Tag Archives: backyardchickens

The Girls started laying eggs!

The Girls started laying eggs!

kris went out the coop at the end of the day to check on The Girls and happened to look in the nesting box and discovered they’ve started laying eggs! whooohoooo! fresh eggs!

it seems like just yesterday we were attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls.

when i lifted open the lesting box, The Girls were all “oh hey! we didn’t know it did that!”

the dudes look less like ladies!

the dudes look less like ladies!

we’ve been watching a few of the suspect roosters and it’s much more evident that probably three of our latest flock of six are probably roosters, which is a bit of drag because roosters in town are a no-no.

the prominent combs are a giveaway in addition to the fact that they are practicing cock-a-doodle-dooing.

update: a few weeks later.

we found a good home for them with someone who appreciates and can have roosters :-)

a malamute and chickens living in harmony?

a malamute and chickens living in harmony? I.

our dearly departed pushkin never gave a second thought to eating the hens, in fact, he was The Great Defender of All Members of The Pack and was known to shoo cats away who prowled around to give them trouble.

but we suspected frida, having the genetics of a very predatory malamute, might be tough to teach that the chickens were not food. so we started training her when they were chicks and while she tried super hard to be good, i wasn’t very confident that she’d be able to control herself outside when the were running around, scratching and pecking and clucking.

a malamute and chickens living in harmony? II.

they’ve been out in the chicken run surrounding the coop for afew months – which is plenty of space for them – but they’ve really been wanting to run around the yard to munch on bugs. so today i decided to let them out and see what would happen.

a malamute and chickens living in harmony? III.

while she was interested in what they were doing, i was very surprised to see her leave them alone. and even more surprised to see them walk up to her.

i’m not going to leave them along for any extended periods of time but i’m cautiously optimistic they might all live in harmony :-)

day 3557: attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls.

day 3557: attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls. I.

after we sent the last flock to a nice amish family we thought we’d get some new chickens soon but then frida came into our lives and we decided a new puppy and new chickens was a bit too much to take on at the same time.

so we decided to wait until spring had sprung knowing the down side of waiting until frida was older was it would be that much more difficult to teach her the chicks were not actually food, despite what all of her instincts were telling her.

the local tractor supply store had some chicks for sale this weekend and we thought it was as good a time as any to pick up a few and start her training.

i have to admit i was not very optimistic we’d have much success, since malamutes have a strong prey instinct. the chicks are spending their first couple of weeks in a bin on our dining room table under a heat lamp and while frida hasn’t jumped up on table, she hears their peeping and looks at me like she’s wondering when i’m going to give her a snack.

day 3557: attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls. II.

basic training at this stage involves getting frida used to the chicks by putting them next to her snout and telling her “no bites”. when she doesn’t attempt to bite, she gets a treat! odin is a big helper and after years of training knows how to make the chicks feel safe. or at least as safe as they’re going to feel when put next to the snout of a canine!

day 3557: attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls. III.

we got the chickens yesterday and when we tried the training after they first came home friday tried to chomp their heads off :-)

but today she’s doing much better and she’s really, really, really trying to overcome her instincts. her tongue is a “tell” to what she’s really like to be doing.

day 3557: attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls. IV.

after a looooooong 30 seconds or so of doing a great job of not attempting the eat the chicken, frida finally got a treat.

i think it took a lot of effort on her part.

day 3557: attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls. V.

odin is doing a tremendous job here as well, calming both the chick and frida. if he were to let the chick start flapping her wings or wiggle just a bit too much it would probably set frida into a bit of a frenzy. he’s both a dog and chicken “whisperer” :-)

day 3557: attempting to teach frida to not eat The New Girls. VI.

a super successful day of training! no harm, no foul. ahem.

i’m amazed that frida has come so far so quickly. we’ll see how she does after a few weeks when they’re running around on the floor

death cab for cutie chickens.

death cab for cutie chickens. I.

it’s fall, which means it’s time to rotate our flock of chickens which means out with the old nearly “spent” hens and in with some new girls. i didn’t write too much about the hens we got last year beyond when they started laying i think mostly because they were a lot more skittish than the prior flock of hens. i’m not exactly sure why. hi. ho. the eggs they laid were delicious!

i didn’t want to “process” them in our backyard and we already have 8 chickens in the freezer so we don’t need more for eating. what to do with them? i wandered over to our farmers market and asked one of the amish vendors if he wanted them. sure enough, he did!

odin and i wrangled them into bins, covered them up and put them in the galaxie for the short trip out to the amish farm. they knew somethign was up because they were making quite a racket!

death cab for cutie chickens. II.

here’s the blue ribbon winning blue-laced wyandotte from last year’s county fair. i didn’t bother to take a picture of the two black marans in the other bin because they would have made a run for it and they are very, very, very hard to catch. the ameraucana died recently when someone *cough* me *cough* left the coop and chicken run doors open and a predator did what predators do.

the sight of a old ford bringing chickens brought most of the amish family out and the 12 kids of various ages were quite curious about what was happening. i’m discovering the amish love to talk about old cars and i spent quite a bit of time leaning on the car chatting about motors with the dad while two boys tranferred the chickens to their crates.

we’ll get some more hens soon. we need our fresh eggs!

recipe: bacon and blue cheese breakfast tortillas.

recipe: bacon and blue cheese breakfast tortillas.

so i’m standing, staring at the fridge wondering what i can whip together and a plan slowly comes together. a wonderfully tasty plan. a plan so wonderfully tasty that i can’t believe it had never occurred to me before – BACON AND BLUE CHEESE BREAKFAST TORTILLAS!

i scrambled some fresh eggs from The Girls and started a traditional omelette, then added a bit of cooked and crumbled of organic prairie bacon and organic valley blue cheese and folded it and let it cook for a bit while steaming some sonoma organic, yellow corn tortillas until soft. for a spicy finishing touch, i added a few drops of hot sauce.

i’m not sure the picture does the amazing taste of the bacon and blue cheese breakfast tortilla justice.

it’s definitely going into regular breakfast rotation.

finally, fresh eggs from The (new) Girls!

finally, fresh eggs from The (new) Girls!

some time ago we gave away The Old Girls to a nice farm in the country. after two full years of laying they weren’t producing many eggs anymore and were old enough that they probably wouldn’t have tasted any good on the dinner table. as luck would have it, a local organic pumpkin patch was looking for friendly hens who were used to being handled by children to add to the friendly farm ambiance for their customers. a win-win for old girls!

we wanted to get some new girls that were close to laying age and got a tip that if we hung around the poultry barn at the end of the county fair we could probably pick up some 4H hens after the poultry competitions were over from kids who didn’t want to take their chickens home. so we did! and we did! we got the blue ribbon winning blue-laced wyandotte and an americauna that took second place. later, we bought two year-old black marans to round out the flock.

i haven’t taken many pictures because right after we got them they went into moult, lost a bunch of feather, stopped laying ( this is a perfectly normal seasonal process ) and looked rather pathetic.

but now after about 2 months, they’ve got their feather back and have started laying again! so we’re very, very happy to once again have a supply of super fresh, super tasty and super colorful eggs ( the americauna lays blue eggs, the black marans lay the chocolate brown eggs and the wyandotte lays regular browns ).