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Littles

May 18th, 2015

Big Ginger has been sitting on a nest of eggs for the past three weeks. I’ve been watching her for the past few days, wondering when she was going to come out with her little. Yesterday morning, when I went outside, I heard little chicken nuggets up in the duck room chirping their little hearts out.
chicken nuggets
chicken nuggets (1)
I love having mamas and littles running around the yard. Watching a mama brood her little is one of the most wonderful parts of tending chickens. There’s nothing better than watching a mama hen teach her little ones how to scratch, peck, and search for food.

Have you ever seen a mother hen and her babies running around free ranging?

The Incredible Egg

April 9th, 2015

Most mornings I have eggs for breakfast. I eat them poached, fried, scrambled, baked into frittatas, and pretty much any other way I can think to fix them. Now that all the ducks are laying I often eat an egg from each type of bird. Muscovy eggs are really big, more like goose eggs than ducks. You can see how big the yolk is on the top egg.
eggs
On the right you can see a chicken egg and on the bottom there’s an Ancona duck egg. They’re all delicious, but I will eat choose duck eggs over chicken eggs if you have them. I still haven’t eaten the turkey egg from Sunday, perhaps I’ll crack that open later this morning. I find that the different types of eggs can taste a little different and sometimes you can tell the difference between eggs from different birds.

Have you ever eaten duck/goose/turkey eggs?

Happy Easter

April 6th, 2015

I’ve been keeping an eye on my turkey hen so she didn’t end up with a nest hidden down in the woods. Yesterday I went up to the coop and there she was in a nesting box. They’re much too small for her, she could only fit in about half way. I wasn’t sure her egg would even end up in the box, but when I went back up to check in the evening it was there.
turkey egg (1)
Our very first turkey egg. Now all I need to do is get a tom for her so the eggs are fertilized. Then we can let her go broody, hatch them out, and have turkeys for Thanksgiving. She’s a heritage breed turkey, so she could mate with a wild turkey. We usually have lots of wild turkeys around, but haven’t seen any yet this spring. If we can’t get a tom we’ll buy some fertilized eggs for her to sit on when she does go broody. Hopefully she’ll hatch out a clutch and raise them up.

Anything exciting happening in your world this week?

Happy as Clams

April 2nd, 2015

All of the birds are happy as clams. As the snow recedes they immediately go to the fresh ground and start scratching away. No doubt there will be a few bare spots in the lawn where they have congregated for the past few weeks.
chickens in spring 1
Thankfully, more and more area are opening up so they can spread out a bit and kick through leaves, which they prefer to grass. They linger much longer outside now that the days are getting warmer, sunnier, and longer. I can’t close up the coop until it’s dark, even then there are often chickens outside the door trying to enjoy the last bit of daylight.
chickens in spring 2
With the spring will also come foxes and other predators. As soon as the snow melts it will be time to put up the electric fences and get them going once again. Until then the chickens will enjoy being 100% free range.
chickens in spring 3
I notice the wild birds are also out and about more. As I gather sap during the day I hear more and more birdsong. It’s a beautiful thing to hear and see animals and birds string in the wild once again.

Are you noticing more birds and wildlife as spring comes?

Barter is Better

March 19th, 2015

My chickens are laying like champs, which is really surprising. My flock consists of: three six year old hens, three four year old hens, eight three year old hens, and four ten month old hens. Most days I’ve been getting between 12-17 eggs. My flock of anconas are just starting to lay as well. I have four ten month old hens and I’m getting 2-3 eggs from them each day.
eggs for barter
As a result of all this laying I’m overrun with eggs. Last week I sold/bartered five dozen, this week I did once again. Somehow I still have 7 dozen eggs in my pantry. We eat four-six for breakfast each day and Tara gets 2-3 daily as well. Pretty soon I’ll have to find a few more egg customers because these chickens just keep laying! The best thing is that most of my eggs are bartered. I trade them for raw milk and cedar lumber. Not a bad deal for either party!

Do you ever barter?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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