No one prepared me for the coop phenomenon that is, “Soft eggs.” Basically, the egg was laid before the shell hardened. The first time I found one, I was extremely grossed out. The second time, I found one, I was extremely grossed out. Actually, each time I found one, I was extremely grossed out.

Let me explain. It is like a little breast implant.

Let me explain that too. It is like a little breast implant, if I were to imagine what a breast implant would feel like. Kind of squishy but with a soft casing…Ok, you know what? Let’s stop there. Anyway, where were we before going to Dirty Town? Oh right. Soft eggs and grossed out.

Apparently, this phenomena can occur when the chicken is ill, doesn’t get enough calcium, or if you scare it.

Yes, you read that right. If you scare the shit out of the chicken, you might just scare the egg out of the chicken. That happened to me twice. I would open the nesting box after coming home later than expected and the chickens have gone to roost. I would see a movement. That would be the egg dropping from the roosted hen onto the coop floor. I put enough shavings down that both times, it has landed without breaking. Both times, in the light of the flashlight, I didn’t realize what happened. I just would see an egg and grab it to bring inside. And both times I was extremely grossed out. The first time, I put my fingers right through the shell. Cuz it is soft. Like a b…Nevermind. Anyway, ewww. The second time I picked it up intact and then had to make a decision about what to do with it.

I had done some research when I found the first one. Apparently, you can still eat it. So, I stood there, outside the coop holding the second munchkin implant, and had a small debate with myself.

Me: “Would I really eat this?”
Me: “It’s pretty skeevy.”
Me: “But it’s just an egg.”
Me: “I know, but, how? How would I eat it?”
Me: “I don’t know, I guess scramble it or something.”
Me: “Ok. Give it a try.”

I threw it as far in the woods as I could, gathered the rest of the eggs and went inside. (Yes. I called my own bluff.)

Side note:

We have been baking the scrap egg shells that are left over after cooking and grinding them into tiny bits with a mortar and pestle and putting them in a dish outside for the chickens. The calcium is supposed to help the chickens create stronger shells. They devour it ( which I think is totally weird) and we haven’t seen a soft egg recently, which is good, however, I do find myself pointing out women to Keith on a more frequent basis and asking, “Think those are real?”


We lost our little DaisyMae last month. It took me this long to get thru photos.

 

 

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Hanging in the sun

Hanging in the sun

2010-11-08 07.50.162010-11-12 07.11.152010-11-22 15.36.112010-11-24 17.56.322010-11-28 10.29.062010-11-28 10.30.18 HDR2010-12-15 20.07.512011-01-01 08.50.402011-01-18 08.47.432011-01-23 09.13.082011-02-02 10.35.042011-02-23 17.58.082011-02-28 13.55.522011-03-02 06.39.542011-03-15 07.30.192011-04-09 19.15.542011-04-22 22.41.072011-04-23 16.34.312011-05-16 15.05.452011-05-24 16.24.472011-06-24 16.18.49

 

 


We love that show-as much as you can love a reality show about murders. We just get hooked every time we see that it’s on.

So, if you are a fan of the show, here is The First 48-DaisyPatch version.

North Hampton, NH

For homestead detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called. Their chance of solving the crime is cut in half if they don’t get a lead within the first 48 hours. It is North Hampton, NH. The owner of DaisyPatch farm returns home late at night and is shocked to discover one chicken hasn’t returned home. He had heard a noise earlier, but couldn’t figure out the sound. The chicken is presumed dead.

Time remaining: 48:00

The owner calls the chicken. There is no reply. He calls again, but still there is no reply.

Time remaining: 46:28

He goes into the house and texts his wife to break the news. She is out of town.

He calls the chicken again. Still, there is no reply. The other chickens in the gang are called in for questioning. He has no suspects.

Time remaining: 46:27

The rest of the chicken gang refuse to to answer any questions. The leads have all run dry. The owner will have to wait until morning to see if there are any clues.

Time remaining: 36:44

It’s the next morning. The chicken gang leave the coop and roam the neighborhood. The owner follows at a safe distance, hoping for clues. He isn’t able to find anything. Investigating the location he thought was the source of the noise, he does not uncover any leads.

Time remaining: 36:21

His wife just received the message and texts him back to see if there is any news. She wants to know which chicken has died. He texts her back that he doesn’t know. She will have to come home to identify the missing chicken.

Time remaining: 00:32

The owner’s wife has come home and has identified which chicken is missing. It was a no-name chicken with distinguishing white marks. They are most likely gang symbols.

Time remaining: 00:04

The clock winds down on the first 48. The chicken still has not returned. With no body or leads, he may never know what happened. The chicken gang now has 8 members. None of them will talk.

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a coop of law.


I have discovered the best way to get rid of weeds is to weed. Ageless words of wisdom right there.


shallots

These are the shallots

That almost got washed.

They were in my pocket.

I’m surprised they weren’t squashed.

Picking them was easy

When out tending the yard

Apparently remembering them later

Was the part that was hard.

They made it inside

and into the laundry pile

They made it downstairs

I think they were there for a while.

Gratefully, Keith

Doing laundry so well

Saved our clothes

From a horrific smell.

He fished them out

And brought them to safety

Into the kitchen

Where they try to look tasty.

You see they didn’t want

To be laundered or cleaned

They wanted to chopped

And sauteed or steamed.

Stirred into risotto

Or softened in butter

Anything, anything at all

Related to supper.

So heed the lesson

From this forgetful wench

Remember your shallots

And avoid the stench.


Our garden sucks this year. The squash has been eaten, so I planted some more. That was eaten. The tomatoes are still only 6 inches high – they just aren’t growing. Lettuce was a short season – it went from cold to HOT! and it bolted very quickly. The strawberries were flavorless and the peas were non-existant. Beans are coming up, thankfully. Basil is weak. Garlic is getting harvested tomorrow. Keith’s hot peppers are just as big as when I moved them outside over a month ago. Potatoes are going to be our biggest crop. I did a new style of planting area and I think it will really work for them. Pictures coming soon, fingers crossed.

 

Needless to say, we’re a bit bummed out. It was a gray spring and has been a wet summer and not much really took off. Waah, enough of that. I might go to the garden center and *shudder* buy a big tomato plant. I started San Marzano and Black Plum and was hoping to see the fruits of those labors.

 

On another note, Pinchy, the limpy chicken is out and about. Her limp is slight, but still there. She is getting picked on, but not as badly as I had feared. Stay tuned!


Many people have asked us if our chickens are for eggs or meat or both. Ah, the dilemma that has plagued us is not easy to put into a simple, “Yes or No.” You see, we have an injured Doodle. 3 weeks ago, during my morning trip to the coop, I opened the nesting box and found one hunkered inside. No you don’t. No getting broody here. I picked her up and placed her forward, inside the coop. She limped, staggered and sat down. Uh oh. I went around to the side door and gently picked her up and brought her outside, placing her on the ground as carefully as I could. She wouldn’t walk on her right leg. Shit.

I tucked her under my arm and with that, it was fully obvious something was wrong as NONE of our chickens let me pick them up let alone carry them around. I brought her inside and Keith and I proceeded to feel her leg, thigh, foot, etc., as if we knew what we were doing, but we couldn’t feel that anything was wrong with it. Keith helped me find the big storage bin he had outfitted for the chickens when they were still in the house under heat lamps as chicks. With her tucked under my arm the entire time and talking to her like she completely understood me, I filled it with wood shavings, got the little waterer and food dish from her chickhood (like, baby’s first silver spoon and cup, yet, not) and set her up in her recovery unit. He and I both hit the internet on our respective computers and came up with very different diagnoses. Keith discovered she probably had a sprained leg and would recover in a few weeks of R&R. My research yielded that she had either parasites that were affecting her nerves and would kill her OR a chicken disease that was affecting her brain and was soon going to kill her and my entire flock within a few days. The chicken equivalent of the black plague. I insisted we go to Agway right away and purchase every medicine and vitamin listed on the internet. Despite Keith’s protests that she just sprained her leg and the reassurance from the Agway clerk that, she probably just sprained her leg, I purchased $45 worth of deworming meds. (They didn’t have a smaller package! This was basically enough to take care of the entire Purdue flock of chickens…we only have 9.)

By then I had imagined all the doomsday scenes involving either hoards of worms oozing from every chicken orifice in the entire flock, or all the Doodles getting paralyzed, then being unable to walk and we would have to kill them all and bury them in a shallow grave. I would put a sign up for future generations to visit the site of the black chicken plague of 2013. Keith was still adamant she just sprained her leg.

When I was a kid, I had this little toy plastic picnic basket that came with plastic forks, knives, spoons and plates. It was red and yellow. I would break a low-hanging branch off a tree in our yard, one that had a “nest” of tent caterpillars. I thought they were cute and fuzzy. So, I would take the branch, use sticks and break open the “tent,” and leave it and a bunch of leaves in my picnic basket, intent on keeping my new, fuzzy pets in their makeshift home. Then, I would get called in for lunch, forget about them and read a book or play with my doll house. The next day, I would go back outside and, seeing my picnic basket, remember my “pets.” Does anyone want to guess what I found? Just a guess? You’re right, they were all dead. I had pretty much baked them in the little picnic box oven in the New Jersey Summer sun. So, I would go do it again, dumping out the picnic basket of dead, dried caterpillars and heading to the trees to rip off another branch. This time, I’d give them water too. Yeah, that’ll keep them alive. Rinse and repeat.

Don’t think this childhood memory didn’t come ROARING back, the irony NOT lost on me as I set up my Doodle in her plastic bin with a dish of water and a tray of food complete with some spinach leaves and raisins for snacking. Well, let me fast forward 3 weeks. Good news! I didn’t kill her. She is still in the box upstairs in the sunshine. The whole box, Doodle intact, gets put outside on nice days, carefully put in a shady area so that we don’t accidentally cook the little thing in my Chicken Buddy Burner (5 points if you were a Girl Scout and had to make your own Buddy Burner.). More good news! The whole flock didn’t die of a neurological brain disease or worm infestation! It is pretty obvious that she had broken or sprained her leg.

I have been keeping her bin clean, her water fresh. She gets treats, and lots of them – grapes, blueberries, raisins, cheese, some beef. We both talk to her when we walk past her bin. She hears us coming and just says, “Br Br Br” and so we talk back. I pick her up and she sits in my lap while Keith makes dinner. She seems to like getting her feathers stroked. I’m starting to like having her inside. Her dish will be within reach, but she seems to prefer to eat out of my hand. Not good. She is now my pet.

2 days ago, I brought her outside to walk in the grass. You know, a little chicken P.T.? I wanted to see how she did with more room to walk. The other chickens immediately tried to attack her. What!?! Keith saw the whole thing. I pushed them away and they kept coming after her. She couldn’t run to get away. My little Doodle! Keith went inside and I scooped her up and brought her back in. He got in the house before me and so when I walked in, he was waiting, holding a very big cleaver. I know he was joking, we both laughed, but…part of us knew he had a point.

It has been 3 weeks with really not much sign of improvement. She is obviously in pain when she tries to walk and can’t fare for herself. She certainly couldn’t run from a predator. So we are faced with a choice. Do we keep trying to rehabilitate her or do we stop prolonging what feels to be inevitable? The longer we wait to kill her, the more attached I will be. I named her Pinchy, after Homer Simpson’s pet lobster he accidentally boiled when he went to give Pinchy a hot bath. In between cries of anguish for poor Pinchy, Homer was cracking Pinchy’s claws and dipping them in butter, going ‘Mmmmm” “Waaah, Pinchy. Mmmmm.” We think we’ll have the same outcome.

We always did talk about these birds eventually becoming meat birds, but I knew I would name them and be unable to do it (not to mention the fact that I can’t even squish a bug with my shoe, I don’t want to feel or hear the crunch so I have to take a big rock or log to do it). I can’t imagine me being involved in killing and then de-feathering. I supposed I would do it if I had to. Gosh, I hope I don’t have to. She is so pretty and sweet. I think I’ll keep trying to heal her up in the house. Fingers crossed!

 

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doodke