Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A lot can happen

in eight months. 8 months! Wow!

Well, since the last post showed those adorable little fluff balls, let's see what's going on with them now...

Late last summer Stephanie, Kent and I carried chickens from their brooder to their chicken tractor in the yard.
Steph is a pro-wrangler - she's got a trio of cacklers there

13 went to live with Kathy at her house - that left 32 chickens and while the weather is nice the tractor does a fine job as a home base. But when the weather becomes inclement, we knew we needed a more substantial shelter for them.

Enter my amazing husband and his ability to plan and execute most anything he can dream up. This is a 10' x 12' building with two windows, clear panels in the roof to let in natural light, electric light inside and a switch to run a heat lamp when necessary. It's like the Ritz-Carlton of chicken accommodations.

Let's open the door and see what those fluffballs look like these days. Hey, there's Foghorn!

There are six nest boxes on one side of the building. Nice and cozy, with plenty of privacy.

But I can lift the roof to retrieve eggs or when it's time to clean them out. I actually designed and helped build the nest boxes. They are probably more substantial than necessary but I really got into the project.
And we can see that they use them to lay eggs. And ping pong balls. Actually, I put the balls in there when the boxes were new to the chickens to give them the idea of what they were for. It seems to have worked. We rarely get eggs laid anywhere else these days.

Hey ladies, what do you think of all this luxury?

They are the happiest chickens I have ever witnessed. You can tell how content they are by spending even a short time with them. They are healthy, curious, non-agressive

And productive.
Because what do happy chickens do? They lay eggs.

Lots of eggs.

Just. so. many. eggs.

So now I am on the quest to find the best ways to preserve eggs for when the ladies stop laying. Although we are getting 19-22 a day right now, eventually they will molt and we will remember these days with fondness. I'm pursuing two preservation techniques - 1. drying raw eggs and powdering them for baking and scrambling and 2. using waterglass (sodium silicate) to store whole eggs for frying and when whites are needed.

Oh, and I'm selling them. $2.50 a dozen. Let me know how many you want.


Brenda said...

Your ladies (Sorry Foghorn!) look like Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpingtons, is that what they are? Those are the kind of chickens we raise. Our girls are getting pretty old, they're almost 5 now.Egg production has slowed way down, but they're starting to lay more now that the days are warming up. Nice chicken coop you got there, I really like your nest box.
Have a great day.

Kristine said...

Hi Brenda,
Yes, they are mostly Buff Orpingtons with a few renegade Reds from my niece and some mutts that hatched out here on the homestead. The Orps were just 7 months on February 1 so they are just beginning their prime of laying. Nice to know your 5 year olds still produce. I hope to have these ladies propogate their own replacements over time. We've had fairly good success so far letting broody hens sit their clutch. I've had many kinds of chickens but these Buffs now are right at the top of my favorites along with Speckled Sussex. Very good personalities and a hearty breed.


Hello Sweetpea!!!
Sooo glad you sent me the blog invite! I will be very interested to see what you discover about preserving eggs. I thought I had read somewhere that they can be frozen if you put a small pin prick in the yolk once they've been cracked into an ice cube tray. I would be more than willing to drive down your way on a regular basis for farm fresh eggs, I'm always up for a road trip! :) (We go through alot of eggs, actually just me not we.) Excited for your new kitchen addition, trying not to turn an ugly shade of "envy"! Looking forward to your posts! Tell the rest of the fam I said hello, God bless all of you. :)

Kristine said...

Carol! So glad you visited. Would love to see yourself for reals. I confess my quilt top isn't done. And now I've got a wedding dress to make. I haven't given up hope, though. I'll pass your greetings on.
Hugs, Kristine

Rae said...

Kristine- This is a technique I've used to freeze 1.5 dozen in a bag for future breakfast burritos. From StillTasty.com:
To freeze whole eggs: (1) Remove eggs from their shells; (2) Pierce yolks and gently mix in 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every one coup of raw eggs (if using eggs for main dishes) or 1 tablespoon of sugar (if using for baking or desserts); (3) Place in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and freeze.

Just don't forget the salt, otherwise the eggs are a weird, slushy texture when they defrost.
Miss you!


Kristine said...

Thanks, Rae. I'll keep that in mind. I've frozen eggs in muffin tins, as well, for individual fried eggs and recipe use, but the texture did leave something to be desired. Mostly I'm trying to avoid the freezer because we need room for a cow in there with the pigs and chickens.