Monday, December 31, 2012

Dreaming Big in 2013

So, 2012 started out good and when I started this blog it was a top priority ... then Life happened :)  I am hoping to get back on track as 2013 starts and we hope to have exciting "farm" news as we head into spring.  Our incubator is on its way and we are ready to make some changes, hatch some babies, and maybe add a new friend to the "farm" ... we also hope to have a greenhouse and garden up and going this spring ... ooohhh the hope of progress ... I can't wait until some of our major projects around here are complete and we more in a maintenance state than a growing state!  I hope everyone has a great 2013 and that our little acre keeps growing :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The rain is here!

I will start this blog post with a warning ... by the end of this winter I will be telling you how much I HATE the rain and how I really wish the sun was here.  With that being said I am thankful that it is raining today (and started yesterday) ... it was needed.  With the rain the fire danger has finally dropped, the dust is getting knocked down, and the plants are loving it.  On the other hand I'm not sure that our chickens are thinking its great ... for our first year chicks this has really been the first rain in months and it seems that it definitely affected their laying yesterday (we only got 2 eggs from the 12 new ladies) ... hopefully they will get used to this and start producing again.

We don't seem to have many outside project going around the "farm" right now ... the hubby has been to busy working and now hunting.  I do want to get garlic planted in the next few weeks (we will see if it actually happens) so that it will be ready next summer.  Other than that we need to do a fall cleanup outside: take down all the hanging baskets that have died, clear off the porches, get fall decorations up (we made it to the pumpkin patch yesterday), and get ready for winter to be here.

Inside projects have been setting up the bunk bed in Easton's room ...which he loves and canning some lemonade concentrate.  This weekend I will be doing some baking, we will be having homemade soup for dinner, and we are also canning the tuna that got put in the freezer a couple months ago.  I hope everyone is enjoying this rainy weather and hopefully I will have photos of something for my next post.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Its been a month ... OOOPPS!

So, this last month has been really busy ... not a lot of things getting done on our little "farm", however we are starting to get ready for winter.  Fall is definitely amongst us ... even though there is NO rain in sight the cool mornings are a sure sign.  I met my mom last weekend and we made our first trip out to the pumpkin batch of the year to pick up mini hay bales for decorating our porches.  I also managed to get a cute carved/wooden pumpkin.  By the end of this coming weekend I hope to have my house decorated for Fall and Halloween ... we started last weekend, but  didn't get it finished.

 
I couldn't do a blog post without a few of our most recent photos.  Here is some of our flock out in the run ... with our remaining two roosters (we ended up getting rid of Copper and Echo - they were really loud and I'm not sure the neighbors appreciated it ... and truthfully some days either did I).  Charlie is the rooster in the back and Zeek is the one up front.
 
 
Oh, and my hubby was testing out his new camera and got a shot of Kia (our Lab) in her kennel ... she is definitely begging him to let her out.

SO, pretty much that is our update from here ... hopefully I will be going back to weekly posts as Fall continues and we end up staying home more.  Plus hopefully I will have some more fun things that we are doing up here ... I know I need to start looking into incubators and hatching if that is where we are headed this spring.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Busy Kitchen

So this past week was extremely busy. We started last Sunday by driving to the middle of no-where (my husband's co-worker lives there) and picking apples ... who would have known it was a day trip that ended up with lunch out since we were starving. Once we arrived at the co-workers house I was amazed with the amount of fruit trees they had (I honestly wished they lived closers so we could visit more often) ... they had plum trees, lots of different types of apple trees, and some peach trees (unfortuanetly they didn't do good this year). We ended up bartering 3 dozen eggs (its only the 2 of them) for as many apples as we wanted. I think we scored on this one!!! We ended up picking about a 100 apples ... they were small compared to your store bought, but for the price and knowing they were semi-local (remember day trip!!!) it made it completely worth the work.

After our great apple adventure on Sunday, my husband and son were in the mood to continue picking. Monday morning they ventured to Jossy Farms and picked 53 lbs of Veteran peaches. They also met up with Jen from http://www.mommysmagicalmountain.com/ and dropped off Mo Didly. Jen was not only nice enough to take Mo she also sent home Zucchinis and Squash from her garden, and brought the 2 roosters back processed (the ones we sent to them about a month ago ... Meanie and his brother!) ... and for those of you that are worried that is not the fate of Mo (Jen wants him to possibly put in with her Easter Egger hens for possible chicks).

Now what was I to do with all this fruit. We ended up canning 31 quarts of peaches this week (that was an experience since it was my first time canning peaches) and 7 quarts and 7 pints of Apple Pie Filling. I still had enough to make an Apple Crisp for cabining over the long weekend. I also made 2 loaves of Zucchinni Bread for camping (and I still have 4 or 5 more to deal with).

As for our ladies ... they are doing great ... I think we now have everyone laying. We did have a surprise when I finally figured out this week that our white egg is not coming from our Easter Eggers ... it is actually coming from a hen that was suppose to be a Cuckoo Marans ... hmmm what another disappointment from the hatchery that we bought them from. So, I now need to do some reseach and find out what type of bird she really is.

Egg Count:

Week of August 12 - August 18: 90 eggs (47 RIRs, 21 BCMs, 11 Cuckoos, and 11 EE)
Week of August 19 - August 25: 103 eggs (42 RIRs, 22 BCMs, 10 Cuckoos, and 29 EE)






Friday, August 17, 2012

What a White Egg?

So, last weekend we went away to Tillamook for County Fair weekend ... and we had a blast!!! It was nice to get away for a couple days and spend time with my family! Hubby watched the "farm" on Friday while we were away and then joined us Saturday morning after his morning chores. Our wonderful neighbors kept an eye out for our ladies for us on Saturday, collected the eggs, locked everyone in their coops at night, and let everyone out Sunday morning since we wouldn't be home until later in the day.

I went down Monday to talk with our neighbors to see how everything went while we were gone and she stated that they ended up with 9 eggs (several brown, a green, and a couple white). When she said white, I thought she was just talking about really light blue/green eggs ... until yesterday when I went out to the coop and low and behold a white egg. I'm thinking that our Easter Eggers (the three blondies) are throwing white eggs. I was a little disappointed since we got the Easter Eggers for their colored eggs, but after having a day to think about it I guess it really doesn't matter ... it just adds another color to our egg basket.

We are now up to brown eggs, chocolate colored eggs, blue (robin egg colored) eggs, a green tinted egg, and now our white eggs. Hopefully this coming week I will remember to take a picture of our full egg basket with the assortment.

Week of August 5 - August 11: 71 eggs (35 RIRs, 17 BCMs, 9 Cuckoos, and 10 EE) *plus eggs the neighbors collected which I didn't count in our count.

Mo Didly Update: We have found a home for Mr. Mo Didly. He will be going to live with Farmer John and family starting on Monday!!! He really is a pretty bird ... we just have too many roosters to keep him!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let Me Introduce you to Mo Didly

So, here's his story. Mo Didly is an Easter Egger from our 2012 batch, whos sex has been questionable for awhile now. I would say his story started out back in the middle of June when my other roosters attached him. Feeling sorry for the poor chicken (and not knowing for sure its sex at that time) we seperated him from the rest of the 2012 chickens. We let him free range during the day and then we keep him locked up in a dog crate at night (to keep him safe from prediators). This has happened everyday since (other than the 2 days that we tried to introduce him back into the flock (once in with his same age chicken and the other in with the older hens - both were epic fails and Mo got his butt kicked).




Well, long story short ... all of our roosters up here (the same age as Mo) have been crowing for at least a month so Todd and I thought that maybe he was a hen (maybe it was just wishful thinking ... look at those tail feathers, sure tell sign of a rooster!). So when we were getting rid of the roosters we didn't want we kept Mo. He has continued his free range days and dog crate nights ... until today.



This morning I went out to the let chickens out of the houses, as normal in the morning. First I let out Mo Didly, then I moved on to the Rhode Island Reds, and then lastly to the new coop (the Black Copper Marans, Cuckoo Marans, and Easter Eggers). After opening everything up and checking food I went back to check the coops for eggs ... on my way to the RIR coop Mo grabbed ahold of my pajama pants and wouldn't let go (ok - I wasn't dressed yet, my neighbors were at work and the hubby was gone and Easton and I were having a lazy morning). After shaking him off, then he came back and pecked at the top of my shoe, I looked down and scolded it (probably a few cuss words) ... usually he is very friendly so I was a little taken back by this mornings activities ... then he cock-a-doodle-do'd at me.



With all that being said ... I think it is time for Mo to find a new home ... so if anyone wants him, please let me know.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Boots, New Eggs, and Heat

So what have we been up to lately on our little “farm” … It seems like we have been extremely busy but I don’t really have much news to report. I hit a great sale at Coastal the other weekend … and found a bargain on boots for my little man … we got $40 camo boots on sale for $22 (and in case anyone was wondering I would have NEVER spent $40 on a pair of boots). Little man was really excited with them, so when we came home he put them on and has wanted to wear them everywhere since (at least it made it easy to get rid of this holey fireman boots).

These are the green eggs from our Easter Eggers.

On to actual “farm” news … we switched the ladies food to 100% USDA certified organic a few weeks ago. I consider that a MAJOR accomplishment for me … hubby has been fighting me on it since we got the ladies last year, but I finally convinced him that the cost of organic feed was well worth it (even if he couldn’t see the monetary value the health value is tremendous!) The week also marks the start of our Easter Eggers beginning to lay … we received our first mint colored egg on Friday, a more olive colored egg yesterday, and another mint colored egg today. I can’t wait until all of them are laying (I believe we have 7) so we can see the variety of eggs. Also, since my last post I started keeping a spread sheet as to how many eggs we receive each day, subtotaled each week, and again added monthly (I also broke it down to which breed of hens accounted for the daily eggs). For example (so far today) we have received 10 eggs (4 RIRs, 2 BCM, 3 Cuckoos, and 1 EE). This number does not take into account any broken or unusable eggs. I think that I will try to post the total weekly egg count if possible so you can see where we are at also.


Our Sunday collection of eggs.

Week of July 22 – 28: 57 eggs (42 RIRs, 9 BCMs, 6 Cuckoos, and 0 EE)
Week of July 29 – August 4: 71 eggs (43 RIRs, 17 BCMs, 9 Cuckoos, and 2 EE)

The only other thing that I can report from our little “farm” this week is our spike in temperatures. Yesterday it was about 100 degrees here … way too hot for me and way too hot for the ladies. We made sure to keep their water cool and we brought them home a wonderful treat of watermelon. They absolutely love watermelon (I wish I would have taken photos to share with you – hopefully I will remember next time). Today is not quite as bad it was in the low 90s last time I checked and the ladies seem to be coping with it a little better. I hope everyone had a good weekend and has a productive week next week.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Where our Birds are From

I thought I would share with you were our ladies (and roosters) have all come from.  Here are their stories.

Our 8 lovely Rhode Island Reds all came from Coastal.  They were sold as pullets (even though I thought they were straight run - since I was just starting this).  We ended up with all of our wonderful laying ladies, just as we expected - with NO complaints on egg quality or hen temperament.  My only concern with buying them from a chain store is not knowing where the birds actually come from and what their living conditions are.  Are they shipped in from other states?  Are they picked off conveyor belts?  How are they handled overall?

When we started looking at adding new chickens this year we ended up going with several different options.  I'm going to let you know my pros and cons that I have discovered so far.

INCUBATED EGGS:  9 - Black Copper Marans and 5 - Easter Eggers.  We ended up working with a woman in Tillamook who ordered eggs and had them shipped to her.  She incubated them and sold them to us at a couple days old.  PROS:  chicks were handled with care and the lady seemed to really enjoy hatching them.  They were all out of one incubator and we ended up taking all that hatched.  Also working with someone on a small scale they know whats going on ... she was worried that one of the BCMs was not going to make it and through it in for free - she is doing fine!  CONS:  for the lady incubating them, she had a very low hatch rate (9 out of 24 and 5 out of 12 respectively).  Buying the chickens straight run - we ended up with 5 BCM roosters and 1 (or 2?) Easter Egger Roosters.

STORE BOUGHT:  4 - Easter Egger.  We got our 4 Easter Egger (sold as Aruacanas - however, they are not!) at a little Farm Store.  PROS:  they actually had close to what we were looking for (chain stores were back ordered).  All chickens were sociable and they had lots of variety to choose from.  CONS:  sold as pullets (which are 90% sexed) and we still ended up with a Rooster.  Selling chickens as a certain variety, however, they turned out to be something different.

THE HATCHERY WE RESEARCHED ONLINE:  5 - Cuckoo Marans.  I know this is not normal for all hatcheries.  We did our research and thought we had found a legitimate hatchery.  When we pulled up it was some guys house and they were keeping their chicks in tubs in the garage.  GRRR.  I stayed in the truck as the husband ventured past the broke down cars to buy our chicks (he really wanted Cuckoo, and we had drove 1 1/2 hours to get them - or I would have just drove away)  PRO:  you can't get Cuckoo Marans at a Farm Store or Chain Store (its not a variety they carry).  CONS:  sold as sexed pullets, however we still ended up with 2 Roosters.  Chickens were being mass hatched and kept in tubs with not much room.  Paid in cash and seller had no change on site.  These chickens seem to have more health issues than the rest of our ladies (broken toe, blocked vents that we need to continually watch, etc).

So, my conclusion is that if you want a rare variety of chicken then I would find someone that will incubate eggs for you (even though you have to possibly deal with roosters ... but we traded a lot of ours!)  If you want a standard breed I think that your local chain or farm store an fine options.  I would stay away from HATCHERIES (or do way more research than we did).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Goodbye to the Cuckoo Marans Cockerels and Hello to our first Marans Egg!!!

I usually don't really like Mondays ... back to work and the real world after a weekend off.  However, this Monday did bring a positive in our lives ... we managed to get rid of the two (MEAN) Cuckoo Marans Cockerels.  A big THANK YOU to Farmer John for taking them off our hands!

As the week progressed nothing was really happening at the "farm" until I came home from work today (Thursday) and saw what my husband had found in the coop.  I was extremely jealous ... I have been checking multiple times a day for about a week now ... hoping and wishing that our new ladies would start laying earlier than I had expected.  Then today at 18 1/2 weeks old one of the Marans laid their first egg!  I'm not sure if it was a Cuckoo Marans or a French Black Copper Marans, however, I am leaning towards the FBCM do to having a friend who bought hers the same week that we got our and hers laid its first egg today!!!

Our first Marans egg ... in with our Rhode Island Eggs collected today!

Look at how small the first egg is out of a chicken ... I can't believe that it is just short of a year ago we got our very first egg ever from the Rhode Island Reds.  Now look at the comparison between the two ... the new, tiny extremely dark speckled egg belongs to the Marans ... the other are the Rhode Island Reds after laying about a year. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful day and week, we are anxiously awaiting for more eggs from our ladies.  We will keep you posted!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I thought is was suppose to be MEAN girls ... not around here.

I'm going to start this week off by saying that I dislike our Cuckoo Marans Roosters.  Of the roosters we currently have they are the meanest.  They are mean to not only the other roosters but they are also extremely rough on our young hens.  With that being said I really need to find them a home with no other roosters and probably older hens that will put them in their places.  If they don't go live somewhere soon I am actually getting to the point where I am ok with them becoming dinner (I never thought that I would be ok with it ... however, the way they have been acting this week they need to go - one way or the other!). 

Meanie - aka soon to be "dinner"


The other Cuckoo Rooster

As for other happenings around the "farm" three more of our questionables actually started to crow (the second Cuckoo Marans and two Easter Eggers - which I had suspected where all boys so not a huge surprise).  I am pretty sure that we are down to one questionable chicken (Todd thinks its a rooster but I am not convinced - its the Easter Egger that we have sleeping in the dog crate since it can't get along with either of my flocks).

So, at this time we have decided to keep the 2 French Black Copper Marans Roosters (Echo and Zeek photographed in a previous post) and we are going to hold on to 2 of the Easter Egger Roosters at this time.  Let me introduce you to Charlie and Copper:

This is Charlie.

Charlie stared crowing this week.

This is Copper.

Copper started crowing this week also.


I also managed to do some bartering this week ... hazelnuts for eggs!!!  I plan on using the hazelnut to make Hazelnut Extract (which I have going), trying to make homemade Nutella, and will have to have Hazelnut Chicken at least a few times!!!  I managed also to use eggs as a tip for our hairdresser for my sons haircut (she was thrilled and I had extras).

Some of the hazelnuts that we traded for and that are in the extract.
My kitchen has been extremely busy (even with the warm weather) ... this week I made 2 loaves of White Bread (Todd and Easton's favorite), 4 1/2 dozen Triple Chip Cookies, and a Triple Berry Cornmeal Cake (the recipe was from over at www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com).  I also bottled the lemon and cinnamon extracts and started new batches of Vanilla, Orange, and Cinnamon Extracts (along with the Hazelnut).

Friday, July 6, 2012

We have MORE boys!

The Rooster that needs a new home.
So ... we found out this week that 2 of our Cuckoo Marans are boys and not girls.  I have thought this for a little over a month now ... however, my husband was in deep denial (I don't know how many times he told me this last month ... "but we bought them sexed" and "how can 2 out of 5 be boys")!  Well, its hard to deny once you hear one crow.  Now I need to find a new home for at least one of them.  This is the one that we put on craigslist ... so hopefully we will have a taker soon!  We haven't decided what we are going to do with the second one ... at this point though we have already decided to keep the 2 French Black Copper Marans Roosters (Echo and Zeek) so I'm not sure there is really room for another rooster (and I still have that Easter Egger that I am suspicious about).  What really surprises me is the Cuckoo Marans size.  He is a lot bigger than the BCM Roosters and they are the same age.

So our overall confirmed count from our 23 babies this year is 7 Roosters (5 BCMs and 2 Cuckoo Marans), 7 Hens (4 BCMs and 3 Cuckoo Marans), and the 9 Easter Eggers (which I think at least one is a little boy).

Another view of him.

He's a big boy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guess Whats FINALLY Done!!!

 I know with a title like that the people who know me are expecting it to be my 1967 bathroom remodel ... and at that I laugh histarically!!!  So, no not my bathroom ... but my vanilla extract has been waiting for 6 weeks.  This week is the week I finally got to try it, bottle it, and but labels on it.  I also bottled my mint extract (it had been around for about 4 weeks and the other blogs I have read said that when the mint starts to turn brown you should pull it).  I decided to bottle in both 2 oz and 4 oz sizes.  Here are some photos of what it turned up looking like:

Vanilla Extract

Mint Extract
We have managed to sell 2 of our bottles of Vanilla Extract (priced at 2 oz for $5, and 4 oz for $8) over the weekend which makes me want to try other flavors if there is a demand.  We also managed to trade a 4 oz bottle of each Vanilla and Mint to our friends for Tomato Plants (since we didn't do a garden this year my husband was excited to have a few plants) and a Tomatillo Plant (which I have never used ... but our friends said I could make a green salsa out of it - will need to do some recipe search when we get some!)  I also managed to picked up the dried oregano that I had bartered eggs for last month!

On to the chickens ... not much has changed in our chicken world this week.  Our year old Rhode Island Reds are giving us 5 - 7 eggs a day on average so we have plenty to eat and bake with.  As for our new ladies we are just waiting till August for eggs from them.  The two French Black Copper Marans Roosters did get names this week.  The more dominate one my husband named "Echo" and the other is going to be called "Zeek".  Its nice to go out there and have names to call them ... the rest of the flock might end up getting named after all :)

This is Echo.

The back side of Echo

An Easter Egger


Another Easter Egger (who I wonder if it is actually a boy?)

This is Zeek

Another one of Zeek
Well, thats this weeks update from our little "farm" ... I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful 4th of July (not sure what we are doing yet ... but I might post about it next week!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Homemade

The hanging basket our wonderful neighbors brought over for my birthday.
Where to begin ... well it was a busy week ... I actually had to go into the office for two days and work this week (thank goodness my mom was on vacation this week to watch the little man). We also made the decision that I am going to work 2 days a week from now on in the office until we get someone trained to handle the front desk. Little man will be starting daycare (preschool) next week on those two days each week, which he will enjoy ... its just a lot of driving for us!

The items needed for homemade laundry soap.
Even being busy at work,  I was busy again in the kitchen.  I made four loaves of homemade white bread (2 on Tuesday and 2 on Saturday - we were out!), brownies, and homemade laundry soap (for the first time).  I choose to make a powdered laundry soap after reading a lot of pros and cons online about both.  My thought process was that it didn't take very long to make the powdered kind so that if I wasn't happy with the results at least I wasn't out a lot of my time.  We have done about a half dozen loads of laundry with it and it seems to be working pretty well.  I will try to keep you all posted on my thoughts about our laundry soap!


The rooster heading to a new home
We managed to get rid of our extra rooster this week also.  He will be going to a home (here in Gaston) where he will get to be over a flock of 10 to 12 ladies and have 4 acres to free-range on (sounds like a good life to me!)  As far as the rest of our flock goes ... not much else has changed, but I'm going to add some pictures that I've taken this week.  We are anxiously awaiting for August to arrive so that we start getting eggs from our little ladies.




A Cuckoo Marans hen
One of the Black Copper Marans Roosters that we are keeping ... now he needs a name.

Outside their coop ... using the day use only area.

This one is becoming one of my favorites
The "Easter Eggers" seem to like having their pictures taken more than the other birds ... or they are my favorite and that's why we end up with more pictures of them!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bartering and Canning


One of the Easter Eggers enjoying the fresh grass.
So this week I managed to barter some more mint (however, we are not sure if its peppermint or spearmint - so a little research is needed) and the only thing it cost me was to let our friend, Jen, take pictures of our chickens (I think I got the better end of that deal!)  You should check out Jen's blog over at www.mommysmagicalmountain.blogspot.com.  We also managed to trade one of our roosters for a flat of strawberries!  Can't beat that ... our neighbor (down the road) had extra strawberries and we definitely had an extra rooster.  A flat of strawberries is a lot when you already have jam and jelly canned ... but we managed to give 2 pints to the neighbors, used 5 pints to make strawberry lemonade concentrate, my hubby probably ate a pint or two, and I am freezing the rest to use later this month (I wasn't really ready for strawberries this week).  I know that we will have to make a shortcake (maybe next week) but with the warm weather this weekend I decided just to get the berries froze so they wouldn't go to waste.

It was a busy week in the kitchen. As far as baking went I made 2 loaves of Honey Oatmeal Bread (from scratch not with a bread machine) and Cupcakes. I also put Jen's mint down to make an extract and also started a cinnamon extract. Canning was also a project for the week, I put up apple-mint jelly (I'm pretty sure this was an epic fail ... Todd yelled at me to come help him catch the dog before she ate the chicken that was loose while I was in the process of boiling it.) and strawberry lemonade concentrate (was suppose to be just lemonade concentrate but with our flat of strawberries it changed).

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate Canned
Cooking the Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate


My husband and I also watched the documentary "FRESH" ... it was an eye opening experience.  I am not naive, and I knew that production animals (cows, hogs, chickens) were not kept in very good conditions while they were being raised and were being fed horrible food ... however, after watching this I got a view on just how bad it is!  I don't want to give anyone reading this the wrong impression ... we are not "environmentalist", however, as a parent I think its important that I make good choices on what my child is consuming.  After watching this I feel that my husband is also more on board with buying local and knowing where (and what conditions) the food we are consuming is coming from.  I feel with my husband more on board it is going to also be easier to cut out (gradually) the processed foods that we are consuming.

"Day-Use Only" Area that we set up this week.
We also did some changes and added a "day-use only" area to our chicken coop ... it basically is a 3 foot fence that is movable so they get the free-range value, however, they won't be in my flowers or end up at our neighbors (they are pretty close even though we are in the country!).  They are pretty close to the house so hopefully any daytime predators will stay away ... once again country living.

The chickens getting to use their new area.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Whats Your Favorite Flavor?



This week has been full of experimentation, and I think it was positive!  I have decided to make my own homemade extracts.  I currently have vanilla, lemon, and mint extract in the aging process.  After doing some additional research I am excited to get some additional flavors going.  I am looking at trying to make the following extracts:  chocolate, coconut, orange, coffee, hazelnut, and cinnamon.  I also think that I have came up with some simple little labels for my bottles.

Homemade Extracts
Now on to the birds ... here is our latest pictures of our Black Copper Marans. In the first picture you can see the difference between the cockerel (right) and the pullet (left). In the second, one of our ladies taking a break.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fun on the Farm

This week has been a rough one on the "farm".  We were away for the long weekend and came home to one of our cockerels having a major eye problem (yucky!) and very lethargic.  I think our bigger cockerels attacked him while we were gone.  So, after much observing and debating the decision was made to not let him suffer any longer.  So, this marks our first "loss" ... which made for a very sad little boy.

On a happier note, this week also brought a birthday (my son's 4th).  We had a wonderful tractor themed party here on the "farm" Saturday with lots of friends and family.

We also did some trading this week ... I managed to trade eggs for fresh apple-mint (It was great in hot apple cider and I plan on using the rest to make and can apple-mint jelly for use later this summer/fall) and fresh cilantro (we are making Lemon and Cilantro Shrimp for dinner tonight!)

Another change on the farm this week was that we posted two of our cockerels up for sale (I just don't need 4 of them here). Hopefully they will sell fast and we can use the extra money to buy more feed. Hope everyone had a great week ... this is our update from the farm!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Beginnings



This is one of our ladies when I went to check for eggs earlier this spring.

Welcome to our little "farm".  I use the term "farm" rather loosely at this point as we really are just beginning our adventure and hope to grow in the coming years.

Our journey officially started in March of 2011 when we decided we wanted a couple of chickens.  We came home from Coastal with 8 Rhode Island Red pullets (positive that we would be lucky if  4-5 would make it to laying stage - we had heard awful stories about chicks dying in the first few weeks and since this was new to us we were prepared for it).  A year plus later and our 8 ladies are laying a steady 5 to 7 brown eggs a day and we have decided that we need to start selling some eggs (as they are producing more than we can consume in a week - usually around 4 dozen).

In March of this year we also decided to add to our little flock (actually we started a second flock with a larger coop) and raised 23 straight-run day-old chicks.  We have 5 Cuckoo Marans, 9 Auracanas (however, I think they are really more "Easter Eggers" since I don't think they will meet requirements), and 9 French Black Cooper Marans.  We are now waiting to see the sex of the chicks.  We think at this point that we have 5 French Black Cooper Marans Roosters.

One of the French Black Copper Marans at 2 days old.

We chose the Marans because they are known for their "chocolate" brown eggs.  Much darker than your regular brown egg layers.  We are waiting patiently for August to roll around so that we can see just how dark they will be (pictures to follow soon after).  My husbands goal is to eventually (possibly as early as Spring 2013) breed French Black Cooper Marans.


An "Easter Egger" at 2 days old.
Our "Easter Eggers" will also hopefully be laying come mid August and that should be a surprise as to what color of eggs they actually lay.  With ranges from blue to green and sometimes even pink, I am hoping that we end up with some wonderful colors.  We have also read that when these hens are breed to Marans that the pullets born will possibly lay army green or even purple eggs ... I wonder if this is something we will end up trying in the future?

This month has brought more changes here to provide our chickens with an even better experience ... we have installed a new watering system (a 55 gallon water barrel with piped-in water and nipples for cleaner water) and also hanging feeders (to keep it up off the ground and less likely to get debris in it).

So this is our story so far ... hopefully I will be updating it frequently with new pictures of our little flock and additional changes here on our little farm (hopefully a greenhouse and garden soon!!!)  If you are interested in eggs please let us know (we are looking at $3.00 a dozen) or if you have an interest in chicks next spring we will be putting together a list of people interested in French Black Cooper Marans, Cuckoo Marans, Easter Eggers, or French Black Cooper Marans/Easter Egger Crosses.

2012 Chicks

2012 Chicks at about 5 weeks old in their new coop