Sunday, September 28, 2008

What's Happening Lately

Kevin can't understand why the turkeys keep coming onto the porch. He really, really, really hates it when they get up there cause they leave a really big mess everywhere.

Look at this bold turkey, he's not afraid at all.

What could be causing him to come up here????

He's coming right up to the door!

Shhhhhh...Don't tell :)

Here's mama chicken and her chickies.

Here's a closer look at the chickies, really cute. There is a movie below of them and the turkeys. There is also one with Flipper, Buddy and the chickens munching on some apples that have fallen to the ground.

Red is saying "Pick me up, pick me up!"

"Pick me up, pick me up, please."

"Come on, please, what is wrong with you, put that down camera."

Til next time,


Friday, September 12, 2008

Plucking Fools!

Before I get to the plucking, let's see what is new here. First of all I made the girls some new nesting boxes. I really liked the reach-through old ones but they kept laying outside in the bales of hay and anywhere else they found so I thought I'd build them something irresistible. So far so good, the Auracanas have stopped laying in the triangle and are now using these.

I built them out of crates we had around. First, because I had to build them myself cause Kevin was out brush hogging, I needed an easy way to affix them to the wall.

I saw these metal horse bucket holders laying around the barn. They were strong and already had holes them so I flipped them over sawed a two foot piece piece of plywood and laid it over them and voila, instant super strong platform to hold the boxes. Then, I screwed them to the wall and put a small piece of wood in the front to hold the straw and eggs in and then added a little strip for them to grab on to when they jump up. Then, with the piece leftover from the base I turned it so the letters were up, cause it looked funny, (the wood that I used was off a crate that was delivered to work) and screwed it above the boxes so they wouldn't roost on top and get everything all messy. Luckily, Kevin came in right then and held it for me at the perfect slant so I screw it in. Ahhhh, don't you love how the colors start to look in the fall?

Here is one of my new Maran hens that was given to us recently.

It's a bad picture but the eggs will be really dark like the one in the center.

Here is the current production we are having. I did not think the turkeys would start laying again, this late in the year. They just recently stopped being broody. We are getting a couple every day. I just sold a dozen to one of our customers. He loves how big they are. I also put some in an apple cake that I made today. It has a carmel glaze, yummy.
Here is another picture of the mama turkey. They are roosting in the crab apple tree. They get out of the fence almost every day and we have to run them back in. I don't think we will let them hatch their own next year, they are too wild and the babies are too. I have been working with them everyday, hand feeding them but they are still really stand-offish.

Check her out. She is one scary mama! A few days ago she finally hatched out her clutch of eggs. At first I was relieved cause there were only three or four babies. Well...not now, there is a grand total of 10! Exactly not what we need with winter coming. We are currently trying to cut our flock back, it is really hard to get rid of even one or two of my birds and now we have 10 more. Of course, they are all black, I guess Dominick's color comes through really strong.

At one point I had a really nice acorn squash plant (that is what it ended up being, Mike) it was huge and producing like mad. I had a fence around it but it quickly outgrew it and was growing wildly.
Here is what happens when a very large Narri tom turkey gets done clomping and pecking through it.

Yikes, what happened!

I am going to put the fence back up tomorrow!

This little turkey already thinks he's tough stuff! I think he needs to go visit my friend Eileen. And a couple of his co-horts too.

OK, back to the business of chickens and plucking

I was in charge of making the pattern for the killing cones. I copied it from this wonderfully well written book! Everything you need to know to be successful with processing your own chickens is either in this book or on his website.

Here is the page with the diagram and instructions for the cones.

But before getting started I needed some fortifying grub, so I had this jar of the best cherry jelly that I had gotten in Amish Country and popped two pieces of bread in the toaster and soon I was ready.

Yummmm. One of my all time favorites. Then I was ready, actually, now that I think about it, I was stuffed and felt kinda yucky. Should have stopped at one piece.
Here is my pattern all measured and drawn out.

Here is the cone. In the end they were kinda too weak. Either we should have had stronger aluminum or we just should have gotten some orange cones. We ended up having to use an orange cone because the metal ones broke. Now, you may be wondering why we had an orange cone laying around... funny story.
My friend and I were out to lunch at work and he was driving the car. Kevin didn't work that day so it was just us and i would rather concentrate on eating than driving so I asked him to drive. Well, he ordered a really nice sandwich at Burger King and ended up with the wrong thing.

He was traumatized when he bit into a whopper expecting instead a chicken sandwich. He and I were both trying to look at the sandwich to see what in the heck he had just eaten We were so intent on the sandwich that we didn't see the cones. All of sudden with a loud bang he ran over a bunch of them. He ran over them so hard that he jammed one way up under the car. The car was making so much noise that we had to pull over after we got away from the intersection and he crawled under the car, jerked the cone out and threw it into the back seat. I laughed til i cried.

Anyhooty, here is the set-up. Kevin made a frame for the sink and he put wheels on it so we could easily move it in and out of the barn.

And yes, those are wheel chair wheels. I have trying to get him to throw them out for months and he finally did throw out the wheel chair itself but would not part with the wheels because as you all know"I might need them for something"! Well, they work, kinda looks like a hot-dog cart to me though. His Dad will be proud.

Here is our chill tank, filled with ice it kept everything really cold. I'm glad you all didn't have to stick your arm two feet into that freezing water to gather up 40 chickens, it was cooooold! We could only grab a couple and then had to warm up our arms.

Our turkey fryer made a perfect scalder.

One very nicely plucked chicken. This one had a couple tail feathers left but most of the others were very cleanly plucked.

Up to my wrist in chicken guts. Actually, I was trying to get at the lungs. Next time I will get a lung scraper, it will be worth it instead of trying to dig in between the rib bones with my fingertips to get to the lungs, they're sticky little things. You can't really see in the picture but Kevin put up a screen between me and the killing cones, I couldn't watch.

Here are two lucky little meat birds. Kevin wanted to keep two of them, the one with it's head in the pan is a hen and we think the other is a rooster. We were hoping they were both hens but the one is looking like a he. He's got plans for them. I think he is hoping to get some eggs from the hen, if she lives that long. They are not known for their lifespan. He wants to cross her with Dominic. They are so friendly, and they have a lovely chirp, a little different than the layers. I've noticed that the Maran pullets that we raised have a little different sound that they make too.

I shall make every effort to post more often, I have received some comments that I wait too long but it takes something to inspire me to cause me to sit here for two hours and blog, sometimes longer when I make 50 million typos. (I had actually typed linger instead of longer, duh)

Til next time,