Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not a Creature Was Stirring... Except for the POSSUM!

I hope everyone out there had a merry Christmas... we did. And to commemorate the occasion we took a "family portrait" by the tree.... complete with Rambo! Of COURSE we had to have a chicken in it! Come on now... who are you talking to here? :)

ANYWAY! I haven't written in a little while, so I have some catching up to do! After what happened last night I really have something to write about!

Last night around 11:00 I was standing out by the back door having a late night smoke in the thunderstorm that had just rolled in. It was raining pretty hard, but it was surprisingly warm out there. All of a sudden I heard a ruckus coming from the coop. The roosters in the bachelor pen were making scared noises. I ran out back (as fast as I could through the mud in my boyfriends ginormous shoes) and shined my flashlight into the pen. There on top of the hut was a HUGE POSSUM!! I hurried as fast as I could back to the house and told my MIL what was going on and to get the gun. I grabbed my little .22 pistol and my .22 rifle, she grabbed her revolver. (You'd think we were going to fight a war or something). We hurried back down there and I tried to balance my flashlight (which was really a little LED clip on book light - but it was the only light I had with good batteries!) and tried to shoot the damn thing. I unloaded my .22 pistol on him - I hit him, but I couldn't get a head shot so he was just getting pissed off. Then I grabbed the revolver and tried again. It was really hard to see so again, I missed his head. The darn thing only had 3 bullets in it... so I moved on to my rifle. FINALLY I got a shot to his head and he started dying in earnest. It seemed like it took forever to do this and my hands were shaking. This is the first thing I've shot other than targets. I don't feel bad though. Napoleons little brother was found dead a few weeks ago and I think this was the culprit. The ironic thing is, the boys pen is the only one that still has netting over it... I guess that's only good to keep the hawks out!


In other news I had built a new rabbit hutch to hold the boys and to accommodate whatever future breeders we decide to keep. It came out nicely! I'll post pictures soon. I found some old wooden doors someone was giving away in the front yard of an old house that was being refurbished. They made really nice sides to the hutch. I even used some old tin sheeting to made a poop-slide so I could eventually put some grow out cages in a lower level beneath the upper breeder cages.

Right now the three boy bunnies are in it growing up. They are just about 12 weeks old now and I think their time has come. We are keeping the one female to breed next year (I named her Joplin because Chastity just wouldn't have worked with her job description), but the boys really don't have a use other than as meat. It's sad... they are really sweet, but that's why I "made" them so I need to just toughen up and take care of business.

My neighbor shot a nice doe last week and saved me the hide - so I'm trying to tan it myself. With the weather the way it's been and with my not being able to keep the hide inside I'm not sure how well it will come out. It's in the back near the coop with a makeshift tin roof over it. It might not make it... but I want to try!

Well, I'm still coming down from the adrenaline... that bastard (excuse me) possum killed one of my boys... I try to show respect for animals, especially in death... but I just wish this one had minded his own business and gone and raided someones garbage can like a good self respecting possum. Leave my chickens alone!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Completely Silly

I'm away from my "farm" and I really miss them!  I must... I took the time to create this silliness in their honor...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Transporting Eggs In Your Suitcase

The Mighty Adventurer

Yeah, I did! I am visiting my parents back home and wanted to bring them some "real" eggs... but with all the restrictions on what you can bring on an airplane I was a little nervous. I called the airline and was told that I wasn't allowed to bring the eggs in my carry-on... but I could in my checked luggage! (What, are these eggs or hand grenades?!?) Anyway, just to be on the safe side I overpacked... I brought 4 dozen eggs in egg cartons (I have soft-sided suitcase!). Each egg carton was wrapped in papertowels then taped into it's own garbage bag. Then I nestled them nicely into my clothes and PRAYED!

Guess what? ONLY 5 BROKE!! Crazy right? Oh, and paper/cardboard cartons hold up better in cargo holds than the foam ones. All of the eggs that broke were in foam egg cartons.

The luggage inspectors must have thought I was mental!! :)

Since I didn't have any farm-ish pictures to share... I decided to share a picture of me in the Nanook of the North early Christmas present my mom got me :) I LOVE IT!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Slightly OT... But fun!

I hope everyone had a GREAT turkey day! We had a blast. Our good friend Courtney came over and then treated us to an off-Broadway show at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. We saw Spam-a-lot. It was GREAT! I love Monty Python!
One of the BEST parts of the show was this...

(I didn't take this video, it was the only one I could find! SORRY!)

Then of course I wanted to BUY one of the rabbits... but the prices were OUTRAGEOUS! I think I'll wait until they hit eBay!


Monday, November 24, 2008


Check out all of the eggs we have... YIKES! I got a book with 200 egg recipes the other day and we need to start cooking! Once all of the chickens start laying consistenly we will be posting a sign near the road offering eggs for sale and a local organic market will be buying them from me for resale.

The scary thing is, the Americaunas just started laying today... and most of our hens are Americaunas! That means only about 12 of the 30-40 hens are laying now. When they all start laying we'll be buried!!

This basket has about 6 dozen eggs in it!
Aren't they pretty?
We got our first blue and our first green egg today.

Look at the MASSIVE ones to the right!!! One of our girls lays a double yolker every day... and they are HUGE!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quick Update!

Yesterday we got 6 eggs! Neat huh? They were all brown and I am pretty sure that they are all from our Black Sex Link hens... which is weird because they are from the second batch of chicks! This morning I did pick up one white egg which is either from the Brown Leghorns or one of the Silkies... Whoever it was it surprised them because it was on the floor :) One of the Sex Links is a double yolker! We've already gotten 3 HUGE eggs from her (not to mention the normal sized eggs she's produced)! Not bad for such a young girl!

Today I'm starting on my new rabbit hutch. Since we are keeping two girls from this litter and plan on buying a Californian buck we need more space. I lucked out though and saw some free doors on the side of the road. They are those great old solid oak doors and will make EXCELLENT walls! I'm going to try to make this hutch a "double decker" with "poop slides" under the upper floor. The bottom floor will probably be 2 large cages that we can use to raise the babies until they reach 10 weeks. I am big into recycling materials, so a lot of this hutch is going to be made out of "found" items. It's more fun building this way! It makes you think! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sadness :(

Last time I posted I mentioned that one of the baby bunnies had died. Well three days ago I found another one, not dead, but partially paralyzed!! I had noticed that they were jumping up onto the door that separated the two sections to sit with their mother. I think they both fell off! I found the first dead baby right under the door, but at that time I didn't know they could get up there!

So the other day I removed the door, and today I wired the hole up, so now Cher and her remaining 4 babies are locked into the larger side of the cage. Today I also ended the little paralyzed ones suffering. I was hoping that the paralysis was caused by inflammation and would go away, but it didn't, and I couldn't bear to see him suffer.

So, we're down to four out of six. Sigh... all I can say is live and learn. Hopefully someone will read this before building a cage and not try to get fancy like I did.

Don't Do This!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bunnies at 3 Weeks Old

I weighed the whole litter today and can you believe they are 5lbs? Not each, don't get too excited... but that's almost a pound each! Not bad!
After I finished my torture session (handling, weighing, checking them out) I put them back in their hutch and walked over to the chickens... I glanced back and saw this...
Three of them are very brave and are hopping all around, pestering their mother, EATING FOOD and DRINKING WATER. I can't believe how fast they mature!
Dad, Mom and Baby
The chickens are enjoying new heights now that the netting is off... Now they can reach all those nice tasty leaves they couldn't get to before!
On a sad note, today (Sunday) I found one of the baby bunnies dead in the hutch. His little bum was all pasted up, it looked like he had some diareah (despite not getting any greens or other strange food)... Maybe he couldn't handle the diet change. I had noticed the other day, when I weighed them, that one of them looked a little smaller and his eyes were a little squinty. I bet it was that one. Poor little guy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


We had our first big snow last night and I found a really good reason NOT to use bird netting over the top of the run...
I went to check on the roosters in their little house (it was about 10:00AM) and they were still in there! I threw them some cracked corn and checked on them a few more times. They didn't come out all day!The hens were all locked up until I was able to get all of that heavy wet netting removed... Then I opened the pop-hole expecting them to charge out like they always do. There was a massive rush to the door (per usual) but then a big traffic jam. They would NOT go out! They did eat a little of the snow though... after an hour of looking at it.

Our hens are really starting to lay! This one settled in to 4 different nest boxes before she left a HUGE egg... I mean it was MASSIVE. I picked it up and it reminded me of a duck egg. Not bad for her first! (Oh, and if you're wondering about the wall art... its a recycled doll house! They LOVE IT!)
I cheated a little here... this is her egg compared with a silkie egg (which are small) But seriously, this egg had some WEIGHT!
One last funny note. I was wondering why Blueberry hadn't laid any more eggs... Well I found out this morning. Underneath one of the banks of nest boxes there is a "floorboard" I put in to keep them from laying under there. This morning I heard someone in there rustling around. At first I thought it was a big mouse, then I heard a cluck. I pried the board away and there was Blueberry... sitting on 3 eggs and ready to lay another one!! Good thing I caught her! I REALLY don't want chicks in December!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our First Egg (From our chicks) and Bunnies at 2 Weeks!

Yesterday one of our black sex link pullets (who we call Blueberry) was clucking up a storm in the coop, digging around in one of the nest boxes and tucking the fake eggs underneath her. We KNEW she was getting ready to lay an egg, she just was taking her own sweet time... I checked on her all day until it was dark... nothing! But this morning, on the floor, was this nice little pale brown egg! HOORAY! This is the first egg from a hen we've raised from a chick.
The bunnies are 2 weeks old today. Their eyes are open and they are getting HUGE! They are so adorable. Because they've grown so much I had a much easier time counting them. There are 6. They should be coming out of the nest box soon. Cher has been an EXCELLENT mom!

My MIL and I went out to the hutch and she wanted to hold one. She was trying to see if it was a girl or a boy.. I said "Don't aim that end at your face!" and POW the little guy peed on her. She hurried up and put him back in the box. I said "You should have held on to that one... he's empty!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just a Quick Update!

I just HAD to tell you all that I checked on the baby bunnies today and their eyes are open! They are SO CUTE! I'll take pictures when they are 2 weeks old... I can't BELIEVE how fast they're growing! We are planning on getting a Californian buck soon.. we're going to name him "The Big Kahuna"

Oh, and our little Clara has laid a tiny egg for us every day since we brought her home. She goes in the little love shack and cackles up a storm. She's so PROUD of herself! Too cute!

Anyway... I'll post pictures on Friday of the bunnies.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Bunnies are One Week Old Today!

The bunnies are getting HUGE! I had a little scare yesterday... I noticed that the mother rabbit was sitting up on the open partition door and using it as a toilet (YUCK!) so I decided to close it and shut her into the side where her babies are. Well, she was NOT happy! While I was elsewhere, she dug and dug at the bottom of the door and was able to rip the bottom mesh away from the wood. When I came back to check on her she was hopping around the yard! I caught her and closed her into the secure section of the cage until I fixed the bottom. I got my hammer and fence staples and started fixing it (by climbing under the hutch). While I was under there I saw one of the babies lying in the grass! He was still alive (but very cold and a little blue!). I stuck him right back in the nest box - he's still in there and is doing fine! I think he latched on to her while he was nursing and was dragged out of the nest-box - then he fell out of the hole she had ripped in the floor. *SIGH!* Needless to say I've reinforced the floor and have decided to let her have her elevated bathroom - for now. Once the babies are gone she's in for a shock though!! If all goes well with this litter I think we'll be getting another female, so I'll have to close that door. I'll need the space!

Anyway! They are just a week old today and have doubled in size! It's amazing! They are SO wiggly now I had a really hard time getting a picture!

In other news, I've let the bachelors out to roam the yard. They are having a BLAST destroying our gardens and eating the grass. They are sticking around and seem to be REALLY enjoying themselves!!
This was a nicely mulched flower bed...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We got a new hen today!

Yesterday my MIL and I stopped at a house in town that had a "Fresh Eggs" sign in their yard. When we pulled in we saw a big flock of Rhode Island Reds and in the back there was another flock of silkies with about 10 babies! We got to talking to the woman and she said that they had bought 3 silkies from a local Amish woman and they had bred like CRAZY. She asked if we wanted one for FREE and OF COURSE we said yes! So, this morning I came home with Clara, one of the original Amish hens who is named after the Amish woman who used to own her. She is also the mom of all of the chicks... so she'll be very useful next year if we want to hatch any of our own eggs. Right now Clara is living with Pani, Fluffernutter (who might also be a girl) and Capone, the little black bantam cochin roo. Oh, we also bought a dozen eggs from the woman (who was really nice)... for $1.50!!! Here are some pics!

Fluffernutter and Clara
A really cute pic of SplashEver see a green chicken??