Tag Archives: chicken

Eggs The Other White Meat!

I think I said that my last 3 pullets had started laying, back in late August or maybe it was the first week of September. Grin .. Be it August or September, I’m now getting 5 eggs a day.

Not understanding ‘new’ math or this crap Obama’s department of education calls ‘common core’.
I am using old school arithmetic (from the Greek ἀριθμός arithmos, “number”) I learned in a 4 room country school. Lets see, 5 eggs everyday, having 7 days in a week, let’s see now that adds up to??? Crap that’s 35 eggs a week.
Doing a bit more arithmetic having a extended family of 4 and myself, = one egg a day. That’s a manageable number.
However, when some family members don’t hold up their end of the bargain and eat their ‘required’ one egg, I soon find that my tiny refrigerator is running out of space to store egg cartons.

For the record, My Country School, YES, we Prayed everyday, we said the Pledge Of Allegiance Everyday. We played OMG, out of doors. Many of us walked to and from school(up to a mile or more) ‘Alone.’ We actually worked on the farm, planted, weeded gardens and crops. In the Fall season school closed it’s doors for two weeks so the ‘Kids’ could work in the fields helping their family harvest cotton and sorghum crops.

Yes, fall was also the time for killing, butchering and processing poultry and hogs(men and boy’s work). To be consumed fresh, cured or canned(Hehehe, women and girls work) for winter storage.
It was the season for hunting doves, quail, ducks, geese, rabbits, squirrels, wild hogs, deer and almost anything else that did not eat us first.
It was the season for trap lines for fur bearing animals(mostly predators of poultry and livestock), things like fox, coyote, skunks, raccoons, opossums and bobcats. Wow, a good quality bobcat hide would fetch as much as $5.00. (That’s more than a days wages in the 1945’s).
[1945 minimum wage $0.40] [1950 – $0.75] [1956 – $1.00] [1968 – $1.60] [1975 – $2.10]

Big Grin … Oooops, got off on a rant.
Question of the day. Why and when did so many of our young adults and children come to believe hard, dirty, sweaty, honest ‘work’ is a dirty 4 letter word to be avoided and not embraced?

Back to The Other White Meat, Eggs. Being a frugal shopper, when my local feed store had it’s winter clearance on chicks, I bought 10 assorted Bantams. I lost 2 chicks when a bull snake found it’s way in to my brooder. I now have ‘best I can tell’ 2 roosters and 6 pullets. These pullets should start laying about the first week of March.
Mmmm… 5 eggs a day plus 6 new layers at 1 egg a day, let’s see that’s ??? I don’t know but it must be a lot of eggs.

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Poultry – Red Crayola – Big Chief Notepad

Flock Planning is a must if you plan to be successful with your new or replacement birds.
If you can find birds locally this is a good thing. No postage cost, much less stress on your young chicks, ducklings goslings or keets. As a rule this gives you an opportunity to pick and choose your birds by breed and color markings.
Another plus to starting / replenishing your flock is that your new birds(chickens) will start laying in early spring, waterfowl may not lay before early summer.

Personally I like choosing birds that are at least a week old, two or more weeks of age is better. At this age the sick or cripple birds have been identified and eliminated from the healthy birds. I have enough hens to provide all the eggs we can eat, However, I enjoy watching my chickens and want to rebuild my Bantam flock.

Starting now allows you time to get your birds out of brooders and fully feathered before the first ‘real’ cold weather of winter.

My plan is to purchase 10 assorted straight run chicks. Past experience tells me I will not get more than 4 or 5 pullets out of 10 chicks. The plus side of this is I will have 4-5 hens that often go broody allowing me to hatch of next years replacement birds at almost no additional cost to ne. Bantams can successfully hatch 8 sometimes 10 bantam size eggs and 4 to 6 standard size chicken eggs.

Just because I have been babbling about chickens.
Don’t forget the same information applies to Ducks, Geese, Guineas and Turkey keets Poults.

Important Message It seems that I made a fowl call. The Proper term for a turkey chick is a Poult, not keet.
Thats the second time I have screwed up. I vidily remember doing that again in July 14, 1966 🙂

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Roosters – Toads And Crickets

I love being an early riser.
4am, windows are open and I feel the cool early morning air creeping across my bear feet. I can smell the honeysuckle near my back gate.
Rooster has decided it is time for his hens to go to work. Crowing at about 45 second intervals.
Far in the distance I hear the alpha male coyote calling his pack home before first light. If I listen very carefully I hear the high pitched yelps of the pack members as they meet and greet those that they have been separated from during a long night’s hunt.

I sometimes hear Jack D. Ass Smile(some even call him a donkey), calling out to his friends across the west fence. Wherever they may be, they answer Jacks call.

Pork chop and short rib work in rhythm, opening and slamming shut lids to their (self) feeded. Flip, flap, flip, flap.

Day time temperatures are still holding, 95-103 degrees. But, the smell of Fall is on the morning breeze.

Grin … Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Back Yard Chicken Coop – My first WordPress post – 6 years and counting

chicken coop It seems that June 2009 was my first WordPress blog posting. Not a lot has changed except chicken feed and building materials has gone up at least 25 percent.
This posting has been heavily edited and updated to the best of my knowledge and abilities.

It is getting late in the year to start your new poultry flock. However it is a good time to make plans and to start constructing your coop(hen house) and to design an outside run.
Outside space(run) needs to be a minimum of 4 square feet for each hen, ‘Larger is always better for your chickens health and welfare. {Run length X width = run size in square feet.}

Need a chicken coop? Think small, cheap and easy to build. Best rule of thumb is you will need a minimum of 2 square feet of floor space for each chicken. A four(4) foot square chicken coop will house 6 to 8 chickens with ease. If your lucky you can find enough materials free of charge to build a 4 by 4 foot or maybe as large as 4 by 8 foot (1 sheet of plywood) coop. Check with your friends and neighbors, ask around at construction sites for free ‘scrap lumber.

Home made chicken coop

Home made chicken coop

Salvage and recycle old wood fencing. It seems that someone is always replacing wood fence panels and has a need to dispose of the old panels. Wood fence panels are about 8 feet long and 6 feet tall containing two or three 8 foot long 2X4’s. If your willing to invest a little time and effort this project will cost almost no out of pocket cash to build.
Tools needed are few. A measuring tape, claw hammer, hand saw or power circle saw and a pound or 2 of 8 and 16 penny nails. Enlist the help of friends and neighbors, make it a fun to do project.

Portable chicken coop

Portable chicken coop

If your yard does not have shaded area(s) this coop is enclosed on 3 sides at the bottom, 18 to 24 inches off the ground to provide a shaded area for your chickens during the heat of summer. Without shade in high heat chickens can overheat and die. Keep in mind that it’s construction must provide you with easy access to gather eggs and to clean out old litter as needed. The picture is labeled as ‘portable coop’ but in all truth, it would not be easy to move this coop around without a lot of help.
A solid built coop is very important in keeping your flock safe from bad weather and predators. People are not the only animal that likes chicks, chicken and eggs!

Consider recycling an old unused garage or storage shed into a coop. I often see cheap made, light weight storage sheds being given away by people simply to get them out of their yard. They are light weight and would make excellent chicken coops with the addition of a few ground anchors, nest boxes and a roosting perch.

Simple chicken coop design

Simple chicken coop design

This picture is of poor quality but item (A) is a roosting platform board 18 inches off the floor, wide enough to prevent roosting chickens from soiling your nest boxes with their droppings. (B) is a roosting perch 4 to 6 inches above the board platform. Allow at least 9 inches of roost perch space for each chicken in your flock and (C) is 1 or more nest boxes located underneath the roost platform board.  Remember when constructing you nest boxes to build them so it will be easy for you to remove old nest box litter and refill with clean nesting litter materials such as saw shavings, straw or grass hay. Clean nest box litter will aid greatly in keeping your eggs from becoming soiled making egg cleaning much easier.

Chicken coop with attached wire covered outdoor run.

Chicken coop with attached wire covered outdoor run.

This is an example of a small simple chicken coop with an attached wire covered run to house your chickens as well as protect them from predators. Your yard, with or without fencing and your chicken flock size and available building materials will dictate what type of chicken coop best fits your needs. Happy stress free chickens will produce many eggs for many months for you and your family.

Think healthy food before you snack. Eat healthy.

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Don’t Kiss That Chick…..en – You Can’t make This Stuff Up!

Source CDC: Don’t kiss your pet chicken

Big Smile, Just how many people do you know that gives a big old kiss to a chicken, turkey duck or goose?

Use a bit of common sense, wash your hands after handling poultry. Hehehe, wash you mouth out with soap after kissing said birds!…….

Center for Disease Control(CDC) put out a warning asking chicken owners not to snuggle or kiss their birds for fear of contracting salmonella.

Dr. Robert Glatter said “Chickens actually have salmonella naturally and they don’t get sick from it, but humans do, and the main symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.”

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It’s A Weird, Weird World

You can’t make this stuff up!

It’s the food movement sweeping the nation: Clean eating.

It means knowing where your food comes from and where it has been before it gets to your table.

You may have heard the expression “farm-to-table.” Now, a new business goes one step further: “Backyard-to-table.” And sometimes, that trend involves chicken rentals!

Grin … maybe ‘Rent A Chick’ will become a national franchise.

Happy Hen House?

Chickens – Pullets – Eggs

Homemade 15 hole nest boxes

Winter weather has passed into Springs warmer days and nights.
Now is a good time to visit your local farm store and pick out a few pullet chicks.

Unless you have a large family or you are trying to feed all your neighbors kids, you do not need as many laying hens as most people think.

It takes 24 to 26 weeks to bring day old pullets to laying age. When about 27-28 weeks of age you can expect to collect 1 egg about every 27 hours from each of you laying hens.
Do the math, 1 hen will lay 6 eggs each week. If you use in your baking and your family eats 12 eggs a week you will only need 2 laying hens to meet your weekly egg needs.

Today’s families it seems can never find time to all set down as a family for a hot home cooked breakfast. Unlike my early years being raised on a small farm. In those days everyone was seated the kitchen table at 6AM and we had one of mothers hot good tasting and good for you breakfast consisting of fresh eggs, bacon, sausage or ham, biscuits and gravy. When in season we had a special treat of home fried fresh dug potato’s with bell pepper and onions.

In those days each person eat 2 eggs a day, 12 to 14 eggs a week. I don’t think most families of 4 will eat a dozen eggs a week now days. Our kitchen had to seat 7 kids, mom, dad as well as grandma and grandpa. With 11 hungry people we eat 2 dozen eggs a day. This required a rather large flock of hens. We always had 50 or more hens for both eggs and for table meat roaming around the homestead.

Homemade 4 hole nest box

Brown eggs are better than white eggs. That’s a myth. The only difference in a white egg or a brown egg is the breed of hen you have, some are brown layers others are white egg layers. In general white layers are better layers than brown layers. Most duel purpose hens, that is hens raised for both meat and eggs, lay brown eggs. White egg layers are generally more productive but are poor meat birds and almost never go broody.

What breed is best for you? This is not an endorsement but McMurray Hatchery has many pictures and a lot of very useful information on many chicken breeds that will help you decide what breed is best suited for your needs, facilities and climate.

I require few new birds every year so I am willing to pay a bit of a premium price for sexed birds and purchase them from a local store {Atwoods Home, Farm and Ranch Store} as needed. I’m not concerned about what breed I have and always buy them when they are on clearance sale. **By the way, if you don’t already know, you don’t need a rooster unless you plan to hatch a few replacement chicks.

Even with range raised hens it is very useful to provide them with supplemental high quality lay mash. This supplemental feed provides all their required nutrition needs even when green and insect forage is in short supply.

Build Your Own Nest Box. You will need a nest box for your hens, they really don’t like being out in the open when laying. It need not be fancy. The most important thing is to build and place the nest where it is easy for ‘you’ to collect eggs and clean out the box when replacing nesting materials.

I have used everything from 5 gallon plastic buckets on their side to larger more expensive factory build steel boxes. I’m getting older and now place nest boxes at a height easier for me to see into and collect eggs from them. The only real advantage of the metal or plastic boxes is they are easier to sterilize / sanitize should you get a disease introduced into your flock and when treating your hen house for things like mites.

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Spring Planting Season

Big Smile… Did California Governor Jerry Brown read my blog, Water and your Cash Flow, dated March 30, 2015? Brown ordered officials April 1, 2015 to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in California’s history. (Water) surveyors found the lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snow pack in 65 years of record keeping.

I shot that Chocolate Egg laying Easter Bunny

Maybe not the egg laying bunny, but I put his cousin in my cook pot!
About daylight Tuesday morning I was enjoying the sight of the early birds free loading at my feeder when out of the corner of my good eye I spied 2 fat rabbits munching away on my newly planted grape vines. This is not a good thing..

Being a world renowned great hunter, I dug my handy dandy Crossman .177 pellet rifle out of a closet. Then another 10 minutes finding the place I had put my can of pellets. (you know the place I put them so I would not loose them.) I looked one more time to be sure the rabbit was still in my Tiny Garden, and he/she was. Slowly, carefully I raised the window so I could ambush that grape eating rabbit.
The rest is history. Rabbit stew was on my dinner menu.

chisken pen fence Grandson and Fence building. Not wanting to give you the wrong impression. #1 grandson is good to his old grandpa. He drops by 2 or 3 times a week to visit and to see if I have a job needing done my someone younger and more agile than myself. With that said he does leave a lot to be desired when it comes to fence building.

A couple of years past, I was talking about enlarging my chicken pen. Being the helpful grandson he is, one day while I was away in town, he drove in a few T-post and stood up a fence in the general area I had indicated that I was going to use for my ‘new’ enlarged chicken pen.

I’m pretty sure he never heard of using a straight line to aline the fence post from corner to corned. I have started pulling the old post and relocating them so the pen fence is some what straight. If you don’t tell #1 grandson, I won’t tell him I moved the fence.. 🙂

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2014 Running Headlong Into 2015

WordPress has sent me the highlights to my 2014 blogging year. WordPress tallied up my visitors at about 150,000 this year. You came to visit my humble blog from 194 different countries.

It seems that you visited posting about Rabbits, Chickens and Chicken Coops much of the time.

No Matter Were You Came from, or what postings you visited.
I want to say thank you to each and ever person that has taken time out of your busy schedules, sharing your time and comments with me. Have A Very Happy And Safe 2015.

Americas National Football Day will soon be upon us. In keeping with a popular postings theme. Lets get ready for New Years day football games.

hot-wings Repost and updated from December 2011

Basic Buffalo-wings recipe Serves 4 (normal people) you may need more, much more!

12 whole chicken wings
3 ounces unsalted butter or(BBQ sauce)
1 small clove minced garlic (more for garlic lovers)
1/4 cup hot sauce (Your choice, mild, hot or smoking hot)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place a 6-quart saucepan with a steamer basket and 1-inch of water in the bottom, over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.
Remove the tips of the wings. Using kitchen shears, or a knife, separate the wings at the joint.
Place the wings into the steamer basket, cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the wings from the basket and carefully pat dry.

It’s important to do this step, Lay the wings out on a cooling rack. Once cool pat dry, place wings in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
line a large cookie or pizza sheet with parchment paper. Place wings in a single layer.
Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes.
Turn the wings over and cook another 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown.

While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter(BBQ sauce) in a bowl along with the garlic. Pour this along with hot sauce and salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken. Stir well to mix all Ingredients.
Remove the wings from the oven and transfer to the bowl and toss with your hot wing sauce. Serve warm.

Wimpy city boys choose Louisiana hot sauce 9 out of 10 times.

Serve Buffalo wings with a large bottle of Louisiana hot sauce on the side. Be sure to provide ice cold beverages of your choice. Louisiana hot sauce has a wonderful taste but is rather mild tasting, but, hot enough for most wimpy city boys.

Tough guys may choose Tabasco hot sauce Tabasco sauce has a wide assortment of hot sauce styles and flavors. It’s a bit hotter than Louisiana hot sauce. If you are unfamiliar with using Tabasco sauce, taste a ‘small’ amount ‘Before’ dousing your Buffalo wings with this hot sauce.

Do It Your Self Hot Pepper sauce for the Mans – Man!

*Makes about 1 1/2 cups of hot sauce.

1 teaspoon salt
4-6 cloves garlic
1/4 – 1/2 medium size onion
20 habanero or scotch bonnet peppers (use any hot pepper you like and can tolerate)
3/4 cup vinegar
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
4 mild peppers (Banana, Cubanelle, Hungarian Yellow, Biscayne Sweet etc.)
(* Do Not Use Green or Red Bell Pepper in this recipe.)

homemade pepper sauce

DIY Hot Pepper Sauce

Wash and remove the stems from the peppers and chop roughly (wearing gloves is recommended).
Then do the same with the garlic, onion and cilantro so it’s easy to work with in the food processor.
Add everything to a blender or food processor and process for a couple minutes. Try to get a smooth consistency but try not to overwork it, you don’t want to add too much air and risk it getting foamy.

*Using caution, taste for salt (if you’re getting a sort of raw taste with no flavour except the heat of the pepper, add a little more salt)
*Fresh squeezed lime or lemons also add another level of flavor to this sauce. Best served fresh homemade, but you can place it in a jar, refrigerate and use as needed.

Easy to make side dishes. Carrot and celery sticks. Sliced and de-seeded roasted and raw jalapeño or chili pepper strips
Battered and deep fried cheese stuffed peppers (mild and hot types)
Sour cream with chopped green onion dip (top with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper powder) for more kick.
Ranch style dip and chips (Garnish with cayenne pepper power) for more kick. It’s your choice.

Guacamole and Asparagus Dip
2 or 3 avocados peeled, deseeded, course chopped
2 cups asparagus, chopped and lightly steamed (optional, canned or frozen asparagus)
2 1/4 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons fine chopped onion
1 large tomato, course chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/4 cup light sour cream
You may also substitute canned asparagus.
*If you’re using frozen or canned asparagus spears, it is not necessary to steam them (just thaw them to room temperature).

**For a more traditional Guacamole, omit Asparagus and sour cream, adding 1 more avocado and 1 table spoon very finely chopped celery.

Preparation In a blender or food processor, combine avocados, asparagus, lemon juice, onion, salt, cumin, pepper, garlic and sour cream; blend until smooth. Transfer the guacamole to a bowl and stir in course chopped tomato’s. Cover tightly and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving for flavors to blend.

Keep lots of paper towels handy for quick easy clean up!

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Sugar Plumbs – Fairies & Spring Gardens

fairy A UK gardener said “I grow a medium size garden every summer and make a second planting in late July or August to provide me with fresh food 8 to 9 months a year. I catch run off water from my gutters to water a few chickens, rabbits and my garden, this provides me all the eggs and most of my yearly meat supply needs. Ducks and geese are easy to raise and require little supplemental feeding.

A Australian gardener said “I have found that it does not require as much water for my garden as I was using when watering from my tap. Now I only water when plants ‘really’ need watering. It seems that waiting it out for normal rain fall is almost always best for me and my garden. I only water now to prevent plants from dieing in the hottest driest parts of summer. Pot and raised bed gardening works well for many but they also require much more daily attention and supplemental watering than simple in ground gardening.

I said “When planting I wide space rows at least 42 or more inches between rows. This allows me easy access to plants when harvesting. It seems to me that plants not being crowed in narrow rows produce more and larger vegetable crops as well. Spreading a thick layer of grass clippings, old soiled hay and chicken litter mulch between rows help keep mud off my shoes, very helpful in weed control and is a real effective soil builder when tilled into the soil at the end of my growing season.

Hint For using a small space to grow big tomato’s. Fertilize ‘them’!
Fertilizers in a bag or box, is the most expensive and least effective way to to add nutrients to your garden. Once started it is difficult to return to less expensive more effective compost, labor intensive manure fertilization regimens.
Fertilizers in a bag or box gives a quick shot to your garden but is quickly used up or lost through water run off and leaching into the ground well below root zones of most plants. Compost and manure is as they say the first slow release fertilizer.

My mail box is being over run with seed and plant catalogs. That’s a good thing. It keeps my mind off of the cold winds and my barren garden plot.

Happy Holidays

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