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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our rebellious chickens

I never thought that reporting we finally got rain yesterday, would be blog worthy but it is!  We have barely had a sprinkle of rain for weeks.  Our garden has dried up and died.  Flowers that did bloom were withering.  Even the leaves on many trees were shriveling up.  Temperatures in the 90s, blazing sun, and no rain is not a good combination.  But finally ... finally ... late in the afternoon yesterday, it poured.  And it rained all night long.

Solomon had so much fun playing in the rain:

I never thought I would say how much I enjoy having chickens around, but I do.  I hate their mess on the front porch (they love to come up and share the dogs water, in spite of having their own watering stations scattered around the yard).  But other than that, I find them so funny and of course love their daily gifts of eggs.

The chickens we bought this spring are almost all grown up and should start laying eggs in about two more months.  I think they are nearing the end of their teen age time and are young adults.  ;)

We recently had a spell however, where there were no "daily gifts of eggs" to be found!  Other than 2 or 3 chickens, the rest were refusing to use their nesting boxes to lay in.  In fact, the main use the nesting boxes were getting was at night time for sleeping in.  Some of our chickens prefer to be in the boxes to sleep, but the others perch on the ladder in the coop, or on the table in there.

There must be something charismatic about our hen Roger Williams - every night 2 or 3 of the younger hens - ones of similar colors - insist on sleeping in the same nesting box as her.  (Of course this cracks Tabby and I up.  The real Roger Williams was the founder of Rhode Island and he was always accusing others as being heretics.  So we joke that the young chickens are part of his latest little Christian circle and live with him in R.I.)  (Ok - and why is a HEN named "Roger Williams?"  Tabby names the birds whatever she is interested in or learning about at that time.)

So for several days, Tabby was only finding a few eggs in the coop to collect.  I was getting worried!  I like having an abundant supply of eggs!  And Tabby has been selling a couple dozen eggs a week and needed them.  So we decided the hens needed some retraining.

Instead of letting them out of their coop first thing in the morning, she made them stay in there until they had laid their golden eggs.  Only the "teenager" chickens were let out.  That gave us our egg supply back.  We did this for a few days.  But then we hit a couple days were temperatures were close to 100 degrees.  Even though the coop has windows, it was still too hot to "coop" them up in the "coop."  So we had to let them out.

At this point, more were laying in the coop, but not all.  (For whatever reason, our Ameraucanas have never liked to lay in the nesting boxes very consistently, which is a shame because I wanted that breed because they lay light blueish-greenish eggs.  Tabby says their just a more wild bird.)  Then coop laying dropped off again a few days later.  But thankfully I found that they were laying in our woodshed, on some bales of hay that are in there.  That's not where they should "officially" be, but that's OK!  We know where to look now.

For some reason, our hens tend to all lay in the same nesting box.  Or, outside the coop  in the same pile.  I wonder why?  And which hen gets to decide where the eggs are going to be laid that day?  Maybe in the morning they pass around the word secretly.  "Hey - today's egg laying will occur in the woodshed, in front of the wheelbarrow!  Stay tuned for word about tomorrow's laying location."

I'm sure we must have piles of eggs in various parts of our yard that we have not found yet.  Tabby did recently find one stash in the goat shelter.  They were under the milking stall - right in an area that Tabby did not see every morning when she milked the goats in there!  She brought me the eggs and I tested them to see if they were still good.  Thankfully they all were.

Here is how you test eggs to see if they are still OK to eat.  Put them in a bowl of water.  If they float - throw them out.

We have eggs for supper at least once a week.  In an effort to branch out on egg recipes, I recently got a copy of The Farmstead Egg Guide & Cookbook by Terry Golson.  It is filled with all sorts of yummy egg recipes.

Aren't you glad that eggs are no longer demonized like they were in the 80s?  They were said to cause high cholesterol and people were terrified to eat them.  What a shame - eggs are the most perfect protein there is!  Thankfully now people are recognizing the what a mistake that was.  And even that all this high cholesterol worry is unfounded.

I'll leave you today with a funny picture that Tabby took of one of our Jersey Black hens in our egg gathering basket:

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