Chonkey and Chubby

April 28th, 2020 we picked up 50 meat chickens from the local feed store.
Like other years, the plan was to grow them out, slow and steady, to butcher weight.
We do that by letting our meaties run with our layers.
Why?
Because the meaties learn how to be chickens, not just eating and pooping machines.
It also means we have very few losses due to heart attacks or leg issues.

This past summer though, we lost the bulk of our meaties to Wile E Coyote, who was convinced he needed to kill as many as he could, but eat only a few.
We never did catch him.
So ol’ Wile E may yet return…

But Chonkey and Chubby were 2 of our survivors.
And when you’re a meat chicken who survives a coyote ripping through your home, and then go on to grow big and strong, The Food Lady begins to wonder if you oughta stay on…

And then, the craziest thing happened!
Chonkey:

Laid. An. Egg.

How do I know it was her?
Well, chickens have this very distinct “song” they sing when they lay an egg.
I had just collected eggs 10 minutes earlier and then got distracted with the garden, only to hear the egg maker song again.
So I walked into the coop to find Ms Chonks in the basket, in the position…
I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t witnessed it with my own eyes.
There stood this giant CornishX meat chicken, screaming out the egg maker song (think Norwegian Death Metal sung by a chicken) and ploop! Out comes this smallish cream coloured egg.

Well!

So when butchering was happening later on that week, clearly Ms Chonks was *not* gonna go to Freezer Camp.

Then, we had this other CornishX…she was smaller, always getting picked on, and kinda sweet.
She was *always* at my feet when we were butchering, and I made sure to give her choice bits every chance I got.
She ended up in a crate for some healing time after the brown layers (known as Mrs. Cluckingtons) decided they should pick a giant hole in her butt.
Seriously, the Cluckingtons are first rate assholes.
There’s a good reason why I culled aaaaallllll of them out of my flock.
Fuck the Cluckingtons.
Mean bitches.

Anyways, this young Cornish hen stayed in that crate for nearly a month, on high protein feed, being babied and pampered…until her hind end was 100% healed and feathered in.
Then we let her free, so she could readjust to flock life and free range again.

She just recently was given the name Chubby…because she’s a big girl, and because she too is staying on, having begun to lay.
She still gets fed special treats when we’re butchering.
She hangs around my feet until I give them to her.

As we get closer to the time we fire up the incubators, I’ll take the Mdms and put them into a pen with a rooster.
One of those big Orpington/Wyandotte cross boys.
With a couple other hens.
5 hens to 1 roo is pretty good.
Then, all those eggs these girls lay will get hatched.
Just to see what we get.
Stay with us into 2021 to find out!

🙂

Building a Berm

One of our biggest complaints about our Farm is the lack of trees.
Yeah, we knew it when we bought the place, but I don’t think we realized how much we’d miss those trees.
Bald assed prairie land is freakin’ c-c-cold!!
Colder than bush land because of the wind.
It also makes it damn near impossible to do much shooting with anything other than the shotgun or pellet guns.
That’s frustrating.
And so, this past month, Hubby and I discussed what would go into building a berm for practice shooting.

Some work with the tractor, some too-moldy-for-the-garden straw bales and a whole lot of horse crap.
Well…
Turns out this is something we can do.
And we waited far too damn long to do it!

So, last week, before the snows came, Hubby got started on building the berm.
And The Merry Mares have continued to keep up with their contributions.
After they decided they had to “inspect” his beginnings…

The inspection crew hard at work…or, more likely, hardly working…

Goodness knows, them nosey mares have to inspect every little thing to make sure we humans are doing it right.
😂😂😂

13

In the beginning of July, I purchased 24 turkey hatching eggs.
With a whole lot of hope, I brought them home and set them into the incubator. 27 days later, we started to hear the tell tale chirps and scrabbling around of hatching poults.
We were very excited!!

Then on the 29th day, we opened the incubator to find 13 poults.
Oh, but one had it’s tiny wing somehow caught between the plastic grating and the edge of the incubator!
With a whole lot of patience, I managed to free that little wing.
But that wee poult was having trouble standing.
We think in it’s attempt to free it’s wing, it may have wrenched a leg.
So I picked up this little poult and cuddled it close to me, while the other 12 were whisked off to the brooder and placed under a heat lamp with food and water.

I held this little one for a while, whilst using The Google to see if there was a way we could fix the legs.
It’s wing tip seemed fine, once they were able to get it back against their body.

What I found was that most birds can do okay if you can keep their legs together.
Okay then…I found a small twist tie and made a hobble of sorts…with help from The Kid, because that poor turkey poult panicked everytime I moved them onto their back!
And then, we found a small dish for food and water and a box to put them in, then tucked them in under the light in the brooder with the other 12.

It really was a hail Mary sorta thing, because I didn’t know if they were ever going to be able to use that leg, but I felt like I had to try to help out.
Even being raised as a potential food animal, they deserved the chance at a good life.
Being that they were the 13th poult, they were given the name 13.
And y’know, once you name them…
lol
The urge to make the birb all better was heckin’ strong once a name was bestowed.

It became clear, fast, that this wee twist tie was precisely what 13 needed!
Within a day, there was weight bearing on the leg.
By the end of the 2nd, 13 was full on hopping from one side of the box to the other.
And singing.
Oh turkey songs are the sweetest of the birb songs!
I love having them around just for their songs.

Then came the day I took off the twist tie and set 13 down to see what happened…
Up came those little wings, that fluttered so hard and out of the box leapt 13 to join their 12 hatchmates!

And this is our lovely 13 now…

13 the Turkey

I had told The Other 2 that no matter what, 13 stayed.
If they were a tom, but not breeder potential, we’d have to build a separate pen.
If they were a hen, hopefully she’d be breeding potential, but if not, she’d get to have her own space and we’d have turkey eggs to eat.

Well, as it turns out, 13 is a hen, and she’s a lovely hen who is absolutely (IMO) a good foundation breeding hen.
She’s tough, having survived her early days after hatching.
She’s pretty…I mean, just look at her!
She’s friendly. Because she was handled so much after hatch, she likes to be handled, and does like to cuddle (on her terms of course…;) )
She take no guff from the boys. Which is a good thing. Boys must behave or else. 😉

And poor Oscar…he’s so smitten and she just isn’t interested.
lol!
Probably because right now Oscar isn’t “husband” material.
He’s just a horny teenager tom who wants to get it on with any hen.
Even those duck hens.

13 is more interested in Dingus, the other tom we kept for breeding.
Dingus isn’t quite the horny boy Oscar is, so they’re taking things slow. 😉
We’re looking forward to spring courtings between them though…I do believe they will make for some lovely poults of their own.
🙂

Flashed Before My Eyes

The other day, well, Friday to be exact, I grabbed my camera and headed out to take some pictures of Ruby lying in the exploded straw bale.
Unbeknownst to me, I was about to see my life flash before my eyes…

Y’see, I have forgotten to pick up the chicken wire that was from the last of the compost bin sized chick yards we cobbled together over the summer.
And, that bit me hard on Friday.
Camera in hand, down I went, tangled in chicken wire.
Many bad words were said when I realized I had slammed Voldemort on the ground. Hard.

I rolled over, sat up and, trying to fight back tears, raised Voldemort and snapped a picture.
Then another.
And another.

Whew!!!

Camera is okay.
I have a bruise on my chest where the top of the camera embedded itself.
It’s not cute or sexy and it hurts like a m-f’er.
But, since Voldemort is fine, I am a-ok with the bruise.

What I have learned though is this…
Should I fall down in the chicken yard and not be able to get up, for any reason whatsoever, I will be eaten by a bunch of feathered assholes.
Just look…

“Oh, hey…you okay? Don’t need anything do you? Like maybe your eyes pecked out??”

And then this one noticed…

Wouldn’t be a shame if *we* ate *you*?

And all I could do was sit there and laugh as more and more of the hens in the yard noticed me sitting there…as they came running over with their funny runs, and ultimate disappointment when they realized I had no food for them…not even me.
😂😂😂

December Already…

You wouldn’t know it, looking out my window.
It’s sunny and cool, there’s not much snow, and today is Rooster Rehab day.
I’m grateful for the nice weather.
Not only because I can take out more roosters from the flock, but because I’m just happy for nice days.
We don’t get a lot of those right now.
So I’m trying to find a bit of peace and happiness wherever I can.
Plus this nicer weather means The Merry Mares aren’t gobbling through the winter hay supply like it’s endless.
😂😂😂

Last week we butchered 3 of the turkey boys.
Welp, Narragansetts win for flavor!
Holy. Moly.
This ain’t your grocery store bird, lemme tell ya!
So we’re pretty okay with our breeding flock, now more than ever.
I still plan to raise some whites, but now it’s just to prove I can.
Not that I’m stubborn or anything.
😂😂😂

Aside from running the Rehab today, there’s not much new here.
We’re still plugging along, watching the world burn around us, trying not to get caught up in it.
Egg sales have finally caught up, and I’m making some of Alton Brown’s aged eggnog this weekend.
At least I’ll have that to sip while the world continues to lose it’s collective mind.

Here’s a picture of Astrid in the early morning light, just to make you smile. 🙂