Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Aren't they gorgeous? The eggs that look white in the pic are really light blue. I had to turn on the flash because the chicken coop has mood lighting. 9 eggs in one day!
The chickens do have more than one nest box but for some reason they like to all use the same one.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
For the record:
Kathy Davis held 10 chickens while I clipped their wings. I couldn't have done it without her!!!
ps: They had 8 eggs today. 8!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Sorry I don't have any current pics to offer. I left my camera in Houston a few weeks ago so I am photo-less at the moment. The top pic is of my 4 youngest chickens. They are bad. Here they are roosting on top of the fence....just waiting for me to knock them off with the broom.
I clipped all of the ladies' wings yesterday. Their right wings. So now they are all Left Winged chickens......even Nancy Reagan!!
It wasn't as scary as I thought it was going to be......just like giving them a haircut really.....and the best part is that I haven't had a single escapee yet. Although, it has been less than 24 hours...
Here is a funny instructional on wing clipping that I read online: (the blood feather part is terrifying)
Chickens are great. They like to lay eggs, make comforting clucking noises, scritch in dirt, and, occasionally, fly about a bit.
If you own chickens and keep them free range, it is usually only the latter of these characteristics which can present a problem. You want eggs: you get hens, you build henhouse, you provide feed, and the bastards want to fly away! 'No bloody chance', I hear you say, 'I want those damn eggs!'.
The humane way to stop your precious hens departing your lovingly crafted henhome (eglu, if you're rich) is to clip their wings. This may sound harsh, akin to docking lambs' tails (when I was small, I used to think clipping wings meant using a paperclip to attach the wings to the bird's body - but that's another node...), however, done correctly, clipping your birds' wings causes them no more than a little inconvenience, and saves you no end of trouble. Clipping the wings involves removing the tips of the primary (flight) feathers from one of the hen's wings, so that taking off to fly becomes an unbalanced affair, in which case the lazy bird just decides to stay in your loving hen home.
So... to clip your bird's wings, you'll need:
- sharp, but round-nosed scissors: it is ridiculously easy to stab the bird with the end of the scissors, and having a dead bird kind of defeats the purpose of owning one in the first place...
- an old towel
- a pair of pliers
- your local vet's phone number
- some kind of lint dressing, or non-shredding paper tissue
- if this is your first time, a handy assistant who is not scared of birds
First you need to catch the bird which needs its wing clipping. This usually needs doing after every moult, although less frequently for older birds as their feathers grow back less quickly. Catch a chicken by grabbing it by its legs and feet. Snatching at it, or trying to pick it up by neck/wing/tail feathers is not going to impress the bird, who will simply run away from you rather quickly and leave you looking somewhat foolish. She will also probably lay less if you do this: picking her up by the legs is far more agreeable for all parties concerned. When you have the hen by the legs, support the body from underneath the breast with the palm of your hand and intersperse your fingers with her legs to stop her wriggling. Get your amiable assistant to wrap the towel around the hen to stop her scratching you with her toes: leave one wing free. Make coo-cooing noises to relax her. Have you got all your equipment handy, and is it sterile? Yes? Then you are ready to begin.
You now need to spread the free wing out to display all the feathers. If the wing has been clipped before, have a quick look for old clipped feather shafts which can have a harder time coming free than regular feather shafts. Remove any you find. Now get your handy friend to turn the chicken backwards, supporting the head and neck, so when you spread the wing you are looking at the underside and can see the feather shafts clearly. The feathers you want to cut are the primary feathers - the longest ones towards the front of the wing. These are often a different colour to the rest of the wing, and are hidden when the wing is tucked so you will spot them quite easily. Check these feathers for new growth feathers - the ones with blood in the feather shaft. Do not cut these feathers. Cutting 'blood' feathers is a jolly bad idea indeed: the shaft acts like a siphon and draws blood out of the bird, and chickens don't have much blood in the first place. Chopping off a new feather in this way will probably kill your hen. The feathers without blood are like hair and fingernails - dead, and therefore fine to cut. You want to use your sharp scissors to snip away a length of these - for most chickens up to about 6cm, to bring them in line with the rest of the wing. Keep making cooing noises as you do all of this to sympathise with your hen, and apologise for the inconvenience you are causing. Once done, move the scissors to a safe distance and gently release the hen from the towel. She will give an indignant cluck, ruffle her feathers and skip back to the rest of the gaggle. Congratulations! She will now be much less likely to jump the fence!
If you have the misfortune to cut a blood feather, you must put squeamishness aside for a moment, and apply avian first aid. You will know you have cut a blood feather by the large amount of blood that you have suddenly been covered in. Act fast. Use the pliers to pull out the shaft of the blood feather you have accidentally cut (handy friend must be holding the bird fast at this moment. Hen will be in pain), and make sure you pull in the direction in which the feather grows, so as not to worsen the wound. Throw a handful of cornflour towards the wound and grab your lint or tissue, apply to the wing with mild pressure. If the bleeding does not stop soon, CALL A VET as your gentle hen may be dying. If you are too squeamish to pull the cut feather out, you will kill your hen, and so you should probably get a professional to clip your bird's wings.
Some prolific escapees may need both wings clipped, but be aware that restricting the ability of the bird to fly to that extent can also restrict its ability to escape from predators - the evil fox loves to feast upon clipped hens. In addition to clipping the wings of your birds, you can encourage them to stay and lay in your vicinity by providing a well cared for henhouse which is cleaned out regularly, plenty of scratching and dustbathing space, plenty of space within your fences, and adequate feed. All this will ensure you have happy hens and a plentiful supply of eggs. Yum!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
This picture is from my favorite place to read about my chicken's crazy behaviors on the web: backyardchickens.com. There are some eccentric chicken owners out there.
I have so much to update w/ my blog! School/life has been hectic but good.....the chickens are huge......I'm getting 5-6 eggs a day now.
However, I have quite a few escapees who have been flying over the fence regularly. Yesterday I was at school and one of our neighbors across the street came over, knocked on the door and said, "Um......there's a chicken in my tree.......?"
Embarassing. I must appease her with eggs.
This weekend I think that I am clipping their wings. From what I've read it doesn't hurt them, it's similar to clipping toenails. But, I'm scared! I'll be sure to update after the wing clipping experience. It's sure to be exciting.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I moved the rest of my ish from Austin to Ruston last weekend.
It was super fun (really!). I got to spend lots of time with my yoga teacher who drove with me and we had a number of exciting adventures. The most exciting of which is this:
I brought about ten boxes that were left over from my last moving adventure from Ruston to Austin in which to pack my kitchen stuff etc. As I was about to leave Saturday my mom said, "Don't forget to get the boxes that I've been saving from you in the storage shed!". There were two boxes out there full of bubblewrap that I grabbed at the last minute. Julie and I loaded all of the boxes into her Expedition and drove west to Austin.
We drove. We chatted. We stopped at Dairy Queen. Six hours later we got to Austin. We went to Korea House (my favorite Austin restaurant). We went to the new Whole Foods and wandered, drank coffee, picked out truffles, and bought wine for an hour. We went to Nate's house. We drank a bottle of wine.
Suddenly, we were inspired. Instead of waiting till the next morning to go rent a Uhaul trailer in which to transport all of my junk, I decided that I wanted to let most of that stuff go. We figured that we could fit everything in the back of Julie's Expedition. And we wanted to do it NOW.
Energized by the wine, (how did that happen?) we immediately started packing up my fiesta ware and other assorted kitchen treasures. We had loaded all of the empty boxes out of the truck into the kitchen. About five boxes into packing I grabbed one of the boxes my mom had saved for me in the storage shed. It had lots of bubble wrap on top.
M-in a low, serious, calm voice:
"Julie, there's a possum in the box."
M- same calm voice:
"There's a possum in the box."
There was a live possum in the box!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We had transported wildlife across statelines. What if it had gotten out in the car!?!?
So, I calmly carried the box outside to the porch. We opened it and looked at the possum and finally shrieked like schoolgirls and ran back inside and slammed the door. Then we came to our senses and went back out and tipped the box over so that the possum would fall out onto the ground. He literally "played possum". He laid there motionless for about 30 seconds. We wondered if he was dead. Then he gave us sweet possum stare and ran off into the dark.
I really hope that possum found a new possum family in Texas. I must say that I am relieved that he is no longer in my backyard as a potential chicken predator. We packed up and left that night. We spent the night at a hotel in Georgetown and ate breakfast the next day at the Monument Cafe. It was fabulous and it featured white gravy.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Sorry it's been so long. sigh.
Here's an egg pic. The eggs on the right are products of my ladies...the eggs on the left are store bought. The ladies' eggs have gotten bigger though. They were tiny at first.
I got my first blue/green egg last week. I will be sure to post pics once I take them. They are so beautiful!
Going to Austin this weekend to move the rest of my furniture/etc. I've missed my fiestaware dearly. My yoga teacher (Julie) is driving with me. So, it should be a fun road trip even though we will be in Austin less than 24 hours.
Went to church last weekend with my parents. It was the "contemporary" service which means that it involved microphones, giant screens, video clips, and a drummer. It made me want to pluck my eyelashes out one by one. The back of a teeshirt I spotted in the first row: "Gunfire: the sound of freedom". Seriously.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
This is a fantastic book that I highly recommend to all. I just finished the "eat" portion......excited to get the the "pray" section.....it's about yoga.....and I can't wait for the "love" part. I'm looking for all of the insight I can get in that area. sigh.
I've been meaning to read this book for about a year now. It's funny how things come into your life exactly when you need them.......not a minute before. I was meant to read this book now.
I've started a book club among my yoga friends/their friends. We are meeting for the first time in mid-September. This is the first book. I've never been to a book club meeting so it's kinda intimidating to be the organizer of one. If anyone out there is actually reading this and has book club experience let me know. I figure, as long as we have good food and the wine is flowing freely, the book discussion should flow freely as well.
Happy Labor Day everyone!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Presenting the most delish Southern breakfast I enjoyed last weekend at Straun's Eat Shop in Shreveport w/ none other than the amazing David Leggett. Love him!
After examining these pics I realize why I gained 4lbs after last weekend (it couldn't have been the copious amount of vodka tonics......). Seriously. And Southerners are can't imagine why we are the fattest people in the U.S.
But, LOOK AT THOSE BISCUITS! pure heaven. and totally ok to have every 6 months! Moderation.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Yesterday was the day! Yay hooray!
I am so proud of Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
Now of course, I can't be 100% sure that it was her but, she is the only hen displaying classic egg laying behavior: her comb and wattle are bright red and fully grown, + whenever you walk up to her to pick her up she kind of squats down (I think she is hoping for a rooster......poor thing...destined to a life of celibacy.....kind of like a nun...doesn't sound too bad actually....that's weird never mind).
Don't you love her in the above pic? She is just a-squawking at the camera. And she is so nice and fluffy now!
Above: The fruit of Jackie's labor.Is it not gorgeous??
I am so proud of my ladies! I'm sure we will be getting blue and green eggs soon as well.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
I have a new car. The acura had a great 10 year life but there's a new kid in town:
2007 Volkswagen Rabbit: Candy White, 2 door, 5speed standard.
I was trying to decide btwn this car and a honda civic. While the civic is so practical and responsible......I decided that the rabbit is more "me".
What do you think?
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Sauted w/ vidalia onions and garlic. Added a bit of fresh (homegrown) parsley, dried dill, curry powder and creole mustard. Saute till squash is tender. Sigh...............
Sunday, June 3, 2007
1. mix yeast, water and a little bit of honey. let sit 5 minutes
2. add 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour. mix. cover with tea towel and let rise 1 hour (weed tomato plants and mulch w/ newspaper and chicken poop pine shavings)
Bruneaux got a little to close to the action while I was kneading the dough....
Kneaded dough....ready to rise again.....
Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The big chickens are happy and healthy. They love to roam around in their run all day and eat delicious bugs and plants.
The little chicks (there are only 2 left !!!!Hillary and Edith both met mysterious ends....they completely disappeared w/ no signs of a struggle. Here are my two ideas for what happened: 1. alien abduction 2. the rapture) are getting bigger every day. They are starting to get their feathers and lose their baby fuzz. Sad.