This is our Black Blue Laced Red Wyandotte hen, Doug. Yes, Doug. (It's one of those funny stories that I would prefer not to tell to a broad audience!) She is about 6 months old and has been laying very nice eggs for us. She got a little "backed-up" today. The technical term is "eggbound". We found her this morning waddling around with her behind dragging the ground. Rubber glove time! A little poultry 101 for those of you interested....The egg and the poo come out of the same hole. Anybody proclaiming they will never eat another egg, relax, there is good news. Yes, the egg and poo share the same exit door, "the vent". But they don't take the same route. There are two roads that lead to the vent. The egg takes the high road and the poo takes the low road. When one road is being used the other is closed off. Okay, back to our drama. Being eggbound can be life threatening (to the hen!), so rubber glove and vaseline in hand, I was ready for my first gyn poultry experience. I told Doug, "Just relax, you'll feel a little pressure." Why would I think this would work with her, it's never worked with me! Slowly and gently, I could feel the egg about 2 inches in. I added more vaseline and gently masaged around the tip of the egg, being ultra careful not to break it (that can be a complete disaster!). We left her alone for about 30 minutes, no change. Onto the warm bath. A 20 minute warm bath is recommended to relax the bird. Katie carried her into the kitchen (farm animals in the house again!) as I filled the sink. The egg fell right out of her onto our (thank goodness) tile floor. Yay! We put her back outside with the gang and she still seemed to be walking strange. I examined her again and could not detect any egg. Also, she felt much softer on her underside. We put her in Phyllis' apartment to protect her from the roosters (since she was walking around in a very inviting pose). She may just need a little time. We will keep checking on her. She should be fine.
Every morning, at feeding time, Polka and Phyllis chow together. They are definitely our two handi-capped residents. Polka had an eye removed earlier this year, and he is 29! And Miss Phyllis is a Polish hen, which means she has this beautiful "puff" of feathers on her head which limits her vision considerably. She doesn't like hanging with the other girls because she can't see them coming, so she has her own "apartment" in the coop and when she free-ranges, she hangs with Mr. Polka. He is so big, she can hear him coming and he moves VERY slow. So Phyllis and Polka are good buds!
Becca has been working hard on studying equine skeletal and muscular systems to help her better understand her art work. She says it always helps her to draw better when she can imagine what is going on under the skin.
Today was "test" day for deciding whether or not to butcher the rest of the roosters. These roosters are reaching 6 months old, so we had questions as to their "eatability". After he was completely cleaned from the other day, I let him sit in the fridge, covered for 2 days. I had read that was a good idea to allow some proteins to relax, which makes the meat more tender. I took off the legs, thighs and wings. Which all looked excellent as far as size. But the breast development definitely did not match up to the store bought chickens. To give you an idea, if you take a half breast from the store bought chicken and butterfly it in half, that is about what I was looking at after I removed a half breast from the carcass. In all, probably the whole breast equalled one half from the store. I took the breast filets (skinless), drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and sauteed them so we could make a true assesment of taste and texture. I probably sauteed a little to long, but over all it had a MUCH better taste then that of store bought. We all noticed the freshness, you could even say a cleaner taste than anything we have ever had before. The texture was slightly dry, but definitely not tough. I believe the dryness was due to my slightly overcooking. I put the carcass, thighs, legs and wings in a stock pot to make chicken broth to try some soup tonight. The house smells heavenly as I type! I think it is safe to say this was a complete success from start to finish and we are feeling a little proud of ourselves! Katie deserves a massive pat on the back for raising this awesome rooster from a day old chick, being so mature and understanding throughout the whole process! She actually tested the first bite! We love ya Sweetie, you're such an extraordinary person!
Miss Sophia LOVES Christmas!
Ahhh Christmas Day!! Back to normal, or so we thought! Rain was scheduled to come in mid afternoon, so normal morning critter care, get cleaned up, then big breakfast with David's yummy french toast! On to present opening! We all kept an eye on the chickens around the yard to make sure there would be no more bloodshed, and there wasn't, thank goodness! We all had a sigh of relief to know we got the right guy! (If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the previous blog!) Things were going nicely,you know, civilized, and we went out to feed the animals in the afternoon their dinner....Becca yells..."get the gun!!!!" OMG!!What Now!! Grabbed the shot gun and a shell..."ran it out to Pa" and there was a stupid armadillo by the goat paddock!!! Let's just say, he is no longer by the goat paddock. O'Brother, where art thou!! What is going on?! WHO ARE WE?! Shake it off, focus, time to go in and start dinner....
Life IS Good!
Becca had an especially wonderful Christmas, receiving this fantastic signed, gilcee, print of her favorite thoroughbred stallion, Tiznow! This wonderful piece of art is a pastel by Len Jagoda. Take a moment and check out his sight to admire this talented man's wonderful work with horses and dogs! You'll be glad you did! Becca got to visit Tiznow at Winstar Farm in Kentucky last summer, so getting this picture was a super great thrill for her. Art and horses all in one!
Big goats, medium goats, little goats and girls! These are a few of my f - -ay---vor---ite things! A little Sound of Music never hurt anyone! This is WHY we have goats.....fun, cute, fun, cute and yes, they are fun and cute! They love us and we love them. We put our three little ones, 2 1/2 mos now, out with the "gang" during the day. Oh boy, do they have fun, running and jumping all over the place. The older group doesn't seem to mind adding them to their herd. Everyone has been quite hospitable up to this point. As long as everyone gets their fair share of attention, nobody minds the growing family.
One of the things the goats love to do is hike around through the woods with Katie and Becca! They take them up and down and all around and the goats find it all exhilarating.
Nutcracker Party Mom, Becca! Rock on!
It's been a few weeks since we have posted, which is the most obvious sign of season!!! Let's see...I should have mailed all the Christmas cards, mailed all the "out of towner" presents and finished any last minute shopping. Well, no...no...no... and no! I did manage to get our house decorated a couple of weeks ago. What hasn't helped our situation is the tremendous cold weather we have had lately! Wow! Got all the heated waterbuckets out and tarps up where needed. Usually we don't have to winterize until Januaryish. So much for living in the deep south! David and I being from the north, we have always loved having bragging rights about the mild winters. Not this year! We have been trudging 5 gallon water jugs from the house on those brutally cold days, when there is no hope of thawing those hoses. Add to that, Nutcracker ballet rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals. I absolutely have to send humongous props to my wonderful baby girls!!!! I don't know anybody who worked so hard over the past few weeks without one word of complaint. Late night rehearsals, up early in the fridged cold to take care of the chickens, goats and horses, and then finish their school work and start all over again! "Hooah Hill Farm" lived up to it's name!