, depressed, dismayed, devastated, displeased, dejected, demolished, dispirited, defeated and downright despondent.

I was planning on talking about some of the other wildlife challenges we've been having.  Our egg count is really low, and it's more than just lazy chickens… We've been finding eggs with holes.  At first we thought the chickens were stepping on them or possibly egg-eating, but they have TONS of calcium and the shells are fine.  Then we realized it was Blue Jays.  They figured out that they could sneak in the coop and mess with the eggs, solely to drive me crazy, I'm sure.  Then, a couple days after that discovery, I was mowing the grass with the perfect view of a crow carrying an egg off in its beak!!!  ACK!

That is what I was going to talk about.  But I'm not.  We had ANOTHER coyote strike.  We've lost 7 chickens in 16 days.  And they got our baby, our Silky Sue.  So now I'm full of D-words.  I guess these are the days that really make a farmer.  I really don't even want to go on.  I'm tired of having my chickens be a smorgasbord for this opportunistic skudge (that is probably not a word, just how I feel about them right now.)  We can't afford to buy a live trap, and our state wildlife folks aren't willing to help, even though the 'yotes are considered a nuisance since they are taking livestock – and they are striking in the middle of the day!   Our only option is to hang out for hours on end, hoping they don't smell us, hoping they come back, then shoot them.  But seriously, who has that kind of time?  So the chickens are in lock up again, also displeased, wanting greens and bugs.  Any thoughts on what we can do to empower ourselves against these wildlife violators?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

And then there was one…

Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration.  We have more than one chicken left.  But I find it ironic that on the day we go to pick up 5 new chickens, we have a coyote strike that takes out four chickens – in the middle of the afternoon!  So we have a net gain of one chicken.  And I'm not sure what it's like in your neck of the woods, but full-grown laying hens are expensive here!  So we spent $100 bucks for one more lousy chicken.

The really traumatic part is that the coyotes got our rooster.  Cuppa-Soup was the best rooster ever!  (Obviously, he was originally meant for the soup pot, but the other roosters that I thought were in the running for the flock sire position turned out to be jerks, so Cuppa's gentile attitude saved him from the pot.)  Cuppa was a home grown chicken, brooded by our nasty little Cochin (who is a wonderful mommy) and was the result of a Road Island Red Banty and an Amerucana.  He had the best colors and was a very noble looking rooster.  He always watched carefully and proudly over his harem.  Cuppa would make the cutest noises to call all his ladies over when he found food, and would always make sure all the girls had eaten before he had his share.  He NEVER challenged us!  He really was the bestest and I don't think we can ever replace him.  I never thought I would be in mourning over a rooster, but here I am.

Young Cuppa

Desperate to carry on Cuppa's bloodline, we pulled a handful of eggs from that day (7 of them).  Also ironically, all of the chickens that had been broody just 'broke' during this week. That cochin seriously wouldn't get out of the boxes for months!  But now?  Can't get one to stay on the nest for love or money. 

Should we get an incubator?  Try to buy a broody chicken and hope she stays setting for the next 21 days?  Wait – one of our egg customers has a couple hens that are usually pretty broody, let's try calling…

Such a good watchman

We are so lucky!  Our dear friend has a broody hen, so we ran the eggs over to get them cooking under the hen.  Hopefully in 21 days we will have 7 little Cuppa offspring running around!  Farming is not easy.  There's as much drama on the farm as there is on a daytime talk show!

Cross your fingers for us and wish for high fertility!!!

RIP Cuppa-Soup