Dirty Dozen


Sweet sweet baby chicks.  We treated ourselves to three Easter Eggers/Aracaunas/Ameracaunas a few weeks ago.  Why?  As I mentioned, our sweet Lavender passed away unexpectedly.  Then a few weeks ago Fat Rosie started walking funny.  And she wasn’t fighting all of the other ladies for every.single.scrap.of.food. Which was very out of character and somewhat worrisome.  Then one day I saw that she had been in the nesting box for a very long time and that she seemed to be struggling a bit.  I assumed that she was egg bound and decided that once Rob got home, we would take the plunge and help a lady out.

Whoa.  Chicken insides are weird, man.  I gloved up and provided Rosie with some Aquaphor.  To my dismay, there was no egg.  Like, at all.  But there was a whole bunch of jiggly water-balloon happening.  I turned to the ever helpful Backyard Chickens Forum and it would appear that Rosie was suffering from ascites.  Which is no bueno.  I gave it a few days hoping an egg would magically appear, but her belly became more and more swollen and she was forced to sit down every few steps.  After further researching, I was confident that our poor girl was really suffering.  What happened next is Farmer Bob’s story and I do not wish to go into detail.  Let’s just say he’s still a little worse for the wear.  To help ease the trauma, we picked up these three sweet chick-a-dees from a guy in Mount Helix. They are feisty!

The three chicks put us back at our max of 10 birds.  Our full grown egg-laying ladies are Agnes, Prudence, Millicent, Florence, Ginger, Henrietta and Gertrude. The new babies are Olive, Elliemay Elmer, and Beverzulene.

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Elmer is leggy.  And has some big ol’ feet.  After our experience with GoldaLee/King Midas, I’m pretty sure Elmer is a dude.

 

But here’s the kicker.  A friend of Rob’s thought she might need to get rid of her chickens.  Rob offered to adopt them about a week before we bought chicks, but she thought she would keep them. And so we got the chicks.  And then she changed her mind again.  And so we have 12 chickens. Ophelia nee Oreo and Babette nee Butterscotch joined our flock in April.  Within 24 hours Ophelia had literally flown the coop.  A tale which probably deserves its own post. Welcome to the club, ladies.

 

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I think, for now, the flock shall be known as The Dirty Dozen.

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8 Little, 9 Little, 10 Little Chickens

ImageOk, seriously.  We’re done.  For now.  I mean we’re done.  For good.  I think.

Why oh why would City Farmer’s Nursery have had baby dinosaurs chicks luring me in with their fluffiness?  I’m not really sure if it was the deliciousness of our lunch at Nate’s Garden Grill, but somehow I caught Rob in a moment of weakness and we brought home two itty bitty Buff Orpingtons.  It’s been a few weeks now, so they are finally getting their feathers and hanging out with the larger ladies during the day.  By night they sleep in a Rubbermaid bucket with ridiculously awesome upholstery fabric covering the top.  Again, this was an impulse buy so one cannot fault one’s husband for taking said awesomeness and placing it atop the baby-bird makeshift shelter.  Said fabric was on clearance.  It was on clearance.  Deep breath, it was ON CLEARANCE.

We seem to have been able to get the dogs accustomed to these little chicks and it seems like we can almost trust them with the chickens now.  They are generally more interested in the chicken accommodations than the actual birds, so we hope that’s a good sign.  See what I mean?1y2TmdUCG2yMgVr1uK0-AK6YNXv97Pn78ykWuAbT2_8

In fact, Poppy has made herself so comfortable around the chickens that she has become our egg-hunter.  Florence and Lavender went through an Easter Bunny phase and would only lay eggs down the hill, in an undisclosed, undiscoverable, ohmygodaretheyeggboundandgoingtodie location.  This was a bummer because a) the thought of dealing with egg bound chickens so early in the game was not on our list of fun b)we couldn’t find them c) we kinda got chickens for their eggs and d) their eggs are awesome blue and green and we might just maybe covet them a little.  So, as we kept the chickens in their uphill coop/run area for a week to try to reestablish nesting in the coop, Poppy did this.  Like four times.

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Bless her heart.  Scout, however, is less interested in birds or eggs, and more interested in sniffing every. single. footstep.

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We’re pretty happy with our little (ish?) flock, and I think they are pretty happy too.  They haven’t said as much, but I feel like they are trying to drop subtle hints.  Lavender lets Rob catch her every now and then, Florence is getting picked on less, Gertrude whispers sweet nothings when I steal her egg away from under her (or maybe you’d call it hissing).  I may be personifying a bit.  Yeah, most likely.  I’m pretty sure they have the attention spans of  goldfish  but look at this, I mean…GoldaLee and Ginger are just so sweet!  Could they possibly be any happier?!

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Oh, and as a final aside, I love this coop and the way it sits under the Tangelo Tree.  I foresee a broken arm or two in our future when Dude starts climbing  among them.  Ahhhhhh sweet suburban tranquility.

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And Then There Were Eight

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It has been a couple of weeks since the second half of our lovely lady hens joined our backyard menagerie.  The first four (Rosie, Agnes, Prudence and Millicent) weren’t so sure about sharing their new luxury accommodations with their former neighbors.  We expected some backlash from moving two sets of four hens into one coop, but whoa!  We quickly had to make a trip to our local feed store for supplies and I spent about 900 hours Googling “pecking order chickens cannibalism.”

It turns out our sweet Florence is a bit of a dullard, and some of the other ladies are of a mind to punish her for her lack of wits.  Yes, my friends, Flo is dumb even for a chicken.  But, she’s got great highlights and she throws down a gorgeous khaki green egg, so we think that she may just be a bit of a Marilyn Monroe type. In other words, those other chicks are just jealous.  Florence joined us with a big ol’ patch of feathers missing from her luscious behind and with a little help from Blu-Kote, Rooster Booster, Vetricyn and a LOT of free-ranging, the other girls are pecking our poor Flo a bit less these days.  She knows who will tolerate her (her previous three roomies) and who won’t (those snobby Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks.)  Who knew we’d be dealing with sorority drama so soon?

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Our coop just needs a fresh set of cedar shake shingles, because, you know, these are some picky chickens, and then we will officially be DONE with the world’s most over-thought hen-house.  In the meantime, we are being showered with gorgeous eggs and lots of chicken t.v. time.  The daycare kids just love to babble at the hens and the hens babble back.  There’s really nothing better.

Talk about Easter eggs!
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And, without further ado, here are our four newest ladies.

Florence, an Araucana who lays a green egg (See?  Jealousy.)

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Gertrude, a French Copper Maran who lays a large brown egg with fine brown specklesImage

Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly , an Araucan who lays a perfectly retro 1950’s diner-style light blue eggImage

Henrietta, a French Copper Maran who lays a large brown egg with large dark brown splattersImage

Next up?  Keeping dogs, babies, and chickens out of the watermelon patch.  Happy Spring!

So. Many. Eggs.

We knew we would get eggs.  I mean, that is why we got chickens, right?  But, it’s a lotta eggs.

Saturday was a big “work day” for the coop, so Sissy came over to help make brunch whilst Mummy and I interviewed a new daycare family and the men-folk did a barn raising or whatever.  Ten eggs, people.  This family of five-and-a-half (because the Dude was being such a toddler and only ate like, half of an egg) ate TEN EGGS.  That seems like a lot to me.  But they were these gorgeous, rich, clean tasting baked eggs.  Yummmm.  Ever had baked eggs?  No?  I’msosorryforyou.  Here’s a recipe.  You’re welcome.  I’ll also say that it never hurts to use full cream.  In anything.  Ever.  Anyway, delicious.  But, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to wax poetic after our first feast o’ eggs, because sometimes ladies need to drive up to Del Mar and have their hair did and eat Peruvian food.  It’s a rough life, but it’s mine.

*Disclaimer: This here is where I define “hippie-light.”  See, I’m all about skipping deodorant when one works from home, and I garden, and I just got chickens, and I don’t want toxic food coloring in my food and I’m a big fan of cloth diapers.  I don’t use fluoride toothpaste.  But.  B.U.T.  I will not give up good hair.  I want it cut, colored, straightened, curled, sprayed and pinned.  I also will not give up Shamrock Shakes when I’m in a state of hormonal disruption. (Ignore previous food coloring comment.)  Or Botox.  So, you know.  Hippie-light.

Moving on.  As The Padre and Rob finished up the coop Sunday, I got to work using up some more of those scrumptious eggs, because they were fairly prolific and I had offered to make Irish Soda Bread for our St. Patty’s Day Dinner.  (Which is weird, because the last time I had Irish Soda Bread I hated it.)

It turned out pretty well for soda bread.  In fact, it’s growing on me.  I did soak the raisins in rum and homemade bourbon vanilla first.  That might have helped.  Woohoo!  There went an egg and I had this to show for it!

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I was on a roll, so I went to my trusty Pinterest “Breffases” board and decided to make this baked oatmeal thing I had pinned ages ago, but somehow it had not yet landed into my mouth.  Isn’t that just like Pinterest?  I thought that if you Pinned it, it would come?  Notsomuch.  So I baked it up and it was fantastic!  I highly recommend you try it at least once.

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Two eggs used!  And breakfast made for the week!  Hot damn!

And then Rob brought me three fresh eggs from the coop.  Net loss?  Zero.  It might be time for tortilla española a la Craig.  Go ahead.  Click the link.  His recipes are divine.

If I manage to pull it off,  I will share it with you.  If not, I’ll just beg Craig to come do it for me.  I get the feeling that with enough fresh eggs and chicken poo for his garden, I might be able to talk him into it.