Some People’s Chickens πŸ™„

When your chickens are assholes and insist on hiding eggs even though it’s below 0*c and they just freeze and will never ever hatch…

Why, you asshole birds??

You end up with a cup of frozen eggs that will become scrambled eggs for those asshole chickens’ breakfast.
*sigh*
I just answered my own question of why…because them assholes love scrambled eggs.
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Wordless Wednesday for November 6th, 2019

One of my Original18 hatch…
One of the few that didn’t eaten by pigs.
One of the few hens.
She’s a pretty little thing, that’s for sure!
πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Wordless Wednesday.

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Things That Got Done This Past Weekend

You know the saying…
Winter is coming.
Which means we have to prepare.
It’s not just about food on the shelves, and meat in the freezer.
It’s also making sure we have feed for the animals and prepping for next spring’s new beginnings.

Hay!!

Our hay was delivered on Saturday.
Hubby stashed a few bales in the garage, so that come March, if we don’t need them, they stay there ’til next year.
Hay is never, ever wasted here!
Who knew that dried grass could be, would be, such a precious commodity!
When I think of all the times I cut mine in the city, with no thought about *what* I could have been feeding it to…
I could have easily fed a nice little backyard rabbits for meat colony off my city lawn…and no one would have been the wiser about us raising meat in the city.
No worries about that now though…

With hay, came my 4 small straw bales to go in this:

chick brooder

It’s out and ready for renovations…it’s just too tall, the door too small, and really, really heavy overall.
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Hubby’s gonna cut it down in height…prolly to just under the window.
That way it’s a step in as needed but can mostly just reach in to feed and water chicks.
Because in spring, chicks is coming.
Meat chicks, and hatched chicks.
I’ve got my eye on the 2nd incubator, so we’ll have 2 running at once for more chicks.
And then I need a 2nd brooder box for ducklings.
I plan on ordering 10 pekin ducks when we order our meat chicks.
I’m still hopeful that the muscovies will actually produce chicks for us come spring, but if they don’t I want a back up plan for ducks.
We’ve found we really enjoy duck meat and I refuse to buy it, unless I’m buying from another small farmer like us.

Anyways, after Hubby renos the brooder, it’s going in the Little Red Shed…which needs to have the holes in the side and roof fixed and ridge cap put on before winter…soooooo fingers crossed we can get that done, or moving the brooder in there will be a colossal waste of time.
:/

But we got this done…

tarp on the garden…

I was given a bunch of starting to breakdown flax straw bales, so I spread them out under the tarp, on top of the weeds, to rot and compost…it’s a soil building thing. πŸ˜‰
The tarp will stay until shortly before planting time is to begin.
Then it’ll be replaced with some thick ground cloth, which I’ll plant through and mulch over top.

closed up the compost bins…

So those compost bins…
Got them from a friend when she moved.
I had them in the city myself and left them for the new owners…who then got rid of them. πŸ™„
I shoulda brought them out here.
But this fall, we discovered those bins make *amazing* poultry houses.
Yup, when the ducks were in the garden working on weed control, they overnighted in the compost bins.
It was awesome!
Now they’re closed up for use as actual compost bins.
And I’m on the lookout for anyone getting rid of more of them.
I can’t believe how well they worked as poultry houses!

So that was a bunch of things off the “Winter is Coming” list…
Plus I made english muffins, fed the chickens a bunch of scrambled eggs and slept. As much as I could. lol

And finally, a picture of Astrid…

Astrid

Our Little Red who thinks she should eat eggs.
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Why?
Well, because the chickens have been sneaking into the horse shelter and laying them in there.
That *must* mean the eggs are there for her to eat, right?
Astrid thinks my rules against horses eating eggs is bullshit.
She likes eggs and she wants to keep eating them.
I says “You leave them damn eggs alone, you damn horse!”
All while laughing my ass off…
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Lemon Chicken

Around here, all the animals have jobs.
If you’re a hen, you lay eggs…or you hatch eggs layed by others.
Ducks, same thing.
Eggs, either for eating or hatching.

Horses…well, they don’t do much other than eat, shit and be pretty, so modeling is their biggest job.
When Food Lady says it’s time to work for the camera, they darn well better work for the camera.
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Yesterday, The Kid and I made Lemon Chicken work for the camera.
She’s just back into laying after molting and to make up for her lacking egg production the past few weeks, we put her in a pumpkin for Hallowe’en.

Hey whoa, whatchoo doing to me???

Yeah okay, I can sit here…

lol wut?
My pumpkin now, bitches.

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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Back Again

Well, that was a long 7 days.
A lot of work was done.
Freezers are nicely filled…with some room yet for a deer. πŸ˜‰

We put down the 3 pigs all at once.
We didn’t have much choice, because the second the first one went down, the other 2 were on her, trying to eat her.
Pigs is assholes.

So the other 2 were shot right there.
Because it wouldn’t have been safe to go into the yard to try and take out the first one, and we didn’t raise them for 2 to eat one.

From there, it’s been a bit of a blur of butchering, dishes, showering, laundry, sleeping and getting up early to do it all over again.
It was a crazy lot of work.
Today I’m finishing up with canning pork soup.

The final break down looks like this…

George weighed a whopping 265lbs live weight.
For a 7 month old pig, that’s amazing.
I can only imagine how big he might have gotten if he’d gone over the year mark!

Jinger was 181lbs live weight.
Sophie was 176lbs live weight.

Biggest pigs we’ve ever raised.
Weights were determined using the heart girth/length measurements, so they are, of course estimates.
Only way to know 100% what they weighed is to scale them.
We didn’t have that option, so weights are within 5%, based on the online calculator I used.

Heads, feet and offal went to a friend of Hubby’s.
He was very happy with getting those parts.
We were very happy to give them.
They’re parts I don’t use.
Normally they would be dog treats, but, I’d rather give them to people who would use them instead. So when Hubby told me he knew someone who would use them, I was happy to let them go. πŸ™‚

All trimmings went to the chickens and ducks.
After the pigs ate as many chickens as they did, we figured turnabout was fair play.
And poultry ain’t vegetarians, no matter what the marketing hype might try to tell us.

Fat was saved for a local soap maker.
I would have kept it for myself, but I still have lard from other years that I haven’t gotten to using.
Plus I have deer tallow from last year for whenever I get my ass into gear and make soap. lol

Fat, trimmings, feet etc. are not included in the final tallies.

Final tallies look like this…

Total take home weight of meat put into the freezer was 304.32 lbs.
A whopping 66.46 lbs was bellies! That translates into a whole lot of bacon…once I get to brining and smoking.
52.36 lbs of ground. Some of that will become sausages. Some will be made into yummy spring rolls. Most will stay as burger…because we enjoy ground meats.
28.74 lbs of boneless loin chops.
47.51 lbs of chops, both bone in a boneless…can you say “hello bbq!”
Then there were the tenderloins, various roasts/hams, stew chunks (which I canned yesterday for using as quick pulled pork) and soup pieces.

Not included in the final weight were bones used for soup stock/bone broth.
That was another 8ish lbs.

We paid $270 for the 3 piglets.
We used $558 worth of barley/wheat feed.
Plus they ate garden scraps, excess milk/left over coffee, wine making fruit scraps, weeds, grasses, hay, straw and rooted around their entire yard.
The hay and straw were left overs from last year’s horse supply. Things that could not be given to The Merry Mares, but made pigs oh so very happy.
The cost of the barley/wheat feed is high.
But, we feed the same feed to the chickens, and instead of (properly) tracking how much went to the bird bin and how much went to the pig bin, I just kept track of the total amount purchased.
Lesson for next time, track how much feed goes in what bins. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

So, expenses wise (not including the chickens they ate…assholes) was $828.
We brought them home May 27th.
They went to Freezer Camp 18th.
9 days shy of being here 5 full months.
Our total cost per pound of meat in the freezer is $2.72/lb.
Not too shabby.

Now for next year?
No pigs.
I’m in need of a year off of them, like I said before.
Next year we’re hoping to do a steer.
And I’ll be pushing my poultry growing program.
Probably invest in a 2nd incubator, and I’m looking for a new drake for my duck hens.
Donald seems to be infertile.
Out of 2 nests sat on, and an incubator full of eggs, *nothing* hatched.
Muscovies are supposed to be very prolific breeders, and hens excellent mothers.
Welp, the girls tried, but the eggs all rotted.
I figure that means my boy is the issue.
So, we’ll replace him…hopefully before the snow flies to stay, so that in the spring the new guy can get right to work.
And the pig yard from this year will be turned into the duck yard for next year…and likely beyond.
For the next time we have pigs, we plan to build a different yard, with a new set up.
Something that shouldn’t allow chickens, ducks or cats to go into the yard.

In a month or so I’ll make the bacon. And the sausages.
But for now, with soup almost done, I’m taking a few days off of winter food prep.
Still have to tarp the garden for the winter.
And have to get hay home for The Merry Mares.
Then, deer season.
Once that’s done, we have to cull roosters for winter.
And finally, I can rest.
For a minute or 2 before the next thing comes along.
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(after the last week, I sure could use coffee!!)
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Random Chicken Picture

Today is Friday the 13th.
Tonight is the full moon.
It’s also the Harvest Moon.

I am hoping that it’s nice enough tonight that I can get out and take some pictures of the moon.
Weather network tells me it’s supposed to be clear, so fingers crossed!

In the meantime, here’s a random chicken picture.

They’re both from my first ever hatching.
White one is a rooster. Handsome devil, but not likely to stay in the breeding program.
The other one, well, not sure if that’s the hen or the roo…we’ve got a few with colours like that.
I still haven’t decided which rooster I plan on keeping out of the 2 hatches.
We easily have enough hens for 2 boys, so we’ll keep a 2nd for extra hatching eggs come spring.
Next Fall, we’ll look for new blood and swap out at least one of the boys.
Or, sometime during hatching season, I’ll buy some eggs from someone and hatch out with hopes of getting a new rooster.

We’ll see when the time comes.

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Good Morning!!

It’s been a crazy week again.

Finally finished canning that 300lbs of tomatoes.
With a final count of:

39 quarts whole tomatoes
19 quarts basic tomato sauce
78 pints basic tomato sauce
13 pints pizza sauce
11 half pints pizza sauce
and
4 1/2 gallons tomato juice (to add to green tomato wine)
2 lbs of skins to dehydrate

Plus roughly 4 ice cream pails (gallon sized) of seeds and skins that the pigs loved.

It’s been a big push to get it all done before anything started to go bad.
But now it’s done and on the shelf. Yay!
I think we should be ok for tomato products this winter…though I bet we’ll run out of pizza sauce first.
Just a feeling I have. πŸ˜‰

Next up, apples!

Our odyssey apple tree gave us some big, beautiful apples this year.
Not many…by the time the wind was done, and I had a couple to taste test, we had 8 apples left.
But still. That was our first on Farm grown apples and they were sooooo good! πŸ™‚

Since we didn’t have enough for a batch of wine, I put out a call on Facebook for anyone who has a tree, but isn’t going to use the apples, to let us come pick.
Well, friend of a friend got a hold of me and told me she’ll pick out her tree for a couple bottles of wine in return.
DONE!!
So now I’ve got 50ish lbs of apples to process and start a batch of wine with.
Last year’s apple wine was **amazing** so I’m hoping to replicate that this year.

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Yesterday life changed for the remaining birds from the original hatch of 18.
We kicked them out of the coop they were living in.
They’ve been running with the bigger chickens all day for the past few weeks. It was time to get them integrated into the main coop for overnights as well. So when we let them out yesterday, we closed thier coop back up so they couldn’t go to bed there last night.
When we went to put everyone to bed, we found this clump of chickens, with their protective brown duck mama, cuddled up in a corner under a shade over hang.
*Not* a safe place to spend the night, for sure!
So we had to pick everyone up and take them to the main coop and put them in for the night.
The whole time the brown duck mama was kvetching at Hubby for stealing her “babies”.
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This morning, when we opened them up, those poor little chickens didn’t want to come out.
Everyone else, the layers, the rooster, the ducks, they all come boiling out like crazed wasps to get the to food…not these guys. They were so unsure of coming out. lol
They’ll get it. It’s just going to take a day or two.

So now, the 2nd hatch 17 are in the meat chicken house, with more space and a small yard for them to enjoy.
They’ll stay there for a couple of weeks before we let them run free with all the bigger chickens.
And then we’ll integrate them into the main coop too.
By the time Fall hits hard and stays, we’ll know better who’s a hen, and who’s a rooster.
We’re planning on keeping 1 rooster to go with The Highlander, and the rest, well, they’ll go to Sausage Maker’s Camp.

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Finally, I did manage to get out at sunrise and take some new pics of the horses.
And this adorable one of my photography helper, MaxCat:


Have a great week folks, and if you liked this post, or any other, feel free to buy me a coffee!