Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Kid You NOT!

We came home to this: a Sonoran Desert Toad apparently thought that the shiny end of our dog's leash was edible. We were unable to remove it, so Keith was forced to cut the leash...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Does anyone want to do Meat Chickens?

I've been considering doing meat chickens-- I can figure how many I can stack in our freezer for a year,-- but the cheapest/best way to do it is to split a shipment. My parents are coming to visit me September first, which means that anyone on their way back to Utah or in Utah could grab a share of any order that we did.

I'm thinking about doing Freedom Ranger chicks-- they have better mortality rates than CornishXs, though they may not get as big. They are generally processed at 9 weeks for 5 lbs birds or 13 weeks for broilers (8 lbs on average, I believe). Processing (when not done yourself) generally runs between $1-$2 a bird.

So, if anyone is interested, please let me know. I'm unlikely to do this myself, as there is a 25 chick minimum and I have laying chickens in the incubator and a 24 bird limit where I live :).

Meat chickens need lots of water and feed that is about 22% protein (can be purchased at most feed stores) and can free range on grass with table scraps, etc. (Despite what "free range organic" eggs claim at the supermarket, no chicken is a vegetarian, so they are great as garbage disposals :)) As a 9-13 week project, it's a cheap/interesting way to get better tasting meat. The non-meat home grown roosters we've had have had enough flavor improvement to be very much preferred over the store bought ones. Plus, we have the option to avoid medication in our meat this way.

So, let me know if you're interested and we'll see what we can work out.

In the meantime, if you want any rare-breed laying chicks let me know and I'll see what hatches. They're due this coming week. They'd be straight run (unsexed).

Monday, July 27, 2009


Noah: Chickens! Chickens!
Kev: I hate to tell you this, but our chickens are dead!
Noah: No! I want my chickens!
Kev: Let's think about something else...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pepsi... and a JOB OPPORTUNITY!

We've decided to call "Banjo" Pepsi... We picked her up yesterday, though she has not been spayed yet due to a case of the sniffles. She has an appointment in September to take care of that. Meanwhile, she's adjusting nicely to family life. She's very timid, and completely Silent. We have yet to hear a single sound from her. She's had some handling somewhere, but we suspect that it wasn't the kindest. She knows how to sit and fetch already and she's very good with the boys. Her sensitivity is making her very easy to train. It's just that once in a while she flinches and runs and you know she's expecting something bad to happen to her.

Hot dogs for tricks have instilled some trust/loyalty between her and Keith and I. She'll stick to our sides like a very happy burr will sit in front of us to get affection.

She and Jade tiptoe around eachother, but it looks like they're going to end up being friends once the whole 'PFFFFFFFT!!' cat moments pass :).

Pepsi is actually a really good name for her-- she's bubbly and sweet :).

Even more exciting is that Keith has heard that he's going to get a call back to take a writing assesment test for a job he really wants. We could really REALLY use this job, so we're sending out a prayer request that we'll be able to get it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Meet Banjo...

Meet "Banjo", our new dog. I actually think she may end up keeping the name the dog walkers at the pound named her.

Banjo is getting picked up on Monday, after getting spayed. She is such a mellow, sweet girl. She already walks on a leash and seems to know the command "sit". She loves the boys, and recognized me and them when we went to go see her today.

I have a really good feeling about Banjo. I think she's going to be a GREAT addition to our family!
So, because of some serious thinking and some events in the family, we bought a car... new to us... a 2000 Dodge Durango. It was below kelly blue book, but we had to put some work into it. Still, it takes some pressure off of us, we will now definately have a vehicle that safely holds three carseats. PHEW!

THANK YOU Martie! For the amazing box of clothes! I can't tell you how much it is appreciated!

We had visitors (family) this week, and it was a ton of fun. We are now, of course, all behind on sleep now :).

I candled the eggs I set last weekend today (well, some of them) and it looks like all is developing really well in there! Yay! There were a few infertile eggs (clear), but, luckily for me, they were all of a breed I wasn't too keen on, so that's all for the good.

Hatching these eggs is actually kind of nerve-wracking :) So much is at stake!

The boys and I are going out this afternoon to go pick out a birthday present they really want-- a beautiful Border Collie from the pound. We spent a while there yesterday and she stood out with personality by far. I'm going to go do the paperwork later, as Keith didn't decide until a little while ago that getting her would be OK :).

I *am* a little concerned that she will have been adopted in the meantime, but that's the risk we have to take, right?

Friday, July 10, 2009


So, we lost our whole flock early this week. I don't want to get into details, but a coyote jumped our 6 foot fence and slaughtered everything, then piled them neatly and started eating. We saw him eating our favorite hen, and, when he saw me, I watched him jump back out of thie yard. The goose was apparently the first to go... and the coyote left nothing-- so... ducks, goose, three leghorn chicks, the remaining six laying hens... gone. Wasted.

So, I'm going to try my hand at incubating again to replace them, though it means no eggs from our own yard for about 23+ weeks. Yeah, like six months :).

I'm trying to get a good variety of eggs-- lots of different colors and breeds. We'll be sending off some to the feed store on consignment, and roosters, of course, will have to be dealt with. We want to end up with 10 laying pullets.

In the meantime, we have to coyote proof our coop and yard more. Who knew they could jump like that? I didn't!

Our first batch of eggs arrived today and so far we have:

Araucanas (rumpless, blue egg layers)
Rhode Island Reds (standard chicken, brown eggs)
Salmon Faverolle (five-toed breed, brown eggs)
Cuckoo Marans (DARK egg layers)
Silver Leghorns (a prettier version of the classic white-laying hen)
Buff Cochins (feather-legged and mild mannered, lay light brown eggs)

We have other varieties that should be coming too... so we should have a range from green/blue to nearly black eggs, which will be fun. Of course, they all taste the same, but, I figured... might as well have fun!

I haven't hatched eggs in a year, so I feel like I'm starting over. We'll see what kind of hatch rate I get.

And yes, this is probably stupid timing considering my due date :). We should have chicks 21 days from setting.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Stress tests are going fine so far-- we've been able to get in and out in about 20 minutes each time, so nothing too horrible about the experience. It's a little tedious, but preventative attention is always a good thing :).

We had a storm the other night and somehow Silver ended up in the alley. Keith found dog prints and pieces of her everywhere, so we lost our favorite chicken. Then, this morning, he found our one female duck dead. We've lost four birds in the last two weeks, which is so hard to deal with.

Because of that, Toot and the ducks are going to freezer camp. We think the goose is pretty responsible for at least half of the deaths.

We've replaced some of the lost chickens and currently have three young little leghorn pullets in their own pen within the chicken pen. They've been names Butterfly, Rosie, and Dandelion.

Kasen seems a lot lower/deeper today than he has been and I'm walking a little more easily, so I think he's 'dropped'. As it is we have 3-7 weeks left to go!