Sunday, August 21, 2011

Macaroni Salad

Yesterday I made Macaroni Salad.  Except I did not use Macaroni, I used 'Nuggets' instead.  It turned out really tasty.  Sweet pickles add a crunch, and a tangy bite to this really easy to make salad.

Head on over to the What's Cookin?  page to get the full recipe!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pressure cooked Green Beans, Potatoes, and Ham

The other day I picked a bunch of green beans from the garden.  I was then rooting around in the freezer and found a bag of leftover ham.  I scooted to the store to buy to potatoes and I was on my way to a yummy dinner.

Scoot yourself on over to the What's Cooking?  page to get the scoop on this tasty super easy dish.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Finally Getting Along

Well I think the worst is over with the hen pecking.  I still have one of the Wyandottes being a little mean but I think all will survive.  They all seem to be getting along better.  Some Still hang out with just their own kind.
Others will mingle with the old hens.  The reds seem to be generally pretty mellow about the invasion of the new hens.  They do get a bit territorial and possessive if I throw a tomato into the run for them.  I hav to make sure I toss in several so they all can share.
They are starting to develop their personalities as as they do I have started to name them.  This is Sally.  She is a Wyandotte that has a wonky toe.  It does not seem to bother her and she can move it so I am not worried about it being bent sideways.  Sally likes to talk and talk and talk.  Quite the gossip she is.
Fuzzy of course is one of my oldest hens.  She is one of my first Easter Eggers.  She got pecked some so I sprayed her butt with the purple spray then she just had to preen herself so now she also has a purple face.  Goofy chicken.

Honey is a sweet Easter Egger that is inquisitive.

I keep checking inside the coop every few hours for eggs.  A few of the new layers have caught on and are laying in the nest boxes while one insists on laying in the corner of the coop under the nest boxes.   So far I have 3 Easter Eggers laying.  I suspect it will be any day now for the rest of them to start.  They Wyandottes and Australorps are as big as the old Reds.  Any day now....

The grass is coming back nicely in the brooder run.  We plan on putting in permanent poles and extending the existing run out to include what was the brooder run to give them more room.

I try to spend time with the hens every day.  I spend time inside the run and coop with them so they get used to me and will come up to me.  Taming them will make thing easier if I have to doctor them in any way.  It also makes for a more fun flock.  I have two chickens now that will submit to me.  Fuzzy and now one of the Wyandottes submit to me by squatting in front of me and spreading their wings out inviting me to climb on as a rooster would do.  I generally just pat their back and pat them in the butt when they do this to me.  They seem satisfied with it - or disgusted with me that I have no clue how to hit home with this open invitation!  I am going to go with satisfied...yeah thats it.....  They shake and fluff out and go about their merry way.

Silly silly chickens.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Crazy Mushrooms

I got home from work the other day and noticed this HUGE mushroom growing wildly by the blackberries.  I thought to myself where did this thing come from??  I went on inside the house changed my clothes, plopped my hair up into a pony tail, grabbed a glove and headed back outside.
After now having any rain for so long I almost forgot about the insane mushrooms we sometimes have pop up in the summer.  We finally have started getting some rain again and like magic these things start springing up from nowhere.  I generally catch then when they are relatively small, but they grow quickly.
I pick them, placing them in a bucket then dump the bucket over the hill where hopefully the spores will not find their way back into my yard.  I used to pick mushrooms for a living.  Interesting job I will say.  It was underground in old limestone mines that were converted into the mushrooms mines.  These mushrooms are nothing like the ones I used to pick for a living!
I wandered all around the yard and picked these crazy things and a few other run of the mill toadstools and mushrooms.  Then I seen it again......the huge looming crazy mushroom.  I snuck up on it so as not to scare it away.  I plunked down the 5 gallon bucket next to it and had to take a picture  - this thing is big.
Then I picked it and took another picture of it in my hand.  All this thing needs is eyes and a mouth and it could be a new species of rodent.
I have no idea what kind of wild mushrooms these are, but I know if left alone the tops turn black and open up for the spores to escape.  If you hit one with the tractor or lawn mower you can't breath for 15 minutes from the black cloud of spores that explodes from them.  That is why I try to keep them picked before they break open or can get hit from the mower or tractor.  These things are downright crazy and something out of Alice and Wonderland.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Alls calm on in the chicken

Well it has been a rough few days.  I merged the flocks together and expected some pecking and ordering to be going on.  I did not however expect to see what all had happened as was posted in my last post.  This has never happened to me before.  I watched the flock and seen first hand what was going on.

The Comets were taking pecking order to a whole new level.  I was never too fond of the Comets and this behavior just sealed the deal for me.  As much as I do not like killing my chickens I could not stand by and let them kill the new hens.  They pecked apart 4 of them and 1 of those actually died as a result of the pecking.  They pecked her complete lower back/butt clear through to her bones.  At that point I had enough and started rounding up the 4 Comets.  One of them seemed ok so I let her live.  I took each one out of the coop and killed her using the broomstick method.

I do not have any pictures of this process, as it is a two hand process and I was alone doing it.  It is part of chicken ownership so I will describe it here.

Once the chicken perp is sentenced to death and caught, lay the perp down on the ground on their belly. Place the broomstick or other thin board (I use a furring strip of lumber) across their neck.  Stand on the stick on either side of the perp's head and pull up on their legs.  This stretches their neck under the pressure of the stick and kills them.  You will feel and sometimes hear 3 pops.  You can stop after the 3 pops.  If you do not stop you will rip their head clear off and that causes a bloody mess.  I quickly grab the perp's wings and hold them close to the body until the flapping and jerking stops.  Some folks will just lop their heads off and let them flap or run around.  To me that is a terrible thing to inhumane.  I try my best to treat the bird with dignity by not decapitating them, and also holding their wings tight until it is all over.

I seriously do not like killing my birds.  I have finally gotten to the point that I no longer cry over it, but I do sulk and brood over it for a while while I dispose of the body and move on.  I killed 3 Comets and the rooster that day.  I really hoped that taking these bullies out would calm things down.

I went out the next morning and watched the last Comet, Phyllis, go around to several of the new and a few of the old ones and just peck them all hard in the butt.  My patients were shot!  I was so infuriated with Phyllis, I stormed into the coop grabbed her and broomsticked  her so fast the youngins did not even know what happened!

I sprayed the hurt one's areas with the purple spray again and checked on the ones I sprayed previously.  Again my hand is stained purple.  That is ok - at least I know I am taking care of my birds.  I am now down to 1 old easter egger, Fuzzy, 3 old Rhode Island Reds, Red, Lucky, and Curious,  and 23 new birds - a mix of ester eggers, astrolopes, and lace wyndots.  I am sure I did not spell those correctly.

To end this post on a good note - things do seem calmer in the coop now.  Everyone seems to be getting along and the stress is leaving the girls.  I am only getting 2 eggs a day now from the 4 old hens that are left.  Two of the new girls have started laying now.  I am getting a tiny green egg and now a tiny blue egg from the easter eggers. They all kinda look green in this picture but the are different colors.  They are  so small they knock around in the carton.

It is just a matter of time before they all start laying.  All we can do is take care of them and wait.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hen Pecked

WARNING!!  Pictures that follow in this post may be disturbing to some.  View at your own discretion.  

With the hens getting moved over into the big coop, there is a certain amount of discourse to be expected in the flock.  They all battle for the pecking order and who will be top bird.  That is a fact of chicken ownership.  And just like dealing with pasty butt when they were peeps, one has to deal with the aftermath of the pecking.  I had noticed that one new hen was pretty beat up yesterday, but I did not have anything to put on her wounds.  I send my Hubby and Son to the store today to get some spray for them.  The boys brought home this stuff:
It sprays on purple and is an antiseptic so it should help with healing the birds while camouflaging the wounds.  Chickens are crazy about anything that resembles raw meat and will go nuts pecking and pecking and pecking at it.  I suspect the rooster for inflicting most of the damage.
This spray is handy to have on hand.  I should have had some way before this time but pecking was really not that big of a problem with my previous 2 flocks.  I set out to the coop in my snazzy insulated purple boots.
I took some before pictures of the beat up hens.  THESE ARE GRAPHIC.  Fair warning.

I took my time and caught each hen one by one and calmed her down.  I held her down with one hand and sprayed the raw area with the spray then released her...moving on to the next one.  One poor hen had a hole pecked clear through her skin into her back muscle.  I sprayed her extra good but it would not surprise me if she did not make it.  Hopefully she will.
I sprayed 3 or four hens total and they were pretty cooperative about it all.  Now I have a purple hand.  I did not realize this would stain my hand just as it did the hens.  I thought it would wash off with soap and water......nope.  Not even using hand cleaner with pumice.....
Some have a green thumb... I have a purple thumb.  Lesson learned....wear gloves when spraying this stuff!!